How trains run around curves

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Bigmet
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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby Bigmet » Tue Apr 03, 2018 12:02 pm

Bufferstop wrote:...A favourite (decidedly unhealthy) play area when I was young was the footpath and bridge alongside the river Tame (at the time Europe's most polluted) and the old South Staffs line from Bescot into Walsall, Where the river passed beneath the 180 degree curve that went out towards Wednesbury there was a second span alongside the river crossing to act as a floodplane, from where those sufficiently daring could climb into the girders and stick their heads up between the rails...

Tangentially I related such an anecdote of childhood doings on the railway in mixed company, and was told pretty bluntly by a network rail manager that I should not retail such things lest they encourage to young to emulate. In return I pointed out that there are many films in circulation ( including classics like The General, Thirty-nine steps and The Ladykillers) that show more and worse, and the doleful replay was that 'we' would like those banned too...

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Bufferstop
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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:03 pm

Any youngster wanting to emulate such behaviour today would need to come armed with wire cutters, the odd few spanners and a can of WD40 even to get as far as the (now considerably less toxic) riverbank, and even though the bridge and curve in question are still there, it sees no traffic, is disconnected where it joins the main and the track or trackbed are well covered in vegetation all the way through Wednesbury to Stourbridge, At that time the fence separating the footpath and the end of the yards had been in a state of collapse for a decade or more and for much of it's length had become entangled in the weeds. No one was in any kind of a hurry to do any maintenance on track, fences or anything else as the posts marking the route of the M5/M6 junction were already in place and although it would be on a viaduct the ground that would be beneath it would soon be bulldozed clear.
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Mountain
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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby Mountain » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:36 pm

I believe the change took place around the 1840's to 1850's. I used to be puzzled by the difference and I thought it was an error as early railways that were being built were said to be the 4'8" or 7' for broad gauge. I noticed that later railways had the extra half inch. I can't remember where I saw reference to the change, but I did read it and it was due to the locos could hit higher speeds then before, that the extra half inch was introduced to reduce the wear on the rails when going round curves. It may have been Swansea museum where I saw the information as they have many examples of different rails and track from the early years onwards. They also have some other railway related items as the early iron and steel works were around these parts, so the history in this area is a very abt subject for the museum to cover. If you get the chance to visit the museum, go on a Sunday as I was informed the parking was free where the rest of the week they charge? Best to check before you visit. If in the area, the nearby Gower is worth visiting, as are Pembrey Country Park with the old railway remains, and other attractions like the small town of Burry Port, along with the old small town of Kidwelly with its castle
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railwayjim
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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby railwayjim » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:45 am

Thanks Bigmet, that answers my question and makes perfect sense.

Jim.

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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby b308 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:04 am

Mountain wrote:I believe the change took place around the 1840's to 1850's.


Jim's Wikki quote answered it, he made the change to the Stockton railway after 15 years but the first "proper" railway, the Liverpool and Manchester in 1830 was built from the outset at 4ft 8.5ins, as were most of the rest... I'm intrigued by the Broad Gauge reference, this is what Wikki has to say on it:

"The gauge initially proposed by Brunel was 7 ft (2,134 mm) exactly but this was soon increased by 1⁄4 in (6 mm) to accommodate clearance problems identified during early testing."

Though doesn't say what "clearance problems" are! I suspect the same as you that they were for curves, though again why bother widening the straight bits rather than just use selective gauge widening on the curves... It's worth bearing in mind, though, that at this time manufacturing tolerances weren't as precise as they are now so 1/4 or 1/2 inch differences in gauge wouldn't have been unusual... In fact when the early preservationists on the Tallylyn took over the line they found plenty of out of gauge track which caused problems for one of the Corris locos they bought in even though it was nominally the same gauge!

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Mountain
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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby Mountain » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:18 am

That means my local railway lines were planned many years earlier then I expected. Interesting.
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luckymucklebackit
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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby luckymucklebackit » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:53 am

b308 wrote:
Mountain wrote:I believe the change took place around the 1840's to 1850's.


