Jump to content

GWR Banking / Pilot engines operation (Brent)


Recommended Posts

  • RMweb Gold

As seen elsewhere I have been conducting a lot of research recently reviewing old documents in order to put together a timetable for my 1947 Brent layout (and to identify exactly what stock for both locos and coaches are going to be needed.)

 

This has proved very productive, and I know have a list of all scheduled passenger and freight trains (along with the times through Brent) and the formations for passenger workings. While I have yet to see anything regarding any one off workings (Would the super saloons or Ocean Mail vans be back in service for June 47?)

 

The big question, and reason for this post, is the banking operations. Other than knowing the Great Western practice of putting the pilot engine behind the train's engine, and identifying a couple of specific workings from Norman Locket's book showing a second loco. I dont really know much more.

 

So, how do I determine whether a specific service should have a second loco as it passes through Brent. Were there different rules for the treatment of passenger and freight workings.

 

From photos I see that the Newton Abbot Bulldogs seem to be regularly used for this, likewise the NA allocated 72xx. Are there any other classes which were commonly used?

 

Yesterday while suffering the BA delays flying into Terminal 5, I produced a new front page for my Excel timetable file (which sadly cannot be uploaded). The macro uses a sequential list of all workings, displaying the next to pass through the layout (along with the time, direction and if it stops.) It also includes a random selection tool which will randomly pick a suitable loco. This also includes a flag to indicate if it should be double headed, (which of course I am now looking to update.)

Edited by The Fatadder
Link to post
Share on other sites

As seen elsewhere I have been conducting a lot of research recently reviewing old documents in order to put together a timetable for my 1947 Brent layout (and to identify exactly what stock for both locos and coaches are going to be needed.)

 

This has proved very productive, and I know have a list of all scheduled passenger and freight trains (along with the times through Brent) and the formations for passenger workings.  While I have yet to see anything regarding any one off workings (Would the super saloons or Ocean Mail vans be back in service for June 47?)

 

The big question, and reason for this post, is the banking operations.  Other than knowing the Great Western practice of putting the pilot engine behind the train's engine, and identifying a couple of specific workings from Norman Locket's book showing a second loco.  I dont really know much more.

 

So, how do I determine whether a specific service should have a second loco as it passes through Brent.  Were there different rules for the treatment of passenger and freight workings.

 

From photos I see that the Newton Abbot Bulldogs seem to be regularly used for this, likewise the NA allocated 72xx.  Are there any other classes which were commonly used?

 

Yesterday while suffering the BA delays flying into Terminal 5, I produced a new front page for my Excel timetable file (which sadly cannot be uploaded).  The macro uses a sequential list of all workings, displaying the next to pass through the layout (along with the time, direction and if it stops.)  It also includes a random selection tool which will randomly pick a suitable loco.  This also includes a flag to indicate if it should be double headed, (which of course I am now looking to update.)  

 

Fatadder,

 

I can only comment on the mid-thirties.

 

For front assistance, which as you know was the way passenger trains were assisted, the Bulldog was the class commonly used.  I have seen them as both second (as per the regs) and leading locomotive in photographs.  There were many of the class shedded both at Newton and Plymouth and I suspect that the banking duties was the reason for their survival.  Note that Thirties saw the change-over to the Churchward 3,500 gallon tender, with most local locomotives paired with them by 1935.

 

Someone should really produce a resin or 3D print Bulldog body for the Bachmann Earl, as this, too, has the larger tender!

 

Goods trains were assisted from the rear.  In the mid-thirties this was the province of the 3150.  More than one photograph shows them lurking around Totnes goods shed between turns.  There is a superb portrait of one by Norman Lockett in the station.  In an incident reminiscent of Rev. Awdry's Railway Series, the end of a goods train broke away and rolled back into Totnes station where it caught up with and hit the banker on its way back from assisting the train. 

 

I find that calculating the times at which trip goods pass or stop at stations such as Brent and Totnes is very difficult;  the schedules are generous and suggest ample time for (presumably the train engine) to shunt the train.  Whether 3150s took a turn at Totnes (and what shunted the Quay Branch up to the locomotive limit) are interesting questions, to which I lack answers. At Brent and Ivybridge (I think each had a dedicated goods service in the Thirties), I assume the train engine must have done all the shunting.  I wonder what locomotives were used for the trip goods?

 

I don't know how long the 3150s kept going, but would not be surprised if other large Prairie classes (e.g. 5100s?) were used post-war for banking duties, but this is beyond my sphere of interest.

