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What fast engines would work for a branch line?


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35 minutes ago, GWRSwindon said:

I didn't expect this topic to take off quite like it has, my apologies.

 

In any case, I'm trying to figure out what sort of engines would have worked the Kirk Ronan branch of Awdry's Sodor. He mentions in the companion volume that there is a ferry service between Dublin and Kirk Ronan, with comments by his son seeming to indicate the service terminates at Vicarstown, about 30-40 miles away.

Revd Awdry does not seem to have been a fan of big tank engines. The only one that I can find (a modern addition?) is Belle, a 2-6-4T which is something of a hybrid between a BR Standard 4 and an LMS loco, Stanier or Fairburn.

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It isn't necessarily the speed of the loco, or train - more to do with missing out stops. The GW did this a lot - miss a few stops out and put express code on it.

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On my Plymouth Ocean Quay layout (a seaport terminus on the Stonehouse branch of the Withered Arm), there are (coincidently) still SR West Country locos running express Pullman trains to London. Along with the "new" West Devon Heritage Railway & Museum that (coincidently) is home to all sorts of unusual/other stuff.

 

 

Quote

this was the terminus of the Stonehouse Pool Branch of the LSW Railway, and later the British Rail Southern Region. From 1886 to 1910, the LSWR used the branch for passenger trains from London to meet ocean liners docked at Plymouth (ferries from these quays carried the passengers out to the anchored ocean liners).

 

https://www.carendt.com/small-layout-scrapbook/page-99-july-2010/#Plymouth

 

Or perhaps Millbay Docks?

 

http://www.cornwallrailwaysociety.org.uk/millbay-friary--stonehouse-branch.html

 

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11 minutes ago, Talltim said:

Can’t help feeling there must have been a Gordon class to haul all the trains he did

 

Probably not as far fetched as it sounds. Similar sized relief to Gordon or perhaps Henry is probably the answer for potentially heavily loaded boat trains, as well as being able to take up some of the slack for these overworked engines. With Gordon being effectively an A1, Henry (after rebuilding) sort of a Black 5, a large engine from one of the remaining two Big Four would make sense. I'd actually side with something like the N15, which had a staple diet of boat trains.

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6 hours ago, eastglosmog said:

If the Milford Haven and Neyland branches are the sort of thing you have in mind, then Halls, Counties and Manors would be seen.

Neyland of course wasn't a branch terminus as it was the original terminus of the main line in West Wales and until closure it was where the overnight sleeper from Paddington and a Mail Train terminated.  Hence it always had an allocation of 4-6-0s once such types became the prinicipal power on GWR main line routes.

 

I think one of the nearest equivalents to the OPs question is probably Heysham Harbour but it was of course a much shorter branch than 30 miles.

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Folkestone Harbour?

Dover Marine?

 

OK not 40miles to the main line but that is pushing things I suspect - at least pre-Beeching where it would have been challenging to find somewhere that would warrant a boat service that would be that far from a main line.

 

Edit - or perhaps a little more like the original request Sheerness.

Edited by Andy Hayter
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The ultimate branch lines are the far north line and the Kyle line.  Both met boats,  the distances being 78 and 52 miles from Inverness..  But through expresses not often,  Just slow jellicoe specials

You could put a fast ish loco on.. But Track conditions won't allow speed.

 

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4 hours ago, TheQ said:

The ultimate branch lines are the far north line and the Kyle line.  Both met boats,  the distances being 78 and 52 miles from Inverness..  But through expresses not often,  Just slow jellicoe specials

You could put a fast ish loco on.. But Track conditions won't allow speed.

 

Even Oban which was at the end of the single line from Dunblane through Callander (but now via the NB line via Helensburgh)

It was the haunt of class 5 power during the LMS & BR steam era.

Through trains ran from Glasgow.

Total distance was over 80 miles and the station was adjacent to the ship quay.

EDIT

Locos seen thanks to this earlier post:

Black 5s, Standard 4 & 5, B1 , V2 et al.

