Pronunciation of BR steam loco numbers

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Taunton

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Brought about by a video I saw where WR loco numbers like 4932 (an old Taunton stalwart) were being pronounced "Forty-nine thirty-two".

This just sounds wrong. In my experience numbers were always pronounced as individual digits "Four nine three two", so putting them into pairs just sounds wrong. Likewise double numbers were pronounced individually, so 4077 was "Four oh seven seven", and not "Four oh double-seven". Same approach applied to 5-digit numbers; 70024 would be "Seven oh oh two four", not "Seven double-oh two four".

What was experience elsewhere? Different in different parts of the country?
 
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Saltleyman

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Brought about by a video I saw where WR loco numbers like 4932 (an old Taunton stalwart) were being pronounced "Forty-nine thirty-two".

This just sounds wrong. In my experience numbers were always pronounced as individual digits "Four nine three two", so putting them into pairs just sounds wrong. Likewise double numbers were pronounced individually, so 4077 was "Four oh seven seven", and not "Four oh double-seven". Same approach applied to 5-digit numbers; 70024 would be "Seven oh oh two four", not "Seven double-oh two four".

What was experience elsewhere? Different in different parts of the country?

In my part of the world 4932 was "forty nine thirty two", 4077 was "Forty seventy seven" and 70024 would be "seventy thousand and twenty four".:lol:
 

John Webb

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Brought about by a video I saw where WR loco numbers like 4932 (an old Taunton stalwart) were being pronounced "Forty-nine thirty-two".

This just sounds wrong. In my experience numbers were always pronounced as individual digits "Four nine three two", so putting them into pairs just sounds wrong. Likewise double numbers were pronounced individually, so 4077 was "Four oh seven seven", and not "Four oh double-seven". Same approach applied to 5-digit numbers; 70024 would be "Seven oh oh two four", not "Seven double-oh two four".

What was experience elsewhere? Different in different parts of the country?
Don't forget that many ex-GWR loco classes were named by the first two digits and often referred to as a 'class 49XX' or whatever was applicable. So I suspect this may be why the video you saw pronounced them that way. To be honest I don't recall in detail what happened when I was trainspotting - my trainspotting days ended some 50+ years ago!
 

mikestone1952

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According to the RCTS history an A3 got to Cricklewood once because of a mis-understanding between "sixty one one two" and "sixty-one one two".
 

Taunton

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Don't forget that many ex-GWR loco classes were named by the first two digits and often referred to as a 'class 49XX' or whatever was applicable.
I don't think I ever heard of a "49xx" in speech, they were always known by crews as a "Hall", or a range of nicknames (that which the 82xxx quickly gained, which had replaced the powerful and competent 41xx on the Minehead branch, being unrepeatable on a family forum). It only appeared as such in spotters books.

According to the RCTS history an A3 got to Cricklewood once because of a mis-understanding between "sixty one one two" and "sixty-one one two".
Would have thought that 6112 would have been even more out of gauge over the cylinders than 60112! Presume it got to Cricklewood from Neasden, where A3s were common and 61xx, although unusual, were not unknown coming down from High Wycombe.
 

70014IronDuke

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I don't think I ever heard of a "49xx" in speech, they were always known by crews as a "Hall", or a range of nicknames (that which the 82xxx quickly gained, which had replaced the powerful and competent 41xx on the Minehead branch, being unrepeatable on a family forum). It only appeared as such in spotters books.


Would have thought that 6112 would have been even more out of gauge over the cylinders than 60112! Presume it got to Cricklewood from Neasden, where A3s were common and 61xx, although unusual, were not unknown coming down from High Wycombe.

No, it did not involve Neasden, if we are talking about the incident I think we are.

The story as I know it went something like this - it involved the roster clerk or whatever at Holbeck (I think) writing up 112 - meaning D112.

But 60112 was also on the depot. This might have also been confusing because Copley Hill had closed, and some footplate crews had transferred to Holbeck not long previously. At Copley Hill, they had not written out the whole number, ie 60112, but just 112.

Anyway, for whatever reason, the crew took the A3 off shed and worked the train with it. I think it was a parcels job in Autumn months of 1963?