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

1.  Do not be misled by 'model railway experts' saying the GWR always put assistant engines on passenger trains inside the train engine - that is a very misleading representation of a far more complex picture which depended on the size of engine of driving wheels, the engine's wheel arrangement, and whatever sorts of assistant were authorised at particular places.  Gradients were particularly relevant in that generally - and I suspect with only very rare exceptions or only over very short distances - it was not permitted to assist passenger trains from the rear over falling gradients.  Equally there were restrictions on the manner of assisting freights if there were any particular sections of rising gradient which involved a falling gradient.

 

And no doubt as I can't recall where I posted it all previously I shall have to - at some time - post it all again.

 

2.  In normal circumstances trains which regularly required assistance should have a suitable stop in the STT for attaching and detaching the assistant engine although this wouldn't apply when dropping off an engine assisting a  freight in rear where the assistant engine wasn't coupled to the train.

 

2. As already noted the main engines used to assist passenger trains in South Devon at that time were 4-4-0s although 'Manors' were being allocated to the area to replace them in the post-war/early nationalisation period.

 

Another point, although not absolutely relevant for a layout firmly set in a particular year, is that the assistant engine Instructions changed quite considerably over the years.

 

And you can forget the term 'pilot engine' in this context - the correct term, well established by the 1920s let alone the 1940s, was 'assistant engine' although no doubt, as ever, plenty of railwaymen got it wrong and used more ancient terminology or their own version of what they thought was correct (but wasn't).  A pilot engine was a very different, and far far rarer, beast than an assistant engine. 

Edited by The Stationmaster
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Fatadder,

 

I can only comment on the mid-thirties.

 

For front assistance, which as you know was the way passenger trains were assisted, the Bulldog was the class commonly used.  I have seen them as both second (as per the regs) and leading locomotive in photographs.  There were many of the class shedded both at Newton and Plymouth and I suspect that the banking duties was the reason for their survival.  Note that Thirties saw the change-over to the Churchward 3,500 gallon tender, with most local locomotives paired with them by 1935.

 

Someone should really produce a resin or 3D print Bulldog body for the Bachmann Earl, as this, too, has the larger tender!

 

Goods trains were assisted from the rear.  In the mid-thirties this was the province of the 3150.  More than one photograph shows them lurking around Totnes goods shed between turns.  There is a superb portrait of one by Norman Lockett in the station.  In an incident reminiscent of Rev. Awdry's Railway Series, the end of a goods train broke away and rolled back into Totnes station where it caught up with and hit the banker on its way back from assisting the train. 

 

I find that calculating the times at which trip goods pass or stop at stations such as Brent and Totnes is very difficult;  the schedules are generous and suggest ample time for (presumably the train engine) to shunt the train.  Whether 3150s took a turn at Totnes (and what shunted the Quay Branch up to the locomotive limit) are interesting questions, to which I lack answers. At Brent and Ivybridge (I think each had a dedicated goods service in the Thirties), I assume the train engine must have done all the shunting.  I wonder what locomotives were used for the trip goods?

 

I don't know how long the 3150s kept going, but would not be surprised if other large Prairie classes (e.g. 5100s?) were used post-war for banking duties, but this is beyond my sphere of interest.

A couple of illustrations - one at Newton Abbott - with Seagull providing assistance and the other at Ledbury, where the tunnel banker on duty was a 2-8-0T. Dad never seems to have caught any other GW double-headers in the act and the only bankers photographed in action were a Jinty on the S&D and a couple of 94XXs on Lickey.

post-14351-0-21753400-1473313228_thumb.jpg

post-14351-0-97744500-1473313255_thumb.jpg

Edited by phil_sutters
  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

Banking engines from the Plymouth direction dropped off at the top of Hemerdon and so would not have made it to Brent. I am uncertain of the arrangements for banking up Rattery.

 

Certainly I have evidence, photographic and in the form of the report of the runaway train, that rear assisting locomotives ran back down Rattery to Totnes (wrong road in the case of the accident).  Where they detached, I could not say.

 

 

FYI. There is one old picture somewhere in my library of a Duke waiting at Tigley waiting to crossover to the Up line to go back to Totnes.

 

Helpful information regarding an front assisting loco.  It begs the query why the rear assisting loco was still running wrong road when the runaway trucks caught up with it at Totnes station (c.1934, if I recall).

