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    Modelling N gauge contemporary NW England.

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  1. That's true, but in the specific case of loading coal at the docks wouldn't some sort of staithe or tippler have been in use during the first half of the 20th century (as it certainly was later)? So that would in fact be pretty efficient, although unloading could be another matter - unless someone finds a way of lifting the ship out of the water and tipping it over...
  2. Ironically enough I caught one of those steam railway programmes recently when they were taking a wagon of coal from the stockpile at Paignton to Kingswear, and using it to fuel up the paddle steamer.
  3. Thanks for that … must have been thinking of the traditional mixed trains where the coaches had to be next to the loco.
  4. There are a couple of highly unusual exceptions which just might be relevant here, the carriage of containers to the Far North or West Highland sometime in the 80s (don't recall when or which or maybe it was both), and the "slip and brake" tests that used to be done north of Crewe. In both cases a dual-braked loco hauled one or more vacuum-braked but air-piped coaches with one or more air-braked wagons coupled behind. There are also translator coaches that allow dead multiple units with various electrically controlled braking systems to be hauled and braked by locomotives with a simple air brake, and in theory I guess one of these could be built to convert vacuum into air brake operation.
  5. Not strictly in line with the formations you have quoted, but worth bearing in mind a lot of Cross Country formations split and joined at Carstairs (and some of these also at Preston) so needed to have two brakes in the formation. These included the last BFKs (Mk2d) although those were used to segregate the first class passengers from passing plebs rather than anything to do with the brake area.
  6. Going by The Stationmaster's quote, 40 wheels is only five coaches and the gradient rules might reduce this to three or two (at least carrying passengers). Depending on route many formations wouldn't be allowed to have one brake located at one end and a few wouldn't even be allowed to have one in the middle. Rules also differed on other Regions and the position of the brake might also have been constrained by any short platforms along the route. I believe in 1972 all these rules were swept away and the brake could be anywhere in a passenger train.
  7. Not sure why counting to 40 in twos should be easier than counting to 20 in ones. Unless you're Noah.
  8. I imagine for a new commercial service the accessibility rules will apply, possibly subject to exceptions if existing stock is being used and is marginally non-compliant. The most visible one externally would be colour-contrasting doors to make them more easily identifiable by the partially sighted. There would probably also be wheelchair spaces and accessible toilets (possibly a longer windowless area?), the door to be used being marked with a wheelchair symbol.
  9. You're also reverse-biasing the LEDs while the DCC current is flowing the wrong way to illuminate it. This could damage it. You need a normal diode in parallel with each LED, but in the opposite polarity.
  10. On the train, nothing unless you look underneath an are an expert in the different equipment types, or can see the controls in the cab. A steam loco needs some sort of electrical power source for AWS, which could power TPWS too, but on a modern conversion I guess this would be hidden somewhere to avoid upsetting the purists. Not sure about trackside - I guess probably a junction box near the loops themselves and a cabinet near the signal if there isn't one there already.
  11. The crashworthiness risk is indeed more severe, because a tram-train doesn't meet the structural strength standards applicable to trains so would be severely damaged in collision with a freight train. This is addressed by making the collision less likely. The most likely cause of such a collision is Signal Passed At Danger (SPAD) so on tram-train routes extra TPWS is fitted and other adjustments are made so a SPAD can't result in a significant collision. The same principle could be used to reduce collision risks between heritage and commercial services, but as a SPAD by either type of train could be a cause of collision, it would mean having to fit TPWS equipment to the heritage trains as well as to the signals.
  12. A box could be locked out unless controlling a level crossing or any pointwork which needed to be worked to run the commercial service. The railway companies recognized the benefit of being able to do this so many boxes had the facilty, but if one didn't then locking changes would be needed and I think in some cases extra signals (for example if a passing loop was normally uni-directional but operated bi-directionally on one track when the box was closed). A special lever would be pulled to allow clearance of signals that wouldn't normally be allowed (such as in opposite directions on a single line) and a switch would be operated to interlink the block instruments and bells either side so it became one long block section. As to speeds, probably the commercial services would use different locomotives, fitted with AWS/TPWS and otherwise main line certified, so the heritage ones could be labelled as 25mph maximum in the cab. Similarly a driver would know not to exceed 25mph unless they had the necessary extra training to run "commercial". If a "commercial" locomotive and driver was assigned to a "heritage" working then I think the driver could be trusted to stick to the lower speed. There are places on the big railway where certain train types have to observe lower speed restrictions with no signage, just communicated by notes in the Sectional Appendix and relying on the driver's route knowledge to remember this.
  13. Which makes the point that a parcels train couldn't be formed entirely of GUVs and CCTs. There had to be a brake coach with guard's accommodation, and by the 80s once all the more antediluvian pre-nationalization alternatives had been withdrawn it could only be a BG or a passenger brake.
  14. A lot of overnight trains were essentially parcels workings with a seated coach or two tacked on, probably mostly for staff but any passengers for whom the rather random timings suited could use them too. They died out in the 80s probably due to Sectorisation.
  15. The GCR(N) has freight trains running off the main line at Loughborough to the gypsum plant at East Leake, but not while it is running its own passenger trains. The Mid-Norfolk has been storing brand new trains for Greater Anglia until they are ready for use, because the existing fleet occupies all the depot space.
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