Brake coaches

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Topgun333

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Does it matter which way a half brake coach faces at the back of a train? And how we're such trains turned around at terminus stations?
 
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John Webb

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For main line trains here was usually a brake coach each end of the train, with the brake compartment on the outer end, so there was little need to turn the coaches round. If needed, it could be done using a loco turntable.

Small trains on branch lines would often either use two or three coaches, only one of which would have a brake compartment. The short length allowed the guard to see the whole train from one end. Sometimes a coach with guard's compartment would be put in the middle of the train to allow a view either way.
 

edwin_m

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The "brake at each end" rule went out sometime in the 1960s, and even before that two (I think) coaches could be attached between the brake and the end of the train.

Since then the brake has usually been at one end with the van end towards the end of the train, but it can be anywhere in the formation and was often near the middle on trains serving stations with short platforms, so the guard's accommodation would always be somewhere on the platform. The other time you would often find brakes in the middle was if a train split/joined en route, such as the Cross Country ones at Carstairs.

We've never gone in for turning whole trains in Britain. The only example I can think of was Mallard's train being turned on the triangle at Barkston prior to the record run, which makes me wonder if perhaps the LNER turned its streamliners on triangles at the end of each journey. The Americans seem quite keen on turning trains, at least on the longer transcontinental runs, so the mail and express (parcels) cars are at the front, the coach (seats) in the middle and the sleepers at the back.
 

CatfordCat

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from memory (1970s / 80s) it was more usual (but not a hard and fast rule) for the brake van end to be at the outer end of the train - presumably for passenger convenience.

WCML trains tended to have a full length brake vehicle (BG) at one or both ends.

Sometimes the brake vehicle would end up in the middle though.

Southern Region EMUs from the 4 CIG / BIG era (mid 60s) onward had the brake in the middle of the unit, rather than one at each end (one possible interpretation of 'CIG' was 'Corridor Intermediate Guard' - although as far as I'm aware, nobody is certain)

and of course earlier generations of 2 car EMU and the 2 / 3 car DEMU sets had only one brake which would sometimes be at the front of the train
 

AndrewE

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Does it matter which way a half brake coach faces at the back of a train? And how we're such trains turned around at terminus stations?
I remember brake vehicles commonly having the van adjacent to the rest of the train... it left a quiet haven of a few seats or compartments next to the loco on many otherwise-crowded services! (Recently mentioned elsewhere on this forum, I think.)
I did wonder if it was staff scratching each other's backs, anyway it was very welcome to me & my family.
A
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The "brake at each end" rule went out sometime in the 1960s, and even before that two (I think) coaches could be attached between the brake and the end of the train.
I'm sure that at one time (at least) the rule book said "the guard shall travel in the rearmost brake van on the train" regardless of its actual position.
 
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