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  1. Possibly, but referring to Tourret's work on petroleum tank wagons, two-starred wagons did not appear until 1957 with the production of the 35T GLW tank wagons by Charles Roberts and others. On that basis, three-starred wagons cannot have been any earlier. Except, that whilst looking further into Tourret's book for a different reason, I found a three-axle 20T oil tank wagon, built for Corn Products Co. in 1937 with....three stars, and an LMS 3-star plate.
  2. Interesting, but there appear, from the published photographs that have appeared to have been vastly more that carried no discernible stars at all. That includes a photograph of a brand new 4-wheel tank for the LMS/United Dairies and a very similar 4-wheeled tank wagon for McEwans, the Edinburgh brewers.
  3. They are sufficiently rare that I had only seen one example of a milk tank wagon carrying three stars. Now I have seen two, but that's it. All the other photographs I have of milk tank wagons show no stars at all, and as far as GW examples go, not even when they were new.
  4. The 'fast traffic' stars only ever applied to tank wagons, which didn't include milk tanks, which were classified as NPCS. Tank wagons that were starred, carried it as both a painted symbol and as a cast plate on the solebar. For wagons with two (or three) stars, the plate carried the two (or three) stars as a single plate. Fast traffic stars were always 6-pointed, whereas the painted star symbol used to identify the brake release cords was five pointed.
  5. By which time virtually all tank wagons were fitted with vacuum or air brakes and good for 60mph, thus qualifying for two stars, which many of the 45T and 100T tanks carried.
  6. The star markings and their number had nothing to do with the contents, but the speeds at which they could be run, and therefore which classes of train they could be run in. The (single) star marking dates back to 1913, when the RCH and the railways agreed that wagons built to the latest standards, which included oil axleboxes, could, once their bearings had been run in, be allowed to travel in fast goods trains averaging 35mph and not more than 40 miles between stops. Two stars came along much later, with the advent of modern tank wagons equipped with roller bearings and power ope
  7. From Parkin's history of the Mersey Railway, the southbound carriage(s) was(were) at Reading GW at 13:24, departing at 13:26. Northbound, the times were 00:43a, 01:10d, however the exact year is not given, other than being between 1898 and 1903. Jim
  8. In terms of what is on the large scale OS maps, the 'modern' double track connection was put in between the 1900 and 1912 surveys. What is known is that in 1898 the GWR built two pairs of slip carriages specifically for the Liverpool - Folkestone service and that these were transferred from the GWR to the SECR at Reading. Quite how is not clear, as the transfer time at Reading in the southbound direction was 2 minutes, but 27 minutes in the northbound direction. The inference is that, southbound, they were slipped at Reading GWR, and attached to an SECR train that started from Reading GW. The
  9. Since the rollers that these wagons carried were for the maintenance of the company's roads, the likelihood is that they never worked very far away from stations, in which case any living/workshop accommodation is more likely to have been a four wheel carriage demoted into engineer's service and converted appropriately. The only roads outside of station areas for which the railway could have had responsibility would have been any overbridges built to carry existing roads over the line when it was built and i would suggest that whilst the GW would have retained responsibility for the masonry, t
  10. Yes, it is rather odd, but not implausible. Interestingly, the Running Powers section of the 1914 RCH Diagrams book gives the following for the LSWR, in addition to the blanket Wokingham Junction to Reading Station power, Reading, SE&C Junc. with L&SW - SE&C Junc. with Reading Line. I'm not certain how to interpret that, but the pertinent point is the reference to a junction with the L&SW.
  11. The British, it would seem, were besotted about tramway electrification not harming the horses with which they shared the streets. I'm not certain precisely where the relevant statute lies, but it was illegal to string bare wires carrying more than, originally, 550V DC above the street. These days, 750V is allowed, but no more. It is one reason why any thoughts of street running in the original Tyne & Wear Metro schemes were abandoned, and there were, in its early days, thoughts about Manchester Metrolink using 1500V off street and 750V on street, with the trams designed to operate off eit
  12. At the voltages with which we are concerned, the thickness of the insulation is usually determined more by mechanical considerations, ie robustness, than it is by its electrical properties. In the beginnng, only the Yerkes lines* and the Great Northern & City Railway used four rail electrification. The Central London, Waterloo & City and City & South London railways all used 3rd rail only. The CLR and the W&CR were conventional, but the C&SL electrification was actually a three-wire 1100V system - +550 / 0 / -550 - with the north- and southbound running lines being
  13. I have a reference (Electric Traction by J G Haut, Vol 2) that the Southern didn't start increasing the voltage to 750V until after World War 2, and my 1954 edition of Dover's Electric Traction refers only to 650V in connection with the Southern Region. That would suggest that 750V did not arrive until the 1956 Kent Coast electrification. Jim
  14. The greatest complication can come from the incompatibility of an earthed AC system and the floating DC system. Connecting the running rails on DC tracks to Earth at the wrong place can result in alarmingly large currents flowing. Although the running rail to earth voltages are relatively low, the impedances involved are small. They could, and sometimes did, but the instruction from Southern Trains was that the changeover must be done whilst stationary. In any case, NR, if not also Railtrack, had a thing about not raising pantographs on the move for a long time until
  15. This is true, but the example I was thinking of was the interface between the lines of the ex-Wirral Railway and those of the Mersey Railway. The latter was electrified using 4th rail return (probably wise in view of the wet nature of the tunnels under the Mersey), whilst the LMS, when it electrified the Wirral Lines in 1938, opted for running rail return. The LMS 1938 stock was fitted with negative shoes and changeover switches. One aspect of the LU/BR change points was the need, until the disappearance of the Q and CO/CP stocks, which had through bus lines, was the need for switc
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