question about speed limits/restrictions

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G7PXK
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question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by G7PXK » Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:40 pm

Just finished reading Bankers and Pilots by G.C.Potts, much of the book is focused on the Woodhead route. I never realised just how much of a hard slog some of these inclines where, also bearing in mind it was just has difficult coming down the hills with a full load of empties for Wath.The book also mentions that there was speed limits/restrictions placed on the engine if the stock was fitted, partially fitted, or fully fitted. i guess the weight of the load had some bearing on the speed but was curious has to what these limits may have been.
Thanks. :D

Manxman1831
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Re: question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by Manxman1831 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:12 pm

An interesting question, and much of the answer lies with braking capabilities. A partially, or fully, fitted train would be allowed to travel at a higher speed than an unfitted one.

Unfitted train - controllable braking only on the engine and brake van, under normal conditions, with the brakes of the wagons being pinned on/applied at certain locations, such as inclines.

Partially fitted - as the name suggests, some of the wagons are connected to the locomotives braking, either vacuum or air, and providing more control.

Fully fitted - all wagons including brake van connected to the locomotives braking capability, making the train much more controllable.

Modern day-to-day analogy would be a car towing a light trailer, a car towing a caravan and a HGV.
Brian

Anything weird or unusual will catch my interest, be it an express or locomotive

I'm also drawn to the commemorative, let's hope Bachmann will produce 6165 Valour.

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Re: question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by WTTReprinter » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:39 am

Tables of maximum loads were contained in the relevant Freight Train Loads books which give maximum loadings for each line of route and type of engine.
Thanks.
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G7PXK
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Re: question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by G7PXK » Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:14 pm

Thanks for the info guys, i have been looking for some figures but have found out it is not like looking at your highway code, has a kid i was dragged round the country going on steam specials but has a teenager i developed no intrest in trains whatsoever, and its not till quite recently that the intrest has rekindled , i have always assumed that engine men just used the line speed and common sense but the more i dig the more complex it seems to get. Different regions/years had different rules/restrictions, wagons had different wheelbases which effected there classification. The War years on the Woodhead route im guessing a speed of around 25mph max for a unfitted train from what i have read,i have also been told to bear in mind that the rolling stock these engines were pulling was privately owned and were often falling apart on the rails.

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Re: question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by WTTReprinter » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:45 pm

Something tugged the back of mind and I remembered that the Western put their freight loading tables into the WTTs (called Service Time Tables on the Western). I'm going to add a sample page for the Main Line STT to demonstrate how complex it could be, taking into account the gradient of the line, weight of train, type of loco and percentage of fitted vehicles available.

Image

I just tried looking and the forum isn't previewing the image (it's on Dropbox) but it will allow you to download it and open on your own computer.
Thanks.
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StevieG
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Re: question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by StevieG » Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:51 pm

I've a feeling the following comment is not really what you're after G7PXK, but I'll make it anyway in case of interest.

In addition to the type of details already highlighted by others and applicable to certain trains' locomotive(s), loads, and braking fitments & capabilities etc., individual routes (and tracks on multi-track routes) were subject to a maximum "Linespeed" determined by the Civil Engineer's department and published for all operating staff (usually in the relevant company's area / district Sectional Appendix or equivalent books; in some form of table format defining geographical limits / locations), and often signed on site by such as the once-familiar lineside 'cut-out' speed figures painted white or yellow; which, along with some standard exceptions, e.g "15mph through crossovers" (unless otherwise stated).
The speed of all trains was not to exceed these limits.

Further to the above, (often, very-)localised lower speed limits, were also published therein for such as;- some divergent routes, round sharp curves, around some station platforms or wide piers of overbridges, over swing bridges, in station areas of complex trackwork, etc., etc.; - e.g. "55 (mph) through tunnel", "10, Down, through junction", or "20, Slow lines, between 13m. 25chs. and 13m. 48chs." (miles and chains).

So, as well as needing the considerable knowledge of those other limiting factors on speeds etc., footplatemen and guards' 'route knowledge' also needed to include the above, so 'knowing the road' was very important.

These days drivers and some other traincrew are still required to learn degrees of the same sort of route detail, although the particular methods of publication and lineside signing regime, are somewhat different.
Last edited by StevieG on Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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manna
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Re: question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by manna » Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:23 pm

G'Day Gents

Yes, road speed 100mph, train speed 35mph, and sometimes you were lucky to get to 35mph, especially with a unfitted class 9.

manna
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Re: question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by Hatfield Shed » Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:58 am

StevieG wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:51 pm
...In addition to the type of details already highlighted by others and applicable to certain trains' locomotive(s), loads, and braking fitments & capabilities etc., individual routes (and tracks on multi-track routes) were subject to a maximum "Linespeed" determined by the Civil Engineer's department and published for all operating staff (usually in the relevant company's area / district Sectional Appendix or equivalent books; in some form of table format defining geographical limits / locations), and often signed on site by such as the once-familiar lineside 'cut-out' speed figures painted white or yellow; which, along with some standard exceptions, e.g "15mph through crossovers" (unless otherwise stated).
The speed of all trains was not to exceed these limits...
While this is all true, the steam railway made conformance problematic by the simple agency of generally not fitting a speedometer!

Even when a speedometer was fitted, 'what actually happened' might differ from the book. Prime example is the effort to make an LMS pacific go fast down Madeley bank. There was a speedometer in the cab, used to justify the maximum speed claimed. The crossovers at Crewe were taken at excessive speed despite the speedometer, with the reported effect of much destruction of crockery in the dining sections!

