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Edwardian

SE&CR Traffic on the Sevenoaks-Tonbridge Line

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A query, if I may.

 

I find the SE&CR very confusing.  There is usually more than one way of getting to a place, and I do not have a grasp of which of the longer distance services used which lines.

 

My basic understanding is that in the beginning their was the Old Mainline, which was shared with the Brighton as far as Redhill, where the SE&C mainline turned sharp right and headed in a straight line for Ashford and, thence Folkestone, and Dover.

 

Part way along this arrow straight dash to Ashford is Tonbridge, from whence a line was built to Hastings.

 

Somewhat later, IIRC, a cut off line was built from London down to Tonbridge.  

 

This begs the question, what traffic was thereafter routed via the Tonbridge cut off and what continued to use the Old Mainline and go via Redhill?

 

Not to mention routes via Oxted or via Maidstone; I am assume that the faster routes are via Redhill and via the Tonbridge cut off.

 

It would seem logical that Hastings services would take the cut off, as the more direct route.  I am not saying that you couldn't get to Hastings via Redhill (I simply don't know), but surely direct services, such as the Hastings Car trains, would go via the cut off?

 

What about boat trains for Folkestone and Dover?  Would they have continued to be routed via Redhill, or would they use the cut off and, literally, cut the corner?

 

The cut off is marked on the map below.

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Edited by Edwardian
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Once the 'cut off' was opened ALL mainline services from Tonbridge inwards went that way with the Redhill to Tonbridge becoming a cross country secondary route with a passenger service to match that. Its main utility in later years was a useful route for freight and engineering trains to by-pass London.

 

The Maidstone route was mainly considered a backup route for trains from Dover etc via Ashford.

Edited by phil-b259

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Once the 'cut off' was opened ALL mainline services from Tonbridge inwards went that way with the Redhill to Tonbridge becoming a cross country secondary route with a passenger service to match that. Its main utility in later years was a useful route for freight and engineering trains to by-pass London.

 

The Maidstone route was mainly considered a backup route for trains from Dover etc via Ashford.

 

Thanks, Phil.  So, if I understand you correctly, all the express and long-distance traffic, such as the Hastings Car Trains and Continental Boat trains, would be routed via Sevenoaks (Tubs Hill) and Tonbridge?

 

EDIT: Do you happen to know if there are any coach working timetables available for the SE&CR pre-Great War?

Edited by Edwardian

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Bear in mind that the ex-LCDR route to Dover had fast trains too. After WW1, most (all?) of the boat trains started from Victoria, but I do not know which route they took after Chiselhurst, where the main lines crossed. They could take either the SER cut-off main line or the LCDR main line. I would assume that any train serving Folkestone had to use the SER line.

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Thought I'd better introduce myself on my favourite part of the forum: signed up today to do a poll, so might as well contribute elsewhere!

 

I am by no means versed in all things South Eastern, or Chatham or Dover for that matter, but I've always got the impression that the 'proper' express workings, pullmans, boat trains, etc, used the main line down through Tonbridge, whilst slower workings used the old LCDR line. Obviously there would've been local services on all the lines, but that's the impression I have got. 

 

I'm probably wrong, mind, being more Brighton and Nine Elms (Sometimes Eastleigh too!) in tastes...

 

All the best, and I look forward to taking part in this, the more eccentric yet at the same time somewhat more civilised part of the forum... (Civilised?! Civilised?!!! That's a short word for the pre-grouping section!)

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In British Railways days the Victoria - Herne Hill - Orpington - Tonbridge - Ashford - Folkestone / Dover was called "Boat Train Route 1". The Victoria - Catford - Swanley - Maidstone - Ashford - Folkestone / Doer was called "Boat Train Rout 2"

 

I believe this was unchanged from Southern Railway days and NO boat trains were ever scheduled to use the ex LCDR route via Faversham.

 

While the early days if the SECR there may have been some legacy traffic via Faversham initially, the management committee* quickly standardised on Victoria and the routes via Ashford for boat trains with everything re-routed as soon as the junctions at Chislehurst had been completed.

