Monday 19 October 2020

Monday Variety

 More Parts From The Part-Work

Encouragingly, an email arrived yesterday lunchtime from a blog reader.


I do remember with great affection collecting and placing into binders these partworks, if I'm correct (I'm also of the fading memory age group) History of Railways ran to two volumes with Great Trains only being one volume, I do however have a clear memory of them being weekly rather than monthly publications.

Your blog is my first read of every day and has yet to disappoint, well done and keep up the good work.


Sir? A bit of respect AT LAST! Erm, actually not; the email address used was and our correspondent preferred something more "polite".

fbb's second look at the book concerns technology. On of the privileges of being ancient is to be able to remember how much electronic stuff has developed over night on half a century. we oldies grew up with the Edmondson ticket, dated in a clunker and removed from a rack. It was a world-wide system ...
... this rack was from Paraguay! But the part-work editors enthused over ticket machines for the Paris RER ...
... an "electronic" booking office in Japan ...
... and the new ticket office at London Euston.
It was now called, we are told with a breath of wide eyed wonder, a "Travel Centre"! Even the humble suburban ticket gets a mention; as it can now be ... wait for it ...
... printed by a machine!

It cost £1.48, was type A (Ord. Single) for a journey to 83 (Guildford) and from 39 (unknown) and from memory it issued forth from something that looked like a supermarket cash till.

fbb wonders what the editors would make of the substantial bundle of "tangerine stripe" tickets issued at Axminster for a Super Saver to Sheffield!

The technology of the trains is duly recorded with the first French TGV heralded as the start of a travel revolutions as it was powered by gas turbine engines.
Likewise the first APT in the UK was turbine powered.
Probably the escalation of prices brought about by the oil-rich nations persuaded the authorities that electricity was the power of the future. Here in the UK we still haven't quite grasped the need to electrify the majority of our nations rail arteries. 

But we may well get there - but likely not in fbb's somewhat limited remaining lifetime!

Of course, far more successful was our HST and a part of the work pictures the prototype under construction.
The PEP, although an ugly brute, was the precursor of today's sliding door EMU ...
... although the design has improved.
Or has it?

We are also introduced to the Road Railer ...
... the technological answer to the wagon-load freight business being lost to road transport. Peco joined in the euphoria for the "transport of the future" ...
... and was selling (trying to sell) the model kits years and years after there real thing was dispatched to the scrapyard. The railways had lost the wagon-load business and all efforts to keep it or regain it were, ultimately, a failure.

But back to smaller technology; the arrival of - pause for breath - computers! There are a couple of pictures thereof ...
... and the output - a computerised ...
... reservations system - in Sweden.

But there was more, this time from London's Undergound. Here the station supervisor at Holborn is overseeing his empire using ...
... television! Who would have thought it?

One of the most emotive pictures in this ancient part work illustrates the feeling of many as steam power was declining (had declined in the UK) world wide.
Readers "of a certain age" are allowed to shed a sympathetic tear. But fbb must add a more realistic thought - namely that steam was inefficient, smelly and, compared with today's trains, slow!

But it had CHARACTER!

St Pancras Surprise
Over the weekend, kings Cross Station was closed to allow for the next stage of re-opening a previously disused bore of Gasworks Tunnel etc. and a whole lot more.
Showing splendid entrepreneurial skmill and amazing concern for their customers, Hull Trains ran their service into St Pancras.
Well done all concerned.

New (Well, Different) Technology
If only!

Remember Nelson?
It is 215 years since his death.

Despite popular myth, he never wore an eye patch, but he had lost the sight of one eye - hence the other myth of his placing a telescope to the dud eye and saying "I see no ships". But, The Lord's disability ...
... is remembered in the nickname of the 4COR train sets that ran between Waterloo and Portsmouth Harbour; appropriate as his flagship sits just across "The Hard" from the station. They were called "Nelsons" because they only had one eye.
Where you might expect two windows at the front there was only one - the second aperture  being filled with the route code panel. A twittered posted a photograph of a Portsmouth train at Guildford which reminded fbb ...
... of happy times attending and later helping with leadership and even later leading summer holidays at Westbrook on the Isle of Wight.

Church Mask-Erade
The "band" was back this week - singing live. They wore visors but for what purpose is unclear. If the idea was to contain possible viruses, it would fail as the singers' breath would have to go somewhere; and that somewhere is out and into the congregation!

Likewise they had to breathe in; breath from amongst the congregation.

Protection? Or Political fear-mongering?

Raconteur Reveals Riddle of Wrenn (4)
So; if fbb's Wrenn tank wagon was not a Hornby Dublo model re-badged by Wrenn, where did it come from?

fbb asked a very nice man who was in charge of the Wrenn Railways Collectors Club.
"I think you will find," he wrote, "that the tank wagon was a Triang body fitted on a Hornby Dublo chassis."

fbb is not so sure.

Triang's first model tank engine was not overly realistic. It might have been intended to represent something like this ...
... a short wheelbase chassis with wooden bars to support a "loose" tank held front to back by metal bracing rods and tied down to the chassis with tensioned metal non-bungee riopes. It was considered too risky to fix the tank down with bolts or welds - the inflammable stuff might escape and inflammable stuff does not go too well with spark and cinder belching steam engines!

The only way in was from the top! So here is the Triang effort.
The couplings were improved (slightly) ...
... but strapping was there none. A United Dairies milk tanker appeared ...

... which was blessed with some rudimentary plastic diagonals. Of course milk takers were six wheel not four. Then came a vast detail improvement with end strapping and plastic ropes over the top.
The plastic ropes often broke and were almost unrepairable.

But the basic body shell remained the same, dating from the mid 50s until well past the merger with Hornby and dealings with Wrenn.

Could you fit one of these bodies on a Hornby chassis and end up with fbb's Wrenn style of tank wagon?
More to follow in due course.

 Next as yet unplanned blog : Tuesday 20th Oct 

1 comment:

  1. Andrew Kleissner19 October 2020 at 13:29

    I believe that two of the problems with Roadrailers were (a) loading gauge restrictions meant that the capacity was insufficiently competitive and (b) there were real problems in making the vehicles sufficiently strong to cope safely with buffing stresses, without also making them far too heavy.