The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 3 (June 1, 1937)
Our London Letter — Passenger Station Improvement Works
Bearing in mind the vast improvements introduced at the new Wellington Railway Station, considerable interest attaches to the remodelling and rebuilding of several important Home railway passenger stations—work which is now in hand, or contemplated in the near future. One of the biggest improvement works in progress covers the creation of a new and greater Euston Station in London, where our largest group railway—the London, Midland and Scottish—has its headquarters. Curiously enough, we celebrate on July 20th next, the one hundredth anniversary of the opening of the first section of the London and Birmingham Railway, from Euston to Boxmoor (24½ miles). The London terminus of this pioneer line was known as Euston Square, throughout operation between London and Birmingham commencing in 1838. The original Euston Station was quite adequate to the needs of the period, and the great arch and hall, designed by that genius among early railway architects, Hardwick, were remarkable contemporary contributions to advanced station design. The new Euston should produce equally outstanding examples of the railway architect's genius and adaptability, and provide a fitting headquarters terminus for its owners.
City passenger stations have undergone tremendous improvement in the last few decades. Time was when a railway station was merely a place for the entraining and detraining of passengers, and nothing more. To-day, the railway station is a most important civic and recreational centre. Leipzig, in Germany; Milan, in Italy; and the Eastern station, in Paris, are three continental examples of outstandingly well-designed stations. At Home, numbers of the principal city stations combine space, dignity and artistry, among the better-known being the Southern Railway's Waterloo and Victoria stations in London, the Victoria station of the L. M. & S. at Manchester; the Great Western Company's London terminus at Paddington; and the York station of the London and North Eastern. Some of the London tube stations, also, are fine works in their own class. The railway station being the veritable city centre, it often becomes possible for the modern station designer to provide a fine edifice at reasonable cost, through the additional commercial uses to which the building may be put. Rows of shops, and so on, are frequently included in modern station design. They add to the attractiveness of the station, and the rents derived therefrom provide a valuable source of revenue.
A New Type of Railcar.
Steel Rails of Great Length and Weight.
Signalling Practice in Various Countries.
Train signalling forms a most important branch of railway working, and it is surprising how signalling practice varies in different lands. In a report prepared for the forthcoming International Railway Congress, by Mr. W. A. Fraser, Engineer (Scotland), L. & N.E. Railway, it is stated that in Great Britain upper-quadrant, mechanically-operated semaphore signals are now standard, except on the Great Western. Large numbers of lower quadrant signals are still employed, however, both types operating through angles varying from 45 to 60 degrees. Canada, South Africa and the United States also employ upper-quadrant signals, while in Japan both three-position upper-quadrant and two-position lower-quadrant signals are favoured. Among other railway systems retaining the lower-quadrant type, the most common angle of operation is 45 degrees. In Great Britain and Ireland, 5,280 feet is the maximum distance at which mechanical signals are erected from the cabin. This compares with the New Zealand figure of 4,500 feet, the Indian 3,000 feet, and the South African 4,000 feet. The maximum length of track circuit under favourable ballast conditions varies on the Home railways from 2,400 to 15,840 feet. For India the figure stands at from 1,800 to 2,500 feet, and for the United States from 4,000 to 7,000 feet.
Britain's Huge Freight Traffic.
Dogs in Railway Police Work.
The employment of dogs for assisting in policing some of the Home railway dock premises has for long been common. Now we hear of canine intelligence being utilised in another direction in the railway world, this time by the Great Western Railway. On certain of the South Wales tracks, sheep have a habit of straying, and to round up these trespassers, sheep dogs are allotted to the permanent-way staffs, and perform invaluable service. The dogs are trained to answer verbal commands from their masters, and also to understand and answer to whistles and hand-signals. In addition to driving sheep off the track, the dogs give warning to the permanent-way men of an approaching train, and will not leave the track until all the men are clear. The track sense of the animals is truly remarkable. If caught between the sets of rails while driving a sheep off the track, they calmly lie down in safety until the two trains have passed.
British-Holland Passenger Business.
Record passenger business is reported between Britain and Holland. Between Harwich and Hook of Holland, the L. & N. E. Railway operates a nightly mail steamship service in each direction. A corresponding daylight service is provided between Harwich and Flushing by the Zeeland Steamship Company. Leaving Liverpool Street station, London, at 8.30 p.m., and dining on the train, the Dutch city of The Hague is reached by seven o'clock next morning, and Amsterdam before eight.page 40