Turnback Loops

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Lucan

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I was wondering how many turnback loops there are in the UK. The only ones I know of are on the LU at Kennington, the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch at Dungeness, and at one end of the Scarborough miniature North Bay Railway (keeping to public railways). There was one at White City when it was the western end of the LU Central line (the trains were originally loco hauled), now closed. Are there any others?

Of course, turnback loops are most advantageous with loco hauled stock, particularly with tender locos, but they take a lot of space. The one at Dungeness seems enormous for the 15" gauge, about 1/4 mile diameter (but the land is practically useless), and the Scarborough is in a tunnel.
 
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ainsworth74

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It took a minute but there is a loop there isn't there? What's it for? I initially thought perhaps it was to do with the old Whitemoor marshalling yard and turning freight trains around but it's a fair distance from Ely to March just to then go back again if that was the purpose originally!
 

Kite159

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It took a minute but there is a loop there isn't there? What's it for? I initially thought perhaps it was to do with the old Whitemoor marshalling yard and turning freight trains around but it's a fair distance from Ely to March just to then go back again if that was the purpose originally!

I wouldn't call it a turnback loop, more the station avoider for freight to avoid them having to reverse. Similar to Carmarthen & Swansea
 

zwk500

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It took a minute but there is a loop there isn't there? What's it for? I initially thought perhaps it was to do with the old Whitemoor marshalling yard and turning freight trains around but it's a fair distance from Ely to March just to then go back again if that was the purpose originally!
The West Curve is to allow freight to get from March to the King's Lynn or Norwich lines (or Vice Versa) without running round in Ely station.
A turnback loop by definition is beyond the terminus, those are not...
It returns the train to the same station facing the other way without reversal :lol:
 

edwin_m

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Blackpool tramway has turnback loops both ends, although at Fleetwood the terminus is on the loop, not before it. None of the other British modern tramways does, unless you could the loop in central Croydon but that has several stops on it. They are much more common in Germany and other central European countries where trams tend to have doors one side and cabs one end.

Some power stations have or had turnback loops for unloading of coal trains.
 

30907

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The West Curve is to allow freight to get from March to the King's Lynn or Norwich lines (or Vice Versa) without running round in Ely station.
Not just freight - it was historically the passenger route from March etc too (for Norwich not Lynn).
 

Ianno87

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Heathrow Terminal 4

It took a minute but there is a loop there isn't there? What's it for? I initially thought perhaps it was to do with the old Whitemoor marshalling yard and turning freight trains around but it's a fair distance from Ely to March just to then go back again if that was the purpose originally!

It's not its primary purpose, but Ely is occasionally used as a loop to turn round trains from Whitemoor when necessary.
 

superjohn

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There are loops at the UK and French channel tunnel terminals.

While not specifically built for the purpose, the track layouts around Birmingham New Street and Newcastle both allow trains from some directions to loop around and approach the stations from the ‘other‘ end. Both have been used as such to avoid trains having to reverse or run round in the stations.
 

Spartacus

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Most 'modern' power stations have them, and a few other freight terminals too.
 

Steve Harris

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Not just freight - it was historically the passenger route from March etc too (for Norwich not Lynn).
Indeed. The Norwich - Birmingham Class 31/4 loco hauled services in the 80's used to use the curve. Of course since Sprinterisation all (but 1) Norwich - Peterbough services now call (and reverse) at Ely station.
 

snowball

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I wouldn't call it a turnback loop, more the station avoider for freight to avoid them having to reverse. Similar to Carmarthen & Swansea
But it does have the side effect of allowing (subject to signals) a non-stop train from Peterborough to Peterborough via Ely North Junction.
 

Galvanize

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Blackpool tramway has turnback loops both ends, although at Fleetwood the terminus is on the loop, not before it. None of the other British modern tramways does, unless you could the loop in central Croydon but that has several stops on it. They are much more common in Germany and other central European countries where trams tend to have doors one side and cabs one end.

Some power stations have or had turnback loops for unloading of coal trains.
It also has them at Pleasure Beach, mainly used by the Heritage Trams and Illuminations tours starting/finishing journeys, plus at Little Bispham which is mainly used in service by Heritage Trams during enhanced running weekends, or Illuminations Tours...but can also be used by Flexcities in times of service disruption!
 

2192

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"Blackpool tramway has turnback loops both ends, although at Fleetwood the terminus is on the loop, not before it. None of the other British modern tramways does, unless you could the loop in central Croydon but that has several stops on it. They are much more common in Germany and other central European countries where trams tend to have doors one side and cabs one end."

-- Turnaround circles were common for trolleybuses as well, as this was an easy way of turning the vehicle round, sometimes using a roundabout, or two or three short adjacent streets, or a turning circle reserved for the purpose.

The one which went over the Midland main railway line at Cricklewood (mentioned earlier) was for Beyer-Garetts and other big freight engines to reverse round at 5mph as a simple way of making them the right way round to take trains of coal empties back to the Midlands, having brought others down full. It also meant they didn't foul the fast lines to get to the engine shed.
 

MarkyT

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Not just freight - it was historically the passenger route from March etc too (for Norwich not Lynn).
Handy for summer holiday traffic from the Midlands to the Norfolk coast after the M&GN closed, although it soon proved a rapidly diminishing market.

Useless trivia: with the current single track configuration you can only use the loop in a clockwise direction to turn a train from March back to March. If you go anticlockwise, you can only go to Kings Lynn or Norwich.
 
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notlob.divad

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Stalybridge to Stalybridge via Deansgate and Manchester Oxford Road. (Yes I am being sarcastic)

I thought the UK historically tended to prefer 'triangles' and turntables to turn back loops.
 

jopsuk

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British (and most European think?) mainlines didn't go in for terminal loops- I'm guessing partly because space was right. My understanding is that steam era all that would typically be turned here was the locomotive, using a short wye or a turntable- although I guess the fancy express sets on the LNER needed turned in full?
 
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