• Do any British railway enthusiasts frequent this forum?

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by Aa3rt
 
Way back in 1964, as an eleven year old, I received a book in my Christmas stocking titled "The Observers Book of Railway Locomotives of Britain". (Where my parents found this book, living in rural northwest Pennsylvania, is still a puzzle to me.) I was fascinated to find that at that late date, steam was still a form of locomotion in the British Isles. I still have this book in my possession and look at it occasionally. The black and white photos of various classes and wheel arrangements are still intriguing to me as well as the background in some of the photos.

My last name is quite obviously of British origin, although family history was not a strong point on my father's side of the family.

Somehow I managed "adopt" the London, Midland & Scottish (LMS) as my favorite British railway. I'd love to learn more about it and the great locomotive works at Crewe. (BTW-I believe the town of "Audley" is not too far from Crewe.) Are there any websites or suggested reading materials readily available here in the US?

In 1977, while serving in the US Coast Guard, the cutter I was stationed aboard made a cadet cruise to northern Europe. One of our stops was to sail up the Thames to the Royal Dockyard at Chatham. From Chatham, we boarded electric carriages (single cars drawing their electricity from a third rail) and rode the train to London. Can anyone identify the line I rode, which station was at the end of the line (I think it was Charing Cross but after 28 years the memory has faded a bit.) and what type of carriages these were?
Last edited by Aa3rt on Sun Aug 21, 2005 12:10 pm, edited 4 times in total.

  by David Benton
 
Hi Art ,
I spent a couple of years working in london , i dont recall going to Chatham , but those trains go to London's victoria station .
try www.spv.co.uk for videos .
  by george matthews
 
Aa3rt wrote:
In 1977, while serving in the US Coast Guard, the cutter I was stationed aboard made a cadet cruise to northern Europe. One of our stops was to sail up the Thames to the Royal Dockyard at Chatham. From Chatham, we boarded electric carriages (single cars drawing their electricity from a third rail) and rode the train to London. Can anyone identify the line I rode, which station was at the end of the line (I think it was Charing Cross but after 28 years the memory has faded a bit.) and what type of carriages these were?
You may have alighted at London Bridge, Charing Cross or Victoria as trains go to all those stations. Charing Cross is a small station with only 6 platforms. Victoria is huge with two different stations under the same roof.

I am not an expert on Southern Railway and Southern Region electrics but nearly all the trains in those days were Electric Multiple Units. The Southern Railway decided to electrify very early in its history and was the most completely electrified railway in Britain. Even now its successors cover a very large area of southern England. The United States is almost alone in not adopting Multiple units without locomotives as the main method of train operation. Locomotives are now rare on passenger trains in Britain.

I think in 1977 trains going beyond Chatham to Dover were probably diesel, but they were probably multiple units also. British Railways built a number of diesel multiple units for the Southern Region for use on the non-electrified routes that looked very similar to the electric trains. Nearly all the trains of that time have now been withdrawn and replaced with modern trains.

Just this weekend the last slam door trains are to be withdrawn.

  by Aa3rt
 
Gentlemen,

Thank you for the replies thus far. I'm fairly certain now that it was Charing Cross station where I detrained. The line may have gone on further but that was where I got off, I believe it was in or near Trafalgar Square.

The trains were electric continuing through Chatham, no sign of a change to diesel there. I remember noting that the electric pickup shoes were rectangular, reminding me of the bolt in a deadbolt lock. They made contact on the top of the rail. My cutter, the CGC Gallatin (WHEC-721) was homeported at Governor's Island, off the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City and I remember noting the similarities, as well as the differences, between the EMU I was on (although it was only a single carriage) and the New York City subways. (The mode of electrical pickup, etc. I was not refering to the obvious differences between a British EMU and a NYC subway car.)

BTW-I hate to show my ignorance, but WHAT is a "slam-door" carriage? Does this indicate the doors that open from either side of the carriage and seats facing each other?

  by george matthews
 
BTW-I hate to show my ignorance, but WHAT is a "slam-door" carriage? Does this indicate the doors that open from either side of the carriage and seats facing each other?

Slam door trains were trains in which the passenger opened the door by operating a handle. It swung out over the platform. They have been replaced by trains with sliding doors.

