The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 1 (April 1, 1937)
Our London Letter — Fast Train Speed In Britain
Since the days of the historic “Race to Scotland,” fast passenger train running between London and Scottish centres has always been a feature of the train services. Two railways to-day are concerned in these services —the London, Midland & Scottish, and the London & North Eastern, operating respectively over the West and East Coast routes. Last month we recorded the early introduction of a new six-hour timing on the L. & N.E. line between London (King's Cross) and Edinburgh. Now, the L.M. & S. have stepped into the limelight in connection with experiments for speeding-up the London — Glasgow schedules.
With a view to ascertaining the potentialities of standard steam locomotives and carriages in long-distance, high-speed working, the L. M. & S. have been conducting special tests. In one London-Glasgow run, there was established a new world's record for sustained high speed with steam traction. The distance from Euston Station London, to Glasgow Central Station is 401½ miles, and this was covered in 5 hours 53 minutes an average overall speed of 68.2 m.p.h. On the return journey, 5 hours 44 minutes were occupied, an average speed of over 70 m.p.h. The load behind the “Princess Elizabeth” locomotive on the outward trip was 225 tons, and on the return 255 tons. These figures are all the more remarkable when one bears in mind the exceedingly difficult nature of certain stretches of the track, notably the Shap Fell and Beattock climbs (916 ft. and 1,014 ft. above sea level respectively). Ere long we may look for a regular daily timing of six or six-and-a-half hours for the daily run of the “Royal Scot,” or some light-weight counterpart of this famous train, between Euston and Glasgow.
Efficient Restaurant Car Service.
The make-up of crack trains like the “Royal Scot,” the “Flying Scotsman,” the “Cornish Riviera Express,” and so on, invariably includes the very latest design of refreshment car. To realise the part played by train catering in attracting the traveller to rail, let us quote a few facts relating to the dining car section of one typical system—the L. & N.E. Railway. On this line some 224 restaurant and 51 buffet cars are operated. To this number, vehicles are being added this year as follows: Eleven restaurant cars, fifteen buffet cars, and two combined restaurant buffet cars. During 1936, the restaurant and buffet cars controlled by the King's Cross authorities served no fewer than 2,741,000 meals, an average of 10,000 meals per car. In each kitchen—never more than 6 ft. 6 in. wide, and 18 ft. long—in addition to cooking and preparing meals, there are stored 1,147 pieces of china, 350 tablecloths and serviettes, 160 glasses, and 1,081 pieces of cutlery. Both electricity and gas are employed in the kitchen cars of the Home lines. Some of the finest kitchens of the all-electric type are found on the “Flying Scotsman.”
Handling the Mails.
Britain's First Railway Staff College.
Education is the key to advancement in the railway world, as in most walks in life. A new departure in railway education is the establishment by the L.M. & S. Railway at Derby of Britain's first railway staff college for the training of selected staff in all grades. The college, now in course of construction, will be residential in character, accommodating 50 employees for periods of training varying from a fortnight upwards. The new training is primarily for the inculcation of the best ideas known on railways in this country and throughout the world, and is intended to bring out the quality of leadership to a marked degree. The fundamental idea is that the men shall be trained at a boarding staff college, rather than at what might be termed a day college, so that they can work and play together, a practice which will tend to break down and “departmental” outlook which may exist. The presence in the immediate neighbourhood of the college of the company's locomotive works, car shops, marshalling yards, control offices, etc., will enable students training at the college to become acquainted with actual workings by practical demonstration. In brief, the company state, the essence of the scheme is that the best practices and the best traditions of the older experienced men shall be imparted to the younger members of the staff for their benefit during the remainder of their railway service.
The Famous Severn Tunnel.
The Railway Docks at Southampton.
The Home railways play a very important part as dock-owners, and it is interesting to note that the most important passenger port in Britain is Southampton, where the docks are the property of the Southern Railway. Actually, the leading passenger ports of the country, in order of importance, are Southampton, London, Liverpool and Glasgow. Twelve years ago, Southampton and Liverpool enjoyed approximately equal shares of the passenger business, sharing two-thirds of the whole traffic between them. Now, the number of passengers using Southampton is roughly twice as many as those entering or leaving the country via Liverpool. Passenger traffic to and from the continent is almost entirely passed through railway-owned ports. Dover, Folkestone, Southampton, Newhaven and Wey-mouth, handle about two-thirds of the total movement.page 40