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Light Railway Mixed Train Formations





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#1 RateTheFreight

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 09:41

Morning all,

Following on from my Colonel Stephens light railway question; what were the typical formations of mixed light railway services?

I’ve seen pictures where there’s one or two coaches and wagons but wasn’t sure if there was a hard and fast rule about their order.

Also, if conveying mixed traffic, ie passenger coaches and freight wagons, was a brake van required?

Thanks

Greg



#2 PenrithBeacon

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 09:51

The passenger vehicles had to go next to the loco unless the freight wagons had continuous brakes or a through pipe. After that you can make your own choice, anything might go!

#3 The Stationmaster

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 13:10

The official requirement was that the coaches had to be next to the loco on a Mixed Train (do not confuse Mixed Train with Tail Traffic where fitted vehicles conveyed on a passenger train were permitted, subject to various restrictions, to be marshalled between the engine and the passenger carrying vehicles).

 

However it is obvious from various published photos that some light railways observed the requirement in the breach as they show passenger vehicles marshalled behind the wagons.  This was no doubt done to facilitate shunting at intermediate stations and no doubt once a railway got into the habit it carried on with it until such time as it happened to be caught out or reported to the enforcing authority.


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#4 hartleymartin

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 11:49

I wonder what the general policy was for lines which operated with things like old Brake-3rd coaches. Would this be considered the "brake van" for the purposes of mixed trains?



#5 The Stationmaster

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 13:13

I wonder what the general policy was for lines which operated with things like old Brake-3rd coaches. Would this be considered the "brake van" for the purposes of mixed trains?

 

Technically they would have been too lightweight for use as freight brakevans as there were quite onerous requirements for van brake power on Mixed Trains.  However whether the average Light Railway would have been so fussy is a very different matter.



#6 The Johnster

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 14:32

I would imagine that a light railway could 'get away with it' to some extent; speeds were low and pinning down wagon brakes if necessary no problem.  But the precise rules are to be found in the Light Railway Order under which the line operated, and probably varied according to circumstances company by company.  Most freight vehicles would have been 'big railway' wagons to RCH standards, except where very local traffic was concerned, the light railway acting as a feeder to the main line network in this respect.  IIRC but I am happy to be corrected legislation was introduced in 1897 allowing light railway construction to facilitate connection to locations which were not economically justifiable in terms of a full regulated railway to Board of Trade standards; low speeds, light trackwork, and some relaxing of signalling rules brought the costs down to manageable levels for communities that would have been seriously economically disadvantaged in those days of poor pre-internal combustion engine roads.  Much of the Irish narrow gauge system was built in this way.

 

These railways, despite running practices that would have given a main line inspector apoplexy and the use of antediluvian second hand stock with no collision resistance, were very safe places to travel on, the main problem being level crossings,  Ungated and crossed slowly by infrequent trains, the local communities were subject to familiarity breeding contempt, and even at a low speed a train cannot be stopped like a car.



#7 sir douglas

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 14:59

i always assumed that carriages were always right behind the loco to minimise the jolting of coupling slack when braking and accelerating, there wouldnt be any slack between the carriages and loco with screw links but the wagons will have 3 link so putting a carriage behind some wagons will have some slack to take up and jolt the passengers, that is unless the engine crew and train guard are skillful with the brakes to ease through the slack 



#8 Wickham Green

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 15:20

Technically they would have been too lightweight for use as freight brakevans as there were quite onerous requirements for van brake power on Mixed Trains.  However whether the average Light Railway would have been so fussy is a very different matter.

Depends on your Brake Third : The KESR had one or two former LSWR Corridor vehicles towards the end it its independent existence - somewhat heavier than the majority of goods brakes !



#9 pete_mcfarlane

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 15:59

However it is obvious from various published photos that some light railways observed the requirement in the breach as they show passenger vehicles marshalled behind the wagons.  This was no doubt done to facilitate shunting at intermediate stations and no doubt once a railway got into the habit it carried on with it until such time as it happened to be caught out or reported to the enforcing authority.

In the case of the Bishop's Castle railway they'd ended up with a strange route that required trains to reverse part way through the journey, and they definitely ignored this rule and simply ran the engine round.



#10 Zomboid

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 16:07

Not really relevant, but most mixed train photos I've seen in my research (into American shortlines) had the passenger cars at the back. I've always assumed this was to enable en-route switching whilst the passenger car was detached.

