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    Retired P-Way Engineer.

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  1. Don't worry about it most engineers carry such a disbelief field about them that no such phenomena can survive contact. It is a bit like the comment in Peter Pan that a Fairy dies if a child says that they do not believe in them, with Engineers we just have to walk into the same area to exterminate everything. Spiritual 2-4-5 T are us.
  2. If you did want to bomb a railway following the flashes as the shoes ran on and off the con rail ramps by coming up from behind a train so you were flying along the line would probably increase your chances of a hit by quite a bit compared to trying to hit the line as you flew across it. If however the risk is very low that might explain why such boards are only on one line. Someone on the LMSR got enthusiastic about it and his SR equivalent was not impressed with the idea. Although I suppose night attacks may have got more likely the further north the target was, as the German escort fighters had only a limited range. So the daytime risk to the German bomber crews increased almost exponentially as they went further north, and their escorts left them to be replaced by squadrons of more northerly based Spitfires.
  3. Even if the boards were later kept as an energy saving measure, would they have needed to be moved or replaced when the new fangled 501 stock was introduced? I suspect that they have been obsolete for a long while as they are quite robust yet only a few are left. Was cab riding on the DC years ago with a young driver being instructed by a more senior man. The young driver seemed to rather like the fact that the senior driver had not even noticed the signs before let alone knowing what they were for.
  4. As the signs would have gone out of use in 1945 would an 1939 or early 1940's LMSR publication perhaps be a better bet?
  5. Ballast from different quarries came in different colours, particularly when dusty. Nuneaton ballast had a pink hue, Loughborough was brown, that place in North Wales I can not be bothered to look up the spelling of tended to be cleaner more flaky and of a blueish colour. We also sometimes got ballast with a greenish dust attached but I am not sure where that came from, possibly Meldon.
  6. Surely it is a railway tradition to name things what they are not. Like the way SHC rail clips are often stamped BJB so those new to the P-Way will not confuse them with BJB rail clips. As it is obvious to even the meanest intelligence that having BJB stamped on BJB clips would just be too confusing, as those reading it would spend most of the rest of their shift wondering what the catch was.
  7. An LNWR glass 4th rail pot these are quite rare as the glass explodes quite interestingly if you drop them on a hard surface.
  8. The P-Way were still using LNWR/LMS diagrams on how to set up the con rail up until Railtrack came on the scene and mandated BR SR type standards presumably not even knowing that the LNWR ones were still in use on the DC. Although some parts were getting hard to find, for example for some obscure reason no one made pots to fit the LNWR 1914 vintage 105lb conductor rail which had a narrower foot than all the modern sections. So we had a company in Newport Pagnell who did metal bashing for Aston Martin, make us some top packs that included a set of ears that shimmed the gap between the sides of the rail and the ears on the standard pots. Who said that the DC line was not posh. We also had to use London Transport 317P21 pots under the fourth rail as none of the BR standard sizes were short enough. However the LT pots seemed to be a slightly different size to BR ones, so you had to remember not to do the screws holding down the pot ring clips too tightly or the pot would break. Amazing how much know how is needed just to put a bit of elderly steel on a few pots. Impedance bonds were always referred to as spiders by the LMR PW, they were often to be found living between two glued joints just out side tunnels.
  9. It is an ARP (Air Raid Precautions) coasting board warning DC line drivers of yore to start coasting into the next station (in this case the station at & ) from that point, the idea being that if you stop drawing power arcing from the hot shoes will be eliminated, and you will then not attract any passing German bombers to the railway. As for the old running rail standing in for the 4th rail that is quite a story. Back in the 1980's one of my colleagues on the PW maintenance side looked at the derelict 4th rail and decided that the railway would be a better place without it, so he arranged to lift and scrap about a mile of it running north from Carpenders Park. The electrical people were not impressed when they found out and demanded that it be replaced, so old CWR removed from Kilsby Tunnel if I remember rightly was dropped instead and mounted on old Mills clip baseplates to keep it in line. About fifteen or twenty years go by and I am looking at relaying part of this section, and like my colleague feel that we would do well to get rid of the fourth rail. So being aware of what had transpired in the past I emailed my electrical equivalent and asked for permission to remove it. I got a reply saying no as it is a vital part of the electrical return path, and they can not do without it. I reply saying fair enough but I had thought it had been worth asking if it was still required is it was now twenty years since the rail had been dropped and it was still not bonded it into the return circuit. A few days later when I returned to the site there were loads of nice new bonds between the traction return rail and the 4th rail CWR.
  10. Found this on my hard drive while looking for something else. Is anyone else sad enough to know why this sign only needed to be obeyed in the dark?
  11. I worked on reballasting some track at Kew once where due to a sewer that overflowed every time the tide came in on the Thames, you could hardly see the rails for tomato plants. The dozer leveling the bottom of the dig was pushing a foot high bow wave of raw sewage along the track bed. Just as well it was back in near BR days as I suspect that todays staff would not be quite so accepting of such working conditions. One of the relay gangers at the site meeting was digging tomato plants out of the track with his bare hands, to take home for his garden.
  12. I think that one of the uses/functions of that loop was turning Garratt locos, as well as allowing locos running to and from the recess sidings etc to cross the mainline to Cricklewood shed without conflicting with the through traffic.
  13. At the time I was told that someone driving by heard a loud bang looked in his rear view mirror and saw a locomotive apparently fall out of the sky and into the roadway behind him. He was probably thinking that is not something you see every day when the second one landed.
  14. By the time you had built a new line to bypass sharing the old Met tracks into London, a connection into Brum from somewhere south of Rugby and opened up all the tunnels and bridges to a suitable loading gauge what would the likely saving be? Probably very little and you would end up with a slower lower capacity line.
  15. Buy four get one free would have reasonably fair, with the people only rich enough to buy 1, 2 or 3 making up for the slight difference between 4.8 and 5 for 2p. But no those evil capitalist shop keepers decided to gouge that segment of the population with the least money to start with. :-) I think that it would make little difference in real life as the value of copper coins is now so low that they are almost irrelevant, so most of the time you would never notice the difference between 20 shillings to the pound and 20 5p coins to the pound. Interesting as I had heard that Australia was a good place to visit.
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