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Double-headed diesels

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fairysdad

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Idly flicking through the copy of Railway Magazine I keep in my bathroom for such an event ('nuff said), and I notice a picture of a couple of 37s hauling a nuclear flask. Aside from the slightly comical image of two 37s hauling a single wagon - something I'm sure there's a perfectly rational explanation for - I got to wondering about double-headers.

Is there somebody in the second loco? In this particular image, it looks as if both locos are working as there's exhaust coming from both, so is there a driver in it? If so, how do the two drivers communicate? (The same could be said for steam double-headers, where there is more obviously somebody in the second loco.)

And, also, what about trains that are topped-and-tailed where the rear loco is working as well (other than HSTs (which in this instance could probably be considered a multiple unit), does that actually happen?)?
 
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headshot119

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37s have multi working equipment, jumpers are plugged in between the locomotives allowing the driver in the front locomotive to control all the locomotives coupled together.

Top and Tailed is slightly different, some freight wagons like the RHTT sets have the required cables so that both locomotives can work in multiple, other times the rear loco is simply left idling, or switched off.
 

ac6000cw

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My understanding is that (because of the nature of the cargo) nuclear flask trains always have two locos - it's 'get you home' insurance, basically.

Most of the current loco fleet can at least 'MU' within the class e.g. 37+37, 66+66, but not always with other types of locos.

Occasionally you get several locos on a train because some are 'hitching a ride' to move them to another location e.g. for weekend engineering train work.

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If so, how do the two drivers communicate? (The same could be said for steam double-headers, where there is more obviously somebody in the second loco.)

In steam days - using whistle signals, also used to communicate with the guard in the brake van at the back of the train e.g. to apply and release the van brake on freight trains without continuous brakes - thankfully banished now - and with drivers of rear end 'banking engines' used to push freights up steep gradients.

For modern traction, replace whistle with horn :)
 
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jopsuk

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There's a whole host of different multiple working "standards" that locomotives (and indeed units) have been fitted with, and not always consistent within a class (47s certainly had different systems).

As said, if at either end of a train the carriages need some sort of system to transmit the control signals- the early work on this being the Edinburgh-Glasgow Class 27s (that rather oddly replaced DMU operation!).

Then there were Southern region Class 33 and 73 that could work in multiple (all powered up) with EMUs
 

6Gman

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Broadly speaking two compatible locos can work "in multiple", one crew.

Two incompatible locos can work "in tandem", crew on each loco.

I recall one story of a diesel loco working Carlisle to Preston with a steam loco coupled inside to provide steam heating. Unfortunately the diesel driver forgot he'd got the (rather rundown) steam loco coupled behind him and hurtled along at high speed, frightening the life out of the crew on the steam loco!
 

AndrewE

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Broadly speaking two compatible locos can work "in multiple", one crew.

Two incompatible locos can work "in tandem", crew on each loco.

I recall one story of a diesel loco working Carlisle to Preston with a steam loco coupled inside to provide steam heating. Unfortunately the diesel driver forgot he'd got the (rather rundown) steam loco coupled behind him and hurtled along at high speed, frightening the life out of the crew on the steam loco!

Actually it's the other way round, drivers of steam locos assisting failed diesels were warned not to exceed the diesel's permitted maximum speed!
 

kermit

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Great story here about 37s in multiple clearing snow

http://www.davidheyscollection.com/page77.htm

It's my privilege to be old enough to have seen double headed Class 50s (then known as D400s) going full pelt on Euston - Glasgow expresses before the WCML was electrified all the way. A fine sight indeed!
 

alexl92

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My understanding is that (because of the nature of the cargo) nuclear flask trains always have two locos - it's 'get you home' insurance, basically.

Pretty much - basically, you don't want a flask of nuclear waste just sitting around for 3 hours until the failed train can be rescued.
 

Ash Bridge

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Great story here about 37s in multiple clearing snow

http://www.davidheyscollection.com/page77.htm

It's my privilege to be old enough to have seen double headed Class 50s (then known as D400s) going full pelt on Euston - Glasgow expresses before the WCML was electrified all the way. A fine sight indeed!

What a brilliant read I really enjoyed that, many thanks for providing the link, I agree with you regarding the double headed class 50's on the Anglo Scottish services, not just the sight but also the sound they produced was just awesome, as much as I admire the 37's to me they just don't quite compare to a Class 40 or 50.
 

Strathclyder

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Great story here about 37s in multiple clearing snow

http://www.davidheyscollection.com/page77.htm

It's my privilege to be old enough to have seen double headed Class 50s (then known as D400s) going full pelt on Euston - Glasgow expresses before the WCML was electrified all the way. A fine sight indeed!

