Passenger train formations in the loco-hauled era

Status
Not open for further replies.

Inversnecky

Member
Joined
1 Jan 2021
Messages
454
Location
Scotland
In the "grand old days" of locomotive hauled passenger trains, was there a set or recommended order for the coaches in a passenger train?

I always thought a BG or BSK/BFK tended to be at front or back, but have seen video with them seemingly isolated in the middle?

I presume buffet and restaurant cars tended to go in the middle, or between first and second class carriages?

Was there any preference for where first class carriages went? I'm thinking on the one hand away from the loco so it was quieter, but for terminus runs, nearer it, so the occupants were closer to the station exit.

Maybe I am looking for too much order where there wasn't necessarily any.

Could trains be made of any number of carriages?

What was the greatest number of carriages you have seen hauled by a single diesel or electric locomotive, or even steam engine? Think 11-13 was about the limit?
 
Last edited:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

JonathanH

Established Member
Joined
29 May 2011
Messages
8,716
It does seem like the 1980s brought more order with fixed formations becoming much more common.

There are some good threads you can dip into from the past - for example these
and I am sure others.

What was the greatest number of carriages you have seen hauled by a single diesel or electric locomotive, or even steam engine? Think 11-13 was about the limit?
The Caledonian Sleeper has been 16 coaches on the Trunk runs for some time but I don't suppose that day trains of that length have routinely been seen. Platform lengths are a limit on train lengths.

I always thought a BG or BSK/BFK tended to be at front or back, but have seen video with them seemingly isolated in the middle?
The NSE sets typically had a BFK / BSK / BSO etc in the middle. Longer distance trains did tend to have brake vehicles at the end.
 
Last edited:

Gloster

Established Member
Joined
4 Sep 2020
Messages
2,383
Location
Up the creek
Some routes or individual trains did have regular formations, but this tended to be decided on an individual basis. For example, the Waterloo-Exeter trains used to have the vans and the First Class in the centre due to short platforms. Other places had the van at one end and the First separated from Second by a restaurant vehicle. Other trains, particularly the less important ones, would just have approximately the right number and balance (First/Second) of coaches.

The maximum number of carriages will depend on what the loco is allowed to haul over that section of line. This is weight, rather than number, and can be affected by eth on or off, ecs or full of passengers, etc.

The most I have seen was a Class 33 that took sixteen Mark 1 up Porton Bank...very slowly. The train was ecs and the eth was off.
 

Taunton

Established Member
Joined
1 Aug 2013
Messages
6,531
16 coaches was not unknown on main lines, even under steam. Apparently during WW2 on the ECML well over 20 on mainstream services, maybe up to 25, packed, was a regular feature. We discussed a while ago how this was achieved operationally.

There was a longstanding regulation, lasted well into the 1960s, that there could not be more than two vehicles behind the guards' position. This accounts for all the Modernisation Plan 4-car emus and dmus with the guard in an intermediate trailer. Other designs had two guards vans, one at each end of a 4-car set.

First and Standard class ends of the train have also come since about 1970, before that vehicles were mixed along the train. Portions to multiple destinations were more common then, and side-corridor compartments meant that First (and other) passengers were not disturbed by those going up and down the train. A significant proportion of Mk 1 hauled stock was actually built as Composites, with both First and Standard compartments in the one vehicle, and the most useful of all was the Brake Composite, which had a guards' van as well. It was really the arrival of high-utilisation fixed formations that led to the rigid division, generally with the First class at the London end.
 

Strathclyder

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2013
Messages
1,879
Location
Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire
As noted above, locos with more than 16 coaches in tow have been recorded on occasion; these were more often than not ECS workings. Here is 50031 Hood with 18 Mk1s in tow at Bourton in October 1983 (photo by Martin Loader). The caption notes that the working timetable of the period makes no mention of a westbound loco-hauled train at that time, so was most likely a special ECS working (5Zxx) of some description.