 

 

A couple of illustrations - one at Newton Abbott - with Seagull providing assistance and the other at Ledbury, where the tunnel banker on duty was a 2-8-0T. Dad never seems to have caught any other GW double-headers in the act and the only bankers photographed in action were a Jinty on the S&D and a couple of 94XXs on Lickey.

 

Superb shot of seagull.  I wonder if the 4-4-0s did not hang about at Totnes, but, having assisted on Dainton and Rattery in the Down direction, ran light through Totnes back to Newton.

 

Strange as it may seem, I had not given sufficient thought to this aspect, but Totnes might see a succession of 4-4-0s running Up, light engine and tender first, throughout the day.

 

Rear assisting 3150s seem to have lurked in the goods yard at totnes, but, if waiting for the next customer, what assisted these Down goods trains up Dainton?  I seem to recall reading somewhere that they cam off near Dainton sidings (west portal).  should really have kept better notes!

 

Query whether either Plymouth locos rear assisting Up services of Newton locos assisting the Downs actually ran into Brent, as opposed to coming off either side! 

 

Front assisting locos on the Up services presumably ran through Brent and Totnes in order to assist on the western side of Dainton?  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh dear - looks like I shall be having to spend some time delving out 'the goods' to answer some of these things (not that I can answer all).  The big question is where (i.e. which year) would folk like me to start?

 

Mike, you're a gentleman.  In fairness to the OP, it should be 1947.  For me, though, 1935.

 

Comparing and contrasting the two might be an interesting exercise in itself!

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Mike, you're a gentleman.  In fairness to the OP, it should be 1947.  For me, though, 1935.

 

Comparing and contrasting the two might be an interesting exercise in itself!

 

That is not a bad approach actually as I would have to start from 1936 in any case and take the changes from there to get to 1947 and from what I can remember from the Minute books there would have been no changes between 1935 and 1936 - and I don't think I'll go to the bother of re-checking the minute books because although I've got a complete set of the relevant ones they aren't indexed after 1923 or thereabouts so it means going through the whole lot.  Fortunately most of the changes occurred in BR days!  1921 is no problem either but what I can't necessarily do is date the changes between there and 1935/6.  

 

Incidentally as a  starting point - with a little bit of relevance - the GWR went over to the calculation of passenger, parcels, and fish train loads by tonnage instead of by number of wheels in January 1927 establishing a system which remained in effect into the diesel age.  The important thing about such loads was that they were calculated on the basis of a train being able to keep time in normal running - a principle which has remained although in later (BR) years absolute maximum loads were published on the WR for diesel locos. A relevant principle also made clear in the 1927 Instructions was tHat it was possible to exceed the laid down loads where gradients were favourable 'BUT ON SECTIONS WHERE THERE ARE STEEP RISING GRADIENTS IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO PROVIDE AN ASSISTANT ENGINE'.

 

For illustration as things stood in 1927 a 'Star' or a 'Castle' was allowed 288tons unassisted from Newton Abbot to Rattery or Brent (provided the train had a clear run at Aller Jcn) and 392 tons from Rattery or Brent to Plymouth.  As an interesting comparison the 1963 loads for a 'Castle' was 315 tons unassisted from Newton Abbot to Rattery or Brent and 420 tons from Rattery or Brent to Keyham.   (The reason Keyham replaced Plymouth was a consequence of the arrival of the 'Kings' as it was the furthest west they were permitted.)  Thus at some time between 1927 and 1963 the load permitted for 'Castle', unassisted, was increased by what amounted to approximately one passenger coach. 

Edited by The Stationmaster
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

That is not a bad approach actually as I would have to start from 1936 in any case and take the changes from there to get to 1947 and from what I can remember from the Minute books there would have been no changes between 1935 and 1936 - and I don't think I'll go to the bother of re-checking the minute books because although I've got a complete set of the relevant ones they aren't indexed after 1923 or thereabouts so it means going through the whole lot.  Fortunately most of the changes occurred in BR days!  1921 is no problem either but what I can't necessarily do is date the changes between there and 1935/6.  

 

Incidentally as a  starting point - with a little bit of relevance - the GWR went over to the calculation of passenger, parcels, and fish train loads by tonnage instead of by number of wheels in January 1927 establishing a system which remained in effect into the diesel age.  The important thing about such loads was that they were calculated on the basis of a train being able to keep time in normal running - a principle which has remained although in later (BR) years absolute maximum loads were published on the WR for diesel locos. A relevant principle also made clear in the 1927 Instructions was tHat it was possible to exceed the laid down loads where gradients were favourable 'BUT ON SECTIONS WHERE THERE ARE STEEP RISING GRADIENTS IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO PROVIDE AN ASSISTANT ENGINE'.