Charing Cross is a terminus, but it is near Trafalgar Square. I can't remember when the Dover line was electrified. I doubt if you were in a single carriage train. On that line trains are usually 8 or 12 carriages long. There may have been a shorter train if you were on the Sheerness Branch.

  by 47432
 
The lines into and around Dover were electrified many, many years earlier, so the OP would certainly have been aboard one of the then Southern Region MK.1-based EMUs.

  by george matthews
 
47432 wrote:The lines into and around Dover were electrified many, many years earlier, so the OP would certainly have been aboard one of the then Southern Region MK.1-based EMUs.
But not a "single car train"

  by 47432
 
True. Many were 4-car minimum back then, but frequently ran in 8 or 12 car formations. There were a few 2-car units on the S.R. though, but not sure which routes they frequented.
  by Semaphore Sam
 
Dear Aa3rt
Yes, I am a BR enthusiast...I have made semi-annual visits on UK rail lines for the last 23 years or so. The historical literature is so complete, and respect for those who created, and served on, the lines is so pervasive in the UK, that, as a Yank, I totally admire UK rail history, and despair that our North American history is ignored (sadly, the odd Johnny Cash record, with generic evocative film, is the only American interest shown in US rail history). Last month I walked Whitby-Scarborough, visited the Stockton and Darlington (saw the first rail station at Stockton, now without rail), investigated the famous level crossing at Darlington, saw the scenes of the disasters at Kings X fire and Southhall, and much else, using an 8-day Railcard. I've seen, and done, a lot, and want to talk to others who know about BRail. Please, guys, and gals!
Semaphore Sam
  by george matthews
 
Semaphore Sam wrote:Dear Aa3rt
Yes, I am a BR enthusiast...I have made semi-annual visits on UK rail lines for the last 23 years or so. The historical literature is so complete, and respect for those who created, and served on, the lines is so pervasive in the UK, that, as a Yank, I totally admire UK rail history, and despair that our North American history is ignored (sadly, the odd Johnny Cash record, with generic evocative film, is the only American interest shown in US rail history). Last month I walked Whitby-Scarborough, visited the Stockton and Darlington (saw the first rail station at Stockton, now without rail), investigated the famous level crossing at Darlington, saw the scenes of the disasters at Kings X fire and Southhall, and much else, using an 8-day Railcard. I've seen, and done, a lot, and want to talk to others who know about BRail. Please, guys, and gals!
Semaphore Sam
You may have noted the huge number of rail magazines on sale in Britain (my house is overfull of them), including Modern Railways for all the latest developments, Rail fortnightly, and numerous heritage magazines. Today's Railways is good for European railways.

And of course in the bookstalls of preserved steam (my nearest is Swanage) you can find housefulls of books on every rural branch that ever existed.

  by Semaphore Sam
 
Dear Mr. Mathews:
There is no end of mag & book literature about UK rail lines. Particularly good is the Regional History series, 14 or 15 volumes written by various people aquainted with the local areas, and its associated series about Forgotten Railways (if memory serves), with the same regional idea. Many Then and Now books and pamphlets fascinatingly relate the many-tracked row's of the past with the truncated present. Mostly my interest is in re-creating in my mind what row's looked like, and how they were operated; especially derelict lines, junctions & terminal areas; also, scenes of accidents back to the beginning of rail. As you've related, there's no dearth of literature available; actually, it seems there's too much to get through, and this is dangerous, as I find it hard to resist such histories. Sam.

  by george matthews
 
Semaphore Sam wrote:Dear Mr. Mathews:
There is no end of mag & book literature about UK rail lines. Particularly good is the Regional History series, 14 or 15 volumes written by various people aquainted with the local areas, and its associated series about Forgotten Railways (if memory serves), with the same regional idea. Many Then and Now books and pamphlets fascinatingly relate the many-tracked row's of the past with the truncated present. Mostly my interest is in re-creating in my mind what row's looked like, and how they were operated; especially derelict lines, junctions & terminal areas; also, scenes of accidents back to the beginning of rail. As you've related, there's no dearth of literature available; actually, it seems there's too much to get through, and this is dangerous, as I find it hard to resist such histories. Sam.
If you were to come across and visit any steam railway you would find at the bookstall enough books to affect your luggage allowance on the plane back. My nearest steam railway is at Swanage.