Freight-only lines Q

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by Howardh, 26 Apr 2019.

  1. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Mentioned on another thread that mystery tours occasionally used "freight-only" lines made me think and want to ask the experts (ie you!) > >

    Is there such a thing as "freight-only lines"; as in passenger trains wouldn't be allowed to use them should they need (ie tours/diversions), maybe for safety/signalling issues?

    If so, how much in % terms is the railway freight-only?

    Sorry if all this is in another thread but "search" doesn't bring this up. Thanks!
     
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  3. Steve Harris

    Steve Harris Member

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    Yes there is such a thing as freight only lines. I can remember travelling on a HRT railtour to High Marnham power station, only thing is, we didn't actually make it to the power station!

    A wagon had derailed some weeks previously and although the wagon had been re-railed and the line reopened for freight. An inspection of the track had been carried out and said inspector decreed how far the railtour could go up the line.

    I'm sure someone in the industry can give you more info than me, but by what happened above I am in the mindset that a freight only line ever takes passenger trains if it has had some kind of inspection carried out.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. GB

    GB Established Member

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    Freight only lines do exist. The Dudding Hill line in London is one such example. The standard of track and signalling are usually lower than passenger lines so passenger trains (unless empty) would not normally be allowed to run on it.
     
  5. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    In this respect I believe they differ from passenger lines in typically having poorer quality track, less frequent maintenance, simpler signalling often with no AWS, TPWS or signal overlaps.
     
  6. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Thanks for the replies; I'm not surprised to read the above of "poorer quality" track etc, yet I would have thought the staff on the train would be given just as much safety priority as a passenger would?

    Another q - is there any electrified freight-only rail; save for short spurs to marshalling yards etc?
     
  7. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    Speeds would be generally lower so the poorer quality track wouldn't be as much of an issue as if it was on passenger lines.
     
  8. d9009alycidon

    d9009alycidon Member

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    Good example of what you are looking for is the Southern entrance to (what is left of) Millerhill Yard, electrified, theoretically capable of any traffic but restricted to freight as the points are hand worked. I believe that the odd railtour has worked over the section with preparation, i.e points clipped and scotched
     
  9. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Good point!
     
  10. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

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    In fact the Dudding Hill line is listed in PSUL (search for Brent Curve Junction at http://www.psul4all.free-online.co.uk/2019.html) as being a passenger route for the Belmond British Pullman excursions Victoria-Chesterfield.
    It's also used for steam excursions e.g. the Yorkshireman of 9 March this year - see http://uksteam.info/tours/t19/t0309a.htm .
     
  11. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    Anything in the Sectional Appendix with a dashed line is technically a goods only line.
     
  12. matchmaker

    matchmaker Member

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    One difference that there used to be was that facing points on goods only lines didn't require facing point locks.
     
  13. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Is that not the case any more?
     
  14. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Are there any passenger services Blackburn > across the Lostock Hall loop > southbound on the WCML or towards Manchester (ie not towards Preston)? If not I presume it still exits for goods and/or excursions? Love to know how often it's used or even where to find the information!
    https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=13/53.7163/-2.6695 map of location
     
  15. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Look up RealTimeTrains for Lostock Hall Jn.
    No booked service, regular freight for Castle Cement at Clitheroe or via the S and C. Standard route for steam charters.
    I've used it back in the early 50s when the (only?) Sunday morning Euston-Glasgow ran via Hellifield (diesel from Crewe back then!)
     
  16. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Historically there were many "goods lines" though they tended to be extra tracks alongside passenger tracks rather than routes in their own right, since most such routes had a passenger service. The Midland is a good example where most of what are now Slow lines were historically Goods, allowing things such as permissive block where a succession of trains could be queued nose to tail if the line ahead was too busy. As freight declined and passenger traffic grew most Goods lines were upgraded to passenger standard even if they aren't regularly used by passenger trains (such as the Erewash Valley Goods lines which became Slows on re-signalling circa 2008). At places such as Luton, Loughborough and Chesterfield it's easy to see that the original station only had platforms on the western tracks; the eastern platforms were added later on what were originally Goods lines.
     
  17. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Thanks, didn't know RTT did junctions! *Note to self - must try harder*.
     
  18. Highlandspring

    Highlandspring Established Member

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    It’s still the case, however power operated points have the lock built in so it only really arises in mechanical installations.
     
  19. matchmaker

    matchmaker Member

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    Highlandspring has beaten me to it! Only really matters in mechanically signalled areas. I can remember back in the 1970s before the Edinburgh resignalling the only passenger loop between Polmont and Saughton Junction was at Linlithgow. I was in Bo'ness Junction signal box one Saturday afternoon when Polmont Junction offered up the 1701 Dunblane-Edinburgh which we accepted. The 1701 was a formed of a 1st generation dmu, stopping all stations and was never on time!

    We received "entering section" and then the signalman at Polmont came on the phone, to explain that he'd made a bit of a cockup and allowed the Dunblane out in front of the 1700 Glasgow-Edinburgh push-pull service, 43 minutes end to end, first stop Haymarket! We had lovely big loops at Bo'ness but they were goods only so we couldn't use them for the 1701. We phoned ahead to Linlithgow to warn them to loop it.

