Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 9 (December 1, 1938)


Clearing the snow from exposed tracks in the North of England.

AmerryChristmas to everyone! At the moment of writing, London Town has yet to taste its first winter snowstorm, but in many corners of Europe snow and ice already have played havoc with railway working and rendered the railwayman's task unenviable in the extreme. Britain is fortunate in escaping from really severe snowstorms, although on some of the exposed tracks in Northern England and Scotland, December can be a very trying month for the railway worker. We are reminded of this fact by the news that the London and North Eastern Railway has just provided for use on its Scottish lines five additional steel snowploughs, and has also converted three existing wooden ploughs to the latest type of steel construction. Actually, the King's Cross authorities now have fifteen steel snow-ploughs available for use in Scotland as well as a number of ploughs ready at a moment's notice to clear exposed tracks in the North of England. An interesting feature of these modern snowploughs is that they are so designed as to throw the snow to the off-side of the line, so that on double-track sections the clearance of either line can be carried out without interference with the opposite track.

One of England's most difficult railway routes under wintry conditions is the Newcastle and Carlisle section of the L. & N.E. system. This is a particularly interesting rail link because of its associations with George Stephenson, the “Father of Railways.” Travelling to-day from Newcastle to Carlisle one may still see on the line-side at Wylam the humble stone cottage where “Geordie” himself was born. Recently there has been celebrated the one-hundredth anniversary of the opening of the “N. & C.” The official trains making the throughout run between Carlisle and Newcastle one hundred years ago occupied just four hours on the 64 1/2 miles run. Unfortunately, on the return trip, several derailments occurred, but early mishaps such as these were speedily overcome, and the Newcastle and Carlisle became one of the most efficient of our early railways. An outstanding figure on the line was Thomas Edmondson, stationmaster at Milton, near Carlisle. Edmondson was the inventor of the card ticket and the ticket dating press, which by degrees came to be employed on railways the world over. In 1862, the Newcastle and Carlisle was acquired by the North Eastern Railway, which in turn was absorbed into the L. & N.E. group.