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16 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

The single-sided station makes a lot of sense, really - no footbridge, underpass, or barrow crossing; no need for duplication of facilities.

Just trains slowly crossing over the lines that are used by much faster trains, creating lots of bottlenecks.

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Alright on a “one train a fortnight” railway, but otherwise the cause of lots of conflicting movements, which I guess is why they were superseded.

 

We could do with a good general survey of very early station practice, because, from what I can discern, it varied quite a bit in the very early years, before a workable ‘best practice model’ emerged. I was looking at Watford (not yet Junction) on the L&B the other day, and that seems to have been semi-double-sided, in that I think the train on the “off” side drew-up, then the passengers ambled across the tracks to join it. They also seem to have added and subtracted coaches at each station along the way, according to how many tickets had been sold, which must have created excesses and shortages at different places pretty quickly.

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1 hour ago, Regularity said:

Just trains slowly crossing over the lines that are used by much faster trains, creating lots of bottlenecks.

 

Although I think the most notable examples were major stations where all passenger trains stopped - which is why it remained workable at Cambridge for so long. In that case, coupled with the bays that handled virtually all the non-GER trains. But it did mean that you could end up walking a train length and a bit to get to the exit, rather than just half a train's length. 

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On 30/09/2021 at 03:27, Regularity said:

Unless no one officious is watching, in which case it is OK for the train to be almost at a standstill.

But only if the driver and the signalman get on.

(This is what we do on East Lynn, sometimes.)

Perhaps the Operating Superintendent (TSN) authorised it?

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Posted (edited)
On 29/09/2021 at 18:28, Compound2632 said:

The single-sided station makes a lot of sense, really - no footbridge, underpass, or barrow crossing; no need for duplication of facilities.

I'm assuming it was a natural progression from the coaching inn concept from which early railway passenger facilities developed. Operators fell back on the nearest similar arrangement there was to getting a bunch of passengers out of a building where they had bought their tickets and put aboard the conveyance. It probably only dawned very very slowly on railway operators that there were alternative ways to doing it for vehicles that ran on fixed rails.
 

On 29/09/2021 at 18:45, Regularity said:

Just trains slowly crossing over the lines that are used by much faster trains, creating lots of bottlenecks.

Yes, hence their demise (among other reasons) but initially with trains trundling about the countryside at sedate speeds of 15 to 40 mph this was not an issue. But the single sided station design did fade away quite fast and remained in only a few instances.
 

On 29/09/2021 at 18:52, Nearholmer said:

Alright on a “one train a fortnight” railway, but otherwise the cause of lots of conflicting movements, which I guess is why they were superseded.

 

We could do with a good general survey of very early station practice, because, from what I can discern, it varied quite a bit in the very early years, before a workable ‘best practice model’ emerged. I was looking at Watford (not yet Junction) on the L&B the other day, and that seems to have been semi-double-sided, in that I think the train on the “off” side drew-up, then the passengers ambled across the tracks to join it. They also seem to have added and subtracted coaches at each station along the way, according to how many tickets had been sold, which must have created excesses and shortages at different places pretty quickly.

There's a lot about early Victorian railway practice that was, at the time, eminently sensible and useful (and safe) but which to us now, looking back through time seems alien, complicated and wasteful. Ideas and procedures rarely leap ahead in big strides. Change in practice usually travels at a very slow rate with various things tried, used for a while then slowly put aside in favour of a different way of doing it. We see the evidence of some early practices like coach turntables and one sided stations and they seem odd to us now, but at the time were perfectly functional. I find this concept of how the modern mind views the past (in other spheres, not just railways) to be endlessly fascinating.

Edited by Martin S-C
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From what I can discern, as through a glass, darkly, the ‘best practice models’ emerged and took hold quite quickly, maybe within a decade, but that’s really why I’d like a book about it all: to save me disappearing down a rabbit-hole of research to write one myself!

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Posted (edited)

I think it's easy to forget that during the early railway era everything was completely new and had never been done before.  The nearest model to base things on as Martin says was the coaching inn and naturally enough it took a while and a good deal of experimentation for what we now consider to be best practice to emerge.  Anthony Dawson has been writing books on the early railways, but I think his main interest has been the locomotives and not the railway infrastructure itself.

I do know from my own digital modelling efforts though that trying to replicate a Broad Gauge single sided station is a tricky business and a right fiddle to get it all working properly.