Personally, I've long been suspicious the crew knew exactly what they were doing, and thought they'd use the excuse to take an A3 down the Midland for something different.

I think the loco worked back with a train too. Only time I've ever heard of an A3 doing the line, until 60103 on a special in about 1967.

To answer you original question - it's difficult to say with certainty what we (I) said at the time. My gut feeling is that with exGWR locos, we would say eg for 4987, four nine eight seven.
If we were using (as commonly done) just four digits on the LMR, we would say, eg for 45342, fifty-three forty-two.

For a Brit, eg 70028, we'd say seven double oh two eight.
 
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Shaw S Hunter

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To answer you original question - it's difficult to say with certainty what we (I) said at the time. My gut feeling is that with exGWR locos, we would say eg for 4987, four nine eight seven.
If we were using (as commonly done) just four digits on the LMR, we would say, eg for 45342, fifty-three forty-two.

For a Brit, eg 70028, we'd say seven double oh two eight.

That's exactly what my older acquaintances in the hobby say was the case, though only applicable in particular areas of course.

Once in my early spotting days (mid 70s) I managed a trip to York. I asked another spotter what had just gone out on a particular train, his answer was "forty one fifty". Left me scratching my head for a while!
 

Bevan Price

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No, it did not involve Neasden, if we are talking about the incident I think we are.

The story as I know it went something like this - it involved the roster clerk or whatever at Holbeck (I think) writing up 112 - meaning D112.

But 60112 was also on the depot. This might have also been confusing because Copley Hill had closed, and some footplate crews had transferred to Holbeck not long previously. At Copley Hill, they had not written out the whole number, ie 60112, but just 112.

Anyway, for whatever reason, the crew took the A3 off shed and worked the train with it. I think it was a parcels job in Autumn months of 1963?

Personally, I've long been suspicious the crew knew exactly what they were doing, and thought they'd use the excuse to take an A3 down the Midland for something different.

I think the loco worked back with a train too. Only time I've ever heard of an A3 doing the line, until 60103 on a special in about 1967.

To answer you original question - it's difficult to say with certainty what we (I) said at the time. My gut feeling is that with exGWR locos, we would say eg for 4987, four nine eight seven.
If we were using (as commonly done) just four digits on the LMR, we would say, eg for 45342, fifty-three forty-two.

For a Brit, eg 70028, we'd say seven double oh two eight.

Some of us would have said "Seventy oh two eight", and the equivalent for all the other BR Standards & WDs. (and also anything else where there was a 0(zero) in the middle of the number.) TOPs-number diesels & electrics would be treated similarly.

For ex LMSR, LNER or SR steam locos, we tended to say the easiest option, with few strong preferences. So, we might speak all the individual numbers - or combine pairs of numbers,

e.g. 45581 = "Four-FiiftyFive-Eightyone" or "Four-FiftyFive-Eight-One" or "Four-Five-Five-Eight-One". I don't recal many people using (for example) "Double-Five"
 

30907

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I have a suspicion that, on the Southern, the 3 (or in my case, 30!) would have been ignored altogether. So I'm 9-0-7, but an ex SECR loco might have been 17-37 or 1-7-3-7.
However, that's only a theory.
 

Joe19B

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My Dad did forty-seven years on the LMS and BR and would always say numbers like "Fifty-Five, Eighty-One." The initial 4 added to ex-LMS locos after nationalisation was always omitted.
 

Clarence Yard

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Would have thought that 6112 would have been even more out of gauge over the cylinders than 60112! Presume it got to Cricklewood from Neasden, where A3s were common and 61xx, although unusual, were not unknown coming down from High Wycombe.

Except that the Derby Power Controller would have thought (4)6112 quite suitable for a trip to London. I don't think he thought he had a GW engine about!

That was the issue - even when I joined in the 70's, several older hands described their old engines without the regional number. So I had an ex LMS man proclaiming 2794 was his favourite whilst an LNER man said 1251 was his. You had to know your Crabs from your E4's and your B1's from your Ivatt tanks!

