The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 8 (November 2, 1936)
Our London Letter
Main entrance. Lausanne Station, Swiss Federal Railways.
New Streamlined Locomotives.
New and more powerful steam locomotives continue to be introduced on the Home Railways. In this connection, the London & North Eastern system comes into the limelight. The King's Cross authorities have recently approved the building in the Doncaster works of a new series of 2-8-2 three-cylinder streamlined passenger engines; a number of 2-6-2 three-cylinder mixed traffic locomotives; a further batch of 4-6-2 three-cylinder passenger engines following the “Silver Link” design; and a series of 2-6-2 three-cylinder, passenger side-tank engines for suburban haulage.
The first of the new 2-8-2 streamliners has already been completed. It is named “Lord President,” and incorporates most of the features of the “Cock o' the North” locomotive, described in these Letters some time ago. It has, however, been given an entirely new streamlined front, not unlike the “Silver Link” class. The principal dimensions are:—Grate area, 50 sq. ft.; boiler barrel, 19 ft. long, 6 ft. 5 in. diameter; total heating surface, 3,490 sq. ft.; working pressure, 220 lb.; cylinders, 21 in. diameter by 26 in. stroke; tractive effort, 43,462 lb.; weight in working order, 107 tons. The eight-wheeled tender carries 5,000 gallons of water and 8 tons of coal. The “Lord President” and its successors will haul fast Anglo-Scottish expresses.
The mixed traffic locomotives, of the 2-6-2 three-cylinder type, should prove exceptionally useful. One of these engines has now been completed, and it has been named “Green Arrow.” Striking a new note in Home locomotive design by employing the unusual 2-6-2 wheel arrangement, the “Green Arrow” has three cylinders, 18 1/2 in. diameter by 26 in. stroke; grate area, 41.25 sq. ft.; total heating surface, 3.110 sq. ft.; working pressure, 220 lb. per sq. in.; tractive effort, 33,730 lb.; and weight in working order, 93 tons. This fine engine is intended for express passenger and fast freight traffic. It has been designed by Mr. H. N. Gresley, the L. & N.E. chief mechanical engineer—or, as we are now happy to know him, Sir Nigel Gresley.
The Railways and Safety.
Railway travel has for long been recognised the world over as by far the safest form of movement. Like the New Zealand lines, the Home railways are especially proud of their fine safety record—a record which the recently published official report upon accidents occurring last year shows to be splendidly maintained.
The total route mileage of the Home railways at the close of 1935 was 20,295, the greater portion consisting of two or more tracks. During the twelve months ended December 31st, 1935, only 13 persons were killed in train accidents, and 408 injured. The liability among passengers to fatal injury was one killed to every 130,000,000 carried. In what are officially described as “movement accidents”—as, for example, careless boarding and alighting from trains—84 passengers were killed.
The total casualties at level crossings were 51 killed and the same number injured. The official report rightly pays tribute to the successful efforts of the railways towards immunity from mishap. In 1935, passenger journeys totalled no fewer than 1,697,000,000; and passenger and freight train-miles, 435,000,000.
The Modern Sleeping-Car.
Sleeping-cars pay an increasingly important part in rail travel, as the public become educated to the advantage of night travel for business and similar journeys. Home railway sleeping-cars are of exceptionally comfortable design, and they are run in most of the principal long-distance night services.
By the London, Midland & Scottish Company there has been put into service the first of a series of thirteen new composite sleeping-cars which are being built in the Derby works. These vehicles are 69 ft. long and 9 ft. 2 1/4 in. wide, and are fitted with six-wheeled bogies. Each car accommodates six first-class and fourteen third-class passengers.page 26 page 27
In addition, there is a first-class lavatory and an attendant's compartment at one end of the vehicle, and two third-class lavatories at the other. The six single first-class berths are arranged in three pairs, a communicating door being provided be-between each pair. Each third-class compartment has four berths—two lower and two upper. The interior decorations of the cars are particularly pleasing. In the first-class berths the decoration is in modern style, flush finish with chromium plated fittings, and Rexine walls and ceiling. The colour scheme is divided into three groups, blue, beige and green, the colour fading out from floor to ceiling. Each berth has a rug and a bedspread to match; a wash-basin; a full-length dressing-mirror; folding shelves and racks; and three 15-watt pearl electric lamps in chromium-plated reflectors.
The Railways and the Coronation.
With the Coronation of His Majesty King Edward still some months ahead, the Home railways are already preparing their excursion plans for this historic occasion. Special trains will be run by all the group lines to London for viewing the ceremony and its accompanying pageantry. So far as can be foreseen, practically every locomotive and every passenger carriage will be pressed into service to convey loyal travellers to London. Among the 130 special trains which the London, Midland & Scottish Railway have already arranged to run from the provinces to the metropolis for the Coronation, is one from Inverness and back, a distance of 1,136 miles. Over twenty special trains will also be run from other parts of Scotland, including points as far off as Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth and Ayr. Thirty-five excursions will come from the Midlands; 22 from Lancashire and Yorkshire; two from Wales; and one from Northern Ireland. The London & North Eastern also plan large-scale excursion bookings for the Coronation from Scotland and the North of England; while Wales, western and southern England are already arranging excursions over the metals of the Great Western and Southern systems.
The Growth of Electrification.
Electrification of the Southern Railway London-Portsmouth tracks is making rapid progress, and it seems likely that this important work will be completed well ahead of scheduled time—July, 1937. The Southern Railway have reaped a rich harvest as a result of their progressive electrification policy. Between London and Brighton and other south coast resorts, electrification has been the means of retaining to rail an immense volume of passenger traffic which, under steam working, was fast being lost to the roads.
Sweden actually possesses about 2,000 miles of electrified trunk routes. By June next, the Swedish State Railways will operate electrically 2,600 miles of track. France, Holland, Belgium, Hungary, Poland and Spain are other European countries where electrification is making progress.
Railway Operation in Spain.
Spain has been through a trying time of late, and the railways of this corner of the continent have been operated under great difficulties. Completely reorganised some ten years ago, the Spanish railway system is unique in being almost all composed of 5 ft. 6 in. tracks, as compared with the European standard-gauge of 4 ft. 8 1/2 in. Under the law of July 12, 1924, the management of the various Spanish railways was left to the individual companies—about one hundred in all—but geographical grouping was introduced to cut out overlapping and uneconomic competition. Railway enterprise in Spain has always relied largely upon foreign capital. The two leading lines—the Northern; and the Madrid, Zaragoza and Alicante—both have supervising committees sitting in Paris. The Great Southern Railway of Spain is a British concession. Never very profitable undertakings, the Spanish railways must necessarily suffer considerably as a consequence of internal unrest.page 28