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Everything posted by RfDforever

  1. Back in 1970 a loco. inspector I worked with (or, in his case, usually against) gave me a pretty graphic account of one experience he had - his 4F, on an excursion train, had built up some speed down a bank when the (midland design) little end broke up and the con rod started flailing around before digging into the sleepers. The terrifying part was he had plenty of time to think of all the possible outcomes before the loco came (safely, as far as he was concerned - and considerably against probability) to rest. saw him in a different light after that. Regarding the footplate men that were back at work after 1 or 2 days; not trying to re-create the Monty Python 'you were lucky, you had glass to eat!' sketch but, in February 1961 a York - Swindon overnight passenger train hit a derailed Palvan near Rugby Central. The loco turned over, trapping the driver. The fireman attempted to rescue him, but was driven back by the heat of escaping steam. He then ran a considerable distance to Rugby box to get help. Both he and the guard (who had protected the train in the other direction) then caught a train to try to continue their shift. Probably this was the profound effect of shock rather than loyalty to the job, though Edited to elaborate.
  2. Your first two paragraphs are very relevant, thank you. Having been clearly told (and posted in an indirect way because para 3 applies) details very much on the lines of your first sentence, I was (i) astounded that any possibility of a smooth change-over was thereby being wilfully sabotaged and (ii) given to understand (incorrectly it seems) that it was a rule laid down by London Midland. Why would anyone else (the DfT for instance) lay down such a rule? But clearly someone did.
  3. And the reason for this is what I've been trying to imply in previous posts. Now of course the terminating franchisee would be pleased to answer questions from the incomer, and welcome discussions with relevant staff. Unless they were bad losers... And they would be helpful because 'what goes around, comes around' Unless.... well .......... Being cryptic for good reason.
  4. Indeed. Drivers, guards and despatch staff are essential. But think about it; there are other staff equally essential (but not so obviously visible) to running trains and other ancillary operations...
  5. The fixed-term contract employees will not, of course, be entitled to TUPE. I did not say that I was surprised that the present LM had fixed-term contracts that ended at the end of the franchise. What did surprise me was that, allegedly, the new franchisee was not allowed to communicate with these staff and the suggestion also is that many are leaving, possibly as a result.
  6. I'm a little surprised that some who post are not aware of CIRAS but my reading of the report suggested that it doesn't apply to tram systems anyway - although that didn't stop someone reporting safety concerns about Croydon trams to them. The report also seems to imply that when those outside the company with safety reservations (who cannot use CIRAS) are not taken particularly seriously - at least, not until there's a accident that supports the basis of their concerns. It does seem from the report that tram safety is much more aligned to road rather than rail safety standards. Modern trains are pretty successful at preventing passengers from being thrown through doors or windows in the event of an accident, for instance.
  7. Well maybe LM is different but it has staff on fixed-term contracts that coincide with (quelle surprise) the end of the contract. They need to be contacted otherwise they'll not be there any more. 1 1/2 working days left...
  8. Now this may be being too pedantic; but surely reference to Stanier 'porthole' stock is wrong, because this stock was not built until some time after Mr Stanier's departure - quite apart from questioning whether the C&W Engineer might have had more input to design than the CM&EE. Although the learned LMS coach gurus have combined together as "Period 3" all the steel sided designs with, in the case of gangwayed stock, ventilators within the window, postwar LMS coaches had a design improvement of great interest to the passenger - they were steel framed. It seems odd to me that such an important improvement is not worthy of mention. Articles and books about the Harrow disaster, for instance, routinely describe the LMS coaches as wood framed, but photographic evidence shows that the porthole BSK at the front of the down (Liverpool?) train remained structurally intact. To return to the thread subject; I have a photo, not of my taking, of a Britannia-hauled train which, from memory, is captioned as 'last steam passenger train over Shap' and (memory getting shakier) a Glasgow-Liverpool football excursion. Wish I could find it!
  9. My earlier post regarding the time of changeover of franchisees was in error - the handover is at 01.59 on Sunday morning (not 02.01) meaning that the last LM service to be moving will be the 2254 New St - Northampton arr 2355, and the five 02.00 buses from Euston the first operation of the new franchise. One hopes that LM won't behave like bad losers and are helping the incomer to do such things as meet up with staff beforehand and make sure that details (such as the replacement buses for Crick tunnel closure on Sunday) are handled in the best interests of its staff and customers...
