Railway World
Volume 31 (1970)

Key file

Number 360 (May 1970)

Mark B. Warburton. Resignalling at Bristol. 1—the 1935 scheme. 194-9.
Extraordinary anchronism in that colour light signals replicated semaphore signals and the signal box replicated semaphore working in that each signal or point had a separate push-pull lever. Illuminated panels showed train positions.

G.M. Kichenside. Resignalling at Bristol. 1—the 1970 scheme. 200-1.

A.B. Macleod. IoW experiment. 204.
The Southrn Railway transported an E4 class 0-6-2T No. 2510 to the Isle of Wight with cut down chimney, but was found to be too large for the Ryde to Ventnor route and was restricted to working between Sandown and Cowes before being returned to the mainland.

30 years ago. 204
Former Watlington & Princes Risborough Railway Sharp Stewart 2-4-0T, bought by the GWR in 1883 and given No. 1384 and sold to the Weston, Clevedon & Portishead Railway in 1911: pictured thereon, still carrying GWR number and with American-type end balcony coach.

R.H. Dunn. The Severn Valley Railway. 205-10.
Both the original Severn Valley Railway which received the Royal Assent on 20 August 1853 and the beginnings of the preserved railway are described. Sir Morton Peto invested nearly £250.000 in the original line which became part of the Great Western on 1 July 1872. Sir John Fowler was the Chief Engineer. The Victoria Bridge is the major civil engineering work and was built by the Coalbrookdale Company.

A Barrister. Closures and the law. 212+
Warwickshire versus British Railways Board concerning closure of line from Tyseley to Bearley West Junction.

Cecil J. Allen. By rail and cabgle in Switzerland. Locomotive running past and present—No. 212. 216-21.

G. Unseld.  The Swiss Federal Railways today. 222-5.

John Marshall. The Chur-Arosaa line—an engineering marvel. 226-9

Letters. 230-2.

River tanks. P.J. Lynch. 221
Mr Lambert's interesting article on the River tanks and the subsequent correspondence recalls to mind a suggestion I put forward about 20 years ago, when working in the Fenchurch Street District office of the Eastern Region, that the Southern Region Class W tanks should be tried on the Southend line.
The motive power "situation on the Tilbury line was dreadful at the time; experienced fitters were almost non-existent at Plaistow, the main depot, and we were so short of firemen that newcomers hardly out of short trousers were having to be sent out on same of the most important trains. I believe that the genuine LT&SR 4-4-2 tanks had been withdrawn or sent elsewhere by then but there were still numerous LMS built examples. Time without number they would set off for Southend with 13 coaches only to fail on Laindon Bank. Immediately, of course, following services began to pile up behind and in the peak they were running every few minutes. Cumulative delays became monumental and it was mortifying to read in the Control log of the number of times the local fire brigade had been called out to provide water for locomotives caught in the queue. This was the situation when I put forward my suggestion working on the theory that although it probably would not receive approval anything was worth a try.
The answer soon came back; as a result of the Sevenoaks accident the Southern Region Class W 2-6-4 tanks were absolutely prohibited from working passenger trains. As far as I know the two and three cylinder 2-6-4T locomotives on the Tilbury caused no trouble on the road so far as instability was concerned, for all their run-down condition, and we just had to soldier on with an ailing fleet.