 

StephenHunter

Established Member
Joined
22 Jul 2017
Messages
1,176
Location
London
There were standardised formations for each service set out in the Carriage Workings document; you needed to be able to make reservations after all. The BR Coaching Stock Group on Groups.io has an extensive collection.

In 1961, the Night Ferry was 15 long on Fridays and 14 the rest of the week, with ten or nine vehicles respectively heading across the Channel, including six sleepers for Paris and one for Brussels.
 

copea

Member
Joined
8 Mar 2021
Messages
16
Location
West Midlands
Each region had carriage marshalling documents which described the train formation. From the mid 60’s onwards carriage mileage increased significantly and a carriage diagram may run over several ( often three) days before starting again. So on a three day diagram it would be essential that each set in that diagram had similar make up of vehicles. On the main lines into London first class would be at the London end to reduce walking time for first class passengers. A First Open was the common common vehicle for serving meals marshalled next to the kitchen end of a restaurant car however on some routes like Birmingham to Glasgow a Second Open ( not to be confused with a more common Tourist Second Open) was used for dining.
BG vehicles tended to be at the front or back because the vast majority did not have “cages” to segregate parcels from passengers passing through so could not be secured. Again brake vehicles were marshalled as per the marshalling plan for that set.
There were also issues with vehicle orientation (ie which way round they were)particularly with sleeping cars so that pantries were in the middle and later on so that you didn’t need to walk through two vehicles to find a fire extinguisher ( this latter point also applied to fixed formation HSTs)
Finally, where trains we’re split there was often a contingency in case a portion arrived without a brake.nAn example would be Carstairs where BCK 21269 was held as spare in case a service due to split there arrived from the south without a brake in one portion.
A further complication was the speed of the train. Trains on older oil box fitted Mk1’s were limited to 90 mph unless they had SM stencilled on the end ( Special Maintenance) in which case they were 100mph. Vehicles on B4/5 and Commonwealth bogies were 100 mph and a few Mk1’s RKB vehicles on West Coast were allowed to go up to 110 mph on B5 bogies. In the early days Mk3 vehicles on West Coast where only allowed up to 100mph on West Coast as their braking was set to be compatible with Mk2 stock, this was later lifted to 110. Obviously a train could only run to the maximum speed allowed for the slowest vehicle in the train.
 
Last edited:

Helvellyn

Established Member
Joined
28 Aug 2009
Messages
1,692
What was the greatest number of carriages you have seen hauled by a single diesel or electric locomotive, or even steam engine? Think 11-13 was about the limit?
In the late 1980s the CrossCountry 'Scot' trains could be 13 coaches between Carstairs and the South (portions to/from Glasgow and Edinburgh/Aberdeen North of there).

Typical formation might have been BG-TSO-TSO-FK-TSO-TSO-RBR-TSO-TSO-FK-TSO-TSO-BG

You also had the West Coast 'Super Pullman' sets in the very late 1980s/very early 1990s formed DVT-BFO-RFM-FO-FO-FO-RFM-TSO-TSO-TSO-TSO-TSO
 

d9009alycidon

Member
Joined
22 Jun 2011
Messages
644
Location
Troon
In the "grand old days" of locomotive hauled passenger trains, was there a set or recommended order for the coaches in a passenger train?

I always thought a BG or BSK/BFK tended to be at front or back, but have seen video with them seemingly isolated in the middle?

I presume buffet and restaurant cars tended to go in the middle, or between first and second class carriages?

Was there any preference for where first class carriages went? I'm thinking on the one hand away from the loco so it was quieter, but for terminus runs, nearer it, so the occupants were closer to the station exit.

Maybe I am looking for too much order where there wasn't necessarily any.

Could trains be made of any number of carriages?

What was the greatest number of carriages you have seen hauled by a single diesel or electric locomotive, or even steam engine? Think 11-13 was about the limit?
On the Kyle of Lochalsh line the BG was in the middle, as that was the most convenient at most stations to unload mails and parcels into the waiting van.