 

*(remember the SECR was effectively a 'joint' railway organisation with the SER contributing 51% and the LCDR 49%. Both the SER and LCDR continued to exsist as seperate companies right up till they both got absorbed into the Southern Railway Group.)

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Remember your map pertains the SECR - previously the SER and LCDR were deadly enemies!   This is a very, very, very complex subject, way beyond my ability to explain.

 

Bill

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Simple discription of the SE&CR - Two railways who had devoted most of their time to trying to put each other out of business now working together

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Thank you all, and welcome to sem34090.

 

Let me explain my thinking.  I have long wanted a project or two that took in the Brighton, or the South Eastern or both, and that was ideally a reasonable facsimile of a prototype location.

 

The idea was to have a decent run and to be able to run mainline express services.  My fumblings towards a LBSC or joint location were dealt with in the Umber is the New Black topic (http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/104321-umber-is-the-new-black/)

 

One idea, to which I may well return when sufficient budget and real estate is available is Merstham, suggested by Nearholmer (post #42): http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/104321-umber-is-the-new-black/page-2.    This had a SE station, on the Old Mainline, and would feature the much newer and closely parallel Quarry Line.  This seemed to allow a very good mix of traffic, both suburban and, on the Quarry line, the Brighton's top expresses, providing work for Atlantics, and J and I tanks, as well as older and smaller types.   

 

An alternative, focussing on motor trains and railmotors for a minimum space layout in the meantime, was explored here: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/104321-umber-is-the-new-black/page-7

 

Having re-visted Umber is the New Black for the first time since it petered out, I notice that Nearholmer foresaw the latest Bachmann announcements as far back as November 2015 (post #89): http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/104321-umber-is-the-new-black/page-4  

 

This was all by way of pipe dreams; I was living in a caravan at the time.  Now I am living in a modest rented property, which has room for my nascent BLT, but I am always on the look out for a future mainline project. 

 

Turning to the present, I am looking at, in due course, building up some SE&CR stock around a core of RTR and reasonably achievable kits and conversions.

 

Given what is available, the setting would probably be on the eve of the Great War, but I might well work back as far as the mid-Edwardian period in due course, and run a variety of stock conceivable for this reasonably broad period.

 

Where could I combine a mainline, with long distance and, hopefully, some shorter or suburban services, and a branch working?

 

Well, I'm thinking of Dunton Green on the Tonbridge cut-off.  I would hope that I could run locos like the D and E (SE Finecast) and coaches like the later Bachmann Birdcage 3-set, the C class (Bachmann), an O1 (Golden Arrow) and some plastic kit-built goods stock. If I could run Q, R and H tanks, too, that would be perfect. There might be special stock built for boat trains or the Us Pullman style cars, which would add considerable interest.

 

One advantage of Dunton Green is that it was the junction for the Westerham branch, on which a variety of trains ran in the 1900s-1910s, including railmotors and a P class motor train with 6-wheel 3-set. 

 

Another advantage is a rail-served brick works with traction engine type motive power,  Right up Nearholmer's street, that one.

 

So I am trying to build up an idea of the traffic that ran on this line, say 1905-1914.

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Edited by Edwardian
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From memory, the "local" services on the SER "new main line" to Tonbridge were mainly worked to and from London. Some ran as far as Orpington, some to Sevenoaks. I can't remember if there were many terminating at Tonbridge or whether the Tonbridge trains typical ran on further from London. Gould has some information on what coaches were used in these trains, but it's scattered through the book. I'll have a look over the weekend and see what I can dig out.

 

Dunton Green is a fine choice, but if you wanted to portray a denser service then Grove Park might be of interest, being a junction for a branch closer to the capital. Essentially all the trains through Dunton Green also passed Grove Park, together with the outer-suburban workings that turned back at (or near) Orpington. There was a branch service to Bromley North and at one time there were through trains from London onto the branch; I don't know if those working survived to 1911. Grove Park is quite well photographed.

