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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 4 (July 1, 1939)

Our London Letter

page 25

Our London Letter

Prepared for Any Eventuality.

With the peak period for summer holiday travel fast approaching, the Home railways are reaping the benefit of the many ambitious improvement schemes brought into being at various stations and junctions during the long months of depression, and of the fine new locomotives and rolling-stock built in the railway shops. Railway revenues have been steadily creeping up for the past month or two, and given freedom from further war scares this welcome recovery should proceed on an even more rapid scale.

Because of the threat of aggression, railways here and in all the peace-loving nations of Europe have taken special steps to protect their property and to assist the authorities to the full in any emergency. Vulnerable points (like junctions, marshalling yards and controls) have been safeguarded from any possible attack by air; plans perfected for the evacuation from the danger centres of women and children; and special time-tables worked out for the movement of troops and supplies. Our railways to-day are prepared for any eventuality, but with good neighbourliness and calm understanding prevailing among the nations there will be no necessity for bringing all this special machinery into motion. Railways in the past have played an enormously important part in promoting international friendship and goodwill.

The First Railway Timetable.

Exactly one hundred years ago, there was published the first railway time-table. This, curiously enough, was not issued by any railway undertaking, but was the product of a private individual—George Bradshaw, a printer and engraver, of Manchester. “Bradshaw” today is a household word throughout Europe, but the first issue of “Bradshaw's Railway Time-tables,” in 1839, was a small book, bound in cloth, priced at sixpence, and containing just 38 pages. In 1840 came the second edition, a trifle larger, and with a new title—“Bradshaw's Railway Companion.” Then followed, twelve months later, “Bradshaw's Monthly Railway Guide,” in its world-famous yellow wrapper. The year 1847 saw the first publication of “Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide,” and to-day “Bradshaw” and the “Continental Bradshaw” are probably the best-known of all railway time-tables. This centenary is of added interest by reason of the fact that, from the issue of its time-table dated 1st May to 2nd July, the London and North Eastern Railway has abandoned its own 7 ½ in. by 11 ½ in. time-table in favour of a reprint from “Bradshaw's Railway Guide” (now published by Henry Blacklock & Co. Ltd.). Besides effecting economy in printing costs, the new form is handy for the pocket, measuring 4 ¾ in. by 6 ½ in. What a rare tribute to the genius of George Bradshaw is this latest move of our second largest group railway!

The Railway Catering Department.

The catering department of a modern railway is charged with a most responsible task, and not only can efficient catering produce valuable profits, but it can also perform wonderful service in popularising rail movement. The catering departments of the Home railways last year earned a net profit of £522,634, while indirectly they probably brought
Overseas visitors passing through Customs at Southampton Docks, Southern Railway.

Overseas visitors passing through Customs at Southampton Docks, Southern Railway.

a profit of at least as much again in attracting and retaining passenger business. The four group lines now own 680 restaurant cars and 93 buffet cars, the latter being attached to trains where the demand is not quite sufficient to justify the running of a full restaurant car service. Last year some 3,500,000 lbs. of meat; 2,500,000 lbs. of potatoes; 260,000 lbs. of buter (mostly from New Zealand); 80,000 lbs. of coffee; and 75,000 lbs. of tea, were consumed in the restaurant and buffet cars. Refreshment rooms at all principal stations have been vastly improved and modernised in recent years, while there has been marked betterments at all the railway hotels up and down the country. These hotel improvements include big works like the rebuilding of the G.W. Company's Royal Hotel, Paddington, and the modernisation of the same company's Fishguard Bay establishment. At the Felix Hotel, Felixstowe—a delightful beach resort in Norfolk—the L. & N.E.R. has installed a new cocktail lounge; while the L. M. & S. has modernised its Caledonian Hotel, Edinburgh, and established at Leeds a new central laundry serving all the company's hotels and capable of dealing with 50,000 articles page 26 page 27
New 3-cylinder 4-6-0 Express Passenger Locomotive, Great Southern Railway, Ireland.

New 3-cylinder 4-6-0 Express Passenger Locomotive, Great Southern Railway, Ireland.

a week. This year, by the way, marks the jubilee of the introduction of the first railway dining-car in Britain. This was placed in service on the former Great Northern (now L. & N.E.) Railway, between London and Leeds, in November, 1879.

“A Popular Feature.”

Interavailability of passenger tickets is proving a popular feature of the summer holiday programme. One of the most interesting arrangements is that existing between the L. M. & S., L. & N.E. and G.W. Companies in their long-distance services. This permits passengers holding return tickets to return by any recognised alternative route between any pair of stations served by two or more of the companies. It also permits of break of journey at any point en route. Somewhat similar, and equally useful, is the plan agreed upon by the Southern and G.W. systems. In this case, the facility not only applies to long-distance rail journeys, but also covers ticket interavailability on the Channel Islands steamships, run by the Southern from Southampton, and by the Great Western from Weymouth. Further afield, most bookings between British and continental points allow of the return journey being made by an alternative route if the passenger so wishes, thereby extending very considerably the area a tourist may take in during his travels. Interavailability of passenger tickets as between rail and road grows apace, especially as many road services now are largely under rail control. The G.W. and L. & N.E. Companies are to the fore in developing this privilege. In the air, too, there is the closest co-operation between many air carriers and the railways, and so far as Railway Air Services are concerned on almost all routes covered there is complete interavailability as between air and rail movement.

New Passenger Locomotives.

Irish rail travel is on the increase, and this growth is most evident on the Great Southern Railway, the big consolidation having its headquarters in Dublin, and operating fast services between that point and Cork. For passenger train haulage over this section, there are being introduced new three-cylinder 4-6-0 fast passenger locomotives, built in the company's shops at Inchicore, and known as the “800” class. The engines have an overall length of 67 ft. 9 in., and a total weight in working order of 135 tons. Cylinders are of 18 ½ inches diameter by 28 in. stroke; heating surface, including superheater, is 2,338 sq. ft.; grate area, 33.5 sq. ft.; working pressure, 225 lbs. per sq. in.; and tractive effort at 85 per cent. boiler pressure, 33,000 lbs. The first of the new locomotives has just been placed in regular traffic, and has been greatly admired. Incidentally, particularly liberal space is allowed the engine crew, the cab actually being 9 ft. wide inside. Other details making for comfort and efficiency are a windscreen wiper on the driver's look-out window, and sliding side windows.

Isle of Man Railway.

Midway between England and Ireland lies that delightful little holiday haunt, the Isle of Man, to and from which the L. M. & S. Railway operates a speedy steamship service in connection with its trains from London and the other big centres. Although it is not generally known, the Isle of Man is served by two efficient little railways—the Isle of Man Railway and the Manx Electric Railway. The first-named originated in the eighteen-seventies, and is a 3 ft. gauge system worked by steam traction. Signalling is by train staff, and trains are hauled by diminutive 2-4-0 tank locomotives, with an 0-6-0 tank engine on hilly sections. Passenger carriages are, of modern bogie type, with electric lighting and other conveniences. Douglas is the headquarters station, with two long covered island platforms. The Manx Electric Railway runs from Douglas to Ramsey, a distance of 18 miles, with a branch from Laxey up to the summit of Snaefell (2,034 feet). This system is also mostly of 3 ft. gauge, and trains are of the multiple unit type, a motor and a trailer normally forming a train. Current is obtained from overhead transmission line. Bearing in mind that the Isle of Man covers something less than 230 square miles, the good Manx folk may rightly take pride in their efficient railway network.

Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris.

Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris.