12:08 - Redux

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Devvy, Oct 24, 2018.

  1. Threadmarks: 1953

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

    Feb 6, 2011

    Choo chooooooo (it's a bit hard to write down diesel or electric sounds)! So, you've had a couple of years break from my talking trains (although I have witnessed a "few" other rail threads popping up recently!). What was Devvy-spawn has now grown significantly to the point where I'm not having to wake up every night, and actually have a *small* amount of free time to write again. So as promised, here is the start of my rewritten version of my 12:08 timeline, which unbelievably I started over 7 years ago in 2011. Time flies.

    There will be some new ideas. Some rehashed old ideas. Some good points, and some bad points - I don't want this to be a BR on steroids, but equally they will fare better (they could hardly fare much worse then OTL). And so....


    The BTC's rail operations are to be reformed, with the Railway Executive taking on more responsibilities and directly managing more of the strategy for the BTC's rail operations.. Most day-to-day running and administrative tasks will remain with the areas & regions; Southern, Western, London Midland, Eastern, North-Eastern and Scottish. Overall strategy, however, and the funding for such, will now fall directly under the Railways Executive responsibility. Incoming boss General Brian Robertson will be able to establish his vision there; it is said he wants to thoroughly modernise British Railway's operations, with major steps to be taken to electrify the network, bringing in new trains, faster speeds, and much lower operating costs.

    Trials had been held in 1948 and 1949 with locomotives from each region (along with the footplate crew) being sent to other regions to haul trains in service, aimed at dispelling the notion that engines from one region were bespoke for the traffic demands of that area. Although successful in technically proving this, many regions attempted to hold on to such powers under other guises such as loading gauge restrictions or the like. However, the strategy played straight in to the hands of the BTC, who following the 1953 Transport Act have empowered the Railway Executive to set strategy, set improvement projects in motion, budget finances and set "common standards" for the entire network, across all of the BR regions. The BR regions will continue to be responsible for actually operating the network, setting fares and collecting revenues.

    Notes: This is the main PoD. The Railway Executive is empowered largely with the ability to define standards and strategy upon the Regions who operate day-to-day services. It's a small PoD, but has major ramifications in enabling the BTC & RE to force strategy and efficiencies on the British Rail Regions. OTL, the RE was disbanded, and management of British Railways was handed directly to the British Transport Commission (who attempted to juggle that with their other transport responsibilities). Here, the RE continues to live, with beefed up powers (both centralised from below, and devolved down from the BTC) to force it's vision and strategy on the reluctant regions, but with other operational and financial measures decentralised down to the regions.
  2. Threadmarks: 1954

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

    Feb 6, 2011


    British Railways has placed an order for 27 "EM2" locomotives, for use in northern England between Sheffield/Wath and Manchester. Much of their work will rotate around express passenger services between Manchester and Sheffield, as well as heavy freight between Manchester and Wath yard. The route, well known for it's steep inclines, has recently been electrified on the 1.5kV DC system and the benefits are easy to see even with the older "EM1" locomotives; trains are faster and far more pleasant to ride.

    Invisible benefits are evident as well; the ability to use regenerative braking on the long grades downhill mean that shoe brakes no longer have to be used, making for less maintenance, whilst the regenerated power can be used by trains on the ascent up the slopes. The Co-Co traction arrangement brings far more power to the locomotive, adding almost 50% horsepower and a corresponding increase in speed for both the heavy laden freight trains as well as the passenger expresses.

    The history of this electrification goes back to before 1936, but only one locomotive had been completed before work was suspended due to war in 1941. A resumption of work commenced in 1947, and by 1952 freight workings began to switch to electric traction, with the full scheme finished late this year for passenger and freight services.

    Notes: This is actually all OTL, but adding this in to set the scene as it will have an impact later on.
    abrotherc, Dan1988, Swede and 11 others like this.
  3. Threadmarks: 1955-Modernisation-Plan

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

    Feb 6, 2011
    A sign of things to come?



    "Equipment, in the widest sense of that word, of modern design is required to, which is fit to give reliable and speedy transport service on a large scale" was the second of the main objectives enumerated by the Commission in their last Annual Report. To no part of their undertaking does this apply with greater force than to British Railways, and in no other direction is a large-scale programme of investment likely to produce such fruitful results.

    The Plan will involve an outlay of approximately £1,200 million. Of this amount, however, almost half would be required in any case for the normal maintenance of the railway services on their present basis, including the necessary replacements of rolling stock and so forth. But no one could seriously contemplate such a restricted objective; the only possible course, if railways are to continue in being, is to bring them properly up to date. The aim must be to exploit the great natural advantages of railways as bulk transporters of passengers and goods and to revolutionise the character of the services provided for both-not only by the full utilisation of a modern equipment but also by a purposeful concentration on those functions which the railways can be made to perform more efficiently than other forms of transport, whether by road, air or water.