 

Concerning boat trains on the LCDR line post 1900, it's probably right that no Dover boat trains ran that way but there were also boat trains to Queenborough pier. The through working from the LNWR and MR also ran over the LCDR line and these are rather interesting. The LNWR portion even included a clerestory dining saloon in some years! Not very relevant to Dunton Green, but I mention these just to assert that the LCDR didn't lose all its principal trains.

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From memory, the "local" services on the SER "new main line" to Tonbridge were mainly worked to and from London. Some ran as far as Orpington, some to Sevenoaks. I can't remember if there were many terminating at Tonbridge or whether the Tonbridge trains typical ran on further from London. Gould has some information on what coaches were used in these trains, but it's scattered through the book. I'll have a look over the weekend and see what I can dig out.

 

Dunton Green is a fine choice, but if you wanted to portray a denser service then Grove Park might be of interest, being a junction for a branch closer to the capital. Essentially all the trains through Dunton Green also passed Grove Park, together with the outer-suburban workings that turned back at (or near) Orpington. There was a branch service to Bromley North and at one time there were through trains from London onto the branch; I don't know if those working survived to 1911. Grove Park is quite well photographed.

 

Concerning boat trains on the LCDR line post 1900, it's probably right that no Dover boat trains ran that way but there were also boat trains to Queenborough pier. The through working from the LNWR and MR also ran over the LCDR line and these are rather interesting. The LNWR portion even included a clerestory dining saloon in some years! Not very relevant to Dunton Green, but I mention these just to assert that the LCDR didn't lose all its principal trains.

 

Thanks, Guy.  That is all most helpful.

 

Grove Park sounds well-worth a look, and might well represent a better way of getting the combinations of services that I want, thanks for that suggestion. .

 

As I want to run mainline services with the big 4-coupled tanks, I was hoping that there would be at least some outer suburban workings as far as Sevenoaks, thus passing Dunton Green.  I don't need that intensive a service, but enough going on to provide a variety of representative trains.

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I leafed through Gould looking for hints (an actual timetable would have been better but I have none). The apparent pattern is that local services passing through Dunton Green were mainly London to Tonbridge. The intensive suburban stuff stayed on on the 4-track section ending at Orpington. By implication, the local services coastward of Tonbridge didn't go up the new main line; perhaps they all went along to old main line to Three Bridges in the West?

 

One detail in Gould that a timetable would not show is that some of the London-Tonbridge trains were the same stock as the London-Hastings and London-Bexhill rains, filling in the day's diagram with a shorter working. I.e. they were rather good main-line stock.

 

Two specific examples of coaches, noted in Gould, may help.

 

46' tricomposite brake numbers 148-162, built 1905. Allocated to:

 

 09:08 Charing X to Bexhill, 14:46 return, 17:56 Charing X to Tonbridge;

 

09:23 Tonbridge to Charing X, 11:15 Charing X to Bexhill, 15:48 return;

 

07:40 Tonbridge to London Bridge (MX), 1632 Charing X to Tonbridge (SX);

 

+ other services not on the new main line.

 

 

50' 1" slip brake composites numbers 976-980, built 1909. In 1910, one was in a slip portion with a tri-composite, working the 16:55 Charing X to Westerham, slipped from a Tonbridge train at Dunton Green. Returned in the 08:37 Westerham to Canon St.

 

 

Finally, I looked through Wainwright and his Locomotives by K. Marx. This has two pictures of J-class engines on Tonbridge workings of which I attach scans.

 

post-22875-0-86035200-1515876506_thumb.jpg

 

post-22875-0-86737400-1515876571_thumb.png

 

Some points to note:

 

  • Both trains have  a PBV as well as coaches with guards and luggage compartment. Most long-distance service son the SECR seem to have had PBVs, and most suburban services not.
  • Both short and long trains were run.
  • The train in the second picture is probably formed of a trio-C set: i.e. the 60' coaches of which Bachmann make models. (I count 8 passenger compartments in the leading break coach - too many for any of the shorter types.

The J class were, allegedly, introduced to give greater water capacity for longer runs than the 0-4-4 classes. I speculate firstly that they were actually designed with the London-Tonbridge run in mind and secondly that before the Js appeared London-Tonbridge fast trains needed tender engines.

