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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 7 (November 1, 1927)

Non-stop Runs and Water Troughs

Non-stop Runs and Water Troughs.

The consideration given by the Home railways to the operation of new non-stop runs between London and Scotland has previously been recorded in these pages. Speeding up on the Anglo-Scottish main-lines has since resulted in the setting up of new records for non-stop working. The world's longest non-stop run -the 226½ miles non-stop journey of the “Cornish Riviera” daily express from Paddington Station, London, to Plymouth-has now been eclipsed by a new non-stop train introduced by the London and North Eastern Railway between King's Cross Station, London, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. This latest record breaking flier gives a non-stop run of 5½ hours for 268 miles journey, and the train forms a relief to the well-known “Flying Scotsman.” On the London, Midland and Scottish Company's route to the north, a non-stop run of 236½ miles has been introduced. The 10. a.m. Scotch Express out of Euston Station, London, now ceases to pick up passengers at any point en route, and makes only one stop, exclusively for locomotive changing, at Carnforth, 236½ miles from London.

It is by the use of track water-troughs that these non-stop runs have become possible. These troughs were the invention of Mr. John Ramsbottom, one-time locomotive superintendent of the old London and North Western Line. To-day these appliances are employed on all the British main-lines. The troughs are usually 18 inches wide and 6 inches deep, and the larger troughs run as long as 1,800 feet. They are made of galvanised steel plate, and the top edges of the troughs are turned inwards to form a lip, thereby preventing waste of water. At each end of the troughs the rails are laid for a short distance on a down gradient towards trough centre. This permits the scoop on the locomotive to be lowered just before reaching the trough, until it is about two inches below water level.

As the end of the trough is reached, the gradient lifts the scoop clear. The troughs usually are arranged on the main lines about fifty miles apart. Between London and Plymouth, the non-stop trains pick up water at four points of the journey, while running at speed. High speed is essential in passing over the troughs, for practically no water can be picked up when the speed falls below twenty miles an hour.