The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 6 (September 1, 1936)
Our London Letter — Some Fast Running Trains
Some Fast Running Trains.
There are probably few more famous railway routes the world over than those running between London and Scotland, operated respectively by the London, Midland and Scottish, and London and North Eastern Companies. Speedy running has always been a feature on these tracks, and this season some exceptionally fine locomotive performances are being put up in the Anglo-Scottish services. Our old friend, the “Flying Scotsman,” again runs nonstop between King's Cross and Edinburgh; while on the L.M. and S. route out of Euston terminus, London, a noteworthy acceleration has been effected in the running of the “Mid-day Scot,” which, leaving London at 2.0 p.m. daily, now reaches Glasgow (Central) at 9.35—a cut of half-an-hour over the old timings. This saving of thirty minutes involves an overall average speed of 52.9 m.p.h., including four stops of a total duration of 19 minutes, and the ascent of two mountain summits at Shap and Beattock.
For hauling the “Mid-day Scot,” there are utilised giant 158-ton locomotives of the “Princess Royal” class. A single locomotive works through from London to Glasgow (401 1/2 miles), locomotive crews being changed at Crewe, 158 miles from Euston. Because of relatively slow running up steep gradients, over favourable portions of the route the scheduled speeds of the “Mid-day Scot” are necessarily high. Between Tring and Bletchley, for example, the 75 m.p.h. figure is touched.
Altogether, 747 passenger trains in various parts of the L.M. and S. system have been speeded up by a total of 2,016 minutes per day. The effect of these accelerations has been to bring into the table of trains running at start-to-stop speeds of over 60 m.p.h., two additional expresses, the more interesting being the “Merseyside Express,” covering the 189.7 miles between Mossley Hill, Liverpool, and Euston in 189 minutes. Since May last, the Company has had 29 trains covering a total of 2,632.2 miles per day at average start-to-stop speeds of over 60 m.p.h.
Modern Sigualling Methods.
Fast train operation, and the efficient operation of terminals, depend to a marked degree upon suitable signalling installations. At Edinburgh (Waverley) station, the L. and N.E. line has recently installed the largest station power signalling plant introduced to date on this system. One of the biggest Home passenger stations, Waverley was opened forty-three years ago. It possesses fifteen bay platforms and four through platform tracks, as well as through passenger loops and carriage tracks. Under the new signalling plan, one central signal box replaces the former five boxes scattered about the station. The five old boxes contained 415 mechanical levers in all, while the new box has a 227-lever power frame. The whole of the new signalling apparatus is operated electrically, modern multi-unit colour light signals replacing the old semaphores. All points are equipped with 110 volt D.C. motors, and the complete layout track circuited, there being altogether 121 A.C. track circuits.
A Unique Boat Train.
The Harwich route to the continent is especially useful for journeys to central and north European points. It does not attempt to compete with the Southern Railway services to and from Paris and south European centres, but provides a quick and particularly comfortable means of reaching cities like Brussels, Antwerp, Berlin, Copenhagen, Hamburg and Stockholm. Apart from the regular daily passenger sailings, there is operated between Harwich and Zeebrugge, in Belgium, an extremely efficient train-ferry for the movement of goods traffic of almost every kind, and particularly for perishables conveyed in special containers.page 28
Rail-Cars for Parcels Traffic.
The employment of light streamlined rail-cars for passenger transport is now general throughout the world of railways, both for main and branchline working. A new move is the utilisation of the streamlined rail-car for the conveyance of parcels traffic carried at passenger train rates, an innovation of which the Great Western Railway is the pioneer.
The Paddington authorities have introduced a specially-built streamlined Diesel rail-car, built by Associated Equipment Co. Ltd., of Southall, for the movement of parcels between London, Reading and Oxford. The new car is of similar design to the sixteen passenger rail-cars in service throughout the system, and previously described in these pages. In place of the big observation windows, however, it has three glass-panelled doors on each side, to facilitate the rapid stowing and clearing of the parcels from a series of racks. The car is driven by two 130 h.p. oil engines, and is capable of speeds of up to 75 m.p.h. The service marks a new era in the conveyance of parcels by rail, and it is hoped that it will avoid delays which sometimes result to the ordinary passenger trains at stations from the loading and unloading of parcels traffic.
State Control of Transport.
Road transport control by the State has now been introduced in Germany, and as a result railways and roads cease to be cut-throat competitors. The new legislation provides for all road carriers becoming members of a single road transport association, the activities of which fall under the control of the Government Ministry of Transport. Sanction of the Ministry has to be obtained for the movement by road of merchandise for distances in excess of 31 miles, and undercutting of rail conveyance rates is strictly forbidden, all road conveyance rates being subject to official approval. Long hauls by road will continue to be carried on only in such cases where it can be shown that rail conveyance is not practicable or suitable to the particular movement involved. In almost every European country, unfair competition of the road carrier is by degrees being cut out; and smoother, more efficient, and more economical transportation machinery brought into being embracing all forms of land conveyance.
The Railways and the Motor Industry.
Progress of Electrification in Germany.
Rapid progress continues to be made by the German railways in the development of electrification. Germany now has nearly 1,500 miles of electrified track open to traffic, mostly on the single-phase alternating-current system, with 15 kv. at the overhead equipment, and at 16 2-3 cycles. This system is also favoured by Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway, thereby encouraging through running.
Recent important German electrifications cover the Munich-AugsburgStuttgart routes, and the Stuttgart suburban routes. The Augsburg-Nurnberg line has also been converted to electricity, and this electrification is shortly to be extended, via Halle, and via Leipzig, to Berlin. The effect of this will be to afford through electric working between Munich and Berlin, and incidentally to link up with electrified lines via Innsbruck, cities as far south as Naples and Rome. In addition to passenger electrifications, large stretches of German track devoted to freight haulage have been converted to electricity, and this has enabled freight train loads and speeds to be considerably increased.page 30