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  1. The issues with their ride would have been a consequence of the bogie and suspension design, not the design of the underframe. As it is, I have a strong suspicion that the bodies, which were all steel, were substantially integral with the bodies, in which case they could not have simply been changed. Doing something about the bogies was probably feasible, but uneconomic. Jim
  2. The entire underframe on the BR vans was full of concrete from one end to the other, although there may have been a bit extra at the ends. The same is true of most other railway's goods brake vans, although frequently the added weight was in the form of iron scrap and swarf from machining. I have seen it said that the riding qualities of the Southern Railway vans were not exactly ideal at higher speeds (hence the birth of their bogie brake vans). Something else to bear in mind is that the mechanics of what made rolling stock ride well were only barely understood back then, even more so when th
  3. I believe one of their redeeming features for such use was the size of the verandahs - you could stow quite a lot of equipment there in without it getting in the way. The same was also true for the ex-GW vans. Jim
  4. It appears to be a standard BR 20T brake. It isn't an SR 25T van, nor any of the SECR pattern vans, nor can it be any of the LMS or GW types, not least as it has end platforms. Jim
  5. Referring to Volume 4 of An Illustrated History of Southern Wagons, the clue lies in their official Southern Railway designation of 'Bogie goods brake vans, express service'. They were created in the early 1930s specifically to work with the Southern's fast fitted goods trains, for which the standard 4-wheeled vans were not considered suitable, partly due to their riding qualities at high speeds and partly due to the perceived difficulties of fitting vacuum brake equipment to them. Whether any turned up on the Southern's ballast trains from Meldon has to be a moot point. The bogie hopper wagon
  6. It only seems fair to point out that the Royal Scots were designed by North British rather than Derby. Jim
  7. 'improved Taper Boiler Claughton' sounds much more like a working title that the loco drawing office would have used long before the publicity department had come up with the 'posh' title for the class. Jim
  8. The use of two whistles is a relic of the days before passenger trains were required to have a continuous automatic brake, when train braking was in the hands of multiple brakemen spread down the length of the train. The second whistle tone allowed them to distinguish when braking was required from when the loco crew were using "their" whistle for warning and signalling purposes. Many railways used double whistles, but only the Great Western clung onto them long after their need had disappeared. Jim
  9. Strangely, we had the four-step version of the Westcode brake on the 1973 and D78 stock and, from my experience driving test trains, it was a very amenable brake with no particular vices. I suspect the BR version suffered from being limited to only three of the seven available steps, possibly done to limit the number of wires across the coupler to the Southern's standard 27 (even though the 507/508 units had auto-couplers, the 455s reverted to jumpers). Jim
  10. Although back in the late 1980s, when I ran a measuring shoegear over the Central Line, the +/- 1/8" declared tolerance turned out to be wildly inaccurate. Reality was rather more +/- 1.5". Jim
  11. 1.5" higher, if I remember correctly. Sufficient to cause the later types of radial arm shoegear difficulty. Jim
  12. I believe the actual problem was more to do with the ability of the positive shoegear to cope with the higher position of the conductor rail in the original Central London Railway tunnels. Jim
  13. I have a recollection that at one time they were also worked to/from Selhurst for maintenance. Jim
  14. On the whole, steam locomotives do not ride like Rolls-Royces, even on well maintained track, and I don't think I would rate the track on many preserved railways as being that well maintained. Jim
  15. And I believe the London Underground equivalent was the use of air whistles, driven from the signalling air main and operated by the signalman. Jim
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