Sunday, 7 February 2016

Southern Electric Electrified fbb [2]

G T Moody's Inspiring Book ...
... inspires.

In 1930 and as a result of progressive electrification, Mr Moody gives a lst of departures at peak (1700 to 1759) from various termini. Here is the number of trains from Waterloo on what was know as the "Main Line".

 And here are the same lines in 2016; 86 years later.
So, with the benefits of better signalling, faster-accelerating trains and electronic everything, we have three fewer trains. Maybe the comparison is unfair; maybe some of those paths down the busy "Main Line" have gone to longer distance trains as commuters commute from much further than they used to.

But? An improvement it isn't.

How about comparing comfort in the 1930s with today. The mid-Sussex lines has buffet cars WITH TABLES.
The Brighton Line had the Pullman Brighton Belle with luxury even in third class ...
... and sheer opulence in first!
Portsmouth Line first class was a bit special ...
... and Pompey trains offered real dining with waiters and silver service.
Even the lowest of the low on the Maidstone line had sprung seats ...
... and there was room on the luggage racks for luggage!

Have passengers' aspirations changed so much? Maybe, maybe not. But the modern railway is all about moving as many people as possible in the smallest space that avoids complaint and protest.

Have we moved on?

fbb couldn'r resist one or two oddities from the 1968 edition. The double decker trains were weird, didn't carry many more passengers than normal  ...
... and were a wonderful generator of claustrophobia.

There were some stunning station designs as here at Kingston (upon Tames) ...
... which has stood the test of time well; but not the onslaught of Costalot Coffee!
In 1963 we had loco hauled boat trains to Newhaven ...
... and, not long ago, the sparse train service from a dilapidated Newhaven Marine ...
... was a taxi! The 1852 was the only train, by the way. Some sources say that, although no trains call there, the taxi service no longer operates and the station has been removed from the fares lists, it is still "officially" open.

But the book is strongly recommended by fbb. Seek out a second-hand copy and enjoy learning about how the vast Southern network grew and prospered. Then muse about the gurus who are now wanting to convert the whole lot to overhead 25kV power.

It's those Gloucester Old Spots on the wing again!

 Next bus blog : Monday 8th February 

1 comment:

  1. It was back in BR days that the suburban services you were looking were reduced to make way for enhancements to the longer distance main line services. There was also a layout rationalisation in 1990 which reduced capacity (& presumably maintenance costs) which will impact service levels and a loss of lines when the Eurostar moved into Waterloo which hasn't yet been fully recovered as well.

    That being the case the Waterloo mainlines are pretty much considered to be at capacity, according to a recent Modern Railways article in the morning peak the fast lines are accommodating a train every 2.5 minutes running at 90mph on conventional signalling which is more than anywhere else in the UK.