River tanks. Arthur Ll. Lambert. 221 
May I suggest that Mr Willox's letter regarding the Southern Rivers is a typical illustration after so long an interval of the departmental loyalties which, very rightly, existed during the controversy which followed their two major derailments of August 1927.
In my article, I tried to put both points of view, but also felt bound to tell of the findings of the MoT Inspecting Officers, which entirely vindicated the locomotive design as such. However, no-one could dispute that the class was track sensitive, but equally, no-one can doubt that, had these derailments not taken place, but had there merely been more complaints of serious rolling, the CME's Dept would eventu- ally have affected a cure. What they had done in 1926 had been to try to steady the engines through the carrying wheels. Too late, this remedy proved to be ineffective, though admittedly no work on the matter seems to have been done during the summer of 1927, as it should have been, to try to find a cure. What had not been done was an alteration to the suspension of the coupled wheels, and this might well have been a fruitful site for experimentation. While the springs were probably perfectly able to deal entirely satis- factorily with the tender design, with an extra 5 tons or so of filled side tank having been slung outboard at each side, though not all of which was theoretically carried on the coupled axles, in movement most would have been at some time or other; it would appear they were too resilient, and could probably with advantage have been made appreciably stiffer. In defence of the Rivers, it should be pointed out that they were, for their weight, very kind to the track, and any increase in the harshness of their springing would have caused yet more damage to already deficient track. I was very interested to learn that there were after all complaints of rolling on the Central Section in 1926, but can only suggest in amplification of what Mr Willox says, that they could not have been put through official channels to top management, otherwise they would have been put before one or other of the MoT inquiries. Incidentally,l have also recently been given evidence of a further derailment, similar to that of No A800 at Maidstone East, to No A 795, at New Cross Gate on April 22, 1927.
With the greatest respect for Mr Willox's professional knowledge and experience, I must take him up on the point he makes about the "comparatively slight defects" found in the track at Sevenoaks, which remark is in line with that of the Chairman of the SR at the 1928 Annual General Meeting, for which he had doubtlessly been briefed. It was not the amount of vertical deflection which caused the derailment, but its continued repetition, co-inciding roughly with the period of the locomotive's roll, to increase its angularity successively, until the downward movement of the axle box was stopped by the keep, the wheel tread thus losing contact with the rail head. As is usual in these affairs, the Ministry's Inspecting Officer saw the truth of the matter, and said the degree of the defects in the track was "objectionable". By his own submitted report Mr Willox admits that all was not well with SR track, bringing in besides the damage by heavy locomotives, that caused by the unsprung weight of nose-suspended electric motors, then also recently intro- duced on the Eastern Section. This I had not mentioned because speeds were much lower in the suburban area and not relevant to my tale of woe. Nor did I feel I needed to dwell in detail on Col Mount's criticism of the track at Bearsted, but this was in fact a shocking condemnation of the attitude of the (civil) Engineers Department as a whole. All right, so the cutting at Bearsted was a notorious soft spot (and all the more reason why the drainage would have been investigated, certainly in 1924 when a lot of work was done to try to get rid of the clay being pumped), but the formation between Weeford's Siding and Riverhead was on chalk embankment, compacted over more than 60 years, overlying a deep gravel layer above more chalk, and you cannot have a much more solid and better drained bed than that! The root of the immediate trouble must thus have been higher up-in the ballast. Moreover, the root of the general trouble was that those in authority, and responsible, simply had no idea what was happening to their track in Kent, following two years under considerably increased loadings compared with previously. That painstaking investigations and reports such as Mr Willox's were pushed under the carpet at lower levels was in itself a reason for strong criticism of the top administration of the department. I have already said that the real villian was probably the weather, due to the continuing rain throughout the summer, but this was only as a last straw on top of a too sensitive vehicle and track which "lacked the essential attribute of permanent way".
Next Mr Willox says he could have pointed out equivalent defects on any other main line a similar distance out of London. I would not dream of disputing what he has said although none of Sir John Pringle's remarks on permanent way at Sevenoaks, or the Western Section, or on the LNER are compatible with this general thesis. But the salient argument against Mr Willox's statement is that such defects did not exist on the GN main line, either on the titivated test section or on the way to and from it; at any rate neither of the River Class engines concerned found one, as they must assuredly have so done if it existed, for A890 in particular, according to contemporary report, gave a sparkling performance out and back. This is anyway just what one would expect on a foreign line in the presence of a "foreign" CME.
Lastly, I must quarrel with Mr Willox's statement that it only took a year or so to put the SR track into a condition as good as any of the other grouped companies. I doubt if it ever became that anyway, but I do remember in particular that the track down Hildenborough bank, when I first travelled regularly over it in 1930 at speeds up to 70mph, and still with 45ft lengths of rail for much of the way, was remarkably rough. Indeed, the long curved cutting north of Hildenborough station continued to spew out ever increasing amounts of pumped clay until 1936/7, when early examples of blanketing procedure stopped it for a couple of decades.
Regarding Mr Wilson-Jones' letter, I am afraid I am not competent to write about the Fowler 2-6-4Ts of the LMS, or of their Stanier or Fairburn derivatives. My only forte, if it exists at all, is the first 18 years of the life of the Southern Railway. However, I can say that the two designs on LMS and Southern were conceived for entirely different purposes. The LMS variety was produced for working suburban or longer distance local traffic, while the SR design was that of of an express engine, even though its driving wheels were of rather small diameter judged by standards elsewhere, and necessitated high piston speeds on cylinders of fairly long stroke. While average speeds on the SR in the 1920s were generally low, maxima where circumstances allowed were quite high, and the Rivers were capable of attaining anything required, witness the 83mph on virtually level track of the three-cylindered River Frome during the Offord trials. The Rivers were thus hardly a flop. Admittedly, the concept of the express passenger tank engine was very nearly a thing of the past by 1927, and accidents or not, they would very likely have been rebuilt later on, as were the Brighton Baltics, but all the 130 two-cylindered and 42 three-cylindered locomotives of this general design were still in service when twilight came to steam on Southern Region a decade ago, by which time the oldest examples were approaching 45 years of age.
Also I can say that the LMS, at the time their 2-6-4Ts were on the stocks, had had similar trouble with derail- ments of the Midland 0-6-4Ts, so that these had to be taken off passenger workings. On the other hand, the Southern never had an anxious moment with the five J class tanks of the same wheel formula, which spent all their lives on SE&CR metals. Yet the Drummond M7 0-4-4Ts of the LSWR had to be taken off the Exeter-Plymouth line in their early days at the beginning of the 1900s because of derail- ments, while an engine of the same design was involved in a fatal accident at Raynes Park, when at speed too fast for permanent way under repair, in 1933. Finally, in answer to Mr Wilson-Jones, I suggest that because a later generation was in the managerial chairs, there seems to have been no objection at all raised on the Southern Region, to work of the type for which they were designed being performed either by the Brighton-built Fairburn 2-6-4Ts at the end of the 1940s, or by the BR Standard Class 4 2-6-4Ts during the ensuing decade. Since my article appeared, I have had some very interesting correspondence, in some of which I have been corrected regarding the breakdown cranes used to clear the wreckage at Sevenoaks. The two short-jibbed cranes were not 33 tonners, as suggested, but were in fact standard Cowans Sheldon design of a capacity as low as 10 tons, although this seems not to have been entirely honoured then or at any other time; for instance, to rerail the coaches at Sevenoaks entailed full 15 ton lifts at an appreciable radius, certainly up to 16ft. The SE&CR possessed only one of these cranes, so the other must have been LB&SCR in origin, which owned two.