 

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I leafed through Gould looking for hints (an actual timetable would have been better but I have none). The apparent pattern is that local services passing through Dunton Green were mainly London to Tonbridge. The intensive suburban stuff stayed on on the 4-track section ending at Orpington. By implication, the local services coastward of Tonbridge didn't go up the new main line; perhaps they all went along to old main line to Three Bridges in the West?

 

One detail in Gould that a timetable would not show is that some of the London-Tonbridge trains were the same stock as the London-Hastings and London-Bexhill rains, filling in the day's diagram with a shorter working. I.e. they were rather good main-line stock.

 

Two specific examples of coaches, noted in Gould, may help.

 

46' tricomposite brake numbers 148-162, built 1905. Allocated to:

 

 09:08 Charing X to Bexhill, 14:46 return, 17:56 Charing X to Tonbridge;

 

09:23 Tonbridge to Charing X, 11:15 Charing X to Bexhill, 15:48 return;

 

07:40 Tonbridge to London Bridge (MX), 1632 Charing X to Tonbridge (SX);

 

+ other services not on the new main line.

 

 

50' 1" slip brake composites numbers 976-980, built 1909. In 1910, one was in a slip portion with a tri-composite, working the 16:55 Charing X to Westerham, slipped from a Tonbridge train at Dunton Green. Returned in the 08:37 Westerham to Canon St.

 

 

Finally, I looked through Wainwright and his Locomotives by K. Marx. This has two pictures of J-class engines on Tonbridge workings of which I attach scans.

 

attachicon.gifClass-J-Tonbridge-1.jpg

 

attachicon.gifClass-J-Tonbridge-2.png

 

Some points to note:

 

  • Both trains have  a PBV as well as coaches with guards and luggage compartment. Most long-distance service son the SECR seem to have had PBVs, and most suburban services not.
  • Both short and long trains were run.
  • The train in the second picture is probably formed of a trio-C set: i.e. the 60' coaches of which Bachmann make models. (I count 8 passenger compartments in the leading break coach - too many for any of the shorter types.

The J class were, allegedly, introduced to give greater water capacity for longer runs than the 0-4-4 classes. I speculate firstly that they were actually designed with the London-Tonbridge run in mind and secondly that before the Js appeared London-Tonbridge fast trains needed tender engines.

 

Guy, that is tremendously helpful, thank you.

 

Doesn't bode well for an H class, but I love the idea of a slip for Westerham.

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Wow!

 

I hadn't spotted this new thread before.

 

One minor geographical correction: one turns left (then slogs uphill for a bit) at Redhill to get to Ashford.

 

The idea of modelling Dunton Green had struck me before, not in a serious way, more of a "hmmm, that would make an interesting model" sort of way.

 

A bit of post-event colour is that the routes from Victoria to Folkestone and Dover gradually settled out to become "Boat Train Routes 1, 2 and 3". In practice, they were thought of that way by the SECR, and I think the designations were created by the SR, but were certainly fully nailed by the KC Electrification. Train paths existed in the timetables so that it was possible to switch services between routes at short notice if, for instance, the continent was cut-off by fog.

 

All three routes, and the old route via Redhill, have some steep and twisty bits, because they cross the grain of the Weald and North Downs, so were hard work for steam locos with heavy trains.

Edited by Nearholmer
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Wow!

 

I hadn't spotted this new thread before.

 

One minor geographical correction: one turns left (then slogs uphill for a bit) at Redhill to get to Ashford.

 

The idea of modelling Dunton Green had struck me before, not in a serious way, more of a "hmmm, that would make an interesting model" sort of way.

 

A bit of post-event colour is that the routes from Victoria to Folkestone and Dover gradually settled out to become "Boat Train Routes 1, 2 and 3". In practice, they were thought of that way by the SECR, and I think the designations were created by the SR, but were certainly fully nailed by the KC Electrification. Train paths existed in the timetables so that it was possible to switch services between routes at short notice if, for instance, the continent was cut-off by fog.

 

All three routes, and the old route via Redhill, have some steep and twisty bits, because they cross the grain of the Weald and North Downs, so were hard work for steam locos with heavy trains.

