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Carriage terminology (and Lockers)

Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:58 pm
by GrandParade
I thought I was familiar with most railway terminology, until I came across "Locker Composites" and the like. At least I think I have worked out what these Lockers were, basically. But I still have questions. Is "Locker" here just a synonym for "cupboard", or "luggage storage area"? Or were the Lockers actually locked during a journey? If so, by whom? In other words, how exactly were they used? If they were locked, the whole locking and unlocking procedure would have consumed resources - and what's the point of locking them unless luggage is "checked in" in some way, to ensure passengers don't walk off with someone else's luggage?

And while we are on terminology - "gangway", "corridor" and "vestibule". I believe "gangway" is the bellows connection between two carriages. And "corridor" is the side corridor within a carriage (whether or not the carriage has a "gangway"). But what about "vestibule"? Is it just another name for a "gangway"? Or is it an area within the carriage, running across it with a door at each end, providing access to the side corridor (or saloons) - usually at the end of the coach, though can also be in the middle? Or can it be either?

I look forward to enlightenment!

Re: Carriage terminology (and Lockers)

Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:47 pm
by 65447
There is adequate material available to explain these terms, principally the Michael Harris Books on Gresley and LNER Carriages and the East Coast Joint and GNR stock in Gresley days.

However, seeing as you are a 'newbie'...

1. Lockers - think back to the days in Victorian and early Edwardian times when families took substantial amounts of luggage away with them, and often needed further space for those personal servants travelling with them. Add in the practice at the time to make up trains for multiple destinations, where one or more carriages (I'll explain why that too) - known as a portion - were taken off along the way or coupled back on for the return journey and you have your explanation. A Locker composite had both first and third class accommodation with sufficient space for the amounts of baggage accompanying the passengers travelling in it. No need for a separate luggage van, as all was in the one place. It was long-standing custom and practice for the Line Superintendents and Passenger Managers to specify the same internal arrangements and capacities for new carriages as the stock that was to be replaced, therefore Locker carriages were still being constructed when the amounts of luggage had reduced substantially, except perhaps they were still required on routes to Scotland for the Grouse season and similar grand seasonal occasions. For similar reasons the persistence for compartment main line stock with individual doors to each compartment was not necessarily the choice of the engineering department.

2. Carriage or Coaching Rolling Stock versus Coach and Coaches - simply the continued use of terminology evolved and long in use by the LNER, from certain of its predecessor companies.

3. Vestibule and Gangway - The East Coast Joint Stock organisation, comprising representatives of the Great Northern, North Eastern and North British companies, operating the principal services between London and Scotland, tended to lead the trend in carriage design - that is once the Great Northern under Stirling had got used to putting carriages on bogies and fitting through brakes to them. The North Eastern was probably in the lead in the design and development of certain carriage types but blotted its copybook through the introduction of match-boarded stock in US style. With Gresley becoming Carriage and Wagon Superintendent of the Great Northern in 1905 he introduced the bow-ended style that led in turn to the standard LNER designs and that style was adopted as standard for the East Coast Joint Stock. From being a late developer the Great Northern made a leap and adopted the Pullman style connection between carriages; this required the bow-ends in order to bring the bellows connectors close together and put them into compression, whilst there was buffing gear below the bellows to press the pair of connectors together. Coupling between main line carriages was by means of an automatic coupler, originally the Gould but later the 'Buckeye' type. The combination of this arrangement was given the Pullman terminology of 'Vestibule' and so we speak in LNER terms of 'Vestibuled' and 'Non-Vestibuled' stock. British Railways used the terms 'Gangwayed' and 'Non-Gangwayed' in place of the various company versions. Certain stock was also built with the traditional bellows connectors known as the 'British Standard' gangway, typically for use in trains formed of mixed company stock; these had to be physically clipped together (and clips removed when uncoupling) and could be fitted with an adaptor to mate with the Pullman Vestibule.

4. Corridor - oh what trouble this causes! As you rightly say it can mean a number of things and is often inappropriately used, but also depends on company affiliation. Use of the term corridor as far as the LNER is concerned is confined to a passage along the side of, through the middle of, or transversely from side to side of a carriage. A carriage does not need to have a connection to adjoining carriages to have corridors; classic examples are the Gresley and Thompson Lavatory Non-Vestibuled Composites, each having a number of compartments connected by side corridor to a pair of lavatories placed towards the centre of the carriages, one for each class and without the means of passing from one class to another. The Gresley steel-panelled Non-Vestibuled Lavatory Third similarly had compartments accessed by a side corridor to a lavatory at one end. The post-war Vestibuled stock, sometimes referred to as the Thompson stock, had both side and transverse corridors, such that no compartment was further than one compartment away from a door.

5. Carriage Codes - all of the above variations were allocated telegraphic codes so that the correct type of vehicle could be provided and marshalled into a train. These comprised single letters and combinations thereof to denote the type.

6. Lavatory - the contemporary name for the place were one used the 'water closet', except generally it discharged into the 'four foot' - the ballasted area between the rails. Toilet meant to wash and so on.