    There need be no doubt about the main components of the expenditure under the Plan, but while it is possible to estimate in round figures the costs involved, obviously any calculations that look so far ahead must be qualified by some reserve. All the figures and estimates given below arc based upon conditions ruling in the autumn of 1954. Subject to this, the heads of the Plan may be summarised as follows:

    First, the track and signalling must be improved to make higher speeds possible over trunk routes, and to provide for better utilisation of the physical assets; there will be a widespread use of colour-light signalling, track circuits and automatic train control, the further introduction of power-operated signal boxes, and the installation of centralised traffic control where conditions are suitable; and the extended use of modern telecommunication services . . . . . . . . . . . . £325 million

    Secondly, steam must be replaced as a form of motive power, primarily focussed on electric traction being rapidly introduced as may be most suitable in the light of the development of the Plan over the years; this will involve the electrification of large mileages of route, and the introduction of several thousand electric locomotives . . . . . . . . . . . £375 million

    Thirdly, much of the existing steam-drawn passenger rolling stock must be replaced,' largely by electric multiple units or locomotive following the afore mentioned electrification; the remaining passenger rolling stock, which will be drawn by locomotives (whether electric, diesel or steam), must be modernised; the principal passenger stations and parcels depots will also require considerable expenditure . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . £250 million

    Fourthly, the freight services must be drastically remodelled. Continuous brakes will be fitted to all freight wagons, which will lead to faster and smoother operation of freight traffic; marshalling yards and goods terminal facilities will be re-sited and modernised, and in particular the number of marshalling yards will be greatly reduced. Larger wagons will be introduced, particularly for mineral traffic, and loading and unloading appliances will require extensive modernisation in consequence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £250 million

    Fifth, expenditure will be required on sundry other items, including improvements at the packet ports, staff welfare, office mechanisms, etc.; and a sum of at least £15 million for development and research work will be associated with the Plan, making a total of . . . . . . £40 million

    TOTAL . . . .£1,240 million
    SAY . . . . £1,200 MILLION

    The result will be a transformation of virtually all the forms of service now offered by British Railways. In particular:
    (i) as regards passenger services, remodelling of the operations will provide fast, clean, regular and frequent services, in all the great urban areas; inter-city and main-line trains will be accelerated and made more punctual; services on other routes will be made reasonably economic, or will be transferred to road:
    (ii) as regards freight services, there will be a complete re-orientation of operations designed to speed up movement, to reduce its cost, and to provide direct transits for main streams of traffic; and to attract to the railway a due proportion of the full-load merchandise traffic which would otherwise pass by road.

    The economic benefit to be derived will be of a decisive order. In the Commission's view the expenditure will ultimately attract a return amounting to at least £85 million a year. This must be viewed in relation to the annual turnover of British Railways, which is now approaching £500 million. There will, in addition, be many benefits which cannot be so quantified, but which in the long run will exercise a powerful influence upon the financial results. These include the public goodwill that will follow from improved services, and the tonic effect upon staff morale of working with thoroughly modem and efficient apparatus. Indeed the question in the Commission's mind is the amount by which the total returns on the outlay will exceed the minimum figure of £85 million a year, and this without praying in aid the benefits accruing to the public direct, such as better service, lower charges than would otherwise prevail, and a major contribution to relief of road congestion.

    The final answer will of course depend not only on working efficiency, but also on the additional amount of remunerative traffic that can be attracted to the railway system. As regards passenger services, the remarkable growth in the volume of personal travel during the last few decades seems likely to continue, so that the market for passenger travel, urban or long-distance, private or business, should continue to expand. Despite air transport and the private car, therefore, and notwithstanding the fact that the total volume of travel includes a great deal of movement for which railways cannot be competitive, there will remain a large pool in which the railways will take a larger share, once the quality and cost of the services are transformed. At the same time as the railways attract further traffic which
    they are inherently suited to carry (provided that the most modern equipment available), certain other traffics, which are now carried at disproportionately high costs and are inherently more suited for road transport, will be gradually transferred to road.

    As to freight transport, the available forecasts of industrial development seem to show that, even after allowing for some rationalisation of introduction to save transport, the total demand will continue to grow. The extent to which the railways will be able to share in this demand will depend on their ability to provide improved services at lower cost; but the possibilities in this direction are great. The normal trend of increased production should of itself assist the railways, and some of the ground that has been lost to other forms of transport over the past thirty years should be recovered. On balance, these increments of traffic should more than counterbalance any local falling-off in traffics that may follow changes in the pattern of industrial development, or the handing over to road of traffics that are better suited to road transport. It is the Commission's view that freight transport should be encouraged to switch to standardised container transport, in a similar fashion to the Continent.

    The general questions of economics and finance affecting the Plan are considered in more detail below (Section VI). Suffice it to say here that the expenditures proposed are not visionary; that they are not unduly large in relation to the investment already in existence; that they are supported by reliable commercial and technical opinion ; and that the yield to be expected from the Plan in due course, after fructification of the expenditures, is such as to make it an economic venture of the most promising sort.