Jim's Wikki quote answered it, he made the change to the Stockton railway after 15 years but the first "proper" railway, the Liverpool and Manchester in 1830 was built from the outset at 4ft 8.5ins, as were most of the rest... I'm intrigued by the Broad Gauge reference, this is what Wikki has to say on it:

"The gauge initially proposed by Brunel was 7 ft (2,134 mm) exactly but this was soon increased by 1⁄4 in (6 mm) to accommodate clearance problems identified during early testing."

Though doesn't say what "clearance problems" are! I suspect the same as you that they were for curves, though again why bother widening the straight bits rather than just use selective gauge widening on the curves... It's worth bearing in mind, though, that at this time manufacturing tolerances weren't as precise as they are now so 1/4 or 1/2 inch differences in gauge wouldn't have been unusual... In fact when the early preservationists on the Tallylyn took over the line they found plenty of out of gauge track which caused problems for one of the Corris locos they bought in even though it was nominally the same gauge!


Yes it is easy to forget in this day and age of laser guided leveling and computer controlled track machines that it used to be done by eye, with basically a man with a simple metal gauge to check that the rails were were the correct distance apart, I would expect that it was a go/no go gauge, here is an Australian specification, suspect others will be similar, paragraph 3.2 gives the tolerances as +4mm for main lines

https://extranet.artc.com.au/docs/eng/track-civil/procedures/track-geo/ETF-05-01.pdf

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b308
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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby b308 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:03 pm

Mountain wrote:That means my local railway lines were planned many years earlier then I expected. Interesting.


What railways, Mountain? If it's the local slate railways they could have been around long before as tramways or plateways, that thread about the Forest of Dean has similar examples.

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Mountain
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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby Mountain » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:41 pm

The only slate around my area was some distance from here in Pembrokeshire. Dont know so much about the early railways there. I know a little, but not the historic ones. Was mainly coal here with gold mixed in. (Though gold was plentiful, it was in minute grains so wasn't economical to mine). There was also iron ore in this area, hence this area having a good few old furnaces before the days where the rest of Wales and the uk started to make iron. (The iron here was used to make cannon balls and then came musket balls).
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b308
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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby b308 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:11 pm

Ah, the "black gold", probably tramways and plateways... I'd have thought there would be a book around somewhere on industrial history in Pembrokeshire, that should give you some info...

This rather amused me considering our discussion:

http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/wal/Archiv ... nals/Slate

Also:

http://www.industrialgwent.co.uk/w-b12- ... /index.htm

Perhaps going a little too far OT though! ;)

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Mountain
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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby Mountain » Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:26 pm

I'm not in Pembrokeshire. That is the next county west. I'm in Carmarthenshire where there were rich anthracite coal seams. In a way, this county is mineral rich. The Romans were quick to realize this and had a silica mine in the south of the county and a gold mine (Actually not a mine... It became a mine later.. The Romans did a form of bulk open casting... They stored water above and suddenly let it go to get at the old once the earth had washed away. They weren't stupid! Saved themselves a lot of work unlike the miners who mined for gold in later times).
Also in this county are limestone in which near one quarrying area there is mainland Britain's only turlough, along with various caves. One local legend was about people who went I to a cave and would come out when Wales was in need. They thought it was a legend untill around 200 years ago when explorers found the remains of 15 people in a cave. They were said to be very tall people. Obviously they were dead as they were in skeleton form, but what was strange is that it wasn't a grave as due to the cave system being narrow and complex, they had to have made their own way in.

Porthgain and Abereiddu area are well worth the visit. Nice area with interesting remains.
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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby Pete » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:36 pm

I have a book on the railway that served the coal mines at Saundersfoot and Wisemansbridge. They ran two locos, both custom built to allow running under very low bridges. The one served a line above Saundersfoot and the other the cliff route. They ran on a slightly odd gauge too as I remember (I'd have to dig the book out to confirm).

Although plenty of coal was mined in the 1800s and early 20C, the seams are very thin and there are some serious anticlines that make it very difficult to mine economically, you can see the seams where they break out of the cliffs.