 

Ah, you see, I meant looking at the map!

 

Down the page to Redhill, then right to Ashford.  Of course, for a train heading south to Redhill, it would turn left for Ashford.  Sorry for the confusion!

 

I have managed to acquire a facsimile of a 1919 timetable, though I have not yet had a chance to look at it.  Broadly speaking I would expect to find that the routing of trains would be broadly similar to the practice, say, 1905-1914, so I hope that, when I examine it, it will give me a good indication of trains routed on the Orpington - Tubs Hill - Tonbridge stretch.

 

I will report on this in due course.

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Having been re-directed from the Castle Aching thread, I can add this to the discussion of stock on the Tonbridge to Hastings line.

In Railways South East, Summer 1993 edition, there is an article by H P White on this line. Entitled 1066 and All That, he says, "In Southern days the tunnel restrictions began to bear heavily. South of Tunbridge Wells all stock had to be 'Restriction 0'. This precluded in effect anything but the Wainwright Birdcage stock and the Maunsell flat sided vestibule sets. There were also special Pullman cars. The passenger trains were mainly powered by the Wainwright 4-4-0s, rebuilt or in their original form. Freight trains in the thirties were powered mainly by C Class 0-6-0s, with help from the aged O1s, but the N and N1 Moguls were also allowed."

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Ah, you see, I meant looking at the map!

 

Down the page to Redhill, then right to Ashford.  Of course, for a train heading south to Redhill, it would turn left for Ashford.  Sorry for the confusion!

 

I have managed to acquire a facsimile of a 1919 timetable, though I have not yet had a chance to look at it.  Broadly speaking I would expect to find that the routing of trains would be broadly similar to the practice, say, 1905-1914, so I hope that, when I examine it, it will give me a good indication of trains routed on the Orpington - Tubs Hill - Tonbridge stretch.

 

I will report on this in due course.

I have the 1910 & 1922 Bradshaw reprints if that helps at all.

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Edwardian

 

One of your desiderata is 'big four-coupled tanks'.

 

I think the H was the biggest, after which you get to the J 0-6-4T and the River 2-6-4T (make sure your track is well laid!).

 

The Atlantic tanks were Brighton beasts.

 

SECR experts may know more/better.

 

K

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Having been re-directed from the Castle Aching thread, I can add this to the discussion of stock on the Tonbridge to Hastings line.

In Railways South East, Summer 1993 edition, there is an article by H P White on this line. Entitled 1066 and All That, he says, "In Southern days the tunnel restrictions began to bear heavily. South of Tunbridge Wells all stock had to be 'Restriction 0'. This precluded in effect anything but the Wainwright Birdcage stock and the Maunsell flat sided vestibule sets. There were also special Pullman cars. The passenger trains were mainly powered by the Wainwright 4-4-0s, rebuilt or in their original form. Freight trains in the thirties were powered mainly by C Class 0-6-0s, with help from the aged O1s, but the N and N1 Moguls were also allowed."

 

Thanks, Nick.  Judging from the photographs I have so far seen, in the 1910s Fs and F1s cropped up a lot on Hastings services via the cut-off.  Ds were of course used, as were the far less numerous Es, presumably for the heaviest/fastest/most prestigious services.

 

J tanks were intended for the Hastings services, but I understand that they disappointed in the trials and were put on via Redhill work. 

 

The Ds and Es were, apparently, struggling on the Hastings line gradients, hence the abortive introduction of the Js, which meant the Ds and Es had to struggle on with the heaviest trains until the Ls were introduced in August 1914.

 

Most SE&CR coaching stock I have so far read about seems to have been designed to cope with the restrictions on the Hastings line  so I assume that this was more of a post-Grouping issue.  The main restriction pre-Grouping seems to have been whether or not a coach could run on the Folkestone Harbour branch. 

 

I have the 1910 & 1922 Bradshaw reprints if that helps at all.

 

Thank you, Joseph. 1910 would be very welcome.

 

1922 might suit Alex's Hastings project.