    Notes: Roughly similar to OTL; the major difference being more money allocated to electrification than OTL, and the hopes of skipping straight to electric traction.
  4. PMN1 Member

    Jan 25, 2006
    Hopefully with a catenary system designed to be a bit more robust and such that a problem with one line does not take out the other lines as seems to have occurred outside Paddington last week......
  5. Devvy Idiot. Donor

    Feb 6, 2011
    Haha, yeah that's a bit of a catastrophe. Having GWR inform people that they shouldn't travel by train when that happened makes a joke of things, too bad if you are commuting in for work, too many TOCs have no idea how to handle a crisis. On the other hand, so much flak for GWR and Network Rail, despite Hitachi presumably being to blame since it was their train which ripped down apparently approx 500m of cabling.
    Ivir Baggins and markus meecham like this.
  6. PMN1 Member

    Jan 25, 2006
    The rail companies do get a lot of stick for delays which are out of their control, whatever your views are on private vs state owned railway it would be interesting to know how many of those who rant about the rail companies and demand state ownership realise that some of the delays are down to the state owned Network Rail.
    markus meecham likes this.
  7. Simon Thread Killer Extraordinaire

    Sep 20, 2009
    I trust you have already started them on the classics such as Reverend W. Awdry's work?

    Nice to see this back again. :)
    Geordie and Ogrebear like this.
  8. Devvy Idiot. Donor

    Feb 6, 2011
    Spawn has had some exposure to the Isle of Sodor, but at the moment is preferring the likes of Paw Patrol, Hey Duggee and GoJetters. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink! :(
    Swede and Ogrebear like this.
  9. Threadmarks: 1955-End of Steam

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

    Feb 6, 2011
    Credit: Nicolas17
    Steam has persisted for many years in pockets of the British Railways network

    An excerpt from "The End of Steam", published 2008, by George Pearson:

    "It is fair to say that by the time the 1955 Modernisation Plan was published, that a head of steam had built up for the elimination of steam traction if you'll pardon the pun. The Railway Electrification Committee had held several meetings over the last few years, advocating for a national standard on the earlier agreed system of 1,500V DC overhead system. Just prior to the Plan being published, there was significant pressure to adopt the newer 25kV AC system instead, however the Railway Executive - an often conservative body - decided to stick with the previous tried-and-tested system, for which there were several systems up and down the country already installed. Manchester-Sheffield-Wath had just been finished with this system, and the Great Eastern Main Line was making rapid progress eastwards with it as well.

    Steam, however, was looking more and more dated by the year. In the face of newer technologies, steam traction was cheap to build (a steam locomotive being roughly half the price of a diesel locomotive fore example), but expensive to operate. It required a breadth of trades to perform maintenance on such locomotives roughly every 2 weeks - a fire dropper, a boilersmith and mate, an examining fitter, a cooler-down, a tube-sweeper, a barman, a washer-out and mate, fitters, and a steam raiser. The jobs were often relatively poorly paid compared to other industries, and filthy areas to work, and railway companies often had a difficulty in employing enough workers in these fields; Britain at the time had a very high employment rate. Aside from these, the various city councils across the country were increasingly hostile to steam traction, advocating for the removal of steam traction from their urban centres and the corresponding reduction in smoke and increase in air quality. These were one of the first major signs of what would later be termed "environmentalism" or green politics, and was clearly on show as Edinburgh City Council repeatedly complained to the British Transport Commission about the railway smoke pollution produced at Waverley station in the heart of the city.

    It was in the years prior to "The Plan", circa 1951-1952, in which Government ministers encouraged the BTC to "think big" about future investment requirements and capital needs. These duly rolled downhill to the Railway Executive in due course, and by 1953 had made some headway in convincing the newly empowered RE members about the need for change away from steam (in combination with the factors previously noted). Original notes forming what would become the 1955 Plan already allocate a third of the capital available to electrification, seeing no intermediate role for diesel power. By 1954, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had duly signalled that he was "...prepared to assist with the capital investment required in order to make British Railways, suitable for providing the public services vital to the life of this nation." The Ministry of Fuel & Power had their word too, favouring the step to electric power as reducing the oil requirements, and imports of - a viewpoint only reinforced a few years later in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis. It was Government viewpoints such as these which helped convince a British Transport Commission, which was known to favour a diesel programme, that electric traction was the route forward - further reinforced when the inability of British industry to build the numbers of diesel locomotives required when possessing little to no experience in the field was discovered, along with the natural predisposition of Governments at the time to favour domestic industries and companies.

    The published Plan advocated for electrifying:
    • The West Coast Route from London to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow
    • The Liverpool Street suburban routes, along with the Eastern Route as far as Ipswich with associated branches
    • The Thamesside Route from Fenchurch Street
    • The Kings Cross suburban routes
    • Glasgow suburban routes
    • The Southern Region routes in Kent and Hampshire

    This was a bold plan, which received a lot of both praise and criticism in the press and social circles. The decision to largely avoid diesel attracted the largest amount of negative press; however the pace of electrification was expected to allow steam to be naturally retired as steam locomotives were scrapped when requiring significant maintenance and replaced by "new" steam locomotives freed up from electrified routes. Also attracting opposition was the conversion of Southern Region plans for further third rail electrification with the mandated overhead system; however the SR's current fleet of locomotives equipped with a flywheel mechanism which allowed different inputs from both a third rail and overhead system provided an excellent concept for the future whilst both systems were in place. The last major point, similar to mentioned previously, was the continued choice of the 1.5kV DC overhead system which was viewed in some areas as antiquated. However, it was a tried and tested system, with already reliable locomotives available, and thereby removed the need for new locomotive design, testing and introduction, along with the inevitable problems that arise with such an introduction of a very new technology. Whether it was wise in hindsight is left to the reader and can be argued either way.