Of course in those cases all cars had automatic brakes.

Edited by Zomboid, 03 April 2018 - 16:11 .


#11 The Stationmaster

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 12:32

i always assumed that carriages were always right behind the loco to minimise the jolting of coupling slack when braking and accelerating, there wouldnt be any slack between the carriages and loco with screw links but the wagons will have 3 link so putting a carriage behind some wagons will have some slack to take up and jolt the passengers, that is unless the engine crew and train guard are skillful with the brakes to ease through the slack 

 

The carriages were at the front to ensure that they had a working automatic brake and for other safety reasons - although that hardly came into the equation if the engine didn't have one!  But legally a Light Railway built after the introduction of the 1889 Railway Regulation Act was required to provide automatic brakes on its passenger vehicles although the 1896 Light Railway Act gave the Board of Trade powers in the case of Light Railways to allow exceptions from various parts of the 1889 Act subject to certain restrictions.  Whether any of the Light Railways had the necessary permission is another matter entirely of course but, as an example, the Talyllyn Railway continued to operate without continuous brakes on its passenger trains.



#12 jim.snowdon

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 19:17

The carriages were at the front to ensure that they had a working automatic brake and for other safety reasons - although that hardly came into the equation if the engine didn't have one!  But legally a Light Railway built after the introduction of the 1889 Railway Regulation Act was required to provide automatic brakes on its passenger vehicles although the 1896 Light Railway Act gave the Board of Trade powers in the case of Light Railways to allow exceptions from various parts of the 1889 Act subject to certain restrictions.  Whether any of the Light Railways had the necessary permission is another matter entirely of course but, as an example, the Talyllyn Railway continued to operate without continuous brakes on its passenger trains.

The situation may not be as simple as might be assumed, in that the 1889 Regulation of Railways Act did not itself make the provision of continuous automatic brakes on passenger trains a legal requirement. What it did was empower the Board of Trade to order a railway company to do so, and whilst the BoT undoubtedly did so in the case of the main line railways that were proving resistant to previous recommendations, it leaves an element of discretion. Whether the BoT applied any discretion when it came to the minor railways is perhaps a moot point.

 

For the record, the actual wording of the 1889 act reads -

 

The Board of Trade may from time to time order a railway company to do, within a time limited by the order, and subject to any exceptions or modifications allowed by the order, any of the following things:

(a)To adopt the block system on all or any of their railways open for the public conveyance of passengers ;

(b)To provide for the interlocking of points and signals on or in connexion with all or any of such railways;

©To provide for and use on all their trains carrying passengers continuous brakes complying with the following requirements, namely:

 

Whilst it could be argued that the BoT might have encouraged light railways to arrange their mixed trains with the passenger accommodation ahead of the freight stock, they might not have compelled them to do so in any particular case, so long as the carriage was provided with an effective brake and a guard to operate it.

 

The use of a brake van is not, as far as I am aware, a legal requirement either, although it is a common sense one in many respects. It is arguable that, in many respects, a brake van is there simply to carry the lamp (or other device) that defines the end of the train for block signalling purposes. Granted, the Guard has other functions, principally assisting with control of the train and protecting the train in rear when required. The latter is really only required when a locomotive is sent into the (occupied) section to assist the failed train, whose precise whereabouts may not be known. In the context of a light railway where there may only be one engine in steam and/or line of sight operation can be applied, some of these requirements become academic.

 

Jim


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#13 eastglosmog

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 19:20

Just been through my picture books and apart from the Bishop's Castle, the East Kent also ran mixed trains with what look like loose wagons between the loco and coach. Not a massive train though, only 2 wagons and a bogie passenger brake.  Also found a picture of a mixed train on the W C & P R apparently without a goods brake at the rear - I say apparently because it may have picked up a brake van before setting off.  I suppose you could also include such things as the Connel Railbus pulling a solitary wagon (for cars) or some of the Col Stephens railcars pulling the odd wagon as being mixed trains with no brake van at the rear!



#14 jim.snowdon

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 19:40

Just been through my picture books and apart from the Bishop's Castle, the East Kent also ran mixed trains with what look like loose wagons between the loco and coach. Not a massive train though, only 2 wagons and a bogie passenger brake.  Also found a picture of a mixed train on the W C & P R apparently without a goods brake at the rear - I say apparently because it may have picked up a brake van before setting off.  I suppose you could also include such things as the Connel Railbus pulling a solitary wagon (for cars) or some of the Col Stephens railcars pulling the odd wagon as being mixed trains with no brake van at the rear!

