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Passenger Train Formations

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March 2002
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Philip A. Millard

Geoff Holt speaks as though the subject of LNWR train formations is a blank book. I agree that a great deal is not known but a [...] lot is! Geoff has noticed three different ways in which the treads on the front footsteps of Royal Scot class locos were bent up, so he must realise that train photos can yield information about carriages and train working. Move to the photographs page

I enclose my answers to the questions he raises, but anyone in need of specific information is welcome to write to me and I will do my best to help, but be aware that many main line trains, and especially most relief and/or extra trains, were assembled each day from the available rolling stock (although some sets were kept chained together, and strengthened as required). The more through carriages and strengtheners there were, the more the formation would vary from one day to the next.

LNWR Society Journal Page 237

The train is running on the Down Fast line at Euxton Coal Siding (Euxton Junction in the background). As you say, the first three carriages are 8ft 6in wide WCJS vehicles. In fact, as far a I can determine they are all WCJS Explain 'WCJS – West Coast Joint Stock' vehicles. This makes the train a relief, probably Manchester Glasgow/Edinburgh. The angle of the sun indicates midafternoon, and we can be sure the day is a summer Saturday. Many railway photos of the period were taken on summer Saturday afternoons, which tends to give a misleading impression of the length and composition of a typical LNWR express train.


Talbot’s ‘LNWR Miscellany’ (Vol. 1) Plate 58

Due to restricted clearances the ‘Sunny South Express’ required 8ft 6in wide rolling stock, and some was specially built for this service. The vehicles here are:–

1) 50ft 0in x 8ft 0in x 7ft 8in TK Explain 'TK Coach' D.268. Undoubtedly a Saturday strengthener.

2) 57ft 0in x 8ft 6in x 8ft 5in BCK Explain 'BCK Coach' D.213. (3xF, 2xT). The ten vehicles of this type were assigned to through services to the South Coast. 8ft 6in wide rolling stock may be recognised by the sides above the waist, which were vertical. The sides on 9ft 0in wide carriages sloped inwards slightly so as to be 8ft 9in wide at the cantrail Explain 'Cantrail'.

3) 65ft 6in x 8ft 6in x 8ft 7in RTK Explain 'RTK coach' D.29. Again being 8ft 6in wide these vehicles were most often found on through services to destinations on other lines.

4) 57ft 0in x 8ft 6in x 8ft 5in BCK D.214. (as vehicle 2).

(The other carriages cannot be discerned with certainty).

Talbot’s ‘LNWR Miscellany’ (Vol. 1) Plate 115

The train is the Up Day Irish Mail, arriving at Crewe at about 2.30, again doubtless on a Saturday.

The carriages are:–

1) 32ft 0in x 7ft 9in x 7ft 4in five-compartment Parcel Van D.424.

2) 42ft 0in x 8ft 0in x 7ft 8in seven-compartment Third D.292.

3) 42ft 0in x 8ft 0in x 7ft 8in Lavatory Composite, Page 49 in the 1895 Diagram Book, supplemented 1914/5 and hence not included in the 1915 Diagram Book

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