    It is noticeable that even at this stage in the mid 1950s, that British Railways were still expecting significant usage of steam by 1970, to the tune of several thousand steam locomotives. Future events would change this significantly, but even so, steam power was still in use well in to the 1970s in some pockets of British Railways."
    abrotherc, Dan1988, Sceonn and 13 others like this.
  10. Threadmarks: 1959

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

    Feb 6, 2011
    Article in local London Newspaper, 1959

    Delayed by almost 20 years, the LPTB's grandiose "New Works Programme" is largely drawing to a close. Passengers may have largely forgotten the grand programme of updating and expanding the underground network embarked upon by London Transport, most of it's larger works having been finished many years ago, but the last remnants are now being completed. The scheme included the popular replacement of stairways with escalators, and the introduction of a huge fleet of new trains. Less obvious were the large infrastructure improvements across the network to electrical systems in order to improve the system. Network expansion also has played a large part, and is chiefly why the programme has dragged on for such a long time.

    - The Metropolitan Line received additional tracks outwards from Harrow-on-the-Hill, with electrification reaching Amersham, Chesham & Watford
    - The transfer of the lines to Stanmore from Baker Street to the Bakerloo line
    - The extension of the Northern Line from Highgate station (now Archway) to connect to the former branches to Edgware and High Barnet
    - The extension of the Central Line eastbound from Liverpool Street to Stratford and on to the branch lines to Hainult, Woodford & Ongar, and westbound to West Ruislip & Denham

    Delays were experienced primarily with the Central Line extension from North Acton though - legislation passed by the Government in protection of the countryside hampered London Transport's plans for the westbound extension of 2 projects. The Central Line was only extended as far as Denham due to the desire of British Rail to close some stations on it's line into London from High Wycombe in order to allow faster and more frequent trains to operate along it's line. The Northern Line has lost it's extension from Edgware to Bushey Heath as potential housing markets disappeared due to the legislation.

    Despite the lengthy delays, mostly due to the Second World War, it's impact has definitly been felt across the network. "The seats are definitely more comfortable" remarked one passenger about the newer trains.


    Notes: Some of the longer members may recognise this as being familiar; this chapter is almost completely lifted from my original 12:08, with a few corrections. Again, at this early stage, things are very similar to OTL; the eagle eyed will notice the addition of Denham to the west end of the Central Line (dropped due to Green Belt laws OTL, but here retained as per above - even in OTL some of the earthworks were completed prior to cancellation). The map is the original tube map from 1959, with the sole addition of the Denham station!
  11. Threadmarks: 1960-1

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

    Feb 6, 2011

    Left to right: An early EE Type 3 locomotive on trial on at Nottingham Victoria, an EM2 locomotive on the Woodhead Line, and a new EMU on the Eastern Region


    The West Coast Route Modernisation continues at pace; electrification in particular is being strung up quickly, having begun last year. Although many have commented that the electrical system should be the more modern 25kV AC system as trialled in France, the use of our current standard of 1.5kV DC has allowed us to seamlessly take existing knowledge and apply it further, integrating the existing systems without further work. The order for EM2 locomotives currently in use on the Woodhead Route has been expanded, as expected, by several dozen to cater for express passenger work on the new West Coast Route. This is a tried and tested locomotive which has already proven it's design on the challenging Woodhead Route, and is therefore a reliable locomotive to use in a more widespread environment. The use of the 1.5kV DC system will also allow us to easily take advantage of regenerative braking, where locomotives decelerate by feeding energy back in to the grid. West Coast Route electrification has now been switched on between Crewe, Manchester and Liverpool, with work now progressing south from Crewe towards Birmingham and eventually London.

    East Coast Route suburban electrification has now finished, covering the route from Kings Cross initially as far north as Stevenage, both via Welwyn and Hertford. Further multiple units will be required in due course to operate these suburban services, as currently this is still operated with several steam locomotives due to problems in obtaining new multiple units quickly enough. Work on electrification has already led to a quicker than expected transfer of the Northern City Line from London Transport to British Railways, following the full cessation of the New Works Programme, whilst the Chingford branch has now been handed over in reverse to be operated as an extension of their new Victoria - Walthamstow tube line.

    The Essex-based LTS route is on schedule for completion next year for full electrification, at which point supply delays for new electric multiple units should have been addressed and will allow new trains to operate these suburban services from the start. This is expected to create both a significant spark-effect on the short suburban line, with good passenger growth, as well as greatly reduce operational complexity by removing the constant need for shunting, engine reversal and engine refuelling.

