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Old 12-07-2018, 12:09 AM   #1
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Smile Mixed Trains: How Common were they on British irons?

Okay, so it's been ages since I've been on here, but I'm preparing for a trip to take care of my Grandpa (while mum's in Hospital- recovering from a 7th Back Surgery!). I'm getting all my British Stock together for the Trip Back, and I can't find my Brake Van. How common were Mixed Trains (Passenger and Goods- hauled in the same train), on British irons?

I have an LNER coach to do this with, a bunch of wagons, and I'm desperate to find out how common it was.
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:49 AM   #2

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Not sure how common it was in this country but I think one of the last places was in Scotland. I remember travelling from Inverness to the Kyle of Lochalsh in 1970 behind a Class 26. When we left Inverness there was 2 vans and an oil tanker between the loco and coaches. We stopped at two stations during the journey where the wagons were detached and if my memory serves me rightly we attached another van before arriving at The Kyle.
Milk tanks were also attached to branch passenger trains in the West Country I seem to remember
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Old 12-07-2018, 07:25 AM   #3
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I did read only recently of milk tankers and fish waggons being mixed in with LNER passenger stock. Apparently it was common with perishibles but not other goods.
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:56 AM   #4
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How about parcels or newspaper vans?
If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:06 AM   #5
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Mixing trains in old day was very common because the railways was going back to Victorian days and early 20th century the only useful way to move goods around. Everything from Papers to Strawberries went by train.
Branch line would not have been able to work at all with out mixing rolling stock. One example would have been carriage of perishables such as dairy products and farm produce being attached to fast passenger trains for long distance from one end of the country to the other. Often starting off on a small branch line somewhere, and being transferred to an Express train on the main lines. In fact branch lines would not have been able to handle goods traffic with out mixed traffic.
Does all that make sense. ....John
I may be wrong as I very often am. John

Last edited by Footplate1947; 12-07-2018 at 11:29 AM. Reason: Missed out a word
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:15 AM   #6
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Very common on branch lines.
NURSE,the screens!
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:47 PM   #7
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It was done in the 1980's where a fish van would be coupled to a DMU and towed from Milford Haven and dropped off at Carmarthen.
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Old 31-07-2018, 01:36 PM   #8
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The Southern Railway used quite a lot of 4 wheel and bogie Utility Vans that were multi purpose used for luggage, parcels and perishable goods. The bogie versions were in use until the 80s I believe.

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Old 31-07-2018, 07:48 PM   #9
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Truly 'mixed trains' consisted of vacuum braked passenger carriages with unfitted (handbrake only) goods wagons and a guards van bringing up the rear. A bit like the Titfield Thunderbolt' . These tended to be a feature of small branch lines, especially light railways like the Kent and East Sussex, or East Kent. The use of unfitted stock on passenger services had to be specially authorised because it contravened official railway regulations laid down by the Board of Trade.

However quite a lot of UK goods stock, especially in the post WW2 period were fitted with vacuum brakes. This meant that they could be attached to slower passenger services and attached or detached at stations en route. In the US the fact that most stock was fitted with air brakes and auto couplers permitted a very flexible approach to train formation.
Typically however UK goods wagons with short wheelbase were restricted to a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour.

Vacuum braked goods stock would normally be distinguished by a different livery , in BR days they were painted Bauxite red instead of the normal grey.

When Diesel Multiple units were introduced they were permitted to haul a limited amount of 'tail' traffic, one or two vans typically.

It was therefore quite common for stopping services to have goods vehicles attached, although for operating convenience these were usually attached at the front or the rear of the passenger accommodation. Express passenger trains however did not convey goods wagons but may have passenger rated vehicles (Parcels vans etc.) in the formation. These were permitted to run at higher speeds (60mph plus).

Then there were the newspaper, mail and milk trains. These trains were mainly composed of vans or sometimes tank wagons permitted to run at higher speeds. They might have one or more carriages for passengers attached and were usually run overnight so became popular for late night revellers returning after a night out in a big city or servicemen on a 24 hour pass. Tank wagons which were permitted to run at higher speeds generally ran on 6 wheels and could be distinguished by three six pointed stars painted on the tank barrel. Most of these were for milk in bulk, although there were a few exceptions. The overnight newspaper trains were a lifeline for London theatre goers who wanted a meal afterwards so missed the last 'normal' trains.

The maximum permitted speed of the vehicles usually became the limiting factor. Branch line trains rarely travelled faster than 30mph and stopped at every station so 45mph vehicles were not really a problem, but express trains were expected to average 60 mph.

Southern Region 'utility' vans were in fact passenger rated vehicles and could run at the higher speeds. A few of the 4 wheel vans were even fitted with through control pipes to allow them to be included in a push & pull train, usually marshalled between the loco and coaches when the loco was leading, or on the rear when the loco was pushing.

The Southern Region used vans extensively to carry passengers luggage from London to the embarkation ports and it was not unusual to have a couple of vans attached to the boat trains. When the line to Dover and Folkestone was electrified special motor luggage vans with driving cabs at either end were introduced to take over this function.

Last edited by LC&DR; 31-07-2018 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:34 PM   #10
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In the days when people took cars by rail there were car carrying vehicles attached to some passenger trains. In the early days these were short 4 wheeled flat trucks originally designed to take a horse drawn carriage, and in the case of these being used for such vehicles a horse box van would also be attached.

The car carrier later took on a number of different forms. The Covered Carriage Truck (CCT) was a long wheel-based covered vehicle with doors in the ends so the car could be driven in from an end dock. Bogie versions were also made, usually called General Utility Vans or GUVs. Flat wagons converted from old passenger coaches appeared in the 1960s for use on Motor-rail services, called Car-flats, and there was a network of routes from London to Scotland and the West of England, and long routes cross country with mixed trains of Car-Flats and passenger coaches.

A few of these services lasted until fairly recently but the Car-flats were replaced by GUVs.

One remarkable car carrying service used double deck vehicles with a unique two car lifting section between the bogies. These Tiered Car Vans had fibreglass bodies and each could carry six motor cars. They operated out of Kings Cross to Scotland but after a fatal accident when a member of staff was crushed by the lift they were withdrawn and scrapped.
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british irons, lner, mixed trains

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