 

For illustration as things stood in 1927 a 'Star' or a 'Castle' was allowed 288tons unassisted from Newton Abbot to Rattery or Brent (provided the train had a clear run at Aller Jcn) and 392 tons from Rattery or Brent to Plymouth.  As an interesting comparison the 1963 loads for a 'Castle' was 315 tons unassisted from Newton Abbot to Rattery or Brent and 420 tons from Rattery or Brent to Keyham.   (The reason Keyham replaced Plymouth was a consequence of the arrival of the 'Kings' as it was the furthest west they were permitted.)  Thus at some time between 1927 and 1963 the load permitted for 'Castle', unassisted, was increased by what amounted to approximately one passenger coach. 

 

Good stuff, Mike, and very helpful.  Where do we go to find the weight of a loaded passenger coach?  Are types distinguished, i.e. between 57' and 70' types or to reflect the differing numbers of passengers in different classes of coach?  How do you rate a Full Brake or a siphon? 

 

It would be good to calculate this.  It could then be determined how many trains in the working timetable needed assistance.  Further, if strengthening/additional vehicles were added, we could calculate when a service might need assistance.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Good stuff, Mike, and very helpful.  Where do we go to find the weight of a loaded passenger coach?  Are types distinguished, i.e. between 57' and 70' types or to reflect the differing numbers of passengers in different classes of coach?  How do you rate a Full Brake or a siphon? 

 

It would be good to calculate this.  It could then be determined how many trains in the working timetable needed assistance.  Further, if strengthening/additional vehicles were added, we could calculate when a service might need assistance.  

 

By 1927 the weights of passenger stock were painted on the vehicle ends in 2.5" high figures - which won't help much if you haven't got detailed photos of course.  However on all theofficial photos I have of GWR vehicles there is no trace of the weight on the vehicle ends and they are painted at the left hand end of the solebar (including some in the 'complex' 1920s lining).  Hint - one should always treat some official documents with a degree of discretion ;)

 

Far more useful for the modeller is probably to use the crib sheet for unmarked tonnages of 'foreign' vehicles as follows -

 

10 tons for a  horsebox or carriage truck or 'other such small vehicles'

20 tons for a four or six wheeled passenger carrying vehicle or brakevan

30 tons for an eight wheeled passenger carrying vehicle or brakevan other than 70ft stock

40 tons for a dining car, sleeping car, or passenger carrying vehicle or brakevan

 

Incidentally the only GW 12 wheelers I have photos of weighed in at well over 40 tons, most 8 wheelers seem to be a bit under but I think the above figures are probably 'good enough' and it will take somebody a lot of work to find out the details for every vehicle in order to shoot down a modeller who has happened to have overloaded one of their trains.

 

Allow an additional 1 ton for vans loaded with parcels or an additional 3 tons for vans etc loaded with fish  (Newspapers are not mentioned but I would think at least 3 tons).

 

You might find it amusing but with Mk1 loco hauled stock I always worked on a  'rule of thumb' of around 32-33tons per passenger vehicle when doing quick load calculations in the 1960s/'70s and later and did the same when planning the GW150 train loads.

 

Edited by The Stationmaster
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Flicking through Dad's loco spotting logs - to see if there were any examples of the types of engines used for front assisting and banking trains in Devon  - I found that on 12.9.1962 Kneller Hall was seen at Aller Junction banking a goods up Dainton.

5.5.1956 4179 was on banking duties on Dainton and 4109 on Rattery. 6800 Arlington Grange was assisting an unidentified King on the up Cornish Riviera Express at Laira. While 6957 assisted King Henry VI on the down CRE - seen at Plymouth North Road. Later 6869 Resolven Hall assisted 7031 Cromwell's Castle with the 12noon Penzance to Glasgow. 7905 Fowey Hall (with a flat-topped chimney it is noted!) brought in the up milk and was then assisted by 4956 Plowden Hall.

