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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 11 (February 1, 1938)

Our London Letter — New Equipment Programmes

page 17

Our London Letter
New Equipment Programmes

Track-side County Boundary Sign, L. & N.E. Railway.

Because of increased costs, and the difficulty of securing materials, certain big development schemes on the Home railways are, for a time, being held up, examples of these schemes being big electrification works and expensive track diversions. The peculiar conditions at present existing, however, are not being allowed to interfere with the main programmes for new equipment prepared by the four group systems. In the immensity of these new equipment programmes we have a most encouraging index to railway prosperity.

Space will not permit our reviewing the current new equipment programmes of each of the Home lines, but we may consider the 1938 new equipment plans of a typical system—the Great Western—as furnishing a clear picture of the general situation. On this progressive railway, direct employment for about 5,000 persons is being given in the Swindon shops, to handle the annual renewals programme. The work includes the replacement of obsolete passenger carriages by those with improved seating, large observation windows, “no draught” ventilation and modern upholstery. Standard types of goods and coal wagons replace those of smaller types, and larger and more powerful locomotives than those being condemned.

The Great Western is building some 381 new passenger carriages, on the principle favoured by the company for some years. They all have massive steel underframes, and are entirely encased in steel, with a timber framework and a steel roof. Five restaurant and five buffet cars are being built. The buffet cars have a snack bar counter with eight “stand-up rest seats,” and seats for twenty more persons at small tables. Some 3,600 new goods and coal wagons are to be built this year. These include 300 open trucks for container conveyance, and special types for fruit and vegetables. New steam locomotives to be built total 100. Ten will be of the well-known “Castle” class for express passenger working. Approximately 5,340 tons of metal will be required for the locomotive programme, including 4,270 tons of steel, 740 tons of iron castings, and 230 tons of copper.

Immense Coal Traffic.

The handling of enormous quantities of coal traffic is a feature of Home railway activities at this season. The London, Midland & Scottish, and London & North Eastern lines are the biggest coal carriers. On the L. M. & S. as much as 74,000,000 tons of coal, coke and patent fuel is conveyed in a year, and of this vast tonnage no less than 62,000,000 tons actually originates at coal mines in L. M. & S. territory. Immense yards at Willesden and Cricklewood, just outside the metropolis, receive the long coal trains from the mines, with their loads intended for the London markets. In these yards the trains are broken up, and distributed to the suburbs, docks and other destinations. A great deal of the coal handled travels in privately-owned wagons provided by the mines and merchants. The balance is carried in railway-owned trucks, many of which are high capacity vehicles.
“Llantilis Castle,” one of the latest Great Western Express passenger locomotives.

“Llantilis Castle,” one of the latest Great Western Express passenger locomotives.

Depots for coal sales are prvided by the railways in all big cities. There delivery is taken of wagon-load consignments, and facilities afforded coal merchants for retail selling. Most of our coal deposits lie in the midlands and north, and in South Wales. In recent years, new deposits have been worked in Kent, and this new coal-field is served exclusively by the Southern Railway.

A Bridge-building Achievement.

Traffic between Britain and Denmark has been steadily growing for some years, and now, through working between London and Copenhagen has been greatly speeded up following the opening of a new Danish railway bridge, ranking as the longest over-water structure of its kind in Europe. Known as the Storstrom Bridge, it links the islands of Falster and Masnedo, and thence, by another bridge, the island of Zealand, upon which is located the Danish capital, Copenhagen. The complete length over the sea from Falster to Zealand is 2¼ miles. The main contractors for the structure were Dorman, Long & Company, of Middlesbrough, the steelwork being fabricated in the page 18 page 19
Storstrom Bridge, on the Danish State Railways.

Storstrom Bridge, on the Danish State Railways.

Middlesbrough works and erected on the site by Dorman, Long & Co.'s men. The Storstrom Bridge consists of two abutments, forty-nine bridge piers and heavy approach embankments. There are three navigation spans in the middle of the bridge, the central span having a clear width between piers of 393½ feet, and the two outer spans a width of 295 feet. The navigation spans are constructed of steel-plate girders, reinforced with a steel polygonal arch, while the forty-seven approach spans are built up of steel-plate girders of deck cantilever type, these being alternately anchor spans and suspension spans.

Diesel Railcars in Denmark.

Denmark consists largely of islands, so that railway operation there presents many peculiar problems. Ferry working is, of course, a well-known feature. One interesting development of recent times is the employment of Diesel railcars in high-speed services. The latest type of Diesel equipment to be introduced takes the form of a semi-articulated Diesel-electric railcar train, consisting of two articulated two-coach sets permanently coupled together, and moderately streamlined. The overall length of the train is about 280 feet, and there are seats for 222 passengers. As is now usual, a driving compartment is provided at each end. The train has four 275 b.h.p. Frichs “Scandia” Diesel engines, arranged in pairs with their generators at each end. Each engine and generator can be worked independently of the others, affording useful power variation. All controls are arranged to enable the train to be run in sets of four, eight or twelve cars. The coaches are of all-steel construction, electrically welded, and the electrical and other apparatus built in the underframes is enclosed in sheet steel housings as part of the streamline plan. A kitchen and dining saloon is included in the design, and the trains are capable of as high a speed as 87 m.p.h., while refuelling is only necessary every 1,000 miles.

Making Rail Travel Interesting.

Attracting the traveller to the rail route is an affair to which attention must constantly be paid. There are many ways of adding to the interest of railway travel. Recently, the London & North Eastern Railway has hit upon the happy idea of erecting conspicuous signs alongside the track, indicating to passengers that they are approaching one of the larger stations, or directing attention to the fact that they are passing some particularly interesting point, such as the summit level of the railway, the boundary between two counties, or the half-way point on some long-distance through run.
Cricklewood Mineral Sidings, L.M. & S. Railway, London.

Cricklewood Mineral Sidings, L.M. & S. Railway, London.

At most of the county boundaries these signs have been placed for the information of the traveller, while 8¼ miles north of York a special sign on the lineside indicates the half-way point on the East Coast tracks between King's Cross Station, London, and Waverley Station, Edinburgh. One of the most striking signs of all is that erected on the site of the boundary between England and Scotland, a little to the north of Berwick-on-Tweed station. This tells passengers on the “Flying Scotsman” and the “Coronation” London-Edinburgh daily flyer, that they are leaving the soil of one country for that of its neighbour.

Some Famous British Trains.

The “Coronation” express out of King's Cross is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable passenger trains ever put into service. Actually, the L. & N.E. Company now have three regular streamlined services in operation daily—one in each direction between London and Edinburgh, one in each direction between London and Newcastle-on-Tyne, and one in each direction between London and the twin Yorkshire cities of Leeds and Bradford—making six daily streamlined trains in all. The “Silver Jubilee” express (London-Newcastle) was the first of these streamliners to be introduced, some two and a quarter years ago. Then came the “Coronation” flyer—the Empire's fastest daily passenger train—between King's Cross and Edinburgh; and, in the autumn of last year, the “West Riding Limited” streamliner linking King's Cross with Leeds and Bradford. Consisting of eight specially constructed carriages, built on the articulated principle, the “West Riding Limited” seats 48 first-class and 168 third-class passengers.