Standard practise for first class was to have it at the London end for all services starting or finishing in the Capital, for cross country services it was a bit more arbitrary. Handy for getting on and off at Euston or Kings X, but it didn't avoid the long walk at Glasgow Central
 

MarlowDonkey

Member
Joined
4 Apr 2013
Messages
1,077
Standard practise for first class was to have it at the London end for all services starting or finishing in the Capital,
That was certainly the case with the HSTs and was adopted for conventional loco hauled using the air con Mk2s.. But did it predate the HSTs? Difficult to achieve when some of the coaches were Composites which continued into the early NSE era.
 

Revaulx

Member
Joined
17 Sep 2019
Messages
314
Location
Saddleworth
Standard practise for first class was to have it at the London end for all services starting or finishing in the Capital, for cross country services it was a bit more arbitrary. Handy for getting on and off at Euston or Kings X, but it didn't avoid the long walk at Glasgow Central
A long walk along the platform at Glasgow Central or Manchester Piccadilly has always been a lot pleasanter than one at the rebuilt Euston!
 

Andy R. A.

Member
Joined
25 Aug 2019
Messages
116
Location
Hastings, East Sussex.
Catering vehicles could sometimes be at the ends of the train. During the 1970s 1S05 2050 Euston to Inverness had a Full Kitchen and Restaurant First Open attached at the front from Euston as they were detached at Crewe, the train leaving Euston normally with 15 on, 16 during the Holiday season. The two Catering vehicles were returned from Crewe the following day on 1A41 0905 Holyhead to Euston. The Electric Loco had the two vehicles waiting to take over from the Diesel there and were therefore on the front from Crewe. This service was chosen as the train went to the Downside Shed on arrival where the two Catering vehicles were detached and restocked/cleaned for the 2050 that night. Early in the Evening they would be shunted down into one of the short docks at Euston ready to be picked up by the loco to work 1S05. You could often see the last minute preparation of tables being laid before the coaches were attached.

In the north of Scotland a Restaurant Buffet Car was on the back of one service from Inverness to Wick/Thurso, which was detached at Helmsdale and returned south on the front of the next train from there.
 

StephenHunter

Established Member
Joined
22 Jul 2017
Messages
1,176
Location
London
It was supposed to be one brake for every portion - there was a joke that the Atlantic Coast Express was all brake vehicles.
 

Beebman

Member
Joined
17 Feb 2011
Messages
275
In the mid/late-1980s when I was commuting daily from Twyford I recall that there was an evening departure from Paddington (at around 18:15, first stop Maidenhead) which had 12 coaches. I think it was formed of 9 Mk1 SKs, a Mk1 BSK and 2 Mk2 FKs. The BSK and the FKs were in the middle. ISTR that the set appeared at the time (with the addition of an RBR for catering) on a Hertfordshire Railtour from Paddington which I travelled on. I also recall that there was some grumbling on it from participants at the stewards for the use of compartment stock ("sorry, out of our control").
 

randyrippley

Established Member
Joined
21 Feb 2016
Messages
3,741
Memories of a week spent on Dawlish sea wall early 1970s..........just about everything coming through on NE-SW was 14-16, mainly Peak hauled. Paddingtons were 12-13 with Westerns or 47s
 

hexagon789

Veteran Member
Joined
2 Sep 2016
Messages
11,827
Location
Glasgow
That was certainly the case with the HSTs and was adopted for conventional loco hauled using the air con Mk2s.. But did it predate the HSTs? Difficult to achieve when some of the coaches were Composites which continued into the early NSE era.
Certainly with the GWR and LNER - they had First Class at the London end on their best trains at least, not sure about the LMS

It was supposed to be one brake for every portion - there was a joke that the Atlantic Coast Express was all brake vehicles.
Wasn't far off iirc from once looking up a formation of the ACE.