    Pressure from the Western Region, not due for widespread electrification for some years, has forced a partial rethink of strategy, and an order has been placed for new English Electric Type 3 locomotives; a well engineered locomotive by a manufacturer with a good pedigree of railway works who crucially already had experience of diesel traction. The locomotive was designed to be equally at home hauling passenger (with it's new electric train heating) or freight trains making it ideal not only for the various routes of the Western Region, but also useful in Scotland for the long winding routes there. The smaller loading gauge of the locomotive will make it equally usable all over the British network, should the locomotive prove popular.

    The Railway Executive is also busy at work to identify the least used lines; those which are used by a handful of passenger or freight trains per week. These lines, usually in rural areas of the country linking areas of little importance and in duplicate to other routes, will continue to be nominated for closure in order to reduce operating costs. On such routes, such as the Midland & Great Northern Route, we recognise the role that rail transport plays in rural communities. However, this can not override the pressing financial situation which British Railways finds itself in until electrification elsewhere starts to pay it's dividends, and especially in areas where duplication of routes means that other lines can still serve the area.


    The Great Central Main Line, the last of the major rail routes to have been constructed, is to cease express passenger services, with further service cuts expected. British Railways has noted that this route is essentially a copy of the Midland Main Line, thought to be favoured over the GCML, and the lack of intermediate towns served en route between the major settlements. The sole remaining suburban service will be a London Marylebone to Nottingham Victoria service three times per day. Freight trains will continue to heavily use the route however, away from the timetabled pressures of passenger service.

    Notes: West Coast Route modernisation rumbles on with it's 1,500v DC system, along with other lines. The Chingford branch is now handed over to London Transport in return for the Northern City Line for the King's Cross suburban electrification; the Chingford branch was wanted for the Victoria Line OTL by LT planners, but never ended up with it - probably to OTL's benefit considering the congestion on the OTL Vic Line. Here it will end up part of the ATL Vic Line; more to come on that route later.

    Elsewhere, electrification continues, particularly around North/East London and Glasgow. However, as some may guess, "just waiting" electrification was never going to completely cut it. The Western Region has managed to cut a deal for diesel locomotives, the OTL Class 37s which have a good power to weight, reliability and wide route availability. No cacophony of different and unreliable diesel locos here! Much of the Modernisation Report funding continues to be ploughed in to electrification works and new locomotives/multiple units.
    abrotherc, Dan1988, Sceonn and 9 others like this.
  12. Threadmarks: 1962-1

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

    Feb 6, 2011

    Oxford Circus is due for major reconstruction work


    The new cross-London London Underground line has finally begun construction, which will eventually link several of London's largest terminus stations together. The new line, tentatively now called the "Viking Line" over the alternative "Victoria Line" (to avoid any confusion with the identically named station), has been scoffed at by historians as "historically inaccurate", but has already entered the public mind due to it's short and memorable nature. The line, which recently has been the target of Government spending restraints, has had to experiment and use new tunnelling techniques to keep the cost down, as well as promising "spending cuts" on stations. Extensive works will be required at Oxford Circus where the line will interchange with both the Central and Bakerloo lines, and will be the destination for many leisure passengers.

    The route of the line has taken many twists and turns over the years, with early plans to the northern end running to the South Tottenham area and then a mix of running either towards Enfield, Cheshunt or Walthamstow. As early as 1953, London Transport planners harboured plans of taking over the Chingford branch, although this seemed to die a death for a few years due to the Eastern Region of British Railway's desire to electrify and modernise the Lea Valley branches. It was revitalised a few years later, when BR's priorities shifted to completing modernisation elsewhere in the Eastern Region, and the Chingford branch was traded for the return of the Northern City Line, which irreversibly fixed the Viking Line to Chingford, whilst also providing a new depot and stabling area at Chingford station. This removed the need for the alternatives floated, such as a depot at Northumberland Park or running stock via the Piccadilly Line to a depot.

    To the southern end, the route has varied far more. Original ideas ranged from as far as Couldsdon or Sanderstead in the far south of London, or "just" Croydon - still a long route. The route was largely fixed between Finsbury Park and Victoria, however a switch in priority due to heavy District Line usage meant that London Transport planners now favoured the transfer and usage of the Wimbledon branch of the District Line, providing relief to the central section of the District Line. This would also allow the route to serve Chelsea - an area with no current rail connections, although at the expense of London south-of-the-river which continues to be poorly served due to it's unfavourable geology for tunnelling. The line will feature a multitude of connections at it's various stations; many will be rebuilt to allow cross platform interchange.


    The BTC has been repealed by Government legislation, with it's responsibilities being passed down to it's subsidiaries. The failure of the BTC to produce a harmonised transport system, and the subsequent growth in private road-based transport, brought about such a move with almost entire certainty. All responsibility for running the national rail network will now fall in to the hands of the Railway Executive, now renamed the "British Railways Board", free to act as it needs to, and targeted with operating a railway network which should "be generally self-sufficient, apart from where appropriate for reasons of national security or social good." For the first time as well, the rail system would be freed from it's obligations as a common carrier, free to charge (or refuse) as it needed to, and therefore deriving the ability to cross-subsidise where possible. Responsibility for the London Underground system will remain with the London Transport Executive, but now answerable to the Ministry of Transport directly, as will British Railways equally. Notably, the Hotels Executive branch of the BTC will now be transferred to become part of the new British Railways Board.

