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19th century PW is a niche interest. More so, when narrowed down to the L&SWR, and switches and crossings. Even so, I undertook some research into this topic some 25/30 years back, and questions posted on the Forum can touch on the subject.


Unlike later standards, when the entire turnout was regarded in its entirety, switches and crossings were separately defined by the South Western prior to the Kaiser War, and I have included some detail of three switches. The first diagram is incomplete but the essential relationship between the two stages may be seen.




The next plan is for a later generation of rail weight and length.




The third plan relates to the last pattern when ballast usually covered the sleepers and timbers.




And my final picture which has been dated to the last decade of the 19th century clearly shows the characteristics for the early design of S&C. Straight switch rails, three dished tie rods between the switch rails, and covered timbers. Reference to the usual text books will define the Beattie loco and the Adams brake van.




I love it when different information sources all agree!



Edited by Peter Bedding
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Back in the 1990s, when I had the privilege of serving on the SWC Committee, a set of original PW drawings was handed to me for interpretation. As a newly-retired aircraft engineer I might not have been the best qualified, but I knew some chaps in the Circle who were.


After some chasing around we put together a a package of information - photos, drawings and text - which came to be published in the Circular. It was our best shot at providing a comprehensive summary of pre-grouping pre-REA S&C as used by the LSWR, and we invited additional contributions (or corrections). There was only one, a polite acknowledgement! I know of no other attempt, save Martin W's truly excellent Templot series, which produces far better drawings than mine.


The following drawings, I believe, will be self-explanatory.




The 82lb DH rail was certainly in use by 1882, maximum rail length then would have been 24ft. Contemporary photographs reveal a proliferation of rail joints within the length of the turnout with an impact on the position and spacing of timbers, in turn concealed from view by the ballast.


There is an ambiguity regarding the "official" alignment of timbers at the crossing; either at right angles to the nose angle, or right angles to the direction of travel on the major route. It would seem that, like much else, such decisions were safely delegated to the discretion of the District Engineer.




The official set of S&C drawings that came into the possession of the SWC start with the 1891 pattern, using 82lb DH and 87lb rail. Almost certainly the 1891 pattern simply regularised the best features of earlier practice, for which only random records have come to light.






Our research efforts assembled a couple of apparently unreferenced pieces of paper. Taken with the other records the information becomes priceless





The quest for more information had to take a back seat for a couple of years. I see it is now over 15 years since I last put pen to paper. All  helpful contributions will be welcome!



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Many thanks for your reply. I have tried to contact you but without success. Have you a usable point of contact?


Hi Peter,


If it is about trackwork or Templot I would much prefer that you post it on the forum, either here or on the Templot Club forum. If it is something which can't be said on open forum I don't really want to know. Sorry.





Edited by martin_wynne
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