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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 12 (March 1, 1937)

Our London Letter

page 17

Our London Letter

Summit tunnel, L.M.S. Lancashire-Yorkshire Main Line.

New London-Edinburgh Flyer.

Coronation year is to see the introduction on the Home railways of new high-speed passenger train services breaking all previous records. His Majesty the King, always intensely interested in railway progress, has graciously given permission for a new daily flyer between London (King's Cross) and Edinburgh, to be named “Coronation.” This London and North Eastern express is to commence running in July. It will be a streamlined service, covering the 392 1/4 miles between the English and Scottish capitals in exactly six hours. This compares with the present quickest timing of 7 1/4 hours by the non-stop “Flying Scotsman.” Later in the year, the King's Cross authorities will introduce another record-breaking streamlined service, this time between London and the Yorkshire cities of Leeds and Bradford. Making the double journey between King's Cross and Yorkshire daily, this train will average 67.6 miles an hour. Both the new Edinburgh and Leeds-Bradford trains will follow on general lines the existing “Silver Jubilee” trains between London and Newcastle. The “Silver Jubilee”—Britain's first streamlined express—carried no fewer than 68,000 passengers in its first year of operation, running 133,464 miles at an average speed of 66 m.p.h. Some 90,000 miles were traversed at 80 m.p.h. or over.

A Notable Electrification Work.

Streamlined trains hauled by steam lccomotives seem likely to form the principal means of movement on the Home railway trunk routes for some years to come. Like Germany, we are finding high-speed streamlined trains a decided success, although here and there, where conditions are peculiarly favourable, advantage is being taken of electrification. Two ambitious electrification works are now in hand. On the Southern system, the London-Portsmouth tracks will shortly be electrified throughout; while Reading also will be linked with London by electric trains at a later date. On the London and North Eastern, an especially noteworthy electrification work is being put in hand—the conversion to electricity of the Manchester-Sheffield main line. This will involve 74 1/2 route miles, equivalent with sidings to 292 1/4 single track miles. Unlike the Southern electrification will increase the capacity of train movement, the Manchester-Sheffield conversion provides for the electrical haulage of all trains—passenger, freight and coal.

The electrical equipment will be of the overhead transmission type, employing direct current at 1,500 volts. Included in the tracks involved are two tunnels each three miles long. Electrification will increase the capacity of these tunnels—the controlling factor in the train density of the route—by 25 per cent. It is planned to replace the 181 steam engines at present utilised in the Manchester-Sheffield services by 88 electric locomotives. There will be nine express passenger locomotives,
(Photo., London Passenger Transport Board.) Wood Green Station, Piccadilly Tube Railway, London.

(Photo., London Passenger Transport Board.)
Wood Green Station, Piccadilly Tube Railway, London.

each weighing 100 tons; 69 mixed traffic locomotives; and 10 pusher locomotives for use on the steep gradients. In all, the estimated cost of this electrification is £2,500,000.

New All-electric Signal-box at Waterloo Station.

A noteworthy feature of every electrification scheme is the vastly improved signalling associated therewith. Thus, on the Southern Railway, particular attention has been paid to modernised signalling in its big electrification plan. The opening of a new all-electric signal box at Waterloo Station, London, marks the last stage of an ambitious improvement scheme aiming at the speeding-up of train movement. The new box contains 309 small levers, and controls the area formerly supervised by six signal boxes with a total of 499 levers. A feature are the four illuminated track diagrams, showing the signalmen when the various sections of track are occupied. Telephones, too, have freely been made use page 18 page 19
Interior, New All-Electric Signal-Box, Waterloo Station, London.

Interior, New All-Electric Signal-Box, Waterloo Station, London.

of. These have been installed at 27 points in and around the station, so that engine-drivers can, when necessary, get into direct touch with the signal box. Waterloo is one of the largest of European termini. It caters both for long-distance traffic to and from the south-west of England, and for a heavy suburban business over the newly electrified routes which are proving so deservedly popular with city men.

The Railways and Royalty.

Probably one of the most famous steam locomotive types in the world is found in the “King” class of engines, turned out of the Swindon shops of the Great Western Railway. The “King George V” engine, in addition to performing wonderful service at Home, also made a tour of the United States in connection with the centenary celebrations of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Incidentally, this well-known locomotive still carries a suitably inscribed brass bell, presented by the Baltimore authorities as a souvenir of its trans-Atlantic tour. The latest “King” class engine—No. 6029— promises to become just as famous as the “King George V.”

Naming railway engines after royalty is no new thing. The first four-cylinder express passenger engine built at Swindon in 1910 was christened “Queen Mary.” Later, in 1927, the first of the same company's “King” class giants came along, and it was this engine which was named “King George V.’ On the marriage of King George and Queen Mary, two passenger locomotives were named after the royal couple—No. 1128, “Duke of York,” and No. 1129, “Princess Mary.” At their coronation, in 1911, a London and North Western express locomotive was christened “Coronation.” Saloon cars on the Great Western are also honoured by royal names. Eight saloons operating in the London-Plymouth services are named after members of the Royal Family, the first two being christened “King George” and “Queen Mary” respectively.

Passenger Transport in London.

London's transportation system will be called upon to handle unprecedented crowds during Coronation week. The London Passenger Transport Board, however, is accustomed to “rush” business, and so all this extra work will be tackled calmly and without fuss. In an ordinary normal year, 3,648,000,000 passengers are conveyed over the routes of the L.P.T.B. undertaking—the big pool established to coordinate rail and road transport in the metropolis. The Board services a population of 9,500,000, and covers a large suburban area as well as the city proper. Underground railways, main-line suburban services, bus and trackless trolley systems, all come under its control.

Streamlined Double-Deck Train, Lubeck-Buchen Railway, Germany.

Streamlined Double-Deck Train, Lubeck-Buchen Railway, Germany.

From a railway viewpoint, the underground railways are probably as interesting as any of the services covered. These consist of tube lines, and tracks laid in shallow tunnels with stations in the open. Among the tubes, may be named the Central London, running from Liverpool Street in the east to the western suburbs; the Bakerloo (Baker Street and Waterloo); and the Piccadilly Tube, centred on Piccadilly Circus. Distinct from the tubes are the Metropolitan and Metropolitan District Railways—shallow tunnel lines which originally were operated by steam. The “Inner Circle” forms the most important “Metro” route. This is an irregular oval of tracks, enclosing the busiest portion of the metropolis, and linking the mainline termini.

Re-lining the Famous Summit Tunnel.

We are reminded of the unique permanence of railway engineering by the announcement that recently the one-millionth brick was laid by workmen who, since 1930, have been engaged on the re-lining of Summit Tunnel. Piercing the Pennine Mountains for a distance of 2,885 yards, 300 feet below the surface, the Summit Tunnel carries the L.M. and S. main-line between Lancashire and Yorkshire beneath this formidable mountain chain. Eight hundred tons of sand and 400 tons of cement have so far been used in repairing two of the five rings of bricks forming the tunnel, and the work will continue for several years. Except for temporary speed restrictions, the relining has not disturbed train working, despite the fact that on busy days as many as 500 or 600 trains pass through the Summit Tunnel.