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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 5 (August 1, 1935)

Our London Letter — The Railways and the King's Jubilee

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Our London Letter
The Railways and the King's Jubilee.

Jubilee celebrations on the Home railways added much brightness to passenger travel. Stations and offices were gaily decorated in town and country, and in the hotels and restaurant cars special Jubilee fare was featured. Exceptionally heavy demands were made on all the group lines in conveying visitors to the London celebrations, while so far as traffic would allow as many railway employees as possible were released from duty to enable them to join in the festivities associated with the great occasion in the Empire's history.

The Royal Jubilee will be permanently recorded in the railway world by the putting into service on the London and North Eastern Railway of a new high-speed steam train named “Silver Jubilee.” This train is timed to cover the 268 miles between King's Cross Station, London, and Newcastle-on-Tyne in exactly four hours. It leaves Newcastle-on-Tyne daily (except Saturdays and Sundays) at 10.0 a.m., and in the reverse direction, the departure from London is at 5.30 p.m. A stop at Darlington is included in both the Up and Down runs. The train consists of first and third-class corridor coaches and restaurant cars, with a total seating capacity of 194. The locomotive and coaches are streamlined, and the cars are built on the articulated principle. For travel on this super-express, a small supplementary charge is made.

The introduction of the “Silver Jubilee” flyer marks the opening of the new high-speed era on the Home railways, a development foreshadowed by the various high-speed experimental runs referred to in recent London Letters. The intention is to gradually put into service numbers of these exceptionally fast lightweight expresses connecting the principal cities, and just how far the railways will go in this direction depends largely upon the public response to the present venture.

Clean Railway Travel.

The cleanliness of railway travel, as compared with road movement, is a selling point that is being strongly emphasised by the Home railways at the present time. In order that passenger carriages may present a spick-and-span appearance outside, as well as being scrupulously clean inside, new mechanical car-washing plants are being installed at many centres. The Southern system has this year opened four big installations of this character, including one immense cleaning-shed at Clapham Junction, London.

In the Clapham Junction plant, four upright shafts on each side of the track carry a number of strips of cloth. These shafts are rotated, and the cloth strips fly outwards, gently lapping the sides of the carriages. Copious showers of water are simultaneously sprayed on to the cloths and train, removing every speck of dirt. The eight revolving shafts are supported by a structure consisting of steel columns, longitudinal and cross-girders braced together. These also support electric motors and driving gear overhead, as well as a system of vertical and horizontal spray pipes. The whole is housed in a steel frame
Finse Station, Norwegian State Railways, Bergen-Oslo Section, with Oslo Express at the platform.

Finse Station, Norwegian State Railways, Bergen-Oslo Section, with Oslo Express at the platform.

building covered with corrugated sheeting. The plants are controlled from small cabins adjacent to the machines containing the switch-gear and pumping machinery. In addition, push buttons on each end of the machines enable them to be stopped at will by the operator.

Carriage of Perishable Freights.

Spring and early summer bring special demands upon the Home railways in connection with the movement of perishable and seasonable commodities, like flowers, fruit and vegetables. This year the spring flower traffic was exceptionally heavy. 10,000 tons of spring blooms (60,000 blooms to the ton) were conveyed from the Channel Islands, Cornwall, Lincolnshire, and other growing districts to London, high-speed trains and fast railway-operated highway vans joining in the flowery flight. At present, the railways are busy transporting fresh fruit from Worcester, Hereford and Hampshire to the London markets. During the summer Hampshire sends 4,000 tons of strawberries to London, while Worcestershire and Herefordshire stations rail about 30,000 wagons of fruit to the metropolis each summer.

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Fruit Special, Southampton-London, Southern Railway.

Fruit Special, Southampton-London, Southern Railway.

Fish is another perishable traffic, for the transport of which the railways make special arrangements. 180,000 tons of fish are landed at Grimsby annually; 253,000 tons at Hull; and 53,000 tons at Fleetwood. Fish landed at the various ports in the morning or early afternoon, is carried by special trains and delivered direct to the London market for sale and distribution in time for breakfast next morning.

Britain's “Freight Flyers.”

Freight traffic handling on the Home railways has indeed been reduced to a fine art. Something like 570 express freight trains run daily and nightly between great centres such as London, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Plymouth, etc. Goods conveyed by these trains are delivered the morning following dispatch. Accelerations varying from three to 160 minutes have been made in the running times of these “freight flyers” during the last year or so. Thousands of ordinary fast goods trains are also run daily.

Interesting developments on the freight side include the so-called “Green Arrow” system of registered transits, and the new “railhead depot” arrangement operating for the benefit of the big commercial concerns. By the “Green Arrow” system, a consignment, whether a parcel, truck load or train load, is kept under observation throughout its journey, and delivered in accordance with a pre-arranged schedule advised to the sender. A fee of half-a-crown per consignment covers this special service. The “railhead depot” arrangement enables traders to save the cost of branch depots by renting space in the railway warehouses at the larger centres. Alternatively, covered wagons may be rented for use as mobile warehouses, these being placed wherever desired. If a trader prefers, the railways themselves undertake, at a reasonable charge, the entire distribution and marketing of a firm's goods from a selected centre.

Where the “Blue Danube” Flows.

Most railwaymen are keen radio fans, and probably every reader of the “New Zealand Railways Magazine” has at one time or another listened enchanted to the strains of Liszt's “Hungarian Rhapsody,” broadcast from some near or distant station. Few of you, however, will actually have made the trip to the land of Liszt—beautiful Hungary, beside the “Blue Danube.”

Hungary now is making a big bid for tourist business, and the State
Excursion Train, Budapest-Vienna Railway, Hungary.

Excursion Train, Budapest-Vienna Railway, Hungary.

Railways are making special efforts to care for the comfort of visitors from abroad. Budapest, the capital, is thirty-two hours distant from London by rail, and a more cosmopolitan city it would indeed be difficult to discover. In addition to being the Hungarian capital, Budapest is also the great railway centre of the land. From here, trunk routes radiate in almost every direction, one route—to the west—leading to Vienna, a run of four-and-a-half hours.

The Budapest-Vienna line is especially interesting, because this route provides Europe's only example of a mainline railway electrified on the phase-converter system. In this system, single-phase current is taken by the locomotive from overhead transmitter at 16,000 volts, 50 cycles, and used to drive a phase-converter, delivering three, four or six-phase current to the driving motor at a voltage of 1,000. Sub-stations are unnecessary under this arrangement, while the locomotives can be fed direct from overhead line at an industrial frequency.

Land of the “Midnight Sun.”

Tourist travel in Norway and Sweden—the home of the far-famed spectacle, the “Midnight Sun”—is proving exceptionally heavy at the present time. To meet the needs of growing business, new locomotive and carriage equipment has been introduced, and many of the new passenger cars are genuinely fine examples of the carriage-builder's art, embodying every modern refinement.

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