 

 

Edwardian

 

One of your desiderata is 'big four-coupled tanks'.

 

I think the H was the biggest, after which you get to the J 0-6-4T and the River 2-6-4T (make sure your track is well laid!).

 

The Atlantic tanks were Brighton beasts.

 

SECR experts may know more/better.

 

K

 

On Dunton Green, the question will be 'to J or not to J', i.e. do I include their ultimately unsuccessful spell on the line in 1913?

 

On the Brighton mainline, an I3 for sure. 

Edited by Edwardian
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Having been re-directed from the Castle Aching thread, I can add this to the discussion of stock on the Tonbridge to Hastings line.

In Railways South East, Summer 1993 edition, there is an article by H P White on this line. Entitled 1066 and All That, he says, "In Southern days the tunnel restrictions began to bear heavily. South of Tunbridge Wells all stock had to be 'Restriction 0'. This precluded in effect anything but the Wainwright Birdcage stock and the Maunsell flat sided vestibule sets. There were also special Pullman cars. The passenger trains were mainly powered by the Wainwright 4-4-0s, rebuilt or in their original form. Freight trains in the thirties were powered mainly by C Class 0-6-0s, with help from the aged O1s, but the N and N1 Moguls were also allowed."

 

The N class was only allowed as far as Wadhurst.  Probably the only outside cylinder locos allowed on the Hastings line were the N1 and the Schools (both 3 cylinder classes).

 

bILL

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The sectional appendix for 1934 is frustrating!

 

It mentions only the following in connection with the Hastings line: f1, b1, d, e, l and v.

 

It says nothing about goods engines or the moguls! But I have found an o1 shunting goods at wadhurst.

 

I do still think that N couldn’t go south of Grove Junction.

Edited by Nearholmer

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As I understand it, the restriction on the Hastings line was between Battle and Tunbridge Wells, where the restriction dropped to the extreme 'R0', or 8'/8'1''.

 

On the line toward Ashford the route restriction was fairly reasonable until Winchelsea, where it narrowed again to 'R1' due to the platforms having to be build closer together; the station sits atop of the Royal Military Canal.

 

In the other direction, toward Eastbourne, it's again 'R1' or possibly even 'R4'; most modern stock seems to run without issue, and from what I've seen of LBSC stock there wasn't any restriction imposed if running up to London via Tonbridge, which makes things a little confusing.

 

This has made things confusing for me in my research for 'Hastings' as obviously I understand the restriction for the Hastings line from Tonbridge; the only coaching stock which could come down was virtually anything built by the SECR (the 'Birdcages', 'Continentals' and 'Thanets' all built to 'R0'), possibly some Brighton coaches (the suburban 48' stock) and maybe- maybe- some LSW coaches, though I'm not sure about that. Add to that the specially built Maunsells from 1926-29 and the 1926 'R0' Pullmans (which were 57' as opposed to the usual 64'), it seems very limited.

 

Locomotive stock for the Kent coast I had assumed was only really restricted by weight when it came to running via Tonbridge; anything too heavy for running through Ashford for Canterbury and the Kent Coast on that route wouldn't be permitted, in common with the Chatham Main Line at the time, which was lightly laid by the LCDR. As I understand it, the width of the piston blocks on various locomotives would also preclude any running on certain routes.

 

I imagine that for any traffic running to Tunbridge Wells Central via West (or vice versa) the loading gauge would have to be restricted also to that of the Tonbridge line, although evidence for through traffic all the way to Tonbridge from TWC is thin on the ground (although I imagine with a bit of modeller's licence you could justify a handful of services.)

 

- Alex

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“and from what I've seen of LBSC stock there wasn't any restriction imposed if running up to London via Tonbridge, which makes things a little confusing.”. That bit I don’t understand. I’m not aware that LBSCR stock was ever used on the route via Battle, but there is an infinite amount that I don’t know.

 

Tonbridge to what became Tunbridge Wells LBSCR (later West), via the Grove line, wasn’t regularly used as a through route until post-Grouping. There were SER trains to the LBSCR station, but there, I believe, they terminated.

