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Trains that are longer than the passing loop?


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This seemed like the best foum to try and get some advice. Basically I'm looking for an excuse to run whatever trains I like! If/when I build my new layout the main trains will be 5-6 coaches, and the passing loop (its basically a through passing station) will fit this. I have also acquired a Dapol HST (too good to resist) so was planning on running this as a summer holiday special. It'll fit in the fiddle yard okay but will foul the points on the passing loop.

Is/was there ever a prototypical example of this where occassionally a longer train was run that wouldn't fit in the loop? Would this have been allowed? I'm not planning on having it stop at the station or passing other trains, just wizzing through? I'm aware of several example were the HST is too long for the platforms but is this taking it a bit too far........

 

Many thanks

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Guest stuartp

A train longer than the loop isn't a problem provided it doesn't need to cross another train longer than the loop. The loop at Penistone holds about half a dozen coaches, in my time there we had a Class 50-hauled charter through with (I think) 12 on, and numerous ballast trains off the Huddersfield - Clayton West singling project which had to go through to Barnsley to run round.

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I've seen crossing done with a long train and a short train. Both stopped at the entrance signals, then the short train was brought into the loop and stopped before the long train passed through. There are a few more dubious overtaking moves I have seen where a fast short train needs to overtake a long slower train but the loop isn't long enough to get the first train in. What's in the book, what happens and what gets written down weren't always quite the same thing in those days.

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Hi Tom,

 

In such a situation the BR or TOC planners would look at the timetable for the day and diagram longer trains to avoid stalemate situations at passing loops. If late running made such a situation likely then one of the potential problem trains would be held at a suitable passing place for the other to pass by.

 

Cheers

 

Dave  

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As an aside this is exactly why I am a member of RMWeb. Work, family etc prevents me joining a club but RMWeb is my club. Its superb that I can get all this information from so many people, so easily and that people are so helpful. And I suspect this is of us to many other people as well

Maybe one day I can be the one giving advice rather than asking.......

 

Thanks again

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The M&GN happily coped with the situation where both trains were longer than the passing loop. It did involve dividing one of the trains though - which you wouldn't get away with on an HST

 

There is a reference to one of these events in R.H.Clark's book, "A Short History of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway" (Goose, 1967) in which he relates the story of two 14 coach Saturday excursion trains arriving at one of the stations between Spalding and Sutton Bridge.

Both trains were longer than the loop, all the sidings were full.   A telephone call was made to the M&GN's manager, Mr Walker who simply said there was a way of doing it, meanwhile one of the drivers sketched out the moves in the unused Stop Press section of his newspaper.  Apparently the whole operation took just over ten minutes but at one time one of the M&GN's  4-4-0s had to move both trains at once.

 

Another book mentions the density of the traffic on the M&GN on summer Saturdays, bearing in mind it was single track.  Apparently at some times of day there could be one train in motion every 2 miles along the line.

 

David

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There is a reference to one of these events in R.H.Clark's book, "A Short History of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway" (Goose, 1967) in which he relates the story of two 14 coach Saturday excursion trains arriving at one of the stations between Spalding and Sutton Bridge.

Both trains were longer than the loop, all the sidings were full.   A telephone call was made to the M&GN's manager, Mr Walker who simply said there was a way of doing it, meanwhile one of the drivers sketched out the moves in the unused Stop Press section of his newspaper.  Apparently the whole operation took just over ten minutes but at one time one of the M&GN's  4-4-0s had to move both trains at once.

It's called a 'double saw bye' meet - see the description here - http://www.sdmrra.org/Odds-n-Ends/saw_bye.htm

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Imagine if you tried to recreat that at a show. You'd have all sorts of people telling you it can't be done, and it shouldn't happen. It just go to show that when needs must things can be done! Its not dissimilar to something I was reading about my other interest Coombe Junction, where in steam days they managed to get two trains to pass, run round and depart using only the single run round loop. Apparently it involved the first train running round the pulling out the platform before reversing (with all passengers on) into the other track to allow the second train in. Again not sure it'd be allowed now

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I've seen crossing done with a long train and a short train. Both stopped at the entrance signals, then the short train was brought into the loop and stopped before the long train passed through.

It can be a bit more complex than this with semaphore signals, because the trains would need to stop 440yards clear of the pointwork.  So if there aren't outer home signals then the long train would be held at the previous block.  Until recently there wasn't an up outer home at Ropley (on the Mid Hants) so the down train (from Medstead) had to be held at the down outer home until the up train was stationary in the station.