    So the Victoria Viking Line begins construction. Honestly, Viking Line was the only serious suggestion as far as I can see other than the "Victoria Line" name, standing for VIctoria to KINGs cross. And again, LT planners did want the Chingford line to be transferred, as happened with many other tube lines, however the modernisation of the Lea Valley Lines got in the way of this - here that hasn't happened, and Chingford has been transferred to create a better business case for the line, reduce congestion at Liverpool Street and reduce ER requirements for modernisation. We'll return to here later to discuss it when it opens. And yes, that is a picture of Oxford Circus before it was dug up for the Victoria Line works!

    Also, BTC has been closed down, BR (and LT separately) are coming in existence as themselves rather than as the BTC group.
    abrotherc, Dan1988, Sceonn and 9 others like this.
  13. markus meecham Marxism-Leninism-Bricksquad thought Banned

    Mar 6, 2018
    This is very interesting, and about something i know nothing about.

    Keep it up, watching this.
  14. Threadmarks: 1962-2

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

    Feb 6, 2011
    British Railways Reorganised [released 2015].

    Class 73 in resplendent "Caledonian" livery in the Scottish Highlands. Credit: Craig Wallace

    The early 1960s would see the research in to, and later the introduction, of a completely new passenger experience. The new boss, Dr Beeching, was later described as a "difficult man to deal with, obsessed with facts and figures like any scientist", but could provided a refreshing change from generations of railwaymen - he could see the railway for the business it was, and could see the railway from the passengers perspective. The last 10 or so years in British Railways had seen an almost obsession by the former Railway Executive on traction; electrification and new electric locomotives / multiple units, in an order to provide faster trains, and more efficient services (much cheaper maintenance and fuel sources). However, the customer side of the equation had been largely ignored; planned works at many stations, Euston included, had been cut back or abandoned, and much of the coaching stock remained the same, even if hauled by a newer locomotive. The main exception was the introduction in 1960 of the "Blue Pullman" intercity train running from London to several towns and cities, offering a premium experience mostly for business travellers - but also demonstrated the advantages of fixed rake operations for trains; research which would not go unheeded when it later came to high speed operations.

    Dr Beeching invested resources towards new locomotives, new coaches and station redevelopment, whilst later persuading Government to continue funding electrification in return for the closing down of many "unprofitable" rail routes; something which would be worked around by the transfer of many urban networks to local Governments, which we will cover in later chapters. This chapter however, will concentrate on rolling stock redevelopment.

    The Southern Railways expanded the third rail electric passenger network (which had begun as far back as 1909), which was until 1941 a purely passenger Electric Multiple Unit system. However the arrival of electric locomotives designed by Bulleid (Chief Mechanical Engineer) and Raworth (Chief Electrical Engineer) presented a problem with regard to freight operation. It was quickly noted that laying 750v DC third rail in freight yards would present a serious hazard to personnel on the ground. So the initial solution was to fit a simple tram-like overhead 750v wire strung from masts, only in selected goods yards, and add a pantograph to the three initial electric locomotives, so they could collect current from the overhead wire, which removed the hazard.

    British Railways then began electrifying the main lines to the Kent Coast as part of the 1955 modernisation plan - using the new national standard of 1,500v DC overhead in contrast to the existing 750v DC third rail system. This required a significant amount of new EMU's to operate cross-system services, and building on prior experience, a small fleet of 25 Bo-Bo electric locomotives of 2,552hp classed type "HA" (later class 71) was also built to deal with freight, parcels, and the few remaining locomotive hauled passenger trains in Kent, such as the "Night Ferry" and "Golden Arrow" services. As these locos also had pantographs for the new national system, a number of freight yards across Kent (even within the third rail area) were fitted with the overhead wire system to avoid risk to personnel on the ground. This system was brought into use across Kent between 1959-61.

    Although successful, this system did require considerable extra cost, and maintenance, and still limited freight operations with the new locomotives to only those goods yards fitted with the catenary. So something more versatile was needed. Development and advances in both electric locomotive and diesel engine design in the early 1960's resulted in the Southern Region engineers beginning to consider the possibility of a combined Electric and Diesel locomotive. The requirement was for an electric locomotive with a similar power on electric to the already highly successful Type 3 English Electric diesel locos then entering service elsewhere. This would be supported by adding a small diesel engine powerful enough to move reasonable freight loads at slow speed within goods yards. The new locomotive design also called for retractable 3rd rail pick up shoes, although this detail was later omitted from the final design as the third rail network was predicted to quickly reduce in size before being completly replaced by the overhead standard.