22.8.1958 at Bittaford 1008 County of Cardigan assisted an unidentified Castle with the 8am Plymouth to Liverpool & Glasgow. 5196 & 4176 were seen at Totnes on banking duties. While 6849 Walton Grange assisted 4079 Pendennis Castle with the 6.25am Penzance to Paddington - seen at North Road. 6938 Corndean Hall & 6997 Bryn-Ivor Hall were spotted there on a down parcels. Having been brought in by 5028 Llantillo Castle, the 7.55am Camborne to Bristol was taken on by 7813 Freshford Manor and 5921 Bingley Hall.

Dad rarely had the opportunity to get further than Exeter on his spotting trips, so this looks like the lot.

 

In relation to loads, The Railway Magazine, of which I have one tatty bound volume - no.LXII from January to June 1928 - had, at that time, a regular item on 'British Locomotive Practice and Performance' and another on 'Modern Locomotive Practice on the GWR'. Whether these carried on in later years I don't know, but if they can be accessed, maybe some information can be gleaned from this source.

 

By the way, both of my sources - my father's post-WW2 spotting logs and Railway Magazine (1928) refer to front assisting engines as pilots. While I can see the difference between an engine coupled on the front to give assistance and a loco running in advance of a train, to ensure that the line is clear, I think that calling an assisting engine a pilot can be regarded at the least as common parlance and a use that most people would recognize.

Edited by phil_sutters
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

To begin with the easy bit - freight trains.

 

Firstly what was a freight train as far as these Instructions were concerned?  Well in 1936 it included those trains listed in the General Appendix as 'freight' plus the following -

Partly vacuum fitted livestock and perishables (including fish, meat, and fruit) trains (See Note P); mineral; ballast; sleeper and Engineering Dept trains.  From December 1944 it also included AFV trains which were partly vacuum fitted or were unfitted.

 

The basic situation was that any engine with driving wheels of at least 4ft in diameter could be used to assist a freight train from the bottom to the top of an incline.

 

On sections involving level track or falling gradients the assisting engine was attached front either inside the train engine OR if it was of the same type as the train engine or it was a 4-4-0 or a 4-6-0 it could be attached in front of the train engine.  But unless specially authorised it was not permitted to double head partly vacuum fitted freight trains except from the bottom to the top of an incline or through the Severn Tunnel.

 

There were certain exceptions - contained in the Sectional Appendices - where it was permitted to assist rear over level track/falling gradients, one such example being the Severn Tunnel of course.

 

Apart from the 1944 change in respect of AFV trains all of the above remained unaltered until 1960 when there was a slight change of the wording but no real change in meaning.

 

Note P : N.B.  Fully fitted livestock, perishables, fish, meat, and fruit etc trains were treated as passenger trains for the purpose of the Instructions regarding assisting engines.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the problems of a largish library of GW books is that you know you have read something relevant to a discussion but you don't know where you saw it as with my earlier Duke banker comment. Another instance which is rather surprising that the removal of the Down pilot engine sometimes (rarely?) took place on the slow lines between Laira and Lipson Jcts.

 

Brian

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

I'm now going to turn back the clock to 1920 for our first encounter with the passenger train world (and a bit on freight as well of course.

 

Again there was a distinction  - for hopefully obvious reasons - between assisting a  train from the bottom to the top of an incline and assisting over a stretch of line where level track and/or falling gradients also existed.

 

Passenger Trains

 

As far as assisting from the bottom to the top of an incline was concerned any type of engine was considered suitable subject to the various conditions listed at A B, and C below, also the assistant engine was to be placed in front of the train engine but again subject to conditions A, B, & C.  Assistance of passenger trains in rear was limited to  a very small number of locations - only 13 on the entire GWR network in 1920 with another 12 locations being added in 1924 -after the Grouping.  only one of these locations (between Torrquay and Torre, added in 1924) was in the West of England; in other words under the 1920 Instructions assisting passenger trains in rear on gradients was a pretty uncommon event.  In foggy weather the assistance in rear of passenger trains was prohibited and the assistant engine had to go at the front in accordance with the conditions shown below

 

As we have already encountered, if the section over which the train was travelling also involved level track or falling gradients assistance at the front was mandatory - with the following conditions applying unless the assistant engine was of a larger type than the train engine which meant it could be placed in front of the train engine.  Examples were given thus

 

A. Tank engine assisting a tender engine - 0-6-0, 2-4-0, and 0-4-2 tank engines were to be placed inside the train engine

B. Tender engine assisting tank engine - the tender engine must be in front of the tank engine if the latter is an 0-6-0, 2-4-0, or 0-4-2

C. When a tender engine assists a tender engine or a tank engine assists a tank engine - subject Instructions issued by the Locomotive Dept (which I don't have a copy of)

 

Note:  A 4-4-0 with wheels at least 5ft 6" in diameter and fitted with a leading bogie may assist in front of any engine.

