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  1. Hello Gordon Though the L-R book on trains marchandises was a bit vague about when fourgons freins stopped being used (and there was -surprisingly- no chapter on them. It does seem that they continued on local goods trains till the end of steam which of course came later to the CFTA than SNCF. That makes sense as the cab of a steam loco was no place for the guard . There is a side on photo in the Cabri book on the 140C of a double-headed, so presumably quite long, goods train in the Verdun area in 1971 and that does have a standard SNCF fourgon M complete with the customary guard leaning on the rail in the open sliding door of the (empty) cargo section. What I can't figure is where the chef de train/guard was accomodated in block or triage-triage trains when they were steam hauled and didn't include a fourgon but, as you say, there are images of such trains.
  2. It was certainly a good plan for Minories as a city commuter terminus on the basis that one suburban train with a tank loco on the front is very much the same as another suburban train with a tank loco on the front. The CF de l'Est even designed a Prairie tank specially for their line from Bastille just to ensure that very few railway enthusiasts would bother with a line where all the trains looked exactly the same. CJF may have been influenced on that by the Maybank: possibly the first terminus to fiddle yard layout and certainly the first based on a double track (secondary) main line. It originally used a motorised four road traverser (possibly a sector plate) but, by its final showing at the MRC Easter show (it didn't survive the Blitz) which may well have been when he saw and was fascinated by it. it used a balloon loop instead or possinly as well.
  3. I shouldn't worry. After 94 pages we've all gone well beyond simply discussing CJF's pure plan. I've been wondering about the need to shunt into a traverser type fiddle yard as well. One answer is the slight cheat that Gavin Thrumm used for his early post grouping Great Moor Street. (which with fidddle yard is on 3 x 3ft 6in long baseboards) https://thrumlington.blogspot.com/2015/06/great-moor-street-minories.html I'm quite tempted by his arrangement even though it involves a bit of cheating about up and down but if you then have to shift cassettes or shove a traverser back and forth before handling the next train the sense of operating a station is probably a bit lost anyway. For a home layout I'm becoming less sure about the idea of a "fiddle yard" as opposed to a set of storage sidings. John Charman's ended up underneath Charford station so he clearly wasn't lifting stock on and off during sessions but rather was setting up the trains for the the day's timetable before starting. That's intesting because the first version of Charford had a complete shunting yard complete with run round "off-stage" so he obviously developed his operating pattern over time. My current "fiddle yard" has just two roads with a single set of points but I'm wondering about adding a third so I can do much the same even if it cuts the maximum train length a bit.
  4. Ferrovissime (one of Loco-Revue's titles) did a hors-série in 2017 Les Trains de Marchandises sur les Lignes Secondaires which, if you're interested in French goods working is well worth getting (L-R have very efficient mail order) as it says quite a lot about how these trains were worked. It includes plenty of photos of trains and it appears that, even allowing for photographers tending to favour the front end of the train with the loco, the fourgon M (often referred to as the fourgon frein or brake van) does seem to have rather more often been at the front than at the rear though one of them was in the middle (presumably as a result of how thtat particular train was shunted). By the mid 1930s continuous brakes were more or less universal (unlike in Britain) so the need for the fourgon to be in queue - i.e. bringing up the rear- and for trains to carry additional brakemen was disappearing (The raised brakemen's vigies were also not safely compatible with the growing overhead electrification so I should probable remove them from those items of my own stock that have them.) The book does say that, by the 1960s, fourgon freins were still being used on local goods trains but, by then, had disappeared from those running directly between marshalling yards which would not have required inermediate shunting nor the associated "office work" by the chef de train. There are one or two photos of diesel hauled trains with fourgons but, by and large, they seemed to largely disappear with the end of steam, possibly because the guard could now travel in the cab and the sundries traffic typically carried in the fourgon M's 3t cargo space (though it was sometimes enough for a separate ordinary van) was rapidly declining even though pick-up goods trains lasted a lot longer in France than in Britain. A lot of the later SNCF 'standard' fourgon Ms (and some of the earlier pre SNCF ones) did of course end up as 'departmental' stock like the one in Stephan's post. One thing I did notice in the photos was how clean and freshly painted many of the fourgons looked compared with the rest of the wagons in the train. That may have been a result of their change of livery from dull brown to red.
  5. That's pretty much how John Charman worked Charford in its first extension. Whitchurch Halt, where there was also a kickback private siding to a mineral depot with a run round, was in fron of the fiddle yard and supposedly on a GWR line from Charford to Bridport. All that used the line were short mineral trains to and from the depot and an auto-train which in reality stopped at Whichurch and was only imagined to go on under the bridge to Bridport. Both were operated by the same GWR 0-6-0PT but, in the end, he closed the line beyond Whitchurch and transferred what remained to the SR who just operated short mineral trains. I think it really was there just to hide the fiddle yard. I think what seemed odd to me about the earlier arrangement was a main terminus with has no goods facilities but directly serving a twig that does. I suppose we can imagine the main good facilities (and MPD) being up the line from the main terminus and Harelquin's latest iteration with an extra road alongside that serving platform 3 does seem more credible. I think you'd still be having to use the third platform for departing goods trains but that's probably getawable with.
