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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 2 (May 1, 1939)

Our London Letter

page 17

Our London Letter

A Unique Exhibition.

The “square deal” campaign of the Home Railways, now beginning to bear fruit, continues to impress upon one and all the justice of the railway claims. The latest development takes the form of a “Fighting for Freedom” exhibition, staged at Waterloo Station, London. This exhibition is housed in a special structure on the station concourse. Fronted by a realistic painting of a goods train, the building covers an area of 900 square feet. On entering, attention is directed to a large photograph of Waterloo concourse, upon which are superimposed photographs of the “square deal” posters, Press announcements, and booklets recently issued. Next, wall displays catch the eye. One display features photographs of the four general managers, with brief details of their careers. Another traces the history of railways since pioneering days, and it is demonstrated how statutory regulations hinder not only the railways but also railway users. The fact is driven home that the railways are the biggest purchasers in the country, and that their buying brings benefit to workers in almost every industry. A very attractive series of photographs illustrates a day in the life of a railwayman, and there is a display covering the handling of holiday traffic. “Railways in Wartime” is a telling feature, serving as a timely reminder of the vital importance of the “Iron Way” in times of peril. Last, but not least, is an ominous picture of the bankruptcy court, by way of suggesting what will happen to the railways if they are denied the “square deal” they so justly deserve. Altogether, we have here a most impressive and praiseworthy effort.

The Railways and the Road Carriers.

New agreement, reached between the railways and the road carriers, promises well for both interests. The agreement is principally concerned with conveyance rates, and provides for the setting up of a joint central consultative committee of rail and road, to consider all matters common to the two industries, and to expedite rates agreements.

In addition to the central committee, there are to be area committees, and probably local committees, and certain route committees for long-distance transport, all of whom will tackle broadmindedly the problem of rates agreements applicable to both sides. These measures are of a voluntary nature, and as statutory enforcement is necessary to make any agreement of this kind a success, government approval is being sought through a Parliamentary Bill. If approved, this Bill will give the railways a substantial measure of freedom, and a new tribunal, covering both rail and road, will be established to replace the existing Railway Rates Tribunal. Its duties will be to review agreements as and when made, and also to hear objections from trade associations, traders and carriers, who feel aggrieved at any projected rate. It will also be
Goppenstein Station, southern entrance to Loetschberg Tunnel, Swiss Federal Railways.

Goppenstein Station, southern entrance to Loetschberg Tunnel, Swiss Federal Railways.

empowered with securing observance by the railways, enforcement on the road side being secured by means of the licensing machinery. At long last, it has been realised that uneconomic rate cutting as between rail and road is foolish in the extreme.

Electrification Progress.

Steady progress is being made with the ambitious scheme of the L. & N.E. Railway and London Passenger Transport Board, for railway electrification in the north-east London area. Electric traction is being instituted by the L. & N.E. Company on four tracks between Liverpool Street terminus and Gidea Park, a distance of 14 miles; on two tracks between Gidea Park and Shenfield, a distance of 6 ½ miles; and from Fenchurch Street to Bow Junction (3 ¼ miles), from whence trains will run to Stratford over a single track now being constructed. The complementary scheme of the L.P.T.B. will relieve the L. & N.E.R. of the Fairlop loop and Loughton Branch traffic. The Central London page 18 page 19
“Golden Arrow” Express, Calais to Paris, Northern Railway of France.

“Golden Arrow” Express, Calais to Paris, Northern Railway of France.

Line is being extended from Liverpool Street to Bethnal Green and Mile End, and thence to Stratford. From Stratford, the Central London Line will run in tube to Loughton Branch Junction, emerging to run over the L. & N. E. R. Woodford, Loughton and Ongar Branch, which is being electrified on the third and fourth rail system. Certain of the trains will descend again at Leytonstone, run in a new tube to Newbury Park, and there join the L. & N. E. R. Fairlop loop running north to Hainault. To and from Hainault there will also be a tube train service over the northern section of the loop, via Woodford and Chigwell. Huge works of this kind naturally result in a certain amount of inconvenience to passengers for the time being, but this is being reduced to a minimum despite the fact that Liverpool Street station handles 210,000 passengers daily.

A Giant Electric Locomotive.

From Switzerland comes the news that the Federal Railways have just acquired what is claimed to be the world's most powerful electric locomotive. This is a giant machine developing 12,000 h.p., and of the 2-4-2-4-2 + 2-4-2-4-2 wheel arrangement. Intended for service on the St. Gothard route, the locomotive is of articulated design, and at a speed of 46 m.p.h. the tractive effort is said to be 88,000lb. To secure a high tractive effort at starting, the adhesive weight of all the driving axles is increased to 172 tons, by an apparatus operated by compressed air, and reducing the weight on the central carrying axle. Weighing in working order about 244 tons, the new Swiss giant hauls 600-ton express passenger trains up gradients of 1 in 39 at 40 m.p.h.; and 75-ton freight trains at 31 m.p.h. In the neighbouring country of Italy, completion of the Milan-Bologna and Florence-Rome electrifications has enabled through travel by electric train to be undertaken from one end of the land to the other, a distance of slightly more than 900 miles. There are now about 2,430 miles of electric railway in Italy, and the development of hydro-electrical power resources is going ahead at a rapid rate. The fastest electric service is that between Milan and Bologna (72 m.p.h.). Other noteworthy runs by electric train are those from Milan to Rome (395 miles at an average speed of 66 m.p.h.), and Turin
Tudor architecture at Stratford-on-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare.

Tudor architecture at Stratford-on-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare.

to Rome (417 miles at an average of 60 m.p.h.) with two and three intermediate stops respectively.

Electric Versus Steam Operation.

In view of the increasing utilisation of electric traction in many lands, it is interesting to note the divergence of views existing on the subject of the possible vulnerability of electric railways in time of war. It has always been understood that one important reason why electric traction has been turned down on the Northern Railway of France was because it was felt steam operation was much less liable to interruption in time of war than electric traction. Looking round, however, we find Germany and Italy going ahead with electrification on a big scale, and this would certainly point to these countries being satisfied with electric traction under all conditions. The secret appears to lie in the fact that modern practice is to inter-link power stations (which, incidentally, being usually situated in mountainous areas present difficult targets for hostile aircraft) so that, should one station be put out of action temporarily, a supply can quickly, be secured from elsewhere. Actually steam locomotives, with their issuing smoke and steam by day, and the glare from the firebox by night, would appear to offer a good target and guide for aircraft. One recalls our own experience on light railways in the Great War, when solely because of this fact, we had to replace steam engines by petrol tractors on the forward lines.

page 20