 

The above also applied to double heading of trains irrespective of the presence of any inclines.  It is of course instantly noticeable that 2-6-2 tank engines are seemingly ignored which suggests to that the Instructions were probably very similar to those of c.10 earlier.

 

Goods Trains (they weren't called freight trains in 1920  - that came later)

These Instructions also applied to empty passenger trains.

 

In those cases where the train was assisted front the assistant engine was to be placed inside the train engine unless it was of a larger type than the train engine.

 

Assistance in rear of freights was far more common and the locations where it was permitted weren't listed in the General Appendix - it was still permitted in foggy weather but in that case the assistant engine had always to be coupled to the train it was assisting.

 

As will be seen when we get to them  there was a degree of refinement and other changes between 1920 and 1935/6 and I might be able to date some of them from the minute books when I get a chance but it will be a major plod through.

 

What is now emerging is information which starts to give lie to the oft spouted nonsense that 'on the GWR the assistant engine was always formed inside the train engine'.  Clearly that was not the case as far back as 1920, if not earlier, and in fact it all depended on the relative size of the engines involved and in one situation on the size of the driving wheels of the assistant engine.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm now going to turn back the clock to 1920 for our first encounter with the passenger train world (and a bit on freight as well of course.

 

Again there was a distinction  - for hopefully obvious reasons - between assisting a  train from the bottom to the top of an incline and assisting over a stretch of line where level track and/or falling gradients also existed.

 

Passenger Trains

 

As far as assisting from the bottom to the top of an incline was concerned any type of engine was considered suitable subject to the various conditions listed at A B, and C below, also the assistant engine was to be placed in front of the train engine but again subject to conditions A, B, & C.  Assistance of passenger trains in rear was limited to  a very small number of locations - only 13 on the entire GWR network in 1920 with another 12 locations being added in 1924 -after the Grouping.  only one of these locations (between Torrquay and Torre, added in 1924) was in the West of England; in other words under the 1920 Instructions assisting passenger trains in rear on gradients was a pretty uncommon event.  In foggy weather the assistance in rear of passenger trains was prohibited and the assistant engine had to go at the front in accordance with the conditions shown below

 

As we have already encountered, if the section over which the train was travelling also involved level track or falling gradients assistance at the front was mandatory - with the following conditions applying unless the assistant engine was of a larger type than the train engine which meant it could be placed in front of the train engine.  Examples were given thus

 

A. Tank engine assisting a tender engine - 0-6-0, 2-4-0, and 0-4-2 tank engines were to be placed inside the train engine

B. Tender engine assisting tank engine - the tender engine must be in front of the tank engine if the latter is an 0-6-0, 2-4-0, or 0-4-2

C. When a tender engine assists a tender engine or a tank engine assists a tank engine - subject Instructions issued by the Locomotive Dept (which I don't have a copy of)

 

Note:  A 4-4-0 with wheels at least 5ft 6" in diameter and fitted with a leading bogie may assist in front of any engine.

 

The above also applied to double heading of trains irrespective of the presence of any inclines.  It is of course instantly noticeable that 2-6-2 tank engines are seemingly ignored which suggests to that the Instructions were probably very similar to those of c.10 earlier.

 

Goods Trains (they weren't called freight trains in 1920  - that came later)

These Instructions also applied to empty passenger trains.

 

In those cases where the train was assisted front the assistant engine was to be placed inside the train engine unless it was of a larger type than the train engine.

 

Assistance in rear of freights was far more common and the locations where it was permitted weren't listed in the General Appendix - it was still permitted in foggy weather but in that case the assistant engine had always to be coupled to the train it was assisting.

 

As will be seen when we get to them  there was a degree of refinement and other changes between 1920 and 1935/6 and I might be able to date some of them from the minute books when I get a chance but it will be a major plod through.

 

What is now emerging is information which starts to give lie to the oft spouted nonsense that 'on the GWR the assistant engine was always formed inside the train engine'.  Clearly that was not the case as far back as 1920, if not earlier, and in fact it all depended on the relative size of the engines involved and in one situation on the size of the driving wheels of the assistant engine.