To add to the mix, at KX we tended to refer to our top link locos as "No X", something that carried on with the Deltics. We never used the names, so Pinza was No 7 although top shed men said the real No 7 was SNG!
 

Taunton

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I agree, on a youthful visit to Crewe I still recall being perplexed by older enthusiasts announcing LMR numbers without the leading "4".

O S Nock, writing in his column in the Railway Magazine in about 1964, had been on a footplate timing run on the down Royal Scot, with English Electric Type 4s. When locos were changed at Crewe the message came that "he's giving you 6228". Nock put this down as a joke for D228, but was then slightly staggered to find 46228 backing down!
 
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Johnuk123

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Except that the Derby Power Controller would have thought (4)6112 quite suitable for a trip to London. I don't think he thought he had a GW engine about!

That was the issue - even when I joined in the 70's, several older hands described their old engines without the regional number. So I had an ex LMS man proclaiming 2794 was his favourite whilst an LNER man said 1251 was his. You had to know your Crabs from your E4's and your B1's from your Ivatt tanks!

To add to the mix, at KX we tended to refer to our top link locos as "No X", something that carried on with the Deltics. We never used the names, so Pinza was No 7 although top shed men said the real No 7 was SNG!

What was SNG ?
 

70014IronDuke

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I agree, on a youthful visit to Crewe I still recall being perplexed by older enthusiasts announcing LMR numbers without the leading "4".

O S Nock, writing in his column in the Railway Magazine in about 1964, had been on a footplate timing run on the down Royal Scot, with English Electric Type 4s. When locos were changed at Crewe the message came that "he's giving you 6228". Nock put this down as a joke for D228, but was then slightly staggered to find 46228 backing down!

I'm not saying this was impossible in 1964, but if it happened then, it must have been due to a failure of the EE4. Remember, all the remaining Stanier pacifics were withdrawn in August or September 1964, en masse.

I don't know for sure, but i would imagine there were enough EE4s by the winter timetable in 62 - at the latest - to ensure diesels diagrammed for all scheduled Euston-Glasgow trains. So even if this had happened in 63, it would have been very surprising.

I was hauled by a Duchess (6239 I think it was - a green 'un) on a Euston local some time around Easter 1963 - there was so little for them to do at that stage outside the summer holiday period.
 

30907

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I'm not saying this was impossible in 1964, but if it happened then, it must have been due to a failure of the EE4. Remember, all the remaining Stanier pacifics were withdrawn in August or September 1964, en masse.

It was indeed a failure. I vividly recall (I was at an impressionable age and rather anti diesel) the Railway Mag headline for that month's Locomotive Practice and Performance: "Red Duchess to the rescue at Crewe" - ISTR that Nock later commented that this wasn't the thrust of his article.
 

70014IronDuke

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I don't have it to hand, but a quick web search shows it was the June 1964 magazine

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Locomotiv...-Age-of-Steam-Nock-O-S-Hardback-/391209697694

Must have been fun. I wonder if it kept time? Not that the EE4 timings were much different from the steam (if at all?) - but the loco was probably not well prepared.

If it was in the June mag, it means the run was probably in April (or even March). Could well have been the last time a Duchess took a scheduled Class 1 Glasgow train over Shap.
 

Taunton

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As far as I recall (someone must have the mag to hand) the EE4 was failed at Crewe with a leaking boiler water tank. The Duchess was on hand as scheduled for the following Perth train, so was the first to be grabbed, which shows Class 1 steam turns were still running then. Nock said it was in superb condition and fully prepared for a long journey.
 

Bevan Price

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Must have been fun. I wonder if it kept time? Not that the EE4 timings were much different from the steam (if at all?) - but the loco was probably not well prepared.

If it was in the June mag, it means the run was probably in April (or even March). Could well have been the last time a Duchess took a scheduled Class 1 Glasgow train over Shap.

If it was well prepared - and had some good quality coal - and a good crew, a Duchess could have easily out-performed a Class 40.

The 40s were grossly underpowered for the typical loads on WCML in the early 1960s -- 25 to 30 mph up Shap was typical for 11 coach loads.
 
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