Mind you, I've seen a photo of an Edinburgh-Inverness in the mid-1980s where 4 of the 7 coaches were brakes - 3 BSO and one BG.

In the late 1980s the CrossCountry 'Scot' trains could be 13 coaches between Carstairs and the South (portions to/from Glasgow and Edinburgh/Aberdeen North of there).

Typical formation might have been BG-TSO-TSO-FK-TSO-TSO-RBR-TSO-TSO-FK-TSO-TSO-BG

You also had the West Coast 'Super Pullman' sets in the very late 1980s/very early 1990s formed DVT-BFO-RFM-FO-FO-FO-RFM-TSO-TSO-TSO-TSO-TSO
I believe the Birmingham/Manchester-Glasgow/Edinburgh had BFK rather than FK by the air-con era, each half-set thus being BG-TSO-TSO-BFK-TSO-TSO, one of the last uses of Mk2D BFK in front line service. The RBR usually went to Glasgow except one diagram where it was booked to Edinburgh instead.
 

Cheshire Scot

Member
Joined
24 Jul 2020
Messages
417
Location
North East Cheshire
Some routes or individual trains did have regular formations, but this tended to be decided on an individual basis.
All trains had a booked formation which on some routes might be the same or very similar for all trains, but on others might have great variations, and often included booked strengthening at weekends and/or in summer.
In 1961, the Night Ferry was 15 long on Fridays and 14 the rest of the week, with ten or nine vehicles respectively heading across the Channel, including six sleepers for Paris and one for Brussels
I used the Night Ferry several times in the summers of the mid-late 70's and on each occasion it was load 18 of which 10 went on the Ferry - 3 vans and 7 sleepers. The sleepers at that time tended to be 5 Paris and 2 Brussels. I am pretty sure that was the longest train I travelled on in the UK although I did experience longer on European overnight trains.
Loads of 15/16 were common on the Highland mainline on the overnight trains - the northbound from Edinburgh/Glasgow included 9 vans in the regular 15 coach formation.
On the Kyle of Lochalsh line the BG was in the middle, as that was the most convenient at most stations to unload mails and parcels into the waiting van.
The 'BG in the middle' formation only became the norm in the 80's, earlier photographs show trains with a brake vehicle on either end, or a BG on one end of a very short train.
I believe the Birmingham/Manchester-Glasgow/Edinburgh had BFK rather than FK by the air-con era, each half-set thus being BG-TSO-TSO-BFK-TSO-TSO, one of the last uses of Mk2D BFK in front line service. The RBR usually went to Glasgow except one diagram where it was booked to Edinburgh instead.
I can't remember the specifics but some had BSO 3TSO FO in each portion although I think the majority had the BFK - perhaps some were identified as having a potentially larger first class market, even before pricing increased the popularity of first for some leisure journeys. There was probably a surplus of BFKs as the workings they had previously been part of had gone over to Mk3.

In the era of Golden Rail (which for the benefit of the 'younger' readers was BR's own domestic promotion of short breaks and holidays (and later sold to Superbreak)) several trains on the West Highland carried additional first class as many Golden Rail clients opted for the modestly priced upgrade, perhaps encouraged by the Booking Clerk who received commission on the value of the sale, with an additional CK or BCK added to the normal BFK or CK in the formation for the summer period.
 
Last edited:

Gloster

Established Member
Joined
4 Sep 2020
Messages
2,383
Location
Up the creek
I think I've seen trains with two BSK/BFK/BCK - were there included as well as or instead of BG?
It was quite normal to have one BSK/BFK/BCK (most likely the first, as there were far more of them) in a train and nothing unusual to have two; you could have even more if that was all that was available. A BSK etc. could substitute for a BG and vice-versa. The choice of which was diagrammed would depend on demand, not necessarily on the individual train, but at some point throughout its diagram.