And the many instances in Ireland, narrow and broad gauge, of a railbus pulling its luggage trailer, or a wagon or two. They too  were subject to the 1889 Regulations of Railways Act, albeit the version on the Irish Statute Book.

 

Jim



#15 uax6

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 19:55

There is a picture of a Wee Ben on the Kyle line with a mixed train in 1926, that shows two 1planks between the loco and the luggage compo, and then 10 wagons before the road van at the rear. At first I thought they were low fish wagons, but it doesn't appear that they are, and they are not open carriage trucks either. So I'm guessing that they are unfitted.

Now the Highland had a track record of not quite observing the BoT instructions, and it's possible that the carriage wasn't in service, or is it a case that London is a long way away even in LMS days...?

Andy g
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#16 wagonman

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 22:15

Not a light railway I know but there is a photo of a train on the GWR Camerton branch which consists of a line of coal wagons with 'the' passenger coach at the end (there was only one in those pre-1910 days). As there were unbalanced passenger train workings on the branch at that time I've always assumed it was ECS. I still do.



#17 Zomboid

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 08:55

So hypothetically if the freight wagons had automatic brakes, any jumbled up formation would have been permissible? Not that it would have been especially desirable, of course.



#18 Wickham Green

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 10:40

So hypothetically if the freight wagons had automatic brakes, any jumbled up formation would have been permissible? Not that it would have been especially desirable, of course.

Yes ......... BUT fitted wagons were very much in the minority on the main line railways and, while a few would have worked through, they'd have been extremely scarce on the archetypal Light Railway !

 

( On the main lines there were also regulations concerning mixing of bogie and non-bogie stock - but that's probably totally irrelevant in a Light Railway context.)



#19 PenrithBeacon

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 11:40

The BoT wanted passenger vehicles next to the loco because of AVB issues. This made shunting enroute more difficult because it meant more movements. Essentially these trains were pickup freights with additional carriages so they would stop at every wayside station to pickup and set down wagons, so having the carriages next to the loco just made life more difficult for the crew and a lot slower for the passengers.

#20 The Stationmaster

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 17:17

So hypothetically if the freight wagons had automatic brakes, any jumbled up formation would have been permissible? Not that it would have been especially desirable, of course.

 

No  4 wheel non-passenger vehicles and freight vehicles were always supposed to be formed separately from passenger vehicles.



#21 eastglosmog

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 18:10

So hypothetically if the freight wagons had automatic brakes, any jumbled up formation would have been permissible? Not that it would have been especially desirable, of course.

I would think if trains were mixed up like that, it would cause a bit of a problem with getting all the coaches into short platforms.



#22 hartleymartin

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 06:56

I would think if trains were mixed up like that, it would cause a bit of a problem with getting all the coaches into short platforms.

 

From what I understand, carriages were always marshalled together unless they were part of a "stock movement" ie they were not taking passengers, but being moves from place to place and hence were treated the same as goods vehicles.



#23 Wickham Green

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 10:29

No  4 wheel non-passenger vehicles and freight vehicles were always supposed to be formed separately from passenger vehicles.

....... but Rule 1 was invented for Light Railways ...... or was it vice-versa ? - so that convention might not apply.



#24 DavidCBroad

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 11:16

Light railways were limited to 25mph by law rather like the M1 is limited to 70mph.    Mixed Formations were dictated by track layout and traffic. you don't want to be shunting passenger coaches in and out of sidings to fetch wagons so either you put the coaches at the back or you have a lot of complicated shunting, or unusual track layouts with facing sidings such as I believe the narrow gauge L&B used.   It would have been unusual for standard gauge Col Stephens light railways to have vacuum fitted goods brake vans and to convey vacuum fitted coal wagons.  There were of course Main Line railway owned and operated light railways worked as ordinary branches just to muddy the waters further.



#25 D9020 Nimbus

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 14:07

AIUI the L&B had vacuum brakes on all its stock, perhaps giving it greater flexibility.

More generally practice on main line railways varied by country—in Europe the passenger coaches would be next to the engine, presumably so the vacuum brakes (and steam heating) could be used, whereas in USA the coach/es would be at the rear (continuous brakes, and such coaches would normally have internal stoves).