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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 4 (July 1, 1935.)

Our London Letter — World's Record Train Speed

page 22

Our London Letter
World's Record Train Speed.

(Photo., courtesy Imperial Airways). The Imperial Airways Liner “Hengist” after leaving Corydon, with the first England-Australian Air Mall, 8th Dec., 1934.

(Photo., courtesy Imperial Airways). The Imperial Airways Liner “Hengist” after leaving Corydon, with the first England-Australian Air Mall, 8th Dec., 1934.

New world's records for steam-driven trains were created recently, when a special London and North Eastern Railway express, travelling from London (King's Cross) to Newcastle-on-Tyne and back, attained a speed of 108 miles an hour at one point on the return journey, this being the highest speed ever recorded for a steam-driven train. At the same time, a second record was established when the train travelled for more than twelve miles at an average speed of over 100 miles an hour, and covered more than 240 miles at an average speed of over 80 miles an hour.

We have previously referred in these Letters to the experiments which are being conducted by the Home railways in their effort to speed up passenger movement; to the doubts now existing in many official quarters regarding the future of main-line electrification; and to the likelihood of main-line passenger services in the years that lie ahead being operated by self-propelled units, such as the steam locomotive and Diesel engine. Favourably impressed by the working of the Diesel-engined train of the German railways, between Berlin and Hamburg, the London and North Eastern authorities some time ago approached the makers of the May-bach engine used on the “Flying Hamburger,” as this train is styled, and invited them to submit schedules which trains of a similar type could be expected to achieve over the L. & N.E. main-lines. In the case of London and Leeds, the answer was that a Maybach-engined train could perform the journey in 165 minutes, at an average speed of 67.6 miles per hour. For comparative purposes, a light steam train was then tested out over the same route, and this train actually performed the journey in 151 minutes in one direction, and 157 minutes in the other. The result of the London-Leeds trial led the Company to take the view that, under British conditions, better results can at present be obtained from the use of light units drawn by steam locomotives, than by Diesel-engined trains. With the idea of submitting this theory to a further test, the run from London to Newcastle-on-Tyne and back was arranged.

As time goes on, it is probable that several high-speed trains, operating on schedules considerably in advance of any at present existing, will be introduced on the L. & N.E.R. main-lines. First, however, there are important factors to be considered such as coal consumption; the effect of high speeds on the permanent-way; wear and tear of the locomotive; the possibilities of streamlining; and the disturbance involved to existing time-tables by the putting into service of exceptionally fast trains. Then, too, there is the question of the commercial justification for running trains at high speed at half the normal weight and of half the passenger capacity. Supplementary fares will probably be a necessary feature, and consideration must be given to the extent to which accelerated travel will attract additional business.

Great Western Railway streamlined locomotive “King Henry VII.”

Great Western Railway streamlined locomotive “King Henry VII.”

Streamlining Experiments.

On the Great Western Railway, which at present operates the world's fastest daily passenger train—the “Cheltenham Flyer”—new speed bids are shortly to be made, following the streamlining which is being put in hand of several express locomotives. An engine of the “King” class, No.6014, “King Henry VII” is the first locomotive to be streamlined, and this is being followed by experiments of a similar type with engines of the well-known “Castle” class. In the case of the L. & N.E.R. record run, previously referred to, the locomotive (Pacific “Papyrus” No. 2750) was not streamlined, so that added interest thereby is being given to the Great Western venture.

Coincident with the streamlining experiments at Home, on the German railways a new 4-6-4 three-cylinder steam engine completely streamlined, has recently been put into service. This is intended to haul a 250-ton page 23
A typical passenger carriage on the London Underground Railways.

A typical passenger carriage on the London Underground Railways.

train on a 93 m.p.h. schedule, and is expected to be able to increase to 108 m.p.h. when required. Partial streamlining of steam locomotives is also being tried out on the Belgian National Railways, where it has been shown that streamlining saves from 150 to 450 h.p. at 90 m.p.h.

Still following up locomotive news, we have to record the interesting move by the Southern Railway of christening a batch of new locomotives, known as the “Remembrance” class, after names of famous locomotive engineers of the past. Seven machines constitute the first group of this class, and they have been named respectively “Remembrance,” “Trevithick,” “Hack-worth,” “Stephenson,” “Cudworth,” “Beattie” and “Stroudley.” The three latter names are those of early engine-builders on the railways now embraced in the Southern group.

The production of the “Remembrance” class of locomotives involved the transformation of the 4-6-4 “Baltic” type of fast passenger tank engine, constructed for use on the London-Brighton route, but now rendered redundant owing to electrification. The alterations include the removal of the trailing bogie, coal bunker, water tanks, etc., the provision of a 5,000 gallon tender, the raising of the boiler pressure to 180 lbs. per square inch, and other minor reconstructions which make the machines of general utility, and bring them closely into line with the existing 4-6-0 “King Arthur” class locomotives. Total weight in working order of the “Remembrance” locomotive and tender is 130 tons 13 cwts. Tractive effort is 25,600 lbs.

Air Conditioning Research.

Air conditioning of passenger carriages is being steadily developed in Europe. On the London Underground Railways special research is now being undertaken with the object of bettering air conditioning arrangements and reducing travel noise. For the purpose of the experiment, a typical passenger carriage has been taken, and all ventilators and windows sealed up. Air conditioning apparatus by Frigidaire Ltd., has been introduced, most of the plant being bolted to the under-frame.

Air is drawn from inside the car, to pass over the cooling coils of a refrigerator system located beneath the floor. This refrigerator consists of a compressor, condenser, and air-cooling coils, the compressor being driven by belt from a 3-h.p. motor. Leaving the refrigerator, the clean air passes up into a space between the outer shell of the car roof and the ceiling, from whence it is distributed into the interior. Unlike some systems of air-conditioning, where ammonia or similar media are employed, in the new London Underground plan the refrigerating fluid favoured is known as “Freon.”

New Carriage Depot Facilities.

An ambitious improvement scheme to facilitate the formation of passenger trains is being carried out by the Great Western Railway at Old Oak Common, the locomotive and carriage
The Kursaal at Ostende, Belgium's popular Sea-side Resort.

The Kursaal at Ostende, Belgium's popular Sea-side Resort.

depot for Paddington Station, London. This depot handles some 2,000 passenger carriages daily, empty stock from incoming trains from the West of England, South Wales and the north, there being re-formed to provide the outgoing trains from Paddington. At present there are 101\2 miles of sidings at Old Oak Common. To these facilities there are to be added another 31\2 miles of track.

There will be seven reception tracks, each of twenty car capacity. Separate in and out tracks to and from Paddington at both ends of the yard are being provided, and there will be twenty 1,000 ft. long storage tracks under cover, in addition to accommodation in the open. The covered carriage depot will, in fact, be as large as Paddington Station itself. New central-heated offices and mess-rooms are being built for the staff, which numbers nearly 600. An automatic telephone exchange, with connections at more than seventy selected points throughout the depot, will be another feature. Britain possesses many commodious carriage depots, but the new establishment at Old Oak Common, London, will be the largest facility of this kind in the country, covering an area of more than 100 acres.

Railway Centenaries.

Reference has previously been made in these pages to the centenary which is this year being celebrated by the German Railways, and also to the fact that 1935 marks the one-hundredth anniversary of the opening of the Great Western Railway of England. In addition to these centenaries, we celebrate this year the hundredth birthday of the Belgian railways.

The first steam passenger train on the continent of Europe ran from Malines to Brussels on May 5, 1835.

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