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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 2 (May 1, 1935)

Our London Letter — Britain's Busy Railway Industry

page 17

Our London Letter
Britain's Busy Railway Industry.

Discharging Australian wool at King George Dock, Hull.

Discharging Australian wool at King George Dock, Hull.

Business is now on the up grade throughout the Home railway industry, and ambitious renewal and improvement plans are in progress on all the group systems. To illustrate the optimism of the Home railway leaders, let us take two typical railways—the Great Western and the London and North Eastern—and consider what is being done to perfect their transportation machines.

On the Great Western, there is great activity in the locomotive and carriage and wagon departments. During the present year, the Company are constructing in their Swindon shops ten new “Castle” class locomotives, fifteen new “Hall” class, ten standard goods locomotives, and sixty tank locomotives.

Some 211 new passenger vehicles are being built, these including four twin dining-car units and two kitchen-cars. On the freight side, 2,486 new goods wagons are being turned out this year, more than half of these being open 12-ton trucks for general merchandise. Track renewals covering 390 miles of line are being undertaken; some 130 bridges of various sizes and dimensions are being rebuilt; and the reconstruction is to be completed of two huge modern passenger stations—Bristol (Temple Meads) and Swansea (High Street).

Now for the London and North Eastern story. During the present year, about 5,000 new goods wagons are to be built, 50 per cent. being box wagons. Three hundred new containers are being constructed—a tribute to the proved utility of this convenient method of movement—while the programme also includes the acquisition of 100 new all-steel wagons for the handling of locomotive coal. Eighty-eight new steam locomotives are being turned out this year in London and North Eastern shops. Passenger vehicle construction includes the building of about three hundred new carriages, including ten restaurant cars, four sleepers, and two complete “tourist train” sets for holiday traffic. Track works include the renewal of nearly 500 miles of track, the rebuilding of 37 bridges, and the cleaning and painting of innumerable stations. In connection with this latter work, special colour schemes are to take the place of the usual standard method of treatment, attractive stations now being regarded as a vital selling point for rail travel.

New Locomotive Stock.

It is interesting to find that, among the new locomotives being built at the London and North Eastern shops, is a three-cylinder 2-8-2 type express passenger locomotive incorporating many of the characteristic features of the ‘Cock o’ the North” machine, described briefly some months ago in these Letters. Intended primarily for hauling day and night passenger expresses over the very heavily graded Edinburgh-Aberdeen section of the East Coast Anglo-Scottish tracks, the new locomotive, named the “Earl Marischal,” differs mainly from its predecessor in respect of the type of motion employed, and the maximum weights in working order of the engine and tender. Instead of poppet valves operated by rotary cam gear controlling steam admission and exhaust, the “Earl Marischal” has piston valves operated by Walschaert-Gresley gear of a pattern similar to that favoured for the London and North Eastern Railway “Pacific” locomotives. The maximum weight in working order of the “Earl Marischal” engine is 109 tons 8 cwts., and of the tender 57 tons 18 cwts.

A unique point about both the “Earl Marischal” and the “Cock o' the North” is that a steam collector integral with the dome is placed on top of the boiler barrel, this being formed of a steel pressing riveted to the boiler top, on the outside. A number of slots

A busy scene at Paddington Station, Great Western Railways, London.

A busy scene at Paddington Station, Great Western Railways, London.

page 18

page 19
Denis Passenger Station, Prague, Czechoslovakia.

Denis Passenger Station, Prague, Czechoslovakia.

in the top of the boiler barrel admit steam to the collector, the idea being to prevent water being carried over with the steam. The three cylinders, of 21 in. diameter and 26 in. stroke, drive on the second pair of coupled wheels.

Some Famous Passenger Stations.

The through Anglo-Scottish trains over the East Coast route work out of the King's Cross terminal in London, surely one of the most interesting stations in the world. European passenger termini make a fascinating study for the visitor from overseas.

Stations like King's Cross, Paddington, Victoria, Waterloo and Euston, all in London, each have their own peculiar interest and individuality; while outside the Empire's capital, big cities, such as Manchester, York and Birmingham, possess noteworthy passenger depots.

Comparable in their own countries with Wellington's fine new passenger station, are depots like the new Italian station at Milan, and the German terminal at Leipzig—both unusually commodious and pleasing structures erected in recent years. Most continental stations lack the raised platforms favoured in Britain, but on the continent a feature is the provision of separate platforms and tracks for handling passengers' luggage. Finland, Poland, and other smaller European lands have railway stations of rather primitive character outside the big cities. Spain and Portugal love an ornate type of architecture for their railway termini; while in the northern lands of Norway and Sweden, one cannot help noticing the special architectural plans followed with a view to combating severe winter climatic conditions.

Railway-operated Steamships.

Travel between Britain and the continent promises to prove exceptionally heavy during the next few months, so popular has the continental holiday become with all classes. Railway-operated steamships, plying between Britain and France, form the principal connection across that troublous stretch of water known as the English Channel. The Southern Railway owns the largest cross-Channel fleet, and this line's daily services between Dover-Calais and Folkestone-Boulogne are rightly world-famed. Among the larger Southern passenger vessels are the “Canterbury,” the “Worthing,” and the “Maid of Orleans.”

The fastest service between London and Paris is the daily “Golden Arrow” express. This famous train leaves Victoria Station, London, daily at 11.0 a.m. Dover (Marine) is reached at 12.35 p.m., and the cross-Channel steamer, waiting alongside, departs at 12.55 p.m., reaching Calais at 2.10 p.m. The French “Golden Arrow” train, operated by the Nord Railway, leaves Calais twenty minutes later, and “Gay Paree” is reached at 5.40 p.m. Forward connections from Paris give fast running to cities like Rouen, Lyons and Marseilles, as well as to most of the leading capitals of central and southern Europe.

Facilities for Holiday-makers.

The success attending the scheme introduced on the Home railways last year of providing stationary camping cars for holiday-makers at selected beauty spots, has this year led to the introduction of touring camping carriages. These cars are worked by train from place to place, day by day, following a specially prepared schedule, giving holiday-makers an opportunity of visiting numerous attractive vacation haunts with a minimum of trouble and expense.

The cars are virtually caravans on railway wheels. Each vehicle is provided with six separate sleeping compartments, each with its own toilet facilities. Accommodation for a seventh person is available in a spare compartment equipped with a collapsible bed. The cars have also a comfortable living-room, and a kitchen with full cooking facilities. An adequate supply of crockery, cutlery and linen is included in the equipment. The inclusive charge for the use of a touring camping car, apart from the cost of provisions, for a week's tour, works out at from £15 to £20. Already, heavy bookings are being registered, and the tourist camping car promises to prove a sure business-bringer.

Picturesque Rouen on Northern Railway of France.

Picturesque Rouen on Northern Railway of France.