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Re: question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by Manxman1831 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:31 pm

Even with supposed speed restrictions, what actually went on was quite different. Several 'renowned' authors always seem to have the speed limit placed on the LMS Garratts as being 40mph. Bearing in mind that they had to make the Toton-Brent run in a shift (10-11 hours I believe) and back again with the empties, there is no way they stuck to that; indeed, quite a few ex-railwaymen would swear that they were clocked passing Hendon at 57mph, heading south.

When Mallard made her 126mph dash, the Chief Civil Engineer was not told about the attempt (he was possibly on holiday at the time) by HNG, until after the event. He allegedly pointed out that the speed limit for Essendine bank was only 90mph.
Brian

Anything weird or unusual will catch my interest, be it an express or locomotive

I'm also drawn to the commemorative, let's hope Bachmann will produce 6165 Valour.

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StevieG
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Re: question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by StevieG » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:44 pm

Indeed Hatfield Shed and Manxman1831; fair points.
My last sentence could more considerately have read : -
- "The speed of all trains was not supposed to exceed these limits."
BZOH

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Re: question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by G7PXK » Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:47 am

Reading some of the comments one might beleive that engine men carried charts/tables with them.Ive read a few books, not so much railway books but social historys about the day to day lives and memories of people working for the railways,ive not come across examples of enginemen using tables for example Mr Potts would book on is shift at Mexboro going light engine to Wath to pick up 15 coal wagons for say Manchester.The engine may be a Robinson 04 Mr Potts only comment "it was a gud'un".The load would be sorted at Wath, the shunter would report to the guard the guard would report to the driver "15 wagons right away driver", no weights or speed given to the driver he would only mention if he had a mixed load full and empty wagons.
Before the huge climb at Worsborough Bank the engine would slow at Wentworth junction so the banker could buffer up to the train, the only communication between the engines was a toot on the whistle never any mention of looking at tables due to tractive effort being increased due to banker engine.When the Beyer Garrat was used for banking it would seem that although this engine had a huge pulling/pushing power it would always just do enough no more no less due to the beast being a swine to fire, on the woodhead no fireman was allowed to work consecutive shifts on the Garrat. Coal was king on the Woodhead but im getting the impression you just got the load up the hill, there seems to be no time when crews were put under pressure to get the job done more quickly time and motion only seems to have started when the electrics were used. i was curious to find some hard fast figures for the route actual numbers but im begining to think it did not really matter you did not have a target speed to reach to get the job done.

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Re: question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by Manxman1831 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:23 am

Certainly, it used to be true of the GC-section (and possibly other areas as well), that if a freight train was deemed to be in the way of a passenger train, it would be diverted into the nearest loop to sit and wait for the other to pass - on the main lines anyway. On branchlines that would be a little trickier as the usual loop facilities may also be used for storage of wagons waiting for pickup.

Generally speaking, freight trains would be timed to be between the timetabled passenger trains, offering enough time to get from one loop to the next if needs be. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and fully fitted freights were often given similar timings to some expresses - the Immingham or Fleetwood fish trains, or the banana boat trains, are just a few examples.

This does lead to the problems associated with the modern railway, where so many of the old lines/loops have been removed that the freight trains are simply not fast enough to keep out of the way of the following passenger trains. West Coast expresses are regularly held up by 66-hauled freights going over Beattock and Shap, simply because the locos are not good enough to climb the hills - they may be okay on the flat, but this country is not flat.
Brian

Anything weird or unusual will catch my interest, be it an express or locomotive

I'm also drawn to the commemorative, let's hope Bachmann will produce 6165 Valour.

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Re: question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by 53C » Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:05 pm

On the subject of train crews working that route, as a youngster I heard a conversation between an ex Mexborough shed fireman and my late father. Both started their working lives,in the early 1930's, with a shovel in their hands. As a young Fireman he crewed on the Coal trains.He said the crew walked the line on their day off an marked the telegraph poles with an axe to show them when to go down,as the loco approached the tunnels. They carried in the cab a bucket of water with an old Army blanket soaking in it.
Going through the tunnels they got down in the corned put the blanket over them and waited till they emerged at the end.
He said with the loco funnel just 6 inches from the tunnel roof,smoke,steam,sparks and burning embers went in all directions.
When clear of the tunnel they would put out the burning embers on the blanket and themselves before proceeding.
Saying it was one hell of a way to earn living and he got a transfer to the Hull docks, as soon as he could.

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Re: question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by Mickey » Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:01 pm

manna wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:23 pm
Yes, road speed 100mph, train speed 35mph, and sometimes you were lucky to get to 35mph, especially with a unfitted class 9.

Yes from memory when I did my little stints as a secondman at both Kings Cross & Stratford loco during the mid/late 1970s when there was still some loose coupled freight train workings around I do recall on a number of occasions when being 'up the front' usually on a class 31 loco with maybe few dozen wagons and a brake van behind the loco that when braking (using the locos engine brake/holding brake only) you could feel the weight of train behind 'pushing the loco forward' when bringing the trains speed down for maybe a signals stop up ahead. Actually it was quite a 'skillful art' for a loco driver to work a loose coupled freight train and keep it under his control and of course not forgetting with the aid of 'the bloke at the back' in his brake van.

Mickey
Last edited by Mickey on Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: question about speed limits/restrictions

Post by manna » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:38 pm

G'Day Gents

I think one of the reasons that ECML express's left KX in very close timings was to leave as much time as possible for the Goods trains to clear the two track sections of mainline before the next flight of express's.
Today with a lot less Freight traffic it is possible to stagger the express's to a more time interval, but that dose,n't help the odd freight train.
With loose couple trains, you really felt that push in the back as you started to brake, if you could keep it under control, (I.E. brake early rather than late) there wasn't to much of a problem.

manna
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