Edited by melmerby
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7 hours ago, DavidCBroad said:

30 to 40 miles is stretching it a bit for tank locos, however there were numerous cases of tanks on long runs,  the Clyde Coast boat trains being the most obvious parallel with Caley 4-6-2 Tanks and GSWR 4-6-4 Tanks giving way to LMS 2-6-4T and BR Standard 4MT 2-6-4Ts.  NB wise they had 4-4-0T and 4-4-2T locos replaced largely with V1 and V3 2-6-2T on the best services.

8 hours ago, burgundy said:

I have a vague recollection of a photo showing a 2-6-4 tank heading a Stranraer boat train.

Best wishes 

Eric

 

After some searching, I found a copy of Steam Days November 1996, which contains the picture that I had in mind. It shows a pair of BR class 4 2-6-4 tanks at Glasgow St Enoch, waiting to head the boat train to Greenock Princes Pier for the Empress Voyager in May 1959.  

The leading loco has been finished with white edging to the buffers, white edging to the frames where they show through the front footplate, a red smokebox dart and red smokebox door hinges. I can imagine the howls of protest if anyone ran a standard class 4 looking like that at an exhibition! 

Best wishes 

Eric 

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9 hours ago, LMS2968 said:

I'm not a hundred percent sure on this, but I believe boat trains to Stranraer were worked by Crewe North 5X Jubilees, specially fitted with token apparatus to work over the single line sections.

 

8 hours ago, LNER4479 said:

Pretty certain that it was actually the Kingmoor Jubs that worked these trains forward from Carlisle (the 'Northern Irishman' sleeper being the principal train from the south); also the Clans allocated there. They apparently had detachable token apparatus, rather than permanently fitted.


I believe both statements are true - at different times.

 

Crewe North Jubilees did work the Northern Irishman into Stranraer during WW2 - down train one night, up train the next night, with a return Stranraer-Glasgow trip during the day between. (“Legends of the Glasgow and South Western in LMS Days” by David L. Smith). 20 Crewe North Jubilees were identified as having the bracket fitted for the portable catcher. (“The Jubilee 4-6-0s” by Ray Townsin).

 

Later, in BR days, Kingmoor engines did take  those trains between Carlisle and Stranraer - Jubilees and Clans.

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10 hours ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

The closest parallel that I can find to what the OP is asking for is the GSWR branch down to a port on the Clyde (Edit: Princes Pier, Greenock). I think that those boat trains were hauled by 2-6-4Ts.https://www.railscot.co.uk/img/11/279/

 

1 hour ago, burgundy said:

After some searching, I found a copy of Steam Days November 1996, which contains the picture that I had in mind. It shows a pair of BR class 4 2-6-4 tanks at Glasgow St Enoch, waiting to head the boat train to Greenock Princes Pier for the Empress Voyager in May 1959.  

 

Those were special boat trains run in connection with trans-Atlantic sailings by Cunard and Canadian Pacific liners. The trains were named 'Cunarders' and 'Empress Voyagers' respectively. Passengers were ferried out by Clyde steamer from Princes Pier to the liners lying at anchor at the Tail of the Bank.

 

9 hours ago, DavidCBroad said:

30 to 40 miles is stretching it a bit for tank locos, however there were numerous cases of tanks on long runs,  the Clyde Coast boat trains being the most obvious parallel with Caley 4-6-2 Tanks and GSWR 4-6-4 Tanks giving way to LMS 2-6-4T and BR Standard 4MT 2-6-4Ts.  

 

These were regular scheduled trains run in connection with Clyde steamer sailings. Quite a few commuters travelled from towns like Dunoon and Rothesay to Glasgow, taking trains from Gourock or Wemyss Bay. There were also connections with steamers at Ardrossan (for Belfast and the Isle of Man as well as within the Firth of Clyde) and Fairlie Pier.

 

Tank engines were used on all of these services, as well as some tender locos. As noted, the pre-grouping companies used big tanks on these routes, and these were replaced by LMS 2-6-4Ts, and eventually Standard 4MTs were used as well. Various flavours of LMS tanks appeared – 'limousine cab' Fowlers, Stanier 2-cylinders and Fairburns. There were even a couple of Stanier 3-cylinders trialled in the early 1950s, but they did not stay long.