Edited by Annie
can't spell for toffee
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A good example of a single platform station on a double track line is, of course, Maryport where this arrangement is still in use with the platform being on a loop off the running lines. This arrangement dates from at least 1860 and possibly from 1840 when the first Maryport station was built. The retention of this arrangement might be related to the fact that the M&CR was essentially a goods orientated railway and Maryport station was right in the middle of a complex of goods lines to and from Maryport harbour, various pits and ironworks as well as dealing with freight going to and coming from Workington. Therefore, the single platform on a loop arrangement probably worked well as a means of keeping the passenger trains out of the way of the goods. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, CKPR said:

A good example of a single platform station on a double track line is, of course, Maryport where this arrangement is still in use with the platform being on a loop off the running lines. This arrangement dates from at least 1860 and possibly from 1840 when the first Maryport station was built.

The 1865 25 inch to the mile OS map is the best one to refer to as after that it all gets a bit too complex to follow.  Conveniently the station is cut in half by the map border just to make it even more of a puzzle.

 

It certainly is an interesting station though.

 

3vLbgqp.jpg

Edited by Annie
Added a map
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On the subject of early/curious station layouts were there any other non-standard ones? The triangle is always a fascinating station shape to look at but I wonder if there were any other oddities out there. Perhaps stations that were termini for one traffic (e.g. passengers) when other traffic routinely went onwards.

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5 minutes ago, Martin S-C said:

On the subject of early/curious station layouts were there any other non-standard ones? The triangle is always a fascinating station shape to look at but I wonder if there were any other oddities out there. Perhaps stations that were termini for one traffic (e.g. passengers) when other traffic routinely went onwards.

 

There are a number of locations where a reversal out of the original terminus station is necessary to continue along the extension of the line (or a reversal in, coming from the extension line). Killarney is the locus classicus for this:

 

 

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Inverness station is on the point of a triangle (which had Lochgorm works in the centre).  Through trains from the north, or south, ran past the station then reversed in, ready to continue on their journey without the need to attach another locomotive.

 

Jim

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This week I have been mostly thinking about ... oil drums.

I've been browsing various online shops and model oil drums keep popping up for some reason; the steel 55 gall type. I had always thought these came into use around WWII when a great deal of aviation and tank fuel needed shifting around rapidly by non-specialised trucks but checking online I find the oil drum was invented in the USA in 1905.

This led me to think how common might they have been in the UK at the end of WWI.

All our traditional industries used wooden barrels so their use seems to be limited to oil and petrol and such. Or things like grease but that was probably stored in smaller containers. I know that pre-WWII the British army used those horrible square flimsy petrol cans that in the western desert we quickly got rid of once a supply of captured Jerry cans became available.

The kinds of industries I'm representing on my layout are highly traditional so any oil drums might only be used in railway sheds/workshops. Any thoughts on how common or uncommon they'd be in 1919 ish?

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Oil was usually kept in an ‘oil store’, with drum stands/shelf, rather than just in a drum somewhere about the place. I think this was to control fire risk and prevent pilferage, as well as to make it simple to draw-off the required amount. It’s an expensive consumable, so quite tight controlled from a cost viewpoint. Even quite simple loco sheds sometimes had a room set aside for this.


In more modern depots, you sometimes see drums of grease, rather than oil, sometimes on a trolley with a grease gun, sometimes waiting for use - that is for packing bearings.

 

So, I share the scepticism that I think you are expressing about drums in model engine sheds.

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8 minutes ago, Martin S-C said:

Probably photo evidence is where I need to head off to. Thing is I can only ever remember seeing oil drums in photos of model engine sheds, never real ones!

 

There will be a reason for that.

 

On the other hand, the Midland was using petroleum for brae van and signal lamps from at least 1882 - put "petroleum" into the Midland Railway Study Centre catalogue search

 

4 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

Oil was usually kept in an ‘oil store’, with drum stands/shelf, rather than just in a drum somewhere about the place. I think this was to control fire risk and prevent pilferage, as well as to make it simple to draw-off the required amount. It’s an expensive consumable, so quite tight controlled from a cost viewpoint. Even quite simple loco sheds sometimes had a room set aside for this.

 

This sort of thing, dated 1883:

 

28524-069.jpg

[Embedded link to catalogue image of Midland Railway Study Centre Item 28524-069.]

