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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 12 (March 2, 1936)

Our London Letter — Vast New Railway Works

page 25

Our London Letter
Vast New Railway Works.

Country Cartage Service, Southern Railway of England.

Business continues to improve on the Home railways, and taking advantage of Government financial aid, the four group systems have embarked upon one of the biggest betterment plans ever attempted.

The works scheme now in hand is estimated to take about five years to complete. It embraces new railway construction; track widenings; station improvements; electrification; signalling betterments; and the building of new locomotives and passenger carriages. On our biggest railway—the London, Midland & Scottish—electrification is being put in hand of important lines in the Liverpool area; the Euston terminus in London is being entirely reconstructed; colourlight signalling is being introduced at many points on the London-Crewe-Carlisle main-line; and 369 new steam locomotives and 270 new passenger carriages are being built.

Electrification of the busy tracks between Manchester and Sheffield is being tackled by the London & North Eastern authorities; running loops are being constructed at ten places between Grantham and Doncaster, on the East Coast route to Scotland; and station improvements are being undertaken at York and Doncaster. For the important fish trade of Hull and Grimsby, there is being provided additional accommodation; while 43 new steam locomotives and many new passenger carriages are to be built. On th Great Western line, a new alternative route is being constructed betwen Exeter and Newton Abbot, in Devonshire, to handle the rapidly-increasing tourist business to and from the West Country. North Road passenger station, at Plymouth, and other important stations are to be enlarged; while numerous marshalling yards and goods stations are to be remodelled. By the Southern Railway large sums of money are to be spent on extending the already very elaborate electrified area lying to the south and south-west of London, one of the principal routes involved being that between London and Portsmouth.

The Mottram Marshalling Yard.

Suitably planned and conveniently placed marshalling-yards are essential for the expeditions handling of goods traffic. With the object of facilitating the movement of traffic in and out of Manchester, the L. & N.E. Railway has recently brought into use a new and commodious marshalling yard at Mottram, about 11 miles outside the Lancashire cotton city. The yard is 1 1/2 miles in length, and there are eight reception tracks each capable of accommodating a train of 80 wagons, these tracks being on a falling gradient towards the sorting sidings. The sorting lay-out consists of two groups of ten tracks, each holding 65 wagons. Classification of wagons for various destinations is effected by gravity, and the points leading into the different roads are electrically controlled and pneumatically operated. Two tracks are available for wagons waiting repairs.

The latest Germen steam-driven stream-lined passenger train.

The latest Germen steam-driven stream-lined passenger train.

In the control tower is a control panel consisting of a row of push-buttons, and an illuminated diagram to indicate the movement of each wagon, or group of wagons. The points are operated by air pressure, controlled from the tower by means of electrically-operated valves, and each pair of points is held during the passing of wagons by means of an electric track circuit, which also operates the apparatus for automatic point operation.

The Treatment of Sleepers.

Although on certain stretches of the Home railways steel sleepers have been laid for experimental purposes, generally speaking the timber sleeper is standard throughout Britain. For the treating and preparation of timber sleepers prior to their introduction on the track, each of the group lines maintains special depots. The Great Western Company has just opened a new sleeper creosoting works at Hayes, near London, designed to deal with 500,000 sleepers annually.

The works employ electricallydriven conveyors to bring the various materials together, to pass the sleepers along through the adzing and boring page 26 page 27
A bridge of signals, L. & N.E. Railway, Kings Cross, London.

A bridge of signals, L. & N.E. Railway, Kings Cross, London.

machines and through the chairing machines, and finally out to the special wagons into which they are dropped ready for despatch to various parts of the system. The adzing and boring machines deal with one sleeper every ten seconds. From here the sleepers pass on a special train of trolleys into the pickling cylinder, where creosote is forced in under a pressure of up to 200 lbs. per sq. inch. The two pickling cylinders are 90 ft. long, and each cylinder holds 660 sleepers. The working tanks feeding each cylinder hold 65,000 gallons of creosote. From the cylinders the sleepers pass on to the chairing machine, where the chairs are not only bolted on to the sleepers, but also set to gauge ready for laying in the track. The Hayes works cover, in all, an area of 19 acres. In the stacking yard there is accommodation for about 750,000 sleepers undergoing the seasoning process. Incidentally, it may be noted, almost all the sleepers employed to-day on the Home lines are of Empire-grown timber.

The Railways and Road Transport.

European railroads continue to engage very extensively in road transport, and throughout the continent large numbers of additional road motors have recently been acquired by the railways, with the idea of further co-ordinating rail and road services.

At Home, about 8,000 motor trucks are operated by the group railways for goods traffic movement. In addition, there are about 12,000 horse-drawn vans employed in city collection and delivery services. The motor wagons used on country cartage services open up areas removed from the railway, and enable combined road and rail services to be given such traffic as grain, potatoes, fertilisers, and feedingstuffs. The wagons run in many cases to a definite daily schedule. In many parts of the country, the railways have concentrated at one particular station “smalls” traffic, which was previously dealt with at a number of neighbouring stations, the traffic now being conveyed between concentration point and destination by road motor. Apart from their own road services, the railways hold all the ordinary shares and the majority of the preference shares of the two old-established firms of road carriers—Carter, Paterson & Co., and Pickfords Ltd. Smaller interests also are held in other road haulage companies. On the passenger side, the Home railways have not entered directly to any
Interior of 1st Class corridor coach of the “Royal Soot,” London, Midland and Scottish Railway.

Interior of 1st Class corridor coach of the “Royal Soot,” London, Midland and Scottish Railway.

extent in the field of road transport. The policy favoured has been to acquire a financial interest in existing omnibus and coach companies, resulting in much closer co-ordination between rail and road.

Careers in the Railway Service.

Railwaymen everywhere welcome the return to somewhat better conditions, not only because of the improved financial situation, but also because of the increased opportunities which must now come for individual advancement. Through circumstances over which they themselves had no control, the Home railways have had to slow down staff promotion during recent years. Now, however, things are looking up, and opportunities for individual advancement are again presenting themselves.

Speaking on the question of careers in the railway service, Mr. R. Gardner, Superintendent for Scotland of the L. & N.E. Company, recently told a railway audience that opportunities existed for all who strove whole-heartedly, and were not satisfied merely to wait for something to turn up. Railwaymen would be well advised, he said, to educate themselves so as to be ready to step into any likely opening. Education was the key to success and the railway staff magazines and the technical press enabled the keen employee to keep abreast of activities and developments in the whole field of transport. Destiny, it was pointed out, may sometimes decide our fate, but the far-seeing man took a lot of discouraging.

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