That diesel at the rear of steam tour trains

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Rich5ltr

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Quick question, and I really should know the answer, but why do so many (indeed is it all) mainline steam tours have to lug a diesel at the rear of the train? Is it for heating, power supply, fail safe in case the loco stalls or what? I recollect several years ago one of the locomotive owners or operators converted a parcels wagon with a built in diesel motor but perhaps that was for a different purpose. It's a shame because they are so damn ugly. :(
 
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168lover

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Quick question, and I really should know the answer, but why do so many (indeed is it all) mainline steam tours have to lug a diesel at the rear of the train? Is it for heating, power supply, fail safe in case the loco stalls or what? I recollect several years ago one of the locomotive owners or operators converted a parcels wagon with a built in diesel motor but perhaps that was for a different purpose. It's a shame because they are so damn ugly. :(

First things first diesels are not ugly secondly the reason they're normally on the back end of steam tours is so that they can provide ETS which is basically means supplying the trains heating
 

Rich5ltr

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Thanks, no offence intended, I love some diesels especially Warships, Brush Type 4s and English Electric Type 3s. That said, they look blooming odd hitching a ride at the back of a rake of Pullmans or crimson lake coaches headed up by a steam engine.

Anyway, as my vague recollection that it's for heating was correct I then wonder why more operators don't convert a parcels van (what did happen to that one I remember) and... what is ETS an abbreviation for? Trying to learn!
 

Ash Bridge

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Thanks, no offence intended, I love some diesels especially Warships, Brush Type 4s and English Electric Type 3s. That said, they look blooming odd hitching a ride at the back of a rake of Pullmans or crimson lake coaches headed up by a steam engine.

Anyway, as my vague recollection that it's for heating was correct I then wonder why more operators don't convert a parcels van (what did happen to that one I remember) and... what is ETS an abbreviation for? Trying to learn!

Electric Train Supply, I think there is a former GUV (General Utility) van that has been converted to carry additional water supply, plus there are also mk1 BSK or BFK (with guards office and van area at one end, passenger compartments at the other) coaches that are fitted with a diesel generator to provide ETS
 
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47802

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Quick question, and I really should know the answer, but why do so many (indeed is it all) mainline steam tours have to lug a diesel at the rear of the train? Is it for heating, power supply, fail safe in case the loco stalls or what? I recollect several years ago one of the locomotive owners or operators converted a parcels wagon with a built in diesel motor but perhaps that was for a different purpose. It's a shame because they are so damn ugly. :(

Well obviously you need either a generator coach or a loco to supply the train heating, given that steam heated trains on the mainline disappeared many years ago.

There are a few generator coaches but if its a WCRC train it will most likely have a diesel on the back. Obviously having a diesel on the back can aid shunting at the destination or in the event of failure.

Personally I do think WCRC Loco's in Maroon look awful, I suppose it could be argued they blend in with the coaching stock better but I would prefer to see their 47's for instance in original BR style two tone green.
 

Rich5ltr

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Well obviously you need either a generator coach or a loco to supply the train heating, given that steam heated trains on the mainline disappeared many years ago.
So does that explain why one sees trains on heritage lines without a ETS in that they have maintained steam heating for their coaches?

Thanks...
 

Cowley

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Well obviously you need either a generator coach or a loco to supply the train heating, given that steam heated trains on the mainline disappeared many years ago.

There are a few generator coaches but if its a WCRC train it will most likely have a diesel on the back. Obviously having a diesel on the back can aid shunting at the destination or in the event of failure.

Personally I do think WCRC Loco's in Maroon look awful, I suppose it could be argued they blend in with the coaching stock better but I would prefer to see their 47's for instance in original BR style two tone green.

I absolutely agree 47802. It's drab and boring. Better to embrace the style of an old 1960s diesel and paint it how it looked when built (especially as most of their stock is steam/early diesel era), than paint it to look like a coach.
On a grey day with a bit of dirt on them WCRC locos look tired and uninspiring.