 

20 hours ago, GWRSwindon said:

Odd scenario, but here goes: assuming you a have a boat train service between a branch line terminus at a seaport and a main line station, what relatively quick tank engine should be chosen, from the entire range of British steam engine classes?

 

You ask about 'relatively quick' tank engines. The 2-6-4Ts could move. I have been behind a couple (one Fairburn, one Standard) doing 80 plus on these services.

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I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the Gravesend West Street branch.

 

Well, actually I'm not, because it must be Britain's most forgotten international shipping terminal*, which was served by Britain's most forgotten boat trains. Here is a picture showing just how grand and glorious these trains were http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/g/gravesend_west_street/index33.shtml  The loco is a C Class 0-6-0 I think. 

 

In his book about Southern Railway branch line trains R W Kidner gives a first hand account of the branch and says that the boat train carriages were famed for being bug-infested!

 

North Kent had other, equally inglorious, piers for other international services too.

 

*NSM Batavier Line to/from Rotterdam or Antwerp, I think from 1921 to 1939, overnight boats used by Amsterdam-London diamond couriers.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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4 hours ago, nick_bastable said:

Newhaven springs to mind 

 

You'll like this photo https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9139774997

 

It certainly wins the "How many different headcode boards can we get on one loco?" contest - even by LBSCR standards its an exotic code!

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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20 hours ago, pH said:

...................................................

 

 

You ask about 'relatively quick' tank engines. The 2-6-4Ts could move. I have been behind a couple (one Fairburn, one Standard) doing 80 plus on these services.

 

I was told when the Standard 4's were coming back from Exeter after working some specials in the area an enthusiast was filming them from a car on the M5.  He asked his father - the driver to keep up with them and was told that they were doing 100mph already and he wasnt going any faster

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Just to clarify, 'Belle' only appears in the television series. Awdry mentions that the North Western Railway used lots of loaned Furness and Midland designs early on.

 

For the Kirk Ronan branch, I'm thinking there might be secondhand engines from when the LMS culled the Knotty and Furness engines. By the 1950s, I think something newer and bigger would be better - probably a Standard 4 tank. 

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On 28/10/2020 at 16:43, LNER4479 said:

What about one of these? Now THAT's what I call a fast, express tank loco (which did indeed work trains to coastal / port destinations)

 

image.png.5039984f7a2dae43c0baaf630c62a84e.png

Oh yes, that's what we're talking about!   t. Enoch to Fairlie pier for a sailing to Campbeltown.

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20 hours ago, GWRSwindon said:

Just to clarify, 'Belle' only appears in the television series. Awdry mentions that the North Western Railway used lots of loaned Furness and Midland designs early on.

 

For the Kirk Ronan branch, I'm thinking there might be secondhand engines from when the LMS culled the Knotty and Furness engines. By the 1950s, I think something newer and bigger would be better - probably a Standard 4 tank. 

 

Perhaps more likely to be something from one of the locomotive building firms. I can't recall any large tanks from North British but Beyer Peacock certainly made some for metre-gauge lines abroad.

 

The Knotty had some nice 0-6-4T locos which would probably do the job as might the Midland 0-6-4T "Flatiron".

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On 27/10/2020 at 19:01, GWRSwindon said:

... what relatively quick tank engine should be chosen, from the entire range of British steam engine classes?

 

1 hour ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

... which would probably do the job as might the Midland 0-6-4T "Flatiron".


I don’t think the ‘flatiron’ would fit. From the Wikipedia entry for the class:


“The class were rough riders at speed. They were liable to oscillate on poor track, which led to a number of derailments.”

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3 minutes ago, pH said:

 


I don’t think the ‘flatiron’ would fit. From the Wikipedia entry for the class:


“The class were rough riders at speed. They were liable to oscillate on poor track, which led to a number of derailments.”

 

Believed to be due to a poor design of tanks which led to the water moving around. Curable.

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