Loco diagrams of the past

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ryan125hst

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Having found old Carriage Working Booklets from the 50's to the 80's online, I was wondering how the locos were diagrammed back in the days of loco hauled trains operating the majority of services. Some carriage working books contain carriage diagrams which show that sets of coaches would maybe work two to three trains per day. I've also read that turn around times were around 90-120 minutes in those days instead of the 30 minutes more typical with long distance services today.

The only set of diagrams I've found so far is on the Chronicles of Napier site, but this is only for a small class of (admittedly fantastic :D) locomotives and they were also intensively worked from what I have read.

So how were Class 47, or Class 40's typically diagrammed on ECML work? Did they do a similar number of journeys a day to the coaches, or more than this, or less. How often did they have to visit the depots for servicing and fueling? I'm led to believe they used to go between journeys during the day unlike with trains these days.

If anyone has any locomotive diagrams I'll be interested in seeing them. I'm mostly interested in passenger services on the ECML, but I would be interested to see services in other regions if you happen to have information about them. I'm not as interested in the freight diagrams as I'd imagine it would be a lot more varied, but if you happen to know of a particularly interesting or unusual freight diagram I would be keen to hear of it.

Also, while I have mostly talked about diesels in this post, I have mentioned the 1950's as I am also interested in finding out how steam locos were diagrammed (if that was even the term in those days) if any information exists. I know it'll be a lot different from diesel locomotives so I'm interested to hear of this as well.

Many thanks

Ryan
 
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30907

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A few thoughts to start the ball rolling.

1. The move to fixed formation trains and regular interval timetables began in the steam era but really belongs to the 70's-80's. The withdrawal of van traffic eliminated the last complications.

2. Before that it was rare to have a long distance train turn round in the platform, though not unknown.

3. Obviously locos couldn't work as intensively as stock once in-platform turnround became more common.

4. There's a book of Southern loco diagrams from OPC, probably OOP.
 

306024

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Now you are testing my memory. Sorry this is a GE answer rather than a GN one but the principles are all the same. Back in the 80s I was part of a team that diagrammed Stratford and March locomotives, both for passenger and freight.

The passenger services generally were in four main groups.
Liverpool St - Norwich. Stratford 47s
Liverpool St - Parkeston Quay / Lowestoft. Stratford or March 37s
Liverpool St - Cambridge, Kings Lynn. Stratford or March 37s and Stratford 31s
Norwich - Birmingham. March 31s.
In addition there were the odd cross country services via Bury St Edmunds and various newspaper and parcels workings.

You obviously had to consider the fuel range, for example a 47 could do 450 miles which equated to three trips between Liverpool St and Norwich between fuelling. Fortunately there was a fueling point at Liverpool St to avoid unnecessary trips to and from Stratford.

The main issue at this time was the mix of air and vacuum braked stock, and whether it was steam or electric heat. Matching the right type of locomotive to the stock was vital as some locomotives were vacuum only, or steam heat only. Simple enough but you needed the coaching stock diagrams before starting to diagram the locomotives.

Of course once a train arrived at Liverpool St the locomotive was trapped on the stops until the coaches departed and the locomotive was released for the next working. At Norwich, Parkeston, Lowestoft, Kings Lynn, and Cambridge locomotives could run round their own train if there was sufficient time and the platforms used had the trackwork to facilitate such a move, rather than provide a turnover locomotive.

It was a good puzzle in logistics, which became easier when the class 86s turned up in 1985 (didn't need to worry about fuel), but it was the advent of push-pull services took a lot of the skill out of the job. Today it is a lost art.
 
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Harbornite

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Now you are testing my memory. Sorry this is a GE answer rather than a GN one but the principles are all the same. Back in the 80s I was part of a team that diagrammed Stratford and March locomotives, both for passenger and freight.

The passenger services generally were in four main groups.
Liverpool St - Norwich. Stratford 47s
Liverpool St - Parkeston Quay / Lowestoft. Stratford or March 37s
Liverpool St - Cambridge, Kings Lynn. Stratford or March 37s and Stratford 31s
Norwich - Birmingham. March 31s.

You obviously had to consider the fuel range, for example a 47 could do 450 miles which equated to three trips between Liverpool St and Norwich between fuelling. Fortunately there was a fueling point at Liverpool St to avoid unnecessary trips to and from Stratford.

The main issue at this time was the mix of air and vacuum braked stock, and whether it was steam or electric heat. Matching the right type of locomotive to the stock was vital as some locomotives were vacuum only, or steam heat only. Simple enough but you needed the coaching stock diagrams before starting to diagram the locomotives.

Of course once a train arrived at Liverpool St the locomotive was trapped on the stops until the coaches departed and the locomotive was released for the next working. At Norwich, Parkeston, Lowestoft, Kings Lynn, and Cambridge locomotives could run round their own train if there was sufficient time and the platforms used had the trackwork to facilitate such a move, rather than provide a turnover locomotive.