A fine sight and sound indeed. :)

[youtube]?v=HilWad3t9gg[/youtube]
 

70014IronDuke

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Great story here about 37s in multiple clearing snow

http://www.davidheyscollection.com/page77.htm

It's my privilege to be old enough to have seen double headed Class 50s (then known as D400s) going full pelt on Euston - Glasgow expresses before the WCML was electrified all the way. A fine sight indeed!

Funny thing, I certainly remember seeing the Cl 50s in pairs. I remember watching a pair leave Preston in, I think 1974 - probably on the 06.25? ex Euston - Glasgow Central. I think I was even on the footplate of a pair once from Glasgow Central (though it may have just been a single loco) - but I never really noticed or got inspired by the noise.

Getting back to the OP's original question, BR did use some classes in pairs at various times - but they mostly failed in terms of costs per time saved.

Most notably, 2 x 37s were tried on Paddington-Swansea and Bristol trains for a while in 1966 summer - I think that was dropped within 3 months or so, a single Cl 52 took about 5 mins more to Cardiff. (Mind you, the extra power of the 37s on the start-stop and over the hill to Swansea was probably useful).

A bit later (1970 or 71?) Warships were tried on the most important Pad - Plymouth trains. Not sure how long that lasted before deemed a failure.

Then there were the 2 x Metrovicks on Manchester-Central - St Pancras expresses from 1958-60. I don't know if they could improve on the Scot or Brit schedules, but I suspect they only made it in about 50% of the journeys without catching fire. :) (I did see some, so I suppose a few made it!)

I also remember seeing photos of 2 x 26 (or 2 x 27?) on Glasgow-Aberdeen trains, I think, in very early editions of Modern Railways, but I don't know if that was just an experimental run, or if such was tried on a regular basis.

Going back further in time, 10000 + 10001 were used on the Royal Scot sometimes in the 1950s- not sure if they had jumper cables or needed two crews.
 

ac6000cw

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When I was a teenager in the early 1970s in the Birmingham area, pairs of Class 25s would work some of the summer Saturday extra trains to the seaside, and also some excursions (if Saltley or Bescot hadn't got a 45/46/47 available).

I think the summer 'Cambrian Coast Express' was worked by pairs of 25s west of Shrewsbury - heavier (Type 4) locos were not allowed on that route.

Occasionally a summer Saturday train from Leeds or Newcastle would arrive at New Street behind a pair of 31s, but normally they'd get replaced with a 45/46/47 before going any further - 31s were decidedly 'foreign' traction in those parts back then!

Also of course pairs of 20s on the summer Saturday extras to Skegness from the East Midlands were a fixture for many years...(it was their summer break away from hauling MGR coal trains between mines and power stations ;))
 

jopsuk

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I guess pairs of type 2 and type 3 were more common, as it allowed more power without the issues caused by simply using a big heavy type 4 or mighty type 5 (even if one were available)
 

furnessvale

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Great story here about 37s in multiple clearing snow

http://www.davidheyscollection.com/page77.htm

It's my privilege to be old enough to have seen double headed Class 50s (then known as D400s) going full pelt on Euston - Glasgow expresses before the WCML was electrified all the way. A fine sight indeed!

My best memory of 2 x 50s was being on the track recording trolley heading south near Dillicar when a 50 with 12 on roared past on the down, being banked by 2 x 50s with 12 more on, running at line speed!
 

ac6000cw

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I guess pairs of type 2 and type 3 were more common, as it allowed more power without the issues caused by simply using a big heavy type 4 or mighty type 5 (even if one were available)

Yes, and of course 2 x Bo-Bo meant 8 axles instead of 6 so possibly more usable tractive effort (and better able to cope with the tight curves and ropey track in some coal mine sidings).

Most of the trip workings and branch line freight work that the type 1/2/3's were built for had disappeared by the late '60s so it made sense to use pairs of them on freight and use the type 4's on passenger work where their better power-weight ratio was an advantage.

...and then of course the 3000 ton iron-ore trains started running in South Wales behind triple-headed 37's - ear-defenders anyone ? :D (I never got to hear those - oh well...)
 

30907

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I also remember seeing photos of 2 x 26 (or 2 x 27?) on Glasgow-Aberdeen trains, I think, in very early editions of Modern Railways, but I don't know if that was just an experimental run, or if such was tried on a regular basis.

Double heading with Type 2s was certainly common on the Inverness route till the early 70s, until class 40s became more common. I have a photo somewhere of a triple header (one being a 40) on one of the overnights, but that may have been to avoid a LE movement.

Around 1961, to reduce steam workings on the SE main line via Tonbridge, the new 33s were booked on some turns, but with a 24 to provide heat, as the stock was mainly Bullied steam-heat only. I only know this from a photo in TI or RM, so it may not have been common. (BTW who would now associate D5000s with the Ashford area?)
 
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