  6. Hi Kevin When brakes were operated by hand, usually by several brakemen distributed the length of the train, they had vigies (shelters) with a screw brake on a proportion of wagons so, though the last (or almost last) wagon was supposed to have a manned screw brake that didn't necessarily mean that the Fourgon M was at the rear of the train. According to several articles in RMF and Loco-Revue, often accompanying reviews of models of them, in the post-war era they were generally placed either at the front or the back of the train but that was more to facilitate shunting and a TOM (Train Omnibus Marchandises, equivalent to a British pick-up goods) might well have a few wagons beyond the Fourgon. The SNCF "standard fourgon M typre 1952 in your drawing, which is from Loco-Revue of May 1961. had three compartments. On the left in the diagram was the crew "foyer" with an inward opening "stable" door on each side, from there was an internal door to the area with the brake handle, tables and chairs, toilet compartment and a coal stove for heating. On the right hand side with an internal door from the "office" and a slding exterior door on each side was the goods compartment able to carry 3 t of packages (colis) or sundries. Earlier fourgons such as the 1931 PO type featured in the December 1986 Loco-Revue had just one internal space for the packages and crew with the conducteur's desk and a raised brake position brake and "observation lantern"in the corner. With the cargo and the crew in the same space and with only the side loading doors for access they could be quite dangerous. I have a copy of the rule book Instruction sur la composition des trains from 1947 and the rules are needless to say fairly complicated. There is no actual mention of a fourgon de queue but there was a requirement for a screw brake at the rear of the train in one of the last four wagons on gradients up to 1.6 %, the last two for steeper gradients up to 2.5% (1 in 40) and on the last vehicle for anything steeper. Where passengers were carried (as in mixed trains "MV" which in France were classified as goods trains) the handbrake had to be in the last passenger vehicle or behind it. The conducteur was responsible for ensuring that the brake was manned by an agent but that didn't apply to trains up to 20 "vehicle units"* , provided the continuous brake was working on the vehicle with the hand brake or on one of those behind it. In that case the handbrake could be left unmanned so the fourgon could be elsewhere in the train. Given that in later years- till they disappeared entirely- the fourgon M seems to have often been at the front of far longer trains, like probably the one in the photo linked to by Gordon, this rule must have been relaxed. On passenger trains the fourgons normally were at the front and, with wooden bodied stock, there had to be one (or a fourgon compartment or 3 locked passenger compartments) between the locomotive and any passengers (which included TPO staff but not drovers, wranglers or the Postal agent (facteur) accompanying mail that wasn't being sorted en route . Did I mention that the Reglement Général de Sécurité was complicated? They did tend to look like they were written by lawyers for use in the court case after an incident rather than by cheminots. * Ordinary (Petit Vitesse) fixed axle goods wagon or fourgon 1 unit, fast (Grand Vitesse) goods wagon or fourgon 1.5 units, bogie goods wagon or fixed axle coach 2 units, bogie coach 3 units. 80 vehicle units was the maximum length for goods trains unless they were running from gares (stations or marshalling yards) able to measure that they weren't exceeding the then maximum length of 750m (loco included) for goods trains.