Basically, as long as you have at least one Brake and, where diagrammed, sufficient First Class provision, you have covered the basics. The most important services will probably be sent out in the diagrammed formation, but those lower down will diverge from the intended make-up. Staff in Rolling-stock Control and at the carriage sidings would know how to play with their assets to make up the shortfalls. It is OK if Diagram X has a BSK instead of a BG as that doesn’t normally carry much in the way of parcels, but Diagram Y does carry plenty, so make sure it does have a BG or two BSK, even if you have to drop a SK out to avoid going over the weight limit in the latter case. BR did not have a massive superfluity of rolling-stock and therefore had to juggle its assets, with preference given to keeping more important services as planned when the timetable and all were prepared.
 

Peter LEYTR

New Member
Joined
23 Sep 2020
Messages
3
Location
Skegness
In the "grand old days" of locomotive hauled passenger trains, was there a set or recommended order for the coaches in a passenger train?

I always thought a BG or BSK/BFK tended to be at front or back, but have seen video with them seemingly isolated in the middle?

I presume buffet and restaurant cars tended to go in the middle, or between first and second class carriages?

Was there any preference for where first class carriages went? I'm thinking on the one hand away from the loco so it was quieter, but for terminus runs, nearer it, so the occupants were closer to the station exit.

Maybe I am looking for too much order where there wasn't necessarily any.

Could trains be made of any number of carriages?

What was the greatest number of carriages you have seen hauled by a single diesel or electric locomotive, or even steam engine? Think 11-13 was about the limit?
I have a very useful BR book which shows the intended formations for ECML and Cross Country in 1982.
 

Attachments

  • 20210316_183735.jpg
    20210316_183735.jpg
    3.9 MB · Views: 41
  • 20210316_183927.jpg
    20210316_183927.jpg
    3.8 MB · Views: 41

Bevan Price

Established Member
Joined
22 Apr 2010
Messages
5,760
There were train formation guides even back in the 1950s & 1960s, but if a train (or its next working) were expected to be busy, it was common to add and extra coach or two - if spares were available.

The strangest formation I saw in the 1980s (or early 1990s) was a Trans Pennine service comprised of loco plus (only) SOs, complete with passengers. Presumably the BG (or BSO) had developed a fault and been removed, but rather than cancel the train, it had been allowed to run without a brake van.
 

Snow1964

Member
Joined
7 Oct 2019
Messages
1,097
Location
West Wiltshire
Some of the longer loco hauled trains did cause some oddities, I remember being on a class 50 hauled train in mid 1980s with long formation and when train departed Exeter Central towards St David’s it got held at a signal, and rear 1-2 carriages were still in platform out of sight of guard who was in middle. The platform staff had obviously seen this before as they watched for late boarders
 

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
16,027
Location
Mold, Clwyd
The Plymouth-Scotland sleeper via the WCML was a very long train, and divided at Carstairs.
Much of it was parcels/mail as well as sleepers and day coaches, but it managed to get up the Lickey and the fells (pre-wiring) OK.
Day trains (not London) also divided and all were long trains south of Carstairs. Some trains divided twice (Liverpool/Manchester-Glasgow/Edinburgh)
The restaurant car always seemed to go to Glasgow (I would be heading to Edinburgh!).
The portions were also reversed southbound, the Edinburgh bit being put on the other end of the train compared to the northbound.
Portion working was common until inter-city went for fixed formations into London termini, and later push-pull.
Many destinations only got portion working, (eg Hereford, Shrewsbury-Birkenhead, Llandudno, East Lancs, Cumbrian coast).
When the WCML went electric Crewe-Liverpool/Manchester (1961-62), it was common for trains to divide at Crewe, leaving a class 85 to sometimes take only 2 coaches onwards.
Acceleration was dramatic on those trains!
 