 

Bill

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It is perfectly possible - and used to happen frequently when we had longer trains on a regualr basis - to have one which is longer than a loop cross a shorter one which is entirely within the loop.  The requirement is that the shorter train must be entirely within the fixed signalling and overlap or locking distance so that the points can be released at both ends and the signals cleared for the longer train.  Subject to local working arrangements it didn't matter otherwise which train arrived first but the long one of course had to depart first!

 

The crossing of two trains both longer than the loop can be done as has been noted but is not a move permitted in the UK within the fixed signalling that I am aware of.  Assuming there is fixed signalling then train 1 must detach its tail outside a stop signal and draw forward so that it is entirely within the loop.  Train 2 enters the loop.  Train 1 draws forward to a point clear of the section signal.  Train 2 draws forward, couples to the tail of Train 1 and draws that back to the loop.  Train 2 detaches from the tail of Train 1, reverses and must stop before any part has passed the section signal and yet is clear of the loop points, then proceeds the other way through the loop and goes on its way.  Train 1 head then backs into the loop and re-couples to its tail before proceeding.

 

This move can be accomplished in locations where there may be no fixed signalilng such as remote loops in places such as Australia where trains operate under radio control from one base or are worked under paper "Train Orders"

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Even freight operations work like this so trains too long for the sidings. The Bishops' Stortford stone train involved it being split in to two on the mainline, the first half being drawn into the sidings before the loco returned to the platform for portion two.

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It can be a bit more complex than this with semaphore signals, because the trains would need to stop 440yards clear of the pointwork.  So if there aren't outer home signals then the long train would be held at the previous block.  Until recently there wasn't an up outer home at Ropley (on the Mid Hants) so the down train (from Medstead) had to be held at the down outer home until the up train was stationary in the station.

 

Bill

Alas no Bill - what Signal Engineer said he saw with both trains stopped at the entrance signals is the correct way of doing it.  Your comment about trains needing to stop 440yds clear of pointwork is totally unrealistic as many most signal line crossing loops were not that long and in normal train crossing (which this effectively is at a passing loop) Outer Home Signals don't come into it at all).  Basically there is no such thing as 440yd Clearing Point in most instances on single line.

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Thats fantastic. Its almost worth deliberately making my passing loop too short just to include that move! 

 

That is an American move though - not sure it would be permissable over here (although it depends on your era perhaps) and I would guess it was only freight rather than passenger trains that it happens to.

 

I was on a railtour earlier this that was stopped at Exeter with a severe wheel flat having had a stuck brake for about 20 miles until we reached Crediton and it freed when we hit the pointwork there.  We limped into Exeter St Davids and we were all detrained whilst the train reversed into Riverside Yard to drop out the defective carriage and reassemble the rake.  It took about 2 hours for some reason even though we had top and tail 67's.

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Well, the M&GN (as mentioned in my post above) is clearly an English railway. According to Clark's book it WAS NOT UNCOMMON for it to have to do these kind of moves in the summer. The M&GN method involved only one train splitting and does seem (to me) a bit simpler than the American method described above.

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Some of the loops on the North Devon line (between Copplestone and Umberleigh) were too short for some of the longer holiday trains. It is said - tho' I was never there to witness it - that at Portsmouth Arms for example the first train to arrive would pull forward in the loop and then reverse into the siding (with points clipped accordingly) until it was clear of the single-line, after which the second train would be admitted to the opposite loop.

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Some of the loops on the North Devon line (between Copplestone and Umberleigh) were too short for some of the longer holiday trains. It is said - tho' I was never there to witness it - that at Portsmouth Arms for example the first train to arrive would pull forward in the loop and then reverse into the siding (with points clipped accordingly) until it was clear of the single-line, after which the second train would be admitted to the opposite loop.

I was also thinking of the North Devon line, which was considered a secondary main line, for an example of this.

Kings Nympton was another station where, if two long trains were required to pass, the up train had to set back into a long siding off the loop.

 

 

cheers

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A similar story is recounted in John Thomas' 'The West Highland Railway' (page 142). Two excursion trains were due to pass at Ardui, only when they both arrived, it was found both were too long for the loop. Fortunately being double-headed, the uncoupling of one of the lead engines, and depositing into a siding, meant there were a couple of inches now spare to allow very careful passing to take place.

 

That might make an interesting operation for a layout...

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Hi

 

A twist on this sort of things happens every summer on the line to Mallaig. The steam hauled Jacobite which is at least 7 coaches runs in to Glenfinnan and hangs back out of the loop on the line from Fort William. The 156 from Mallaig runs in on the opposite line then the Jacobite draws forward and stops with the rear coaches in the platform to allow the other train to pass.

 

Should mention for those that don't know the line is worked using RETB.

 

Regards

 

Mike

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