BR Relief Trains

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Whistler40145

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I would like to know what was BR's policy for running Relief Trains?

Did each depot have a certain number of Drivers & Secondmen set aside to accommodate Relief Trains?

I hope someone can assist on this & any further information is a bonus.


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6Gman

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There was no specific allocation for Relief trains. A plan would be drawn up for each bank holiday / special event etc within the limits of pathing / locos / rolling stock / traincrew availability.

Paths and stock were usually the main constraints. Locos were usually available (by using freight locos mainly!) and if a particular traincrew depot was struggling then you kept ringing round until someone could cover it!
 

ChiefPlanner

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BR would not keep "spare" crews for special working on the depot establishement , above and beyond the normal quota.

There were high level budgets for summer and other relief services (e.g to allow 20 x class 31 locos to be released from freight for Summer passenger services to Skegness for example , Canton used to plan for some 37 usage in high summer for Bristol Zoo and Weymouth bucket and spade trips when coal flows were down or during the Miners 2 Week breaks.

The way BR covered extras was the hard work done by Train Crew Supervisors in "finding" crews , Station Supervisors in handling extra workings , signalmen in finding and regulating paths and Control keeping a fatherly eye on this. Was quite easy to arrange ad-hoc extras by and large.
 
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BR organised a relief train to run from St Austell to Plymouth in under an hour!
Several spare DMU's for the Cornish branch lines kept at St Blazey were joined together. St Blazey driver - there was a more flexible pool back then. The area manager asked passengers not to crowd onto the normal service, and promised there would be a seat for everyone on the relief train, which would stop at Par, then non stop to Plymouth. It arrived on the down platform, just before the timetabled train left. Few minutes it crossed over to the up line and in the platform! :D
Impossible on several counts today!! :cry:

Generally relief trains on Bank holidays ran 10 minutes before the scheduled train.
 
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ChiefPlanner

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Generally relief trains on Bank holidays ran 10 minutes before the scheduled train.[/QUOTE]

Sometimes formed of 10x MK1 and a class 47 (no refreshments) - in advance of the Paddington to Swansea.

A fellow Assistant Station Manager once produced a 3 car class 304 for a non stop relief Crewe to Euston one Saturday , in 15 mins - on this occassion LM Control took a firm view on human rights and cancelled the train at Rugby (putting the passengers onto a West Midlands train stopped specially)
 

Whistler40145

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I remember as a kid in the early 1980s when a big Football match was on in London on a Saturday evening & my train to Blackpool North was wedged solid, so we had to stand to Crewe on a Sleeper service, but on arrival, Control had arranged for several 'Splutter Carts' connected together to work a Relief to Preston for a 40 & approx 10 Mark 1s forward to Blackpool & the total passengers didn't even fill the front coach!


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dk1

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Generally relief trains on Bank holidays ran 10 minutes before the scheduled train.
Sometimes formed of 10x MK1 and a class 47 (no refreshments) - in advance of the Paddington to Swansea.

Even that would be unusual today. Yes we do still run additional trains but these are pre-planned days or weeks ahead of known pinch points, but a long distance Intercity train would almost always have some form of catering. I suppose back in the day you would have had to provide a catering vehicle as i don't remember much in the way of at-seat trolley catering until the early 1980s & then really taking off with the Sprinter revolution.
 

ChiefPlanner

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I think the introduction of the Western Region HST fleet brought in the at seat trolley service for both classes - and excellent it was too. Quite right , one of the highlights of Regional Railways was the introduction of on train service to 2 car workings ! (and to some extent on NSE also on routes like Northampton - Euston and even Thameslink for a while)

The ATW and before that Wales and West on board services really did /do add value - not just for the customer , but as a source of potential traincrew...!
 

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Was it usual for no-heat locos to be allocated on Reliefs during Summer months?

Also, would it be unknown to use Relief trains to get locos back to their home depot eg. pairs of locos?


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The only way to cover summer relief trains was to use "no heat" freight 31's and 47's - the deal was to release the locomotives to the "passenger" sectors overnight Friday / Saturday - and to have them back in sight of their weekday work on Sunday evening , so they could be refuelled and checked over (A exam) - coupled 47's were moved Wembley Yard to Old Oak Common or Euston for example , ditto movements came off and returned to Eastleigh Yard or Crewe and Bescot etc MPD.

Another feature was the use of M-F commuter MK1 stock on seaside extras such as the SO Euston - Aberystwyth or Paddington - Paignton , (using the locos above mentioned) - this gave the exotic sight of NSE liveried stock on the Cambrian !
 

merlodlliw

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Ill go further back, Many a time a relief Irish Mail left Holyhead,when the incoming boat was booked full, I recall seeing it go through Rhyl about ten minutes before the Mail.

I also recall seeing Network South East coaches on the Cambrian.
 

4SRKT

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I also recall seeing Network South East coaches on the Cambrian.

That will have been the notorious Northampton 'Cobbler' stock, four sets of which worked one rotation a day between Northampton and Euston behind a class 81-85. On summer weekends if got drafted into Euston > Aberystwyth/Pwllheli workings running in the paths of the two hourly Euston > Shrewsbury service. Nice for passengers to the West Midlands/Wellington/Shrewsbury having their usual nice mk II aircons replaced by the most disreputable stock on the network, not to mention full of very rowdy (and often badly behaved) bashers!
 
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