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About Trog

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    In Retirement.
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    Retired P-Way Engineer.
  1. I would strongly expect that terms also changed from place to place and between companies. As a lot of PW components have different names depending on where they are even today. Bed = crib Pad = mat Nylon = biscuit = and in the case of one supervisor I knew from Norwich carrot. (They were often orange in colour) Longitudinal Timber = Wheel timber. S&C = P&C (Switches and crossings / points and crossings) etc.
  2. Presumably less effort than writing "Brake Van coal also available for P-Way use if you need a nice fire while shooting a speed etc." on the wagon."
  3. Because the timetable is written with gaps in it to fit, so if a train is due to stop at a station where the following train does not the following train will be timetabled later than it would have needed to be without the stop, so reducing capacity. As there will then only be two trains in a period of time where perhaps three trains with the same stopping pattern could have run. No doubt a great deal of thought goes into the pattern of stops so that the trains maintain separation, so that the 'wasted' path is used as much as possible. Also the fact that freight does a constant 75MPH while the passenger units do 100MPH with stops helps keep them at a similar average speed. So a passenger train may be just about catch a freight at the point where it slows for a station stop, with the freight train then making enough distance during the stop so that the same thing can happen before the passenger trains next stop.
  4. As a girl before WW1 my Grandmother used to come home from school make sandwiches and take them to her father at Bourne End signal box towards the south end of the WCML, sitting on the box steps to eat her own. When I asked her about this she said that she thought that the engines were black, but that she had not taken much notice.
  5. According to Andrew Dow in The railway British track since 1804 Page 377 Note 47. The flash-butt welding machines were purchased in 1955. I would assume that there was then an experimental stage with test lengths being laid and experience gained. Until say 1960 when they were sure what worked and that CWR was the best thing since sliced rail. Then once it was decided what they were going for handbook 11 could be written, checked and agreed for issue in 1962. That might also fit with the figure of 117 miles in 1958, buy the machines in 1955, in service 1956 and start cautiously installing test lengths, with more and longer ones installed as the earlier ones proved serviceable.
  6. Before I retired I was told that on parts of the south end of the WCML even the heavy CEN60 rail was reaching its design fatigue life in under ten years. This is the point after which rail defects start to become much more common, and you have to start cutting out and replacing them with sections of new rail at a faster rate. Or bite the bullet and renew the whole of that section of rail. A programme to change rail on a ten year cycle would mean changing something like thirty two miles of rail a year on the fast/old lines alone between Euston and Rugby.
  7. Hansard reports the words of MP's so probably a lie. Given that BR set up four depots to flash-butt weld CWR in 1955, after various experiments dating back to the late 1930's with increasing lengths of welded rail. The London Underground apparently was an early user of CWR, with a train designed to carry 300' rails being put into service during WW2.
  8. Has been closed since July which is interesting as I believe the council only have the legal power to allow the temporary closure of a footpath for six months. When the first notice expired at the end of January a replacement starting in February was put up in its place. Not hugely important as there is an alternative route only yards away, but the ignoring of the publics right to use the path by those who's duty it is to protect those rights grates.
  9. I was told but never saw for myself that there were buffer stops at Warwick Road? sidings on the West London Line that showed signs of conversion from Broad Gauge still in situ in the 1980's.
  10. I do remember seeing some rather worn 105lb LNWR section conductor rail welded to 150lb, whoever had done it had made up the difference in height by welding a pile of top packs to the under side of the 105lb rail, before welding the whole thing to the end of the 150lb rail.
  11. There is a specialist plant almost designed to be used to prevent the erosion of embankment and cutting sides, that does not draw too much water, provide cover to burrowing animals, cause wind drag, shed leaves or block the line when it dies and falls over it is known on the railway as grass. Trees are a menace and should be removed from all railway earthworks.
  12. In my personal experience I always felt safer working on a busy line like the WCML as with the trains following each other virtually on the signals you always knew where they were. In that once you could not hear the last train to go past anymore it was time to ramp up your alertness from looking up every five seconds, to watching for trains between downward glances, ready to stand out for the next. A fast line with thinner traffic gives more of a possibility of getting too involved in what you are doing and being surprised. To the extent that lines with lighter traffic such as the TV and GWML really gave me the creeps, as I always felt that there was something wrong. As for not worrying about road users as caradoc suggests, unless their lives are worth less than ours it should at least be considered, although it would probably be hard to prove and I suspect negligible for any single added safety precaution. But I feel that by the time I retired the safety regime generally had gone past the sweet spot of balance between risk and cost, and that money was being spent on over the top safety precautions, that would have given more public benefit if it had been spent on improving the railway generally or even perhaps on something else like the NHS.
  13. Remember that the bare figures do not really compare like with like, as there were a lot more men working on the track in those days, and that a lot more work got done for each pound spent. How much of the GWML electrifications problems are down to the delays and expense of the modern safety culture. While accidents at work are greatly to be regretted, remember that anything that pushes up costs and delays or stops improvement projects is going to move people and freight off the railway and onto the roads. The law of diminishing returns applies here, and each additional safety precaution is likely to cost more for less and less result. We have to be careful that in saving one staff members life we do not kill several people priced off the railway and onto the roads.
  14. On the Midland Suburban electrification in the early 1980's I saw the ladders removed to allow trains to pass and the men who had been using them left up in the wires.
  15. It is possible to work on the middle lines of the WCML with the outside lines open at line speed, we used to do it all the time in the 1980's, to do re-railing mid-week days. This included re-railing the 6' rails adjacent to the open lines, the welders would set up the Thermit welds wait for a train to go by, have a quick look to double check the moulds were undisturbed and drop the weld. That gave the weld a couple of minutes for the metal to solidify before the next train came through. We usually had both middle lines blocked if working in the middle, but would have been able to work on just one if we had wanted to. When working on the three track section of the TV line in the 1990's we usually got a Saturday night and Sunday block followed by a Sunday night block, having to hand the line back at 20MPH between. We eventually persuaded the operating that using the 75MPH US was better for them than the UF with a 20MPH TSR, on the basis that if we could just leave an UF site blocked rather than having to do extra work to open it at 20 MPH for a few hours. We could either do more work or open the line at a higher speed on Monday morning. The operating not being willing to grant a continuous block of the UF for us to work in, as they were not keen to have us working on a single blocked line between lines open at line speed. Needless to say being the P-Way we lied saying that we agreed with them, then just kept working on the middle line throughout the period that the outside lines were open. The big difference between then and now is not the constraints of the engineering, but health and safety who always know better than those doing the work what is safe, and that more is done by machine these days. The size of the machines, and their lack of flexibility in how they work making them harder to work with next to an open line than a gang of men.
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