  10. An observation about 'reversing Beeching' - why is the opening of new railways routes considered only in terms of re-opening closed lines (often made much more difficult by a strategically placed supermarkets or by-passes) rather than a new route? Population centres and travel patterns have changed since the Beeching-ed lines were closed, let alone built. I don't think that the nimby objections would be much different between the two situations. Possibly it's looking more to the past than the future. And, after all, new road proposals aren't couched in terms of re-laying disused parts of the Roman street network!
  11. Certainly up to the 1960's - 1980's the great majority of drivers at Northampton and Bletchley (and possibly other depots in the area) were NUR rather than ASLEF. They always worked during an ASLEF strike which suggested some long established principal (or grievance). This sometimes caught out commuters who phoned their bosses to say they couldn't get to work because of the (ASLEF) strike when services were running pretty normally. Not sure whether this has changed subsequently
  12. The Stationmaster's post above suggests ORCATS raiding possibilities by Grand Central and Hull. I am fairly certain in the case of GC and slightly less so in the case of the original Hull Trains entity that they do not subscribe to that principle, so that they do not accept 'any operator' tickets between, say, Doncaster and KX. Conversely it means that they retain/retained all of the revenue on tickets they sold. Certainly Grand Central do not accept 'ATOC' tickets and, originally, Hull did not and I took this as a sign of the determination not to be involved in any agreement which involved reciprocal arrangements. Currently, First Hull do accept ATOC tickets and I take this as an indication the they are now party to revenue-sharing.
  13. I am surprised that no-one has made the point that, until sectorisation, items such as this were conveyed free of charge "OCS"; the choice between sending it free by rail or by road at a cost seems to be not a difficult one. Railfreight from its inception had a great interest in understanding cost causation and soon discovered the scale of costs associated with 'free' movement - for instance, about 2/3rds of the workload of Gloucester New Yard (all the costs of which were inevitably allocated to R/f) was for civil engineers' trains. To add insult to injury, this was mostly prefab track panels and lwr to keep Intercity fast lines tip-top, while freight only lines were having serious problems with condition of track. I recollect seeing a wagon loaded with a Sulzer engine (the clue being the covering sheet carrying that name very clearly) arriving on the ferry though I can't remember the conditions - maybe SBB were more generous.
  14. Interesting. In the 1960's, when I first wondered about the removable panel above the door on 16t mins. I was told that it was to allow elevator loaders to be used - the suggestion being that loading customers' elevators were insufficiently high to clear the sides. This I imagined to refer to agricultural produce as most minerals were loaded mechanically from above. I would like to hear if anyone else recalls this - I'm not sure that there was a great deal of manual loading in London; and why, if there was, it was ok just to load the centre of the wagon
  15. I'm a bit late to this thread, I know; but does anyone remember "Freight Connection '92" held at the NEC in the optimistic days of RfD? To draw attention to the impending opening of the Channel Tunnel three RfD 90s were painted in the liveries of mainland European railways, and one (or maybe all 3 - I was there but it is 25 years ago) were brought to the NEC. Comparing the photos of the 90 painted in DB livery then with how it is applied currently shows an amazing similarity; maybe DB just dusted off the old paperwork. Or maybe it was an omen we failed to spot...
  16. May I point out a source of square-on photos of s/b plates? If you go to the web sites of any of the railwayana auctioneers (Great Central, Great Northern, Great Western, Talisman, Crewe etc.) their catalogues will illustrate ones that are or were for sale - they usually have archive records of past auctions, and, in some cases, identify the appropriate lots. As has already been said, the s/b was looked at so often in spotting days (particularly loco coming the other way) that small differences became noticeable. Although in my days all the LM ones with heavily seriffed LMS style numbers had been replaced, there were broadly two styles; one the standard Gill and another, on locos o/hld at Derby, of a slightly different style. In the latter, a '2' did not come to a point at the bottom l.h. side but made a right angle and the '3' and '5' had much smaller gaps between the open circle on the right hand side - the overall impression was more rounded. Swindon used larger plates (presumably because of shorter numbers on ex GW locos) but they also used larger plates on the WDs they prepared for service. There was a magazine article somewhere about this; Spring Branch sent the wrong condemned WD to Central Wagon and it had been partly cut up before the mistake was noticed. To 'correct' the situation the painted numbers were altered but when the s/b plate was brought back from Central Wagon for the simple task of swapping over it didn't fit...
