A Famous Train of the LMS
The “Royal Scot” passing Leighton Buzzard.
IN this country the year 1927 has been one of railway record-
each produced an express passenger locomotive design of greater power than ever previously attempted on their respective lines, and it was only a year previously that the fourth of the groups did the same thing, A working stearn pressure of 250 lb per sq in, higher than ever previously employed in a British locomotive design, has been incorporated in two of the 1927 designs just mentioned. While these developments have been taking place in the locomotive power itself new changes of a record character have been made in the working of the train services for which these engines have been designed.
During the past year there has been a kind of “competition” in long-
It is the “Royal Scot” Express -
There are also regular locomotive workings in force in various parts of the world of 500 and more miles continuously; on which, however, intermediate stops are made for changing crews, examination of train and taking in supplies. But never before in the world’s history has one locomotive and crew been faced with continuous running of nearly six hours’ duration, with a heavy express, at an average speed of 52 miles per hour throughout. Indeed, it is probably correct to say that only in Great Britain is the maintenance of locomotives and rolling stock so carefully watched that unbroken running of this character is possible without risk. One’s only mild regret is that it has not been found possible to change engines at King-
It had been intended to introduce the “Royal Scot” in the summer of last year, but the coal dispute made imperative a postponement until last summer. The first idea was to cover the 230 miles from Euston to Lancaster without a stop, which would have been just sufficient to beat the Great Western Plymouth run, but when rumours began to circulate that the London and North Eastern contemplated a journey over the 232 miles between King’s Cross and Darlington, the LMS
“Played” Carnforth instead. Carnforth, being a locomotive depot, was in some respects more suitable than Lancaster for engine-
Up “Royal Scot” passing Kenton. Engines Nos. 5273 and 5989.
Throughout last summer this run was maintained, the train engines being a four-
During the summer, however, the Scottish compounds did splendidly with this train, gaining time almost invariably with a train whose minimum formation was 15 bogie coaches, not infrequently mounting to 16 and even 17 coaches. These Northern engine workings were “balanced” by certain altered night schedules in order that the compounds might not have to remain idle at Carnforth for over 24 hours. Thus the 10.30 p.m. out of Glasgow was worked over the 165½ miles from Glasgow to Carlisle nightly without stopping, and the 9.20 p.m. night express from Euston ran through from Carnforth to Carstairs, in both cases, of course, giving Carlisle the “go by”.
Meanwhile, however, the LNER had rather taken the wind out of the LMS sails by instituting their run between King’s Cross and Newcastle. In justice to the LMS it must be remarked that the LNER run was made on but four days a week and in one direction only. It was, moreover, at a lower average speed, and was withdrawn when the winter train service came into force at the end of September. At the same moment railway circles were electrified by the unheralded announcement of the LMS Company that in future the “Royal Scot” would make no halt between London and Carlisle.
It may be taken as tolerably certain that this is the “last word” in the controversy. In order to beat the distance to Carlisle the Great Western would require to run non-
With the institution of the non-
To institute such an innovation as this run at the beginning of the winter is, indeed, rather a daring stroke, seeing that, while the load has been reduced for winter working, the probability of bad weather with its adverse effect on the running has to be borne seriously in mind. Fog over the southern stages of the run, or gales sweeping over the exposed lengths of line along the shores of Morecambe Bay or up in the lofty altitudes of the Westmorland hills, may prove a serious problem to the crew on a midwinter day. Whether this remarkable working continues permanently in force remains to be seen.
Interior First Class corridor coach, “Royal Scot”.
Nothing of more handsome external appear-
No less than six vehicles in the train, weighing in all 170 tare tons, were thus devoted to the service of meals, leaving, apart from the three brake coaches (equivalent to two coach-
For the winter the train has been cut down to 12 vehicles. One of the third-
The “Royal Scot” engines have been described so recently that little further is needed by way of comment. The only matter for surprise is that, after the remarkably successful experience of the LMS Company with the three-
As compared with the other British express locomotive giants of recent date, too, the cylinders of the new LMS engines are somewhat on the small side, with the result that, despite the high working pressure of 250 lb per sq in, their tractive effort is less than that of either the Great Western new “Kings”, the rebuilt LNER 4-
The only assistance that will be taken throughout the northbound journey -
Thus aided, we mount Camden bank with ease, and have now before us no grade of steeper inclination than 1 in 330 for the next 150 miles. As far as Crewe, or even Warrington, indeed, the West Coast main line has, for its length, the finest and flattest grading in Great Britain, with the exception of Brunel’s old main line of the Great Western from Paddington to Swindon, Bath, Bristol and Taunton. In the earlier stages of the run, therefore, the miles will be reeled off steadily and easily, little in the way of comment on the journey being needed.
After a level run of four miles from Camden we shall pass Willesden Junction at 60 miles an hour, or slightly under. The next 28 miles up to Tring, where the line is roughly on a level with the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral, are mostly on the ruling up-
Once over Tring Summit we have before us a booking of 14 min. for the 15 miles from Tring to Bletchley, and may attain here a speed of 70 an hour or slightly over between Cheddington and Leighton. The line is level or falling as far as Wolverton, where the large carriage works at which so much of the LMS passenger stock is turned out may be seen on the left.