    It came rattling by at a nice steady 65-70 mph and we passed it on to Linlithgow, giving "out of section" to Polmont. Immediately we received 4-4 (the code for a push-pull) and as soon as we accepted it we got "entering section". There was then not a lot we could do until the 1701 was "inside" at Linlithgow. Very shortly the distant sound of a horn was heard and the annunciator at the distant went off. As the push pull came closer to our home signal this was slowly cleared to bring the train to a stand outside the signal box.

    After a long minute or two "out od section" was received from Linlithgow and it was then a matter of rapid block bells and lever pulling.

    The 6LDA28 thrash from two Class 27s was incredible!
     
  20. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Running passenger trains over "goods" lines could be done - under special authority and in extreme emergency , subject to a string of caveats on maximum speed, clipping points and catch points , securing any freight stock on adjacent lines etc etc. "Block conversion tickets" on mechanical areas and so on. Things may have changed now of course. I am talking of the 20thC.

    In all my years on Thameslink North , only once have we used the "freight" lines West Hampstead - Silkstream going north on a 319 , some short of mess on the down fast so we went over at Cricklewood South (there was a moment's hesitation while the driver checked things and off we went like a stately galleon at about 20 mph , before regaining the normal route. Good work by West Hampstead PS and the driver concerned - kept the job moving at least)
     
  21. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    The old Midland Railway installed Goods Lines quite extensively, which only non-passenger services could use, generally by 4-tracking existing routes and with all passenger services, both fast and slow, confined to the existing main tracks. They had Permissive Block indicators, which allowed multiple goods trains to be admitted to a section, where they ran effectively on line of sight from the one ahead. They certainly lasted well into BR diesel days like this.

    The LNWR provided substantial goods loops around major stations like Crewe and Carlisle.

    To the south of Taunton station was the "Goods Loop", initially provided to bypass the restricted station, and also convenient for the various yards either side of the station. Believe it or not, before it was built in 1900 it was a canal which the railway owned along its alignment, including an aqueduct over Station Road where the goods line railway bridge later was. It's about a 1.5 miles long and just in the last few years has had a new road built along its alignment. It was originally goods only, then in about 1930 it was upgraded to allow summer holiday trains to bypass the station congestion. A few years later the station was comprehensively rebuilt and the need for this ceased, eventually it went back to goods only. The GWR used different signals (well, they would do, of course) on goods lines, they had a large white ring on the outer end.
     
  22. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    There were 2 independent goods lines from Walnut Tree Junction to Radyr Yard , as a trainee signalman one freezing December night in 1979 we managed to squeeze 8 trains and a couple of light 37's in there - such that the fine ex GWR block commutator had exceeded it's capacity of 6 trains , so we used BR tea cups for the extra trains. A visiting guard scrounging tea took one of them off , only to be shouted at - saying "not a cup , its a train" - he laughed when we explained. No special semaphores there - we just brought them to a stand and indicated how many in advance , great source of overtime for the crews. ....
     
  23. ilkestonian

    ilkestonian Member

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    I've travelled this spur northbound and southbound in the last couple of years. Saphos ran a trip from Crewe to Burnley last December which did it northbound, and many come off the Settle and Carlisle then through Blackburn and onto the WCML towards Crewe.
     
  24. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    You have to start with a station and then go into detailed mode. Not intuitive.
     
  25. Tom Maddox

    Tom Maddox Member

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    Halton Curve? Definitely been used by West Coast Railways in the last few weeks before passenger ops commence (as well as passenger ops training runs), though don’t *think* any freight has.
     
  26. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    Back in 1980 when Rainhill was closed for the Rocket 150 events I was on a Liverpool - Newcastle which went via St Helens and then Ince Moss Jn to Bamfurlong Jn. which I strongly suspect was ordinarily freight only.

    We travelled very, very slowly and there was a weird feeling that we were (gently) bouncing up and down on a somewhat suspect stretch of permanent(ish) way. Lots of mine workings in that area.
     
  27. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    Halton curve had a sort of "regular" passenger service; Chester to Runcorn, one way only, one train per day, on saturdays in summer only.
     
  28. Dr_Paul

    Dr_Paul Member

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    A couple of times I've been on the late evening Waterloo to Basingstoke service that goes via East Putney, and once I was on a diverted up Kingston loop service that was diverted via East Putney, and I was struck by the different quality of the track on the connection between East Putney and Wandsworth Town, it was much rougher riding even at slow speed. This line is usually only used by empty carriage workings and diversions.
     
  29. class 9

    class 9 Member

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    The Crewe Independent Lines from Sandbach to Bashford Hall yard are electrified.
     
  30. driver_m

    driver_m Established Member

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    Definitely not a goods only line. Always signalled to passenger standards even as a single line. It’s last regular freight was probably the Vauxhall Cars from Ellesmere Port for export abroad 2000ish. Attached to empties at Speke and sent south. Didn’t last very long as it was difficult to get the cars off. (In reverse at destination)
     
  31. Marton

    Marton Member

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    The York avoiding line is electric and freight only.

    Although when I’ve been at York station in the last couple of weeks freight has gone through platform 3.
     

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