It was a good puzzle in logistics, which became easier when the class 86s turned up in 1985 (didn't need to worry about fuel), but it was the advent of push-pull services took a lot of the skill out of the job. Today it is a lost art.

Some interesting info there. I still think that going to push-pull operation was preferable to the old method of having to run around.
 

306024

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Some interesting info there. I still think that going to push-pull operation was preferable to the old method of having to run around.

Certainly is, so much simpler operationally. The working at Liverpool St was very slick, detach loco, attach loco at the other end, brake test, all in under 10 minutes. Would never dare trying that today.

These days diagramming EMUs is more interesting, with the splitting and attaching, rather than the fixed formation main line sets.
 

ryan125hst

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A few thoughts to start the ball rolling.

1. The move to fixed formation trains and regular interval timetables began in the steam era but really belongs to the 70's-80's. The withdrawal of van traffic eliminated the last complications.

2. Before that it was rare to have a long distance train turn round in the platform, though not unknown.

3. Obviously locos couldn't work as intensively as stock once in-platform turnround became more common.

4. There's a book of Southern loco diagrams from OPC, probably OOP.

Thanks 30907, I guess the fixed formation trains of the 70's you refer to are the HST's?

306024 said:
Now you are testing my memory. Sorry this is a GE answer rather than a GN one but the principles are all the same. Back in the 80s I was part of a team that diagrammed Stratford and March locomotives, both for passenger and freight.

The passenger services generally were in four main groups.
Liverpool St - Norwich. Stratford 47s
Liverpool St - Parkeston Quay / Lowestoft. Stratford or March 37s
Liverpool St - Cambridge, Kings Lynn. Stratford or March 37s and Stratford 31s
Norwich - Birmingham. March 31s.
In addition there were the odd cross country services via Bury St Edmunds and various newspaper and parcels workings.

You obviously had to consider the fuel range, for example a 47 could do 450 miles which equated to three trips between Liverpool St and Norwich between fuelling. Fortunately there was a fueling point at Liverpool St to avoid unnecessary trips to and from Stratford.

The main issue at this time was the mix of air and vacuum braked stock, and whether it was steam or electric heat. Matching the right type of locomotive to the stock was vital as some locomotives were vacuum only, or steam heat only. Simple enough but you needed the coaching stock diagrams before starting to diagram the locomotives.

Of course once a train arrived at Liverpool St the locomotive was trapped on the stops until the coaches departed and the locomotive was released for the next working. At Norwich, Parkeston, Lowestoft, Kings Lynn, and Cambridge locomotives could run round their own train if there was sufficient time and the platforms used had the trackwork to facilitate such a move, rather than provide a turnover locomotive.

It was a good puzzle in logistics, which became easier when the class 86s turned up in 1985 (didn't need to worry about fuel), but it was the advent of push-pull services took a lot of the skill out of the job. Today it is a lost art.

No problem about it being GE services at all, particularly as much of what you mention is multiple unit worked these days.

I bet matching the correct loco with the correct stock as far as braking and heating is concerned was a challenge! From what I have been told on another thread, coaching stock tended to be converted from vacuum braked to air braked but was rarely dual brakes. Heating on the other hand was often dual, but of course newer Mark 2's such as the air cons were ETS only. Does this sound about right in your experience?

As far as the locos go, I've read that Deltics had air brakes fitted in the late 60's and ETS fitted in the early 70's. Was this the case with locos in your region?

Finally, were the coaches at major stations generally shunt released or did a new loco attached to the front?

It is sad to think I missed the days of most trains being loco hauled and the complexities of the operation. Saying that, the cost savings must be large, not to mention how it has allowed for more intensive and frequent timetables that must have been impossible back in those days!

306024 said:
Certainly is, so much simpler operationally. The working at Liverpool St was very slick, detach loco, attach loco at the other end, brake test, all in under 10 minutes. Would never dare trying that today.

That's an impressively fast turn around for loco hauled services as long distance trains tend to be given around half an hour typically these days, and there's no need for any loco attaching/reattaching either! Was that typical of Liverpool Street turn arounds or was that just the case with certain services? Did the services from Norwich have longer turn arounds for example?

306024 said:
These days diagramming EMUs is more interesting, with the splitting and attaching, rather than the fixed formation main line sets.

That's probably true in some cases, but then again, I many trains I saw in the carriage working books had coaches being attached that had arrived on a different service and coaches removed once it got to its destination. Then there's the case of a couple of coaches being detached and coupled to another engine to serve another destination (or even coupled to the back of a branch line service which happened on the Atlantic Coast Express according to a story I read about it last week). And there was the post and mail trains to add to this. So much variation that has been lost that I'll sadly never witness.
 

306024

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Reading this again I may have misled you slightly as planned turnrounds for the coaching stock were in the region of 30 -40 minutes if the platform working allowed. However in the event of late running all the loco moves could be done so the train could be leaving 10 minutes after arrival.