Immediately after this there come Castlethorpe troughs, followed by a 1 in 330 ascent to Roade, noted for its remarkable cutting, 80 ft in depth. Here we are 60 miles from the start, which have required 68 minutes of running time. At Roade the Northampton loop line leaves on the right, reminding us of the early opposition to railways that has now for all time carried the West Coast main line some three miles away from the county town, to the serious loss of the latter.
The Northampton loop comes in again at Rugby and meanwhile our main line converges from four tracks to two. Easy grades follow through Blisworth and Weedon, with a rise from the latter to Kilsby Tunnel, during the ascent of which the Daventry Station of the BBC is a prominent object on our left. Immediately after Kilsby the far more imposing Government wireless station at Rugby bears into view on the right. Speed must be reduced to 40 miles an hour for the passage of Rugby. We now have covered 82½ miles in 92 minutes from the start.
At “Rugby No. 7” signal box, half a mile beyond the station, the original London and Birmingham Railway leaves us on the left and we shall not rejoin it until Trent Valley Junction, just before Stafford. The Trent Valley line, as it is called, only saves 7¾ miles in distance over the old route, but it avoids all the congestion through Birmingham and Wolverhampton. It consists of a series of gentle ups-
The “Royal Scot” leaving Euston.
A time of 54 minutes amply suffices for the 51 miles from Rugby to Stafford, where speed is reduced to 40 m.p.h. for the junction with the Birmingham line. Then 18 min. is allowed for the 14 miles up to Whitmore and 11 min. for the 11½ miles down to Crewe. From Madeley down to Betley Road is the steepest grade since Camden -
From Stafford to Crewe is four-
Speed must be recovered up a short but very steep incline out of the great station at Preston, but then follow some 20 miles of practically level line, terminated by a mile descent at 1 in 96 round some sharp curves into Lancaster, whence we soon strike the shores of Morecambe Bay at Hest Bank. This two or three miles of seashore gives the West Coast passenger his only actual glimpse of the West Coast of Great Britain throughout the journey. Between Crewe and Carnforth, now about to be passed, there are three sets of track-
Now comes the ascent to Shap. It is in three stages -
Should the express be behind time, we may attain a high speed in descending the long 1 in 125 from Shap to Penrith, even in excess of 80 miles an hour, but the speed is not generally allowed much to exceed 70 an hour. Carlisle is reached at 3.45 p.m, and our “Royal Scot”, with his crew, is doubtless glad enough to bitch off and amble away to the engine-
Another “Royal Scot” now takes his place. Getting away from Carlisle at 3.50 p.m, the new engine has a comparatively easy schedule ahead, Beattock Bank notwithstanding, the 102½-
In the next 2¼ miles the railway drops at 1 in 99 into the valley of the Clyde, and remains in it, more or less, all the way to Glasgow. Actually the river is crossed six times at Elvanfoot, Crawford, Lamington, near Carstairs, Uddingston and then just as the railway enters the Central Station at Glasgow.
After Elvanfoot the fall is gradual for 10½ miles to Lamington, and then there are undulations for 15 miles past Symington and Carstairs to Craigenhill Summit, whence there is a steep and continuous fall for 15½ miles at between 1 in 90 and 1 in 135, to Uddingston. High speeds are seldom attained on these falling grades, going north, as the descent from Beattock Summit to Lamington winds considerably, and down from Craigenhill coalmining country is traversed, which means moderated speed on account of subsidences. So speeds much in excess of 60 m.p.h. are unlikely, and cautious travelling is amply allowed for in the schedule of the train.
Twice between Carlisle and Glasgow it is possible to take water from track-
Mention has been made previously of our departure from Carlisle at 3.50 p.m; 4.38 p.m. should see us through Beattock and 4.59 p.m. breasting Beattock Summit, at a speed of between 20 and 25 or 30 miles an hour. At 5.17 p.m., having covered with ease the 17¼ downhill miles from Summit in 18 minutes, we are drawing up at Symington, under the shadow of the bold Lowland summit known as Tinto Hill. Passengers are not allowed to leave or join the train either here or at Carlisle -
Interior First Class corridor coach “Royal Scot”
At 5 20 p.m. we are away again, and as 50 minutes proves all too ample an allowance for the 35½ miles from Symington down to Glasgow, the chances are that, given a clear road, we shall finish our journey before time. Last time I travelled on the train we rolled into Central Station at 6.3 p.m, no less than 12 minutes early by the public arrival time of 6.15 p.m. In the working timetables the scheduled time of arrival is 6.10 p.m; but so easy is the task of haulage to the new “Royal Scot” engines that a booking of 7¾ hours from London or even less, would cause them little concern. Let us hope that, ere long, it will be possible to travel from London to the chief Scottish cities at a throughout average speed of 50 miles an hour and that the “Royal Scot” will be one of the trains to do it!
[From The Meccano Magazine, December 1927]