As far as the original question goes, I bet having a diesel in tow has rescued the day a few times over the last few years, in this day and age you just can't afford for a steam hauled charter to break down on a busy mainline.
 

ilkestonian

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Many mainline tours haul diesels not for ETH - heating is not usually needed during late spring, summer and early autumn when the bulk of the runs are made - but for two key reasons.

First, as insurance, in case of failure, but secondly, and probably more relevent, to help with turn rounds at destinations or en route, so that reversals can safely be done, even with passengers aboard.

Take a recent example of a trip to Skegness. Steam led to Grantham, then the train had to change direction, so the diesel led to Skegness with steam hanging off the back. Steam then was right way round to lead all the way back (which was via a different route so no reversal needed).

Some operators send a shadow diesel, but this costs money as a second path is needed.
 

Harbornite

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I absolutely agree 47802. It's drab and boring. Better to embrace the style of an old 1960s diesel and paint it how it looked when built (especially as most of their stock is steam/early diesel era), than paint it to look like a coach.
On a grey day with a bit of dirt on them WCRC locos look tired and uninspiring.

As far as the original question goes, I bet having a diesel in tow has rescued the day a few times over the last few years, in this day and age you just can't afford for a steam hauled charter to break down on a busy mainline.

Indeed, it's a shame that WCR have repainted their BR two tone green and IC Swallow liveried 47s because those liveries were superior. At least 47580 is still in BR LL blue.
 

STEVIEBOY1

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Well obviously you need either a generator coach or a loco to supply the train heating, given that steam heated trains on the mainline disappeared many years ago.

There are a few generator coaches but if its a WCRC train it will most likely have a diesel on the back. Obviously having a diesel on the back can aid shunting at the destination or in the event of failure.

Personally I do think WCRC Loco's in Maroon look awful, I suppose it could be argued they blend in with the coaching stock better but I would prefer to see their 47's for instance in original BR style two tone green.

I thought steam heating did still work on some mainline steam trains,? I have been on a number of these trips and there was steam leaking from the pipes / hoses between the carriages, it looks very atmospheric in fact. The carriages can be very hot too. (Until the windows are opened to allow the sounds and smell of the steam loco in. :) )
 

broadgage

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So does that explain why one sees trains on heritage lines without a ETS in that they have maintained steam heating for their coaches?

Thanks...

Yes, most larger heritage lines do maintain steam heating in working order. Last week I travelled on a steam heated train on the West Somerset railway.
Most older coaches are equipped for both electric heat and for steam heat, so as to facilitate haulage by steam or modern locomotives.

Decades ago, most coaches had steam heat only. For this reason, many of the earlier diesel locomotives were equipped with an oil burning steam generator for carriage warming.
It was cheaper to fit the extra equipment to perhaps a hundred locos than to modify thousands of coaches.

I suspect that steam heating may be prohibited from the main line these days.
I have not seen it in use on the main line for years. It would find little favour in any case since use of the heating increases coal and water consumption. This mattered not "back in the day" since water was easily replenished en-route, and any unexpected lack of coal was usually dealt with by exchanging the engine for a fully coaled substitute.
 

Spamcan81

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I thought steam heating did still work on some mainline steam trains,? I have been on a number of these trips and there was steam leaking from the pipes / hoses between the carriages, it looks very atmospheric in fact. The carriages can be very hot too. (Until the windows are opened to allow the sounds and smell of the steam loco in. :) )

I'm think you're right as I'm sure there are still some dual heat carriages available for charters. Fortunately not all steam tours take a diesel on the rear so it's still possible to have a pure steam run on the main line.
 

theironroad

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Someone will have better knowledge, but in many places there are no turntables to turn the steam loco around and even if it is possible to run the loco around, I *think* there are rules around speed reductions in running tender first on the mainline, which would hamper path availability. I could be wrong but seem to recall hearing that....
 