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Yes, the steam-era oil store where crews would fill their lubricating cans is a thing I've encountered a lot and if its not a container hidden in a building its a largish tank on a raised pedestal often within a fenced off area or railings. Grease is certainly the sort of thing that might get delivered in drums, but equally it would have been delivered in barrels in ye olden days.

There's this thing that to me shouts "1960s!" or later when I see oil drums on models so I will probably not use any in a 1919 scene just in order that that mood isn't invoked, even if there was a legitimate use for a few at that time.

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What about paraffin for sundry lamps and small stoves and "proper" lamp oil for railway signal lamps, head/tail lamps and handheld lamps? I gather lamp oil was not quite the same thing as paraffin.

 

That must have been delivered by rail in some kind of containers.

 

Lamp oil would have been stored in dedicated lamp huts of course, for the sorts of reasons already set out above - so not visible in the open so much.

 

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Oil stores at loco sheds carried several grades, I think typically a paraffin-type* oil for both lamps and cleaning locos, a medium lubricating oil, and a heavier lubricating oil for ‘steam side’ use. The names of these oils changed a bit down the years, and at one stage ‘petroleum’ I think meant any mineral oil, irrespective of flash point, used to distinguish it from things like whale oil and vegetable oils.
 

There was very tight legislation about storage and use of low flashpoint oils (going from memory, IIRC <73 degreesF, because it had been mis-sold and mis-used as lamp oil in homes and factories, leading to some terrible fires (imagine using something pretty close to what we now call petrol in a wick or vaporising burner lamp indoors!). But, I don’t think such low flashpoint oils were part of the loco shed set.

 

Lamp huts, I think only carried lamp oil, but the S&T probably kept a drum of whatever stuff they used to lubricate outdoor mechanisms in some too.

 

The historical naming of oils, especially what gradually became ‘petrol’ is very complicated and confusing, as I have learned while studying early internal combustion engines. Look up the word ‘naptha’ if you want to see the scope of the traps that it sets.

 

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I'm pretty sure I have seen lamp oil and other oil containers that reminded me of small milk churns - the parallel sided later kind , not the early conical kind - but after a quick trawl through my picture library I can't find any examples. Its possible I'm thinking of a 'kettle' style large tin jar with an open lip or top. Prior to the invention of the steel oil drum such liquids must have been conveyed in wooden barrels like every other liquid (palatable or otherwise). I don't see cost-concious railway companies spending money on specific containers for all manner of sundries when existing ones would do.

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12 minutes ago, Martin S-C said:

drum such liquids must have been conveyed in wooden barrels l


They were, and if you Google for pictures of the Scottish shal oil industry, you will get to see fousands of ‘em, and a tiny number of very early steel barrels.

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5 hours ago, Harlequin said:

What about paraffin for sundry lamps and small stoves and "proper" lamp oil for railway signal lamps, head/tail lamps and handheld lamps? I gather lamp oil was not quite the same thing as paraffin.

 

That must have been delivered by rail in some kind of containers.

 

Lamp oil would have been stored in dedicated lamp huts of course, for the sorts of reasons already set out above - so not visible in the open so much.

 

 

Yes, taking my post about the Midland "petroleum" lamps (and open metal jugs for pouring) and galvanised corrugated iron huts with @Nearholmer's disquisition on the linguistic history of oils, I think what you are describing is what the Midland meant.

 

As to delivery, in 1913 the Midland built two tank wagons for petroleum:

 

64010.jpg

 

[Embedded link to catalogue thumbnail of Midland Railway Study Centre Item 64010; see also R.J. Essery, Midland Wagons Vol. 2 (OPC, 1980) pp. 14-17].

 

These were service vehicles, i.e. for the company's internal use, not traffic vehicles. Private owner tank wagons to the relevant RCH specification were used for commercial transport. But it seems improbable that liquid was decanted from these tanks into local stores. Perhaps they were used between the supplier and some central distribution depot at Derby?

 

On the linguistic point, this locomotive did not run on what we would call petrol:

 

1592862850_GERT192-4-0No.760Petrolea.jpg.e23910194fad5c4b617df0a186f2f15f.jpg

 

Anyway, what we call petrol is more formally petroleum spirit of petroleum ether, obtained by fractional distillation of petroleum; petroleum being just the fancy term for crude oil.

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