  17. Nothing new there. When I was on a mech. eng. degree course in the '60's I remember one response to my proud mother telling another parent that I was studying engineering was 'yes, so's my son' - he was 16 and helping at a motor cycle garage. 'Fitter' used to mean someone who carefully scraped bearings until the marking blue confirmed the perfect fit; now, it's someone who takes a part out of a box and 'fits' it...
  18. Don't forget the Pond murals, mostly white on the Cambridge blue bulkheads - another feature of NSE soon discarded by the successors. In the case of the 321's my recollection was that the seat moquette gave the impression of being purple (which I accept is a mixture of red and blue) despite the description of 'Blue Blaize'. The driver's side seat faced backwards to allow a passenger to actually enter the coupe (smoking) compartment after opening the swing door from the n/smoking - very cramped.
  19. Does this help? I took it at Wellingboro' round about 1966. Quick scan, dusty I know.
  20. Regarding the regional branding mentioned previously; in the 'British Railways' section of the R.O., December 1949 there was the following statement, presumably from an official document, "......and B-prefix for ex M.O.T. and new wagons. In this last case, goods brake vans, loco. coal wagons, service wagons and certain special types are to have the name of the allocated Region painted in full. This also includes new standard containers, which are to have B suffixed, and the usual type-letters pre-fixed, "British Railways" and the name of the Region. Not saying anyone took any notice, though.....,
  21. But the grannies will find one big advantage with the HST; there will be somewhere to put those cases when they get on board....
  22. There's a good example near my home - though not involving a bus stop. When the Northampton-Blisworth line (alternative route to Euston; resignalled and work started on electrification as part of the LM modernisation but then closed) was open, there was a foot crossing W of the M1. To cross the line, you went through a 'kissing gate' looked up and down and crossed if no train was coming. The alignment was used to re-align the A43; it's now a dual carriage at the National speed limit. Presumably because the footpath was a right-of-way the highways people have coped with this by putting up a red triangle sign with "Pedestrians Crossing" each side of the site; but. nothing else. I don't think it's ever possible to cross safely but you mustn't delay road traffic with pedestrians. Meanwhile, not far away, two (lightly used) foot crossings across the WCML (near Blisworth) were replaced by footbridges (cost £3/4m each, it's said). Different standards.
  23. Looking back at photos I took in the late '60s of diesel shunters I was reminded that I was puzzled at the time by the significance of the colour of the buffer beam. From around the time that the blue livery was introduced the bufferbeam was often painted yellow at repaint - even on locos that retained green through a works visit with a "TU&V". However, this was not universal and I recorded black and red on blue locos. I'm still puzzled after all these years- was it just the whim of the works concerned? This seems unlikely bearing in mind that, at the time, the Corporate Image Manual laid down standards into tiny details that had to be obeyed.. And then there's coupling rod colour.... Haven't posted any photos because words describe well, but will do so if the interest is there...
  24. Yes, that's a fair point - and to an extent it was the basis of my earlier question asking why non-tilting trains were restricted to 110. The whole WCML speed/tilting arrangements never seem to have been laid down in any enthusiast publication AFAIK. For instance. my journey on Saturday was a return one, and train back was being checked by the train in front and running at about 100-110 so I didn't take much notice thinking tilt only worked at speeds over 110. If, as you say, tilt works at speeds as low as 75 (and I don't doubt that) there seems to be a logical flaw in that this IS a speed at which non-tilting trains run without any apparent discomfort. And there's another sophistry - between Wolverhampton and Stafford non tilting 221s can do 125 but tilting ones are limited to 110. The dis-benefit, in my opinion, of tilting trains is the reduced internal width - Voyager c.f. Meridian which makes the former seem more cramped. In the words of Johnny Nash, "The more I find out, the less I know"..
  25. With regard to providing better connectional opportunities; the up Scottish trains that go via Birmingham arrive at Crewe at xx 57 and the up Chester/North Wales trains leave at xx 55 (you can often catch a passing glimpse there); a little tweak (I know easier said than done) would provide an earlier arrival time (nearly an hour) at both Milton Keynes and Euston. It works Northbound (Chester trains arr xx49, Scotland via Birmingham dept. xx 09).
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