River tanks. R.W. Sheppard. 222
Further to Mr Lambert's excellent articles and subsequent correspondence on the River tanks, I well remember as a small boy seeing an LMS 2-6-4T for the first time and upon telling my father of this he was horrified that the lordly LMS should build engines to such a potentially dangerous design. He told me of the Sevenoaks accident which he said was due to the surge of water in the half empty tanks. However, his fears were without foundation.
Having read the report of the Ministry of Transport inquiry into the Sevenoaks accident I am in no doubt as to the cause, it was the state of the track which was unfit to carry any heavy engine at speed. This is borne out by Gresley's investigation of the engine, during the course of which the great engineer ran the locomotive over crossovers at speed without derailment, and was obviously satisfied that it was satisfactory as a vehicle.

Number 367 (December 1970)

Cecil J. Allen. Some unusual performers. Locomotive running past and present—No. 219. 528-31,
Performance tables of 16.36 Livertpool Street to Cambridge stopping only a t Audley End behind Class 37 No. 6700; a special from Salisbury to Exeter hauled by two Class 33 on the mainly single track main line which managed to do it in 87 minutes for the 88.7 miles; Class 42 Warship No. 813 Diadem on Waterloo to Salisbury when high maxima (100 mph and 101 mph) were attained; from Salisbury to Waterloo behind No.  817 Foxhound when maxima in excess of 90 mph were reached and a class 31 No. 5654 hauled a Deltic and its train from Hitchin to Peterborough and covered the 44.45 miles in 40.21 minutes/seconds

C.P. Atkins.Post-war North American steam power—Part two. 532-7.

London Transport's C69 stoc: new trains fot the Circle and Hammersmith & City Line. 538-9

Around Lucerne.540-1

The great little trains of Wales. 540-7

Brian Perren. Sleep your way by Inter-City: a survey of BR's sleeping car services. 548-53.

Christmas revels.
1 — Ixion. The Euston lament. 558
2 — Margaret Walker. Festiniog nightmare. 559

[Book reviews]

Bourne's London & Birmingham Railway. David & Charles. 48pp. Reviewed by A.B.M.
John Bourne's famous series of lithographs prepared during the construction of the London & Birmingham railway was published in 1839. They were remarkably detailed and portrayed scenes on the line during construction and after its opening. The originals were coloured but in the latest in the David & Charles series of reprints which reproduces 37 of the Boume plates, printing is in monochrome. For students of early railway engineering this reprint gives a concise idea of how the early railways were built, for the plates show clearly the laborious manual effort needed in construction. The plates have been printed on one side of the sheet only so that they may be removed and mounted if required. This weighty volume will appeal more to the connoisseur than the average railway enthusiast and it might have had more appeal if the plates had been reproduced smaller to allow the book to fit into an average sized bookcase. The numbering of the plates and an index would have enhanced the book.