    The Southern Region engineers having done all the initial design work set about building the first "Prototype" batch of six new "Electro-Diesel" locomotives at Eastleigh railway works during 1961-2. The new locomotives were given 1,850hp on electric and 650hp from the small diesel engine. The success of these "Prototype" locomotives, resulted in British Railways ordering from English Electric in Newton-le-Willows a production batch of a further 103 locomotives. During the 1990s, the whole fleet was renovated, being the only successful electro-diesel owned by British Rail. The 650hp diesel engines were replaced by 2 x 600hp diesel engines, giving a needed power boost to the engines in dealing with heavier trains - the class was later in significant demand, especially by the freight sectors, for hauling longer distance freight trains across a patchwork of electrified and non-electrified lines, and in to non-electrified sidings and yards.

    In operation, they proved highly reliable and a successful locomotive. They hauled numerous illustrious boat trains from London to the Channel Ports, making use of the overhead system where available, and diesel elsewhere (including the short stretches of third rail in to London), whilst working as the prime traction of choice on several services from the West Coast Route to unelectrified branches (Manchester to Blackpool, Waterloo to Weymouth, Liverpool Street to Norwich etc). As afore mentioned, later in life as electrification spread, they found most of their work lay in hauling freight trains across the country, making use of electric traction where-ever possible. A few have also found good use in the Scottish Highlands on the autonomous Caledonian sector. New electrical train supply systems were a mandatory fit to deal with the cold Scottish winters, and they have also been refurbished with third rail electrical systems - ironically fulfilling the technical capabilities they were supposed to have over 50 years ago - due to the local strong desire to avoid overhead cables in the picturesque Highlands.

    Notes: Obviously parts of this are roughly OTL, especially the early days. However, this fleet of locomotives is far larger than OTL, and much of the surrounding information will give you an idea about the where this TL is heading. The image is slightly altered to remove the "S" for the OTL Caledonian Sleeper, but otherwise is stock.

    Glad you're enjoying it :)
  15. Threadmarks: 1964-1

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

    Feb 6, 2011


    Following on from the British Railways Modernisation Report of 10 years previous, British Railways was still running a deficit. The Government was losing patience, and rapidly losing faith in British Railways despite BR's pleas to let it finish the course of it's Modernisation Programme before judging it. In 1962, the Government appointed Dr Richard Beeching as Chairman of the new British Railways Board (which took over from the British Transport Commission) in charge of British Railways. Later in 1964, largely at the request of the Government, Dr Beeching initiated a full study across a whole month of all passenger and freight flows (conducted in April 1964), and analysed the accounts of BR. The results still made stark reading, and conclusions were clear.

    Express trains remained generally profitable - a position now reinforced by the new electric services beginning to operate between London, Birminhgam, Manchester & Liverpool, and later to operate further north to Scotland by 1972. They currently struggled to pay indirect costs associated to them, although it was now noted that passenger counts were increasing on the new electric services, and revenues increasing along with it. Local trains were in a better position, but were crippled by the upkeep on the rural and little-used lines they often ran upon. Again, the electrification recently enabled on certain lines showed the "sparks effect" - most lines were experience upswings in usage once again, and gave impetus for calls for further modernisation of the network "to see through British Railway's Modernisation Plan to it's conclusion". In freight, only Parcels/Mail and Coal were fully profitable loads, and of that Coal was only just profitable and destined to shrink in market size as people switched to electricity; even BR itself was rapidly moving away from it as electrification spread. Dr Beeching also highlighted that one third of the entire BR network carried only 1% of it's overall traffic. In a similar vein, one half of the entire network only carries 4% of the total passenger miles and 5% of the total freight ton miles.

    Dr Beeching therefore concluded that one half of the system currently earns far less than is sufficient to even cover it's own expenses. On long-distance express routes, particularly the Anglo-Scottish routes, air will continue to erode the loading of day trains, and will predictably continue to be eroded. Car ownership in the UK continues to rise exponentially, and will make significant inroads into the market share for local trips, further eroding the deficit of local stopping services. The introduction to his report also contained some stinging criticisms of the way British Railways has been managed. Terence Gerevich, 2004, would later write of Beeching:

    "Beeching was a business man. He could easily see that thus far, British Railways had spent huge amounts of resources in electrifying it's network with little focus on anything else, seeking only a technological solution. In this vein, the traditional "railwaymen" mindset failed the organisation; they did not keep their eye on the market they sought to serve, which was quickly turning to the new roads and runways for it's transport requirements. Beeching brought a new focus to British Rail(ways); he sought to rebalance BR, to give it a new impetus to offer a compelling market offering to passengers and freight whilst creating a sustainable financial model. His proposals for balancing the finances can be questioned, but overall, Beeching had very worthwhile aims for the organisation."

    On the passenger side of the organisation, Beeching sought to offload passengers on little used routes on buses and other local transport. Some routes were hardly used with less than 10 passengers on a train at any time of day, and opportunities to rejuvenate such a service seemed well beyond the capabilities of a rail organisation. Passengers on "sustainable routes" however needed to be retained. Instead of ploughing money solely in to electrifying routes and new traction, money would equally be shared on the customer. Construction had just started on the new "Mark 2" coach for British Railways, offering a far more pleasant environment for passengers and allowing a more comfortable ride at higher speeds. Over 2,000 Mark 2 coaches were eventually built, with the type also being used as a template for a new generation of electric multiple units.

