Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I was wondering whether I needed to fit brake shoes to some 1850s vintage four wheel coaches I am building so I started to look up the date when continuous brakes were made compulsory on passenger trains. It was the Regulation of Railways Act passed in 1889 that gave the Board of Trade the powers to require railways to fit an automatic brake to every vehicle in a passenger train. The Act also gave the BoT the powers to require interlocking between points and signals and to require block signalling

 

This bit of legislation does have a bit of an impact on modellers interested in the late Victorian period. OK, a lot of us don't fit brakes to modern Mk3 stock, but the requirement to fit brakes must have affected any scrap or keep decisions on stock. It may also explain why the South Eastern Railway, for one, put a number of old carriage bodies on new underframes around that time.

 

I'm not sure what the impact of the signalling aspects would be on layouts today, but it probably meant the demise of the early practice of placing the signals on the signal box and expecting the driver to know where to stop.

 

An internet search reveals some indications of how the Act affected the Ffestiniog Railway. The BoT could grant exemptions, but these seem to have been more extensions to the time to comply. The FR was given two years to fit brakes for example.

 

So, on a medium sized railway, would it have been likely that some venerable thirds from 1850-ish would still have been running unbraked in 1891?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very many coaches had brake shoes before 1889, although in many cases only applies by hand, or by a non-continuous, not-properly-self-acting, system, so you need to worry about brake shoes well before that date.

 

Some didn't, of course, because sprags or scotches were the parking brake of choice in many cases.

 

Kevin

Link to post
Share on other sites

Many railways were using fitted stock before 1889 anyway. I wonder if the same applied to passenger trains pre-1889 as later to mixed goods trains of fitted and unfitted stock, namely fitted stock at the front by the loco, unfitted stock at the back. I've not studied photos from the period much with this in mind but it would suggest non-elite trains might have the newer, braked, carriages at the front with the old stuff tacked at the back.

Edited by whart57
Link to post
Share on other sites

It's worth reading accident enquiry reports, and the discussions that went on between about 1875 and 1890 in 'trade journals', to get a picture. I reread the reports of the Newark Brake Trials recently, which give some idea of what the more forward-thinking, prosperous, companies were doing with the best of their trains, but the most illuminating are the frustratedly annoyed editorials in The Engineer, some of which cite examples of how the intent of continuous braking was thwarted by the multiversity of incompatible systems in use, so that as soon as through coaches, or more especially horse boxes, were involved, everything went to pot.

 

I think horse boxes were a serious problem because they were supposed to be marshalled at the front, next to the engine, to avoid the horses getting banged back and forth and injured, and because they were often making trips that involved several different railway companies.

 

Here's an accident that illustrates a few points, including the ambiguity of LSWR signals, which was discussed in another thread. http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/documents/BoT_Surbiton1864.pdf

 

And another one showing messy brake provision http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/documents/BoT_CannonStreet1888.pdf I think that the Inspector is being hard on the driver in the conclusions to this one ....... i wouldn't want to be PIC a loco and train equipped as described!

 

(I choose southern area accidents, only because I know the locations, not because the railways were any less safe than the ones further north!)

Edited by Nearholmer
Link to post
Share on other sites

Many railways were using fitted stock before 1889 anyway. I wonder if the same applied to passenger trains pre-1889 as later to mixed goods trains of fitted and unfitted stock, namely fitted stock at the front by the loco, unfitted stock at the back. I've not studied photos from the period much with this in mind but it would suggest non-elite trains might have the newer, braked, carriages at the front with the old stuff tacked at the back.

According to Mike Williams in his excellent book on Caledonian Railway Carriages, in the 1840's the Raileay Department of the Board of Trade developed a formula concerning braking power. The last carriage in a train, and every fourth carriage, had to be equipped with brakes capable of being applied in an emergency. This resulted in every fourth carriage having a brakeman sitting on the roof, with some form of device to apply the brake. This was wasteful of manpower, dangerous for the brakeman, and not conducive to smooth stops, but it was an emergency only consideration. In 1862 the BoT issued a revised statement, which acknowledged the provision of some form of continuous braking, such as a chain brake, so a guard had to occupy the last vehicle, but the formula only required one break(sic) vehicle to every three of four carriages in the train. They also impressed upon the railway companies the need for effective communication between the engine crew and the guard.

By the time of the Newark Brake Trials in 1875 most of the major railway companies were installing continuous brakes, using a variety of systems, air, vacuum and mechanical, such as Webb's chain brake on the LNWR. The 1889 regulation included the requirement that this continuous brake must be automatic, as well; causing the brakes to be applied in the event of failure or breakage within the system. The chain brake could not meet this criterion, but by the time the regulation came into force, less than a quarter of the LNWR stock retained the chain brake, although the company still had a long way to go, as less than a third of their carriages had the required automatic vacuum brakes, as per the legislation.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's worth reading accident enquiry reports, and the discussions that went on between about 1875 and 1890 in 'trade journals', to get a picture. I reread the reports of the Newark Brake Trials recently, which give some idea of what the more forward-thinking, prosperous, companies were doing with the best of their trains, but the most illuminating are the frustratedly annoyed editorials in The Engineer, some of which cite examples of how the intent of continuous braking was thwarted by the multiversity of incompatible systems in use, so that as soon as through coaches, or more especially horse boxes, were involved, everything went to pot.

 

I think horse boxes were a serious problem because they were supposed to be marshalled at the front, next to the engine, to avoid the horses getting banged back and forth and injured, and because they were often making trips that involved several different railway companies.

 

Here's an accident that illustrates a few points, including the ambiguity of LSWR signals, which was discussed in another thread. http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/documents/BoT_Surbiton1864.pdf

 

And another one showing messy brake provision http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/documents/BoT_CannonStreet1888.pdf I think that the Inspector is being hard on the driver in the conclusions to this one ....... i wouldn't want to be PIC a loco and train equipped as described!

 

(I choose southern area accidents, only because I know the locations, not because the railways were any less safe than the ones further north!)

Horse boxes, of course sometimes having very valuable cargo.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • RMweb Gold

According to Mike Williams in his excellent book on Caledonian Railway Carriages, in the 1840's the Raileay Department of the Board of Trade developed a formula concerning braking power. The last carriage in a train, and every fourth carriage, had to be equipped with brakes capable of being applied in an emergency. This resulted in every fourth carriage having a brakeman sitting on the roof, with some form of device to apply the brake. This was wasteful of manpower, dangerous for the brakeman, and not conducive to smooth stops, but it was an emergency only consideration. In 1862 the BoT issued a revised statement, which acknowledged the provision of some form of continuous braking, such as a chain brake, so a guard had to occupy the last vehicle, but the formula only required one break(sic) vehicle to every three of four carriages in the train. They also impressed upon the railway companies the need for effective communication between the engine crew and the guard.

By the time of the Newark Brake Trials in 1875 most of the major railway companies were installing continuous brakes, using a variety of systems, air, vacuum and mechanical, such as Webb's chain brake on the LNWR. The 1889 regulation included the requirement that this continuous brake must be automatic, as well; causing the brakes to be applied in the event of failure or breakage within the system. The chain brake could not meet this criterion, but by the time the regulation came into force, less than a quarter of the LNWR stock retained the chain brake, although the company still had a long way to go, as less than a third of their carriages had the required automatic vacuum brakes, as per the legislation.

I believe the LNWR competed the conversion of its carriage stock to automatic vacuum brake by 1892.

 

I might be a year or so out on that though.

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
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.