 

Brilliant stuff, thanks.  At his point I note that Bulldogs had 5'8" drivers, thus, it is perfectly correct that they are seen assisting as leading locomotive.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Front assisting engines usually worked Newton to Plymouth or vice a versa, as it saved considerable time in not having to attach and detach engines at the top and bottom of each incline. I have also read on occassions a driver with an engine in good nick and favourable conditions on non stop West bound trains to go for it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Front assisting engines usually worked Newton to Plymouth or vice a versa, as it saved considerable time in not having to attach and detach engines at the top and bottom of each incline. I have also read on occassions a driver with an engine in good nick and favourable conditions on non stop West bound trains to go for it.

 

Thank you.  That was my impression also.  Otherwise, there would be constant tender-first light engine movements as I mentioned!

 

The presence of 3150s lurking at Totnes, and the runaway train report I mentioned suggests that locomotives assisting goods trains from the rear did not do so for the whole section, rather they assisted from the bottom to the top of an incline.

 

This seems logical, because, I assume, rear assisting locos were not attached to the trains they pushed.   Mike's information, to my mind, supports this, because he mentions that they were to be coupled in foggy conditions, suggesting that, otherwise, they were not.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

So if I'm reading this correctly, a freight train bring assisted (from the rear) up Rattery Bank, would be pushed to the top (ie just past Rattery signal box. Would typically then uncouple, move onto the up line via the crossover just before Rattery viaduct. And head back to Totness to assist the next service, (and hence you won't see a freight train with an assists we loco on the back through Brent (or coming off at Bremt)?

Link to post
Share on other sites

So if I'm reading this correctly, a freight train bring assisted (from the rear) up Rattery Bank, would be pushed to the top (ie just past Rattery signal box. Would typically then uncouple, move onto the up line via the crossover just before Rattery viaduct. And head back to Totness to assist the next service, (and hence you won't see a freight train with an assists we loco on the back through Brent (or coming off at Bremt)?

 

That is how I understand it.  I don't know where the rear assisting loco came off, but, it would be some convenient place at the top of the bank.  The top is, what, under Marley Head tunnel or had it levelled off by then?  There were sidings in the vicinity of the box, if I recall correctly, as was the case at Dainton.  Refuges if necessary for bankers? I don't know what happens, but, as the loco is not coupled to the train it assists, I suppose it simply gets left behind as the train descends the other side.  

 

The runaway train incident I gleaned from a newspaper report, but have no copy.  My recollection was that it happened at Totnes where the line has levelled out for the station.  I cannot be sure.  Why would the banking engine not have crossed to the Up line, as you suggest?  

 

It might be that it intended to cross at the station, or even that it had crossed to the Up Line earlier as you suggest, but re-crossed at Totnes in order to run into the goods yard, which is on the Down Side.

 

Unfortunately from your point of view, I cannot see why an uncoupled locomotive providing rear assistance to a goods service would still be with that train as it passed Brent.

 

On the other hand, you can happily have a Bulldog from either Plymouth or Newton, front assisting in either direction through Brent.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

Thank you.  That was my impression also.  Otherwise, there would be constant tender-first light engine movements as I mentioned!

 

The presence of 3150s lurking at Totnes, and the runaway train report I mentioned suggests that locomotives assisting goods trains from the rear did not do so for the whole section, rather they assisted from the bottom to the top of an incline.

 

This seems logical, because, I assume, rear assisting locos were not attached to the trains they pushed.   Mike's information, to my mind, supports this, because he mentions that they were to be coupled in foggy conditions, suggesting that, otherwise, they were not.  

 

It varied.  The full story would be found in the relevant Sectional Appendix although at times it might also appear in the STT  Generally wherever possible the preferred procedure would be to assist with the banking engine not coupled as that saved time but usually it would require to be coupled if there was any undulation in the section being banked as if it was not attached there was a chance of the assistant engine being left behind and then catching up resulting in a collision.  Thus sometimes you would come across areas where uncoupled assistance from the rear had been permitted but was suddenly prohibited - easy to work out why that was done.

 

However coupled rear end assistance required a bit of extra skill because if the assistant engine started to fall behind for any reason it could divide the train - just as bad in its way as a collision and with wagons with wooden underframes and headstocks one possible result was the headstock being pulled off the wagon (yes, it did happen).

 

Hopefully this will also explain why freight and passenger trains needed to be categorised for the assisting Instructions as piping up a continuous brake would help avoid the risk of accidental collisions.

 

The next installment will hopefully be tomorrow as we're out to eat this evening.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...