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Mountain
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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby Mountain » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:32 pm

The standard gauge line there was routed to Narberth and also Saundersfoot to meet the needs of the mines and quarries etc. It was very different from the South Wales Railway Company's approach on the main line with Brunel wanting a direct link with Ireland but not interested in linking up towns, villages or industry. (For those who may not know, it was not the Great Western Railway who built the line into South Wales, but Brunel (Junior) did have involvement in it. The Great Western Railway took over ownership at a later date... The SWR had a gauge of 7'0"). What I'm not sure about, was when the date the GWR took over from the SWR, as it could be part of the line further west was completed in GWR hands.
The old Saundersfoot tramway (To differ it from the Pembroke and Tenby Railway) had stone sleepers which parts are still in place. The coal indeed does come to the surface at the sea edge, and it was due to this reason that the coal was "Mined". The coal seams further west were also thin but of top quality. One of the early areas to mine coal was the Gwendraeth Valley mining into the side of Pembrey Mountain. The valley used to have a very large wood which stretched all the way up the valley floor but this was removed during the early days of the industrial revolution as a fuel source for the hungry furnaces (E.g. at Furnace, Burry Port which used to all be in the Pembrey parish prior to the industrial revolution). When the forestry was almost completely removed they had to then look for other fuels, so by the 1700's came along, they had already turned to coal mining.
The early mines in the side of Pembrey Mountain were known as " Cell Mines", as back in those days they just dug in a short distance, removed the coal, and then started another "Cell" and so on. They didnt have pumps or fans for ventilation in those days.
They took the coal in saddlebags on the backs of donkeys to the inlet on the east side of Burry Port, where today they have the sand dredger parked up.
The next stage of technology came in three ways. First new mines were built using water adits to drain the water. One example was Stanley's Pit, where an embankment with a tramway took coal to the newly dug Pembrey Harbour. Today only the outer bay exists. Around the same time a few canal systems were being built to link both the mines in the Gwendraeth Valley with the sea, notably the new Pembrey Harbour and the ancient Kidwelly Harbour. Due to regular silting up of the harbour at Pembrey, (It had used Swan Pool as a means to flush it out but it wasn't successful. The Swan Pools in Pembrey were also used to supply water to the canal systems. The Swan pools were later totally drained via a dyke system known as Swan Pool Drain after the canals were abandoned. Much of "The Links" was built on top of this reclaimed area. The Stanley's Pit adit went right under the new houses that were built on the marsh east of Pembrey church, and most of the later houses in Danlan road (Seaward side) before it headed towards the sea. The adit constructed can't have been cheap as it is made from Victorian brickwork in an arched form.
Railways then came along, and the old canals were mostly abandoned. One railway was built partly on top of one of the old canals and was known as the Burry Port and Gwendreath Railway. Notice the spelling mistake which was made when the company was registered in parliament!
Later came the invention of steam pumps so adits were no longer needed to drain mines.
The canal that went up the valley was interesting. In order to address the gradients, rather then use lochs, they had two slide type devices that had rollers. They were basically shoots with rollers where the flat bottomed canal boats could be slid up or down. By the nature of the industry, the heavy full barges would be in the downward direction so gravity could assist.
The railway built on top of this canal often used to flood and even put out the fires in the locos! I remember watching triple headed class 03's ploughing through the flooded line on a daily bases!
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b308
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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby b308 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:20 am

Pete wrote:I have a book on the railway that served the coal mines at Saundersfoot and Wisemansbridge. They ran two locos, both custom built to allow running under very low bridges. The one served a line above Saundersfoot and the other the cliff route. They ran on a slightly odd gauge too as I remember (I'd have to dig the book out to confirm).


Wikki is your friend, Pete, it was 4ft gauge (not unique in the UK but quite rare (you could even model it in OO scale using 16.5mm gauge track! ;) ) and the locos did indeed have a low profile!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saundersfoot_Railway

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luckymucklebackit
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Re: How trains run around curves

Postby luckymucklebackit » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:36 am

Up until the Regulating the Gauge of Railways Act 1846, just about anything went. I did some research into the railways of the area that I grew up in Coatbridge and Airdrie and there was a compex network of railways around the area all built to what was then known as "Scotch Gauge" which was 4ft 6in (So you could say that EM gauge started in Central Scotland :D ). When the gauges were standardised in 1847 it took a mere 2 months to convert the entire system, locomotives and rolling stock to standard gauge, quite a feat.

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