A picture history of the Somerset & Dorset Railway. Robin Atthill. David & Charles.112pp. . Reviewed by M.J.
The Somerset & Dorset was an interesting railway for it shared affinities with both the Midland and London & South Western, later, of course, the LMS and the Southern, even though it had its own management and its own workshops. It set a precedent for BR by painting its coaches and locomotives blue. Alas the S&D was one of the curious types of line disliked by accountants and economists because it formed a useful cross-country link but did not really carry enough traffic to keep it alive. It was a sad day when it closed but fortunately photographers over the years and, in particular, Ivo Peters during the last 20 years, have recorded many aspects of the line on film; in this well-produced album, Mr Atthill has assembled about 150 photographs from the earliest days until closure which will delight... Captions are generally adequate and informative and the album can be recommended without hesitation

Symphony in steam. Colin D. Garrat. Blandford Press. 193pp. Reviewed by K.N.J.
The Blandford Press, over the last few years, have produced a number of railway albums in colour, mostly derived from paintings portraying livery details and general colour rendering. Now comes an album entirely in colour from transparencies all taken by the author, which cover a range of subjects from Britain, France and Germany. The album section comprises some 98 pages and is divided into six sections which, bearing in mind the title of the book, are known as movements—prelude, scherzo, nocturne, episode, funeral march and finale. The remainder of the book is devoted to descriptions of the illustrations and to essays on preserved and industrial lines. To produce an album entirely in colour is a tall order, for so much more in the original photographs has to be just right to obtain the best effect. Colour in itself does not make a bad photograph into a good one, and colour is not always better than black and white. Some of the photographs in this book would have been better had they been taken on black and white film, for in the particular conditions the colour has been lost.
Photographs portray not only trains in action but detailed shots of components, smoke, shed scenes, viaducts, tunnels, signals and scrap yards. There is a certain amount of location repetition and this reviewer would have preferred to see a more selective assembly with some of the mediocre shots weeded out. Nevertheless, it is a commendable attempt to produce something different and at a reasonable price.-

Minor railways of England and their locomotives 1900-1939 George Woodcock. Norwich: Goose & Son 192pp. Reviewed by MJ
Although much has been written on the locomotives of the major British railway concerns, published information on the smaller railways is often hard to find or even non- existent and George Woodcock has set out to remedy this difficulty in his book which describes 24 minor railways of England and their motive power. Not all were light railways in the strict sense of the term, for a few were built by Act of Parliament rather than under the authority of a light railway order. The treatment for each railway is similar with about four to eight pages of text covering the history of the line and description in text of the locomotives. Illustrations from photographs and line drawings are dis- persed through the text which is printed by offset reproduc- tion. Unfortunately, too many of the photographs are poorly reproduced, a fault which could stem from the originals which were presumably included for their interest value rather than their technical perfection.-M.J.

The GWR Stars, Castles and Kings- Part 2. 1930-1965. O.S. Nock David & Charles. 160pp. Reviewed by H.T.S.B.
As the age of steam passes into history, it becomes more and more difficult to find new facts to present. The author has managed to give us quite a few in this book, although the reader will for the greater part of the book feel that he has read it all somewhere before. Those of us who loved the GWR will not mind this, and are happy to read of the great exploits of the Stars, Castles and Kings over and over again. The greatest merit of this book is the revelation of wealth of back-room information which it gives us. Few of the photographs are new, but most of them are good. though it is a pity that that of 4079 leaving Paddington on an lan Allan special is captioned as the sixtieth anniversary special of May 9, 1964, which it is not. Victor Welch's impression of the GW Pacific that never was is quite delightful. It is a salutary thought to read in the author's preface that in 12 years of regular travelling between Bath and London in post-war years there was not a single case of locomotive failure. I wonder if the same could be said of the diesel era?
The story is, as usual, well told by Mr Nock, though one wonders whether the absurd attempt at streamlining really came about in such a casual and light-hearted way as he describes—but it is a good apologia for the final result. There will certainly be a copy of the book on my bookshelf.

Loco Profile 3—Great Western 4-cylinder 4-6-0s. Brian Reed. Profile Publications. 24pp (49-72). Reviewed by H.T.S.B.
Since the GWR had (and has) more devotees than any other railway before or since, this book should find a wider market than its predecessors. Though it is rather on the expensive side, it is packed with facts and statistics, many of which will be new even to the better-read enthusiast, one particularly interesting feature being the unit building cost of each individual Star, Castle and King. There are minor criticisms engendered by a number of relatively small inaccuracies, which should not have been allowed to occur. The diagram captioned "Star Class as built 1907-1910", for example, shows a 4,000 gallon tender attached to the locomotive; on page 52 the renaming date shown for No 4037 (3/3/27) could be blamed on the printer were it not repeated in the caption on page 63; and the diagram of the Abbey Class Star is shown with Castle type outside steampipes, although the only three Abbeys to carry outside steampipes all had the curious elbow type until rebuilt as Castles. Loco Profile 3 is nevertheless a satisfactory book of reference and pleasing to read—and if you are a keen GW fan, worth the money.