Cheshire Scot

Member
Joined
24 Jul 2020
Messages
417
Location
North East Cheshire
I think I've seen trains with two BSK/BFK/BCK - were there included as well as or instead of BG?
Thinking of your own geography 'Inversnecky', one interesting curiosity in Scotland was for some reason the Scottish region did not originally have an allocation of BGs and whilst many BGs were used in Scotland on both passenger and parcels trains they were predominantly those carrying the M prefix plus quite a few E. Very occasionally an example with W would appear.

In Mk1 days on passenger trains BGs were mainly used on the Far North and Kyle lines and between Edinburgh and Aberdeen plus on the overnights - Edinburgh/Glasgow to/from Inverness, Perth to Aberdeen and Glasgow to Oban, the latter two only being overnight in the northbound direction. Also one BG on the evening Glasgow to Mallaig and morning return.
Glasgow to Aberdeen sets had a BSK on the south end and BSO at the north end with any strengthening vehicles outside the BSO, and likewise Glasgow and Edinburgh to Inverness (or sometimes BSK on either end), whilst the combined morning northbound and afternoon southbound also had a BCK in the Edinburgh portion, and southbound conveyed the BG (and TPO vehicle) which had worked north on the mail from Perth that morning.
Glasgow to Dundee sets also had the BSK and BSO combination although latterly BFKs began to replace the BSK (and adjacent CK or FK) and they then started to run with only one brake vehicle - always on the south end due to the instruction that banking was compulsory for departures from Queen St if the rear vehicle did not have brake compartment (in which the Guard must ride). Edinburgh to Dundee was still DMU at this time, as was Glasgow to Stranraer and via GSW to Carlisle (other than the trains towards Leeds) which later went over to Mk1 operation.

I think by the time Inverness - Aberdeen went over to loco haulage BGs with Sc prefix were beginning to appear on these and other services and cascaded Mk2s were coming to the fore on the other services although often with a BSO (or BFK) on either end although gradually this dropped to a single brake vehicle on many services although it would be quite common find a BSO substituting for an absent TSO.

Another marshalling curiosity was whilst Glasgow to Aberdeen and Inverness (and the latter also from Edinburgh) had the catering vehicle off centre and immediately in front of the first class, between Edinbugh and Aberdeen the catering vehicle was always on the south end of the formation (with sometimes one vehicle outside it), next to but 'outside' the first class. The reason for this was whilst on all of the other internal ScR services the catering vehicle stayed with the set all day, the Edinburgh Aberdeen catering vehicles were shunted on and off the sets to also provide catering on the north and southbound Aberdeen sleepers.

EDIT: I should add the above comments apply only to internal ScR workings, most inter regional workings conveyed at least one BG generally of the parent region of the stock.

The Plymouth-Scotland sleeper via the WCML was a very long train, and divided at Carstairs.
Much of it was parcels/mail as well as sleepers and day coaches, but it managed to get up the Lickey and the fells (pre-wiring) OK.
It normally took a banker on Lickey although there may have been occasions when it crawled up without.
The WCML gradients are not as severe as on the Highland Main line where similar sized trains ran each night albeit on significantly slower timings than the lighter daytime trains.

EDIT: On checking, prior to electrification it was 'only' load 14 - still a big train, and increasing to load 16 with electrification although the date of that change to increase sleeper capacity may just have been co-incidental.
It only extended beyond Bristol to Plymouth in the 1980s.

The layout at Carstairs, plus having two shunters on duty to deal with splitting/joining and dealing with the loco for the Edinburgh portion plus brake tests, made for a very slick operation there.
 
Last edited:

Taunton

Established Member
Joined
1 Aug 2013
Messages
6,531
I think I've seen trains with two BSK/BFK/BCK - were there included as well as or instead of BG?
A BG (and DVT) has often seemed to be wasteful, with the majority of the van space unused and the vehicle provided just for a guard position. On services (or portions of services) it was often most efficient to have one BCK, which catered for what might be minimal parcels and First Class demand, plus as many Standard Class vehicles as actually needed.