Re: Carriage terminology (and Lockers)

Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:08 pm
by Trestrol
Just a few additional points.
1) many trains carried destination boards on the roof. It was possible to fit three boards. The most obvious one would be "FLYING SCOTSMAN" or KINGS CROSS-EDINBURGH". Through carriages for onward destinations such as Aberdeen or Perth would carry a smaller name board on the cantrail under the larger roof boards to show the final destination of that carriage.
2) the LNER preferred the term carriage over coach.
3) before the standard Pullman gangway there was an earlier Gould Pullman style gangway. These were very similar but had no top prongs. ECJS No12 in the NRM has these fitted.
5) the standard telegraph codes used by the LNER were later adopted with slight modification to be the BR standard codes.
6) lavatory and toilet compartments were often used together in third class sleeping cars. So you would use the lavatory and then would then have to go to a different toilet compartment to wash your hands. The sleeper third 1299 preserved at the NYMR has this arrangement. What confuses this is lavatory compartments are marked on the doors toilet and the official drawings show them as toilet compartments.

Re: Carriage terminology (and Lockers)

Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:22 pm
by john coffin
Some interesting replies and some slightly wrong roads.

Re Lockers, the first thing to remember is that at the beginning, even of the GNR, much luggage was carried on the rooves of the trains, but,
people needed places for their valuables, which may well be why locker vehicles were introduced. it is possible that many of them were
secured by the staff of the travelling family. In addition, many families hired their own vehicles which had lockers at one end or another,
the family saloon was popular until late into the 20th Century.

Remember that in fact on the GNR vestibules were originally introduced by Howlden with the Clerestory stock, this after Ivatt had visited
America with a team to check up on new things going on there. They were based on the Gould principal, whilst the later Gresley stuff was
more Pullman influenced.

The GNR used the wonderful phrase Non Passenger Carriage stock, so who knows?

Interesting questions


Re: Carriage terminology (and Lockers)

Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:14 pm
by sawdust
With regard to bow ends, buckeyed or Pullman gangwayed stock was not unique in this regard. (Basically the vestibule door frame projects nine inches beyond the headstocks and cornerposts, hence 61'-6" bodies on 60'-0" underframes).

However NER RFO 2118 is bow ended despite being built as screw coupled/BS gangwayed, meaning the gangway would require less scissors than BS stock with flat ends as found on the LMS/GWR&SR and constituents stock. This would have less of a dark tunnel feel than the longer gangways on flat ended stock.

Also the Coronation Beavertail observation cars do have flat ends but they project 9" over the headstock at the blunt end.

Generally I use the term vestibule to refer to an area larger (or wider) than the standard corridor adjacent to a body side or gangway door. Hence the Thompson TK has four vestibules (two end, two centre), a Beavertail has one and a BTK such as 3669 has one and so on.


Re: Carriage terminology (and Lockers)

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:50 am
by 65447
Vestibule derives from US Pullman car development. Originally the cars had open balcony ends with a gap or gate to allow the conductor to move between cars. Over time this became an enclosed area to protect passengers (hence a vestibule, but it could have been a lobby) and ultimately an enclosed connection between cars was added. Vestibules can therefore only be at the ends; the post-war (Thompson) stock was clearly designated as transverse corridor.

Interestingly, 'The Railway Carriage and Wagon Handbook' issued by The Locomotive Publishing Co. Ltd. of London (c1938) refers to the connections as 'Vestibule Gear'.

The bow ends are to ensure a minimum gap between carriages, because the Pullman vestibule arrangement works only by the bellows being held in compression in conjunction with a rigid (save for some springing) coupling by an automatic coupler of the buckeye type. The bowed shape provides for the outer part of the ends not touching on sharp curves whilst the reduced bellows projection minimises lateral displacement on reverse curves, such as at crossovers between adjacent lines. The traditional buffers need to be retracted as they would otherwise limit the desired movements, thus preventing the above working properly.

Re: Carriage terminology (and Lockers)

Posted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:51 am
by GrandParade
Many thanks for all this - most informative.

In fact my interest was sparked by picking up a copy of Michael Harris's LNER Carriages, plus Historic Carriage Drawings (LNER) by Nick Campling, at Bo'ness (SRPS) the other day. £5 for the two! Both have plenty of references to, and drawings of, Lockers - but neither as far as I can see give any clue as to why they were introduced and how they were used. So thanks to y'all for filling in the detail.

The complication of Through Carriages and Sections had not occurred to me - it makes sense. Though I do wonder how they managed the keys - I have this mental image of a family arriving in (say) Hull and finding they can't get at their luggage because the keys are away with the train guard in Newcastle! Perhaps, though, they used "universal keys" - which would have reduced the security somewhat.

Cheers, Alan

Re: Carriage terminology (and Lockers)

Posted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:40 pm
by Hatfield Shed
The keys were simple geometric shapes like squares or star pattern in my limited experience. The 'security' was that miscreants wouldn't want to steal while the train was in motion leading to the potential for being caught in possession (the law then being very unimaginative and inflicting punishment on those caught) and the plentiful railway staff at station stops ensured that open lockers were supervised.

I suspect that locker entitlements would be ticket controlled. Did guards write up what was stowed where for whom, and when removal access was required?