10 minutes was also the minimum time allowed for a loco to be released from the buffer stops and attached to the front of its next working. Generally that was only used for ECS departures, as it was always preferable to get the loco on the front to provide heating and where needed air conditioning as soon as possible for passenger trains. Locos on arriving trains were always detached on arrival.

Shunt releasing of locos was common at Norwich using the class 03 station pilot. The only planned shunt releasing at Liverpool St was at night with the newspaper workings, no chance during the day so a fresh loco always took the train out again. Elsewhere a mix of run rounds or re-engine, depending on the track layout of the platform used.

I can't remember how or when the coaches were changed from vacuum/steam to air/electric. As the GE always got cast-offs from elsewhere you just dealt with each diagramming exercise as it came.

Of course if you want to research really slick loco working look up the 'jazz' steam service from Liverpool St back in the 1920s.
 

30907

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Thanks 30907, I guess the fixed formation trains of the 70's you refer to are the HST's?

Not necessarily. They were pretty typical of hauled services by the early 70s, coinciding with Mk2 stock. However, the formation could be route specific, and there was still some portion working, but far fewer loose coaches.

On the WR (well-spent student days!) the Hereford trains in Mk1 days shed all but 3 coaches at Worcester, and the Penzance services lost their restaurant cars at Plymouth until about 1976. But by then everything else stayed in fixed sets.

Meanwhile, each of the Oxford commuter sets was different in formation and length - and I believe even had a catering vehicle spliced in at Old Oak on Fridays before doIng a run to the West Country.
 

ryan125hst

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Reading this again I may have misled you slightly as planned turnrounds for the coaching stock were in the region of 30 -40 minutes if the platform working allowed. However in the event of late running all the loco moves could be done so the train could be leaving 10 minutes after arrival.

10 minutes was also the minimum time allowed for a loco to be released from the buffer stops and attached to the front of its next working. Generally that was only used for ECS departures, as it was always preferable to get the loco on the front to provide heating and where needed air conditioning as soon as possible for passenger trains. Locos on arriving trains were always detached on arrival.

Shunt releasing of locos was common at Norwich using the class 03 station pilot. The only planned shunt releasing at Liverpool St was at night with the newspaper workings, no chance during the day so a fresh loco always took the train out again. Elsewhere a mix of run rounds or re-engine, depending on the track layout of the platform used.

I can't remember how or when the coaches were changed from vacuum/steam to air/electric. As the GE always got cast-offs from elsewhere you just dealt with each diagramming exercise as it came.

Of course if you want to research really slick loco working look up the 'jazz' steam service from Liverpool St back in the 1920s.

Thanks again for the detailed info. Ten minutes is still impressive though even if that kind of turnaround speed was only seen during delays.

I didn't realise that shunt releasing wasn't common at Liverpool Street but I guess the station was too busy for this to happen. Presumably the use of a fresh loco at the departing end was also the case at other busy London terminals such as Kings Cross?

30907 said:
Not necessarily. They were pretty typical of hauled services by the early 70s, coinciding with Mk2 stock. However, the formation could be route specific, and there was still some portion working, but far fewer loose coaches.

On the WR (well-spent student days!) the Hereford trains in Mk1 days shed all but 3 coaches at Worcester, and the Penzance services lost their restaurant cars at Plymouth until about 1976. But by then everything else stayed in fixed sets.

Meanwhile, each of the Oxford commuter sets was different in formation and length - and I believe even had a catering vehicle spliced in at Old Oak on Fridays before doIng a run to the West Country.

I see what you mean as the carriage working books show diagrams for fixed formations. However, there was a lot more variety than today as a few trains still had coaches attached or detached, and different routes (and even the same routes at different times of the day) had different train formations. Some services were formed of air braked, air conditioned open stock and other were formed of vacuum braked, probably steam heated corridor stock. There seemed to be a lot more variety as far as the formations were concerned even then, even if each rake of coaches were generally kept the same. Of course things were far more variable in steam days though.
 

Taunton

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Certainly is, so much simpler operationally. The working at Liverpool St was very slick, detach loco, attach loco at the other end, brake test, all in under 10 minutes. Would never dare trying that today.
Having been amazed at how the Swiss railways did exactly this procedure at Lucerne, a dead-end terminal which is a mid point for various long distance services, some years ago, I went back and stopwatched them. They could (can) do this consistently in around 3 minutes.
 

randyrippley

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I seem to remember the turnaround on the Warship and class 33 hauled Exeter trains being fairly slick at Waterloo on some occasions, with the the coach set being drawn out of the platform as ECS while passengers were still exiting the platform. However where it seemed to go wrong was that they then reversed back into another platform for departure, so wasting all the speedy work. Of course doing so released the incoming locomotive, but it always seemed so pointless - there was surely no hurry to release it?
 

30907

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Unless for some operating reason the released loco was required to work straight back to Exeter? For example, if only a 73 was available to release. It's not a practice I recall from the late 70's, but that may not mean overmuch.
 
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