The van space differed; the Mk 1 BCK had 5 compartments, 3 Standard and 2 First, and thus the smallest van. The BFK had 4 First compartments and a van somewhat less than half the length. The BSK had 4 Second compartments and the biggest van space, which is why the latter are most favoured as support coaches for steam loco operators.
 
Last edited:

Cheshire Scot

Member
Joined
24 Jul 2020
Messages
417
Location
North East Cheshire
A BG (and DVT) has often seemed to be wasteful, with the majority of van the space unused and the vehicle provided just for a guard position. On services (or portions of services) it was often most efficient to have one BCK, which catered for what might be minimal parcels and First Class demand, plus as many Standard Class vehicles as actually needed.

The van space differed; the Mk 1 BCK had 5 compartments, 3 Standard and 2 First, and thus the smallest van. The BFK had 4 First compartments and a van somewhat less than half the length. The BSK had 4 Second compartments and the biggest van space, which is why the latter are most favoured as support coaches for steam loco operators.
One train which seemed to me very efficient in the provision of limited passenger accommodation whilst maximising van space was the Cardiff Crewe TPO (and 01.47 return)which normally conveyed 1 x POS, 1 x BG, 1 x BSK and 1 x BCK - and being WR stock that would have been 7 x 8 seat compartments 56 in second, plus 12 first class seats.
 

Gloster

Established Member
Joined
4 Sep 2020
Messages
2,383
Location
Up the creek
Thinking of your own geography 'Inversnecky', one interesting curiosity in Scotland was for some reason the Scottish region did not originally have an allocation of BGs and whilst many BGs were used in Scotland on both passenger and parcels trains they were predominantly those carrying the M prefix plus quite a few E. Very occasionally an example with W would appear.
Based on the figures in Keith Parkin’s HMRS book, roughly two-thirds of the Mark 1 BG originally went to the LMR, with just under two-thirds of the rest on the ER and the remainder on the WR. The SR and ScR did not originally receive any, but the former later converted half-a-dozen to work with electric Motor Luggage Vans.
 

copea

Member
Joined
8 Mar 2021
Messages
16
Location
West Midlands
Each region had carriage marshalling documents which described the train formation. From the mid 60’s onwards carriage mileage increased significantly and a carriage diagram may run over several ( often three) days before starting again. So on a three day diagram it would be essential that each set in that diagram had similar make up of vehicles. On the main lines into London first class would be at the London end to reduce walking time for first class passengers. A First Open was the common common vehicle for serving meals marshalled next to the kitchen end of a restaurant car however on some routes like Birmingham to Glasgow a Second Open ( not to be confused with a more common Tourist Second Open) was used for dining.
BG vehicles tended to be at the front or back because the vast majority did not have “cages” to segregate parcels from passengers passing through so could not be secured. Again brake vehicles were marshalled as per the marshalling plan for that set.
There were also issues with vehicle orientation (ie which way round they were)particularly with sleeping cars so that pantries were in the middle and later on so that you didn’t need to walk through two vehicles to find a fire extinguisher ( this latter point also applied to fixed formation HSTs)
Finally, where trains we’re split there was often a contingency in case a portion arrived without a brake.nAn example would be Carstairs where BCK 21269 was held as spare in case a service due to split there arrived from the south without a brake in one portion.
A further complication was the speed of the train. Trains on older oil box fitted Mk1’s were limited to 90 mph unless they had SM stencilled on the end ( Special Maintenance) in which case they were 100mph. Vehicles on B4/5 and Commonwealth bogies were 100 mph and a few Mk1’s RKB vehicles on West Coast were allowed to go up to 110 mph on B5 bogies. In the early days Mk3 vehicles on West Coast where only allowed up to 100mph on West Coast as their braking was set to be compatible with Mk2 stock, this was later lifted to 110. Obviously a train could only run to the maximum speed allowed for the slowest vehicle in the train.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top