    Where routes remain open, hundreds of smaller passenger stations and halts should close, and many other have vastly reduced staffing hours. Even on well utilised routes, many small stations exist that have little passenger demand. Many others are staffed 18 hours per day which is unnecessary and not in proportion to the passenger utilisation of the station. Fewer intermediate stations will also allow train times to improve. The report's appendix listed hundreds of stations which would be closed. On the reverse side, some stations would need rebuilding where they were old, decrepit and generally not fit for purpose in the "new era".

    On the freight side, on lines which remained open for freight traffic, all passenger stations would close. Freight traffic is extremely efficient when carried in bulk by train. Where there is reasonable demand for freight traffic, the line should stay open for freight only, and possibly be singled to reduce costs as far as possible. One of Beeching's major pushes in the realms of freight was the adoption of the container, and offering more competitive rates for transport of a container (regardless of what is inside) between two places. Such a scheme could standardise freight rolling stock, simplify traffic flows and thus speed up deliveries - a major concern of customers where currently freight would enter the BR network and effectively be "lost" for several days until it eventually turned up at it's destination.

    Three of British Rail's primary routes (West Coast Route, Great Eastern Route & East Coast Route) are currently being electrified to some degree, along with large portions of the London-based Southern Region. Further electrification should be conducted so that more intercity trains that run under electric wire but change to diesel traction for the last stretch of the journey need not change, thus lowering journey times. Further in-fill electrification of the Southern Region would allow more efficient utilisation of existing rolling stock, whilst extension of the South Western Route electrification from Woking to Southampton, Bournemouth, Weymouth, Guildford and Portsmouth along with new trains would transform the journey for passengers. The desire for cities to be rid of steam is also noticeable; work should commence on the Great Western Route suburban stretches as soon as possible, along with the West Midlands and Edinburgh.

    Lastly, British Railways would be rebranded as "British Rail", with a new logo which would come to be known as the double headed arrow, and a new network-wide standard livery, named "Monastal Blue", beginning the transformation from a mutually owned set of 4 British Railways "groups" (the former Regions), to a unified and singular British Railways organisation.

    Notes: Note that these are the "Beeching Reforms" rather than "Axe"; a subtle change, but noticeable in that the main memories of this time in this TL is not an all round chopping of the network, but a good pruning off infeasible lines, and a reorganisation of British Rail (as it now is) to focus on the customer rather than "playing trains". The 1950s, and Modernisation Plan, have here been seen to be railwaymen playing with electricity; a good first step, but far from a focus on customers. Here Beeching is regearing to actually make the organisation work for it's customers, be that passengers (new coaches, new stations in places), or freight (reworking towards wide scale use of intermodal containers).
  16. JN1 Has been called the C word on Twitter

    Nov 16, 2007
    My house
    Really nice to see you writing trains again. :)
    Geordie likes this.
  17. Simon Thread Killer Extraordinaire

    Sep 20, 2009
    Probably too much of a hindsight move, especially considering the reasoning for it, but it's a shame they'd be unlikely to hold on to land after the closures and lifting on the track. Just locally in the West Midlands there are a couple of lines which would be incredibly handy to be able to reopen but where land has been sold off and built on.

    IIRC the push to containerisation is broadly the same as our timeline right?
    Swede, Geordie, Ivir Baggins and 2 others like this.
  18. Devvy Idiot. Donor

    Feb 6, 2011
    Happy to be back too! :) This time with a lot more research material then I had when I wrote 12:08 originally, and some topics planned for Scotland as well :)

    I can't see any land banking happening to be honest. The switch to the car and road seemed pretty certain back then, and if you've closed the line why would you reopen it? Also, it's an obvious lump of cash for BR at a time when cash is in short supply (although not sure it's ever in easy supply.....)!

    Roughly similar, although maybe a slightly bigger push to containers. Definitely no huge investment in new marshalling yards!
    Dan1988, Swede, Geordie and 2 others like this.
  19. DaveB Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2013
    The trackbeds of closed lines should have been retained, and turned into long distance cycle tracks unless and until reopening was viable. I thought this was obvious at the time, but the idiots didn’t have the sense to ask a 13-year old ;)

    Oh, and they should have asked me about doing more electrification on a rolling programme, not rushing underpowered, overweight and unreliable modernisation plan prototype diesels into series production, and phasing out steam at a more sensible rate.

    And not closing Oxford-Cambridge.
    Swede, Geordie, Ivir Baggins and 3 others like this.
  20. Ogrebear Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2012
    Nice to have you back at 12:08 @Devvy - thank you for the revision.

    Better, more sane modernisation in the 50’s leading to a more moderate Beeching? Less stations closing, more revitalisation for the passenger? Great so far!


    1. Does Euston arch survive?
    2. Fate of the wild and woolly Scottish highland lines? The diesel section seems to suggest many do.
    3. Northern Ireland lines affected by this? Any effect on the Troubles for better investment I.e. use of local industry to revitalise the lines leads to an effect politically?
    4. Does Gatwick and Heathrow get better/faster connections than otl?
    5. Is upgrading from 1500v DC to more powerful standards possible or does it require everything to be changed?
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