 

The SR did implement some convoluted through workings via the Grove, e.g. Brighton to Redhill via Tonbridge, and quite a few classes were cleared for that route, including I think both N and N1. The tunnels in that length were not particularly constricted. The Big Issue in that section was getting goods trains up out of Tonbridge from a standing start, and restarting one if it got stopped before the tunnel, so there was some sort of operating practice that made sure they weren’t let up the hill until the line was clear to beyond the viaduct, I think.

 

The whole tale of track upgrading and bridge strengthening on the boat train routes through Kent takes more memory than I possess, but can be summarised as ‘got better over time’!

Edited by Nearholmer

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The SR did implement some convoluted through workings via the Grove, e.g. Brighton to Redhill via Tonbridge, and quite a few classes were cleared for that route, including I think both N and N1. The tunnels in that length were not particularly constricted. 

 

Umm. In the modern era 3Hs were not permitted beyond TWW towards Grove Junction. TWW became rather adept at digging out a 3D to swap over once they knew a 3H was on its way. Wells Tunnel was slab-tracked due to clearance issues for the HASMOD electrification scheme. And there were gauging things about Somerhill and Grove Hill tunnels, I think. 

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Thank you all, and welcome to sem34090.

 

Let me explain my thinking.  I have long wanted a project or two that took in the Brighton, or the South Eastern or both, and that was ideally a reasonable facsimile of a prototype location.

 

The idea was to have a decent run and to be able to run mainline express services.  My fumblings towards a LBSC or joint location were dealt with in the Umber is the New Black topic (http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/104321-umber-is-the-new-black/)

 

One idea, to which I may well return when sufficient budget and real estate is available is Merstham, suggested by Nearholmer (post #42): http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/104321-umber-is-the-new-black/page-2.    This had a SE station, on the Old Mainline, and would feature the much newer and closely parallel Quarry Line.  This seemed to allow a very good mix of traffic, both suburban and, on the Quarry line, the Brighton's top expresses, providing work for Atlantics, and J and I tanks, as well as older and smaller types.   

 

An alternative, focussing on motor trains and railmotors for a minimum space layout in the meantime, was explored here: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/104321-umber-is-the-new-black/page-7

 

Having re-visted Umber is the New Black for the first time since it petered out, I notice that Nearholmer foresaw the latest Bachmann announcements as far back as November 2015 (post #89): http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/104321-umber-is-the-new-black/page-4  

 

This was all by way of pipe dreams; I was living in a caravan at the time.  Now I am living in a modest rented property, which has room for my nascent BLT, but I am always on the look out for a future mainline project. 

 

Turning to the present, I am looking at, in due course, building up some SE&CR stock around a core of RTR and reasonably achievable kits and conversions.

 

Given what is available, the setting would probably be on the eve of the Great War, but I might well work back as far as the mid-Edwardian period in due course, and run a variety of stock conceivable for this reasonably broad period.

 

Where could I combine a mainline, with long distance and, hopefully, some shorter or suburban services, and a branch working?

 

Well, I'm thinking of Dunton Green on the Tonbridge cut-off.  I would hope that I could run locos like the D and E (SE Finecast) and coaches like the later Bachmann Birdcage 3-set, the C class (Bachmann), an O1 (Golden Arrow) and some plastic kit-built goods stock. If I could run Q, R and H tanks, too, that would be perfect. There might be special stock built for boat trains or the Us Pullman style cars, which would add considerable interest.

 

One advantage of Dunton Green is that it was the junction for the Westerham branch, on which a variety of trains ran in the 1900s-1910s, including railmotors and a P class motor train with 6-wheel 3-set. 

 

Another advantage is a rail-served brick works with traction engine type motive power,  Right up Nearholmer's street, that one.

 

So I am trying to build up an idea of the traffic that ran on this line, say 1905-1914.

 

 

The shunter in the picture is mentioned in PO Wagons of the South-East. It is an Aveling and Porter engine, one of three owned by the tile company at Dunton Green. They were  built for 4' 3" gauge, but at least one of them was later altered to standard gauge when the company obtained a connection to the SECR.

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