  7. A reversing terminus does have a lot going for it in terms of play value operational interest particularly if you're modelling the era of through carriages and the secondary line is still important enough to warrant them. It's not entirely ripe Camembert (more malodorous cheeses are available) as there are and were a number of prototypes. In Britain the obvious example was Fort William where the trains going on to Mallaig lost their sleepers and diners and sometimes gained a tail load or even an observation carriage (and vice-versa) all in a terminus with just two points (Inglenook Sidings writ large), The north coast of Scotland went one better with Thurso still a reversing terminus for Wick and Wick once a reversing terminus for the Lybster light railway. There were other examples elsewhere, notably Deauville-Trouville with a kickback line to Dives-Cabourg that used to have through carriages from the fashionable Paris-Deauville expresses. I've got the timetable articles for Berrow and, even though too small for through carriages, it's clear how much extra East Brent provided in terms of operation as well as hiding the fiddle yard. "If the layout is going to be left set up in a shared family room such as the lounge it should look attractive. A set of bare storage sidings, with the best will in the world, is unlikely to achieve that" (Mac Pyrke RM Sept 1958)* The late Andy Hart's H0 Achaux had a secondary electrified line coming into the rear platform which added a whole lot of carriage bashing as well as allowing him to use some electric locos without having to add overhead knitting to the whole station. In that case both the double track main line and the secondary single track line went to the fiddle yard. Unfortunately I never did operate Achaux as my interests at the time were purely NG but probably my favourite exhibition layout to operate has been Giles Barnabe's O-16.5 Puerto Paseo. In that case, the "twig" went to the docks (just a siding or two in the fiddle yard) but it added enormously to the operational potential and I could happily operate the layout at exhibitions for several hours without wanting to chew my own foot off (The median time to foot chew is my personal measure of exhibition operability!) * I currently have my own terminus-fiddle yard up for operation in my "studio" room. I've put up the low screen I use to hide the FY for exhibitions and it's remarkable how much more enjoyable that makes things as the trains appear from and disappear to the coulisse (the French modellers' word for a fiddle yard taken from the theatre where it means "backstage")
  8. From Russia With Love was about the only modern film/TV that depicted the Orient Express as it really was in any era, rather than as a luxury "land cruise" train with piano bar, club car etc. Apart from a couple of colour-reversed - to make the carriages green- British stock shots the railway scenes were all shot in Turkey starting with Sirkeci Gari in Istanbul so rolling stock and loco were authentic (except that a Turkish loco wouldn't have still been hauling the train in Jugoslavia at Zagreb- also shot at Sirkeci- and the level crossing where Bond and Romanova get off- actually at Yarimburgaz station in NW (European) Turkey) Sirkeci itself is a magnificent station that I visited (and had tea in the equally magnificent refreshment room) while doing some work in Istanbul in the late 1990s. At that time it had I think just one international train, to Bulgaria, each day using its mainline platform. The surface station has been closed for some years since the rail crossing under the Bosphorous to Asia was built but TCDD are planning to reopen it along with the 8km line linking it to the rest of the network. As a prototype it had a lot going for it as a very simply mainline terminus but with magnificent buildings and of course the Orient Express and a train ferry to take wagons across the Bosphorus to Asia.
  9. Thanks everyone. This is information I needed to check for an article I've been sent and it does appear that they were being used at least ten years earlier than I'd thought. They got their name of Buckeyes from the Buckeye Steel Castings company of Columbus Ohio who specialised in casting couplings and I've often wondered whether the 3/4 size supplied was based on that supplied for 3ft gauge railroads in the USA.
  10. Does anyone know when Buckeye (AAR but likely MCB then ) couplers were first introduced into Britain. I'm pretty sure it was the LNER ,possibly followed by the SR, that started using them for express passenger coaches and later on some locos (to pull said coaches) but I've not been able to find out exactly when. Was it during the 1920s or the 1930s and how far behind were the SR or anyone else? I don't think any of the pre-grouping companies used them but that could be wrong. Many thanks for any verified facts.
  11. Not such a farcical theory. My most distinguished friend (MBE & OBE) used to be the director of a children's charity and, when he was Mayor of London, they invited him to speak at a fund raising dinner. He eventually turned up - late - turned to my friend and asked her what the charity was. He then cobbled together a more or less incoherent speech. I wonder if this was another example of "the cat was sick on my homework". Remember also how many Cabinet Office Meeting Room A meetings he couldn't be bothered to attend when the pandemic was kicking off and how much higher our per capita death toll was compared with most other countries.
  12. Somebody (I can't remember who) put it rather nicely. Some people are born three goals up then think they deserve to be privileged because it was they who scored a hat trick.
  13. Thanks to both of you. I don't (yet) use Templot for actual track planning but have found it very useful as an analysis tool and now I know how close CLM and RAM (and hence simple tg. definitions of crossing angles) are that should make something I'm currently looking at a lot easier. I did try to measure the relative angles by rotating images in PSP but, though it does that to two decimal places, found it hard to get an accurate result from the heel end of a turnout. Ditto trying to measure them directly with a small plastic protractor but, like a dolt, I'd forgotten that I have a far better navigational protactor in my flight bag. With that I found that both the PecoWay and Streamline turnouts were indeed 12 degrees and the SMP Scaleway seems to be 10 degrees. All three were offered as 3ft radius points.
  14. Hi Harlequin What graphics package are you using? I have PSP and that doesn't measure line angles (or if it does I've not found it yet) and that would be useful.
  15. Thanks Martin, (though, even more traditionally, most modellers in Britain seem to have used radii rather than crossing angles) I've measured for myself a scan of three nominally three foot radius points. The Streamline medium and a fairly ancient Pecoway examples (with apparently identical geometry) did indeed come out as 12 degrees. The SMP scaleway example is 10 degrees. Slightly curiously, the lead of the SMP turnout is, despite the shallower crossing angle, a bit shorter than the two from Peco. BTW I don't know about practice in the rest of continental Europe but SNCF expresses its crossing angles as tangents (tan 0.13, tan 0.10 etc.) though some of the former companies used degrees. I've been trying to equate these with UK/US crossing/frog numbers hence my interest in any significant difference between RAM and CLM (as I now know they're called.
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