47802

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I'm think you're right as I'm sure there are still some dual heat carriages available for charters. Fortunately not all steam tours take a diesel on the rear so it's still possible to have a pure steam run on the main line.

Steam Heat disappeared on scheduled service trains around 1987 I think, Obviously you can still get steam heated trains on heritage railways including Diesels, but OK I could be proved wrong I didn't think there was any steam heated mainline working even though some of the rolling stock used may still have the capability, although I am thinking that NYMR trains to Whitby might be an exception to that?

Whether there is any Network Rail policy on the subject presumably there is?
 
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ilkestonian

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Someone will have better knowledge, but in many places there are no turntables to turn the steam loco around and even if it is possible to run the loco around, I *think* there are rules around speed reductions in running tender first on the mainline, which would hamper path availability. I could be wrong but seem to recall hearing that....

That's right, but most trips are arranged so a turning triangle or similar is available reasonably close to the destination to avoid this.

So only a short distance of light engine (or loco and support coach) running tender first is needed.
 

eastwestdivide

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The set of chocolate and cream coaches used for a tour in Dec 2010 was definitely still steam heated, by Earl of Mount Edgcumbe. Seen here at Rotherham on a dull December day.
I think that set of coaches is from Tyseley.

 

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alexl92

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Indeed, it's a shame that WCR have repainted their BR two tone green and IC Swallow liveried 47s because those liveries were superior. At least 47580 is still in BR LL blue.

47580 is in blue because it is owned by the Stratford 47 group, on loan to WCRC.



Personally I dont mind diesels in non-authentic liveries as long as they look okay... the maroon could work if they lined it out or something but it is boring.
 

STEVIEBOY1

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The set of chocolate and cream coaches used for a tour in Dec 2010 was definitely still steam heated, by Earl of Mount Edgcumbe. Seen here at Rotherham on a dull December day.
I think that set of coaches is from Tyseley.


That is a good photo.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I'm think you're right as I'm sure there are still some dual heat carriages available for charters. Fortunately not all steam tours take a diesel on the rear so it's still possible to have a pure steam run on the main line.


Yes I have been on a number of charters where it has been pure steam which is great.

I often seem to get seated towards the rear of steam charters in std class and sometimes it's annoying to hear the diesel noises over the steam sounds, if a diesel is still attached. However I do see the point of having the diesel as a back up incase of problem starts/hill climbs etc.
 

DarloRich

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The diesel is for ( in no order)

  • HVAC
  • shunting
  • return to base from location with no turning facilities
  • rescue
  • additional power when needed
  • operational flexibility
  • efficient use of available paths
 

SpacePhoenix

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Are there some routes where NR insist on a steam tour having a working diesel at one end of the train at all times?
 

Welshman

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That's right, but most trips are arranged so a turning triangle or similar is available reasonably close to the destination to avoid this.

So only a short distance of light engine (or loco and support coach) running tender first is needed.

Although when they ran steam-hauled excursions to Blaenau Ffestiniog, they used to turn the engine on the triangle at Chester, so it would be chimney-first up the Conwy Valley after reversal at Llandudno Junction.

That meant tender-first running for some 44 miles!
 

ilkestonian

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Although when they ran steam-hauled excursions to Blaenau Ffestiniog, they used to turn the engine on the triangle at Chester, so it would be chimney-first up the Conwy Valley after reversal at Llandudno Junction.

That meant tender-first running for some 44 miles!

And the regular Jacobite steam trips in Scotland are chimney first one way and tender first the other, so it is by no means unknown. But as most lines north of the border are limited to 20mph (ok, a slight exaggeration ;)) then running tender first does not actually mean a slower journey. Just an uncomfortable one for the crew.
 

kermit

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The diesel is for ( in no order)

  • HVAC
  • shunting
  • return to base from location with no turning facilities
  • rescue
  • additional power when needed
  • operational flexibility
  • efficient use of available paths

What code do they use from the steam end to say "more power please"??
 
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