British Rail Class 150
The British Rail Class 150 Sprinter is a class of diesel multiple-unit trains built by BREL York from 1984 to 1987. A total of 137 units were produced in three main subclasses, replacing many of the earlier, first-generation "Heritage" DMUs. At the beginning of the 1980s, British Rail had a large fleet of ageing "Heritage" DMUs built to various design types. While some of the more reliable types were retained and refurbished, BR replaced many of the non-standard or unreliable models with new second-generation units built to modern standards. Two different types were developed: low-cost "Pacers", built using bus parts for use on short-distance services, "Sprinters", based on BR's Mark 3 body design for longer-distance services. In 1984, BREL built two prototype, three-car, Class 150/0 units, numbered 150001 and 150002. 150001 was fitted with Cummins engines and Voith hydraulic transmission, 150002 was fitted with Perkins engines and a automatic gearbox developed by the Self-Changing Gears company.
The design specifications of the prototypes were similar to the production units, but they were to remain as the only Class 150s to be built as three-car units. Additional three-car units were created by re-marshalling a 150/2 car in the middle of a 150/1 set, but only the prototypes had purpose-built centre cars without driving cabs. Both cab doors are air-operated, unlike the Class 150/1 production model but seen on in the 150/2 variant. 150002 proved to be the worse of the two for reliability and was chosen for use as the testbed for the Class 158, being re-geared to a maximum speed of 90 mph and fitted with Cummins engines and Voith transmission, with a Class 158 interior. One car was fitted with the Class 151 Twin Disc'hot-shift' transmission, which it used once the control software was sorted out. To distinguish this unit, it was reclassified as the Class 154, it has since been reverted to its original number. Both prototypes were still in service with London Midland until 2011. 150001 entered service with First Great Western in January 2012, with 150002 to follow after refurbishment and re-livery.
They are now used on the Reading-Basingstoke line, with both 150001 & 150002 in the new Great Western Railway green livery. At the same time that BREL built the 150/0s, Metro-Cammell built two prototype Class 151 units at its Washwood Heath plant; the two types of unit were exhaustively tested, with a view to placing further orders for the more successful. In the event, the two Class 150 units proved to be more reliable, as a result an order for 50, two-car units was placed with BREL; this second batch of fifty units were classified as Class 150/1 and numbered in the range 150101-150. Like the prototype units, they did not have front-end gangway connections which allowed passengers to move between two units that were working in multiple. Based at Derby Etches Park depot, these units were introduced in 1986 concentrated around Birmingham and Manchester, in years restricted to commuter services; the final batch of 85 two-car units were built with front-end gangway connections. These units were classified as Class 150/2 and numbered in the range 150201-285.
They were used on longer-distance services. The end gangways make them similar in appearance to the Class 317/2 and Class 455/7 and 455/9 EMUs based on the Mark 3 bodyshell; some of the Class 150/2 units were disbanded, the vehicles were used to make some of the Birmingham and Manchester-based Class 150/1 units into three-car sets. The units in Manchester were returned to their original configuration, but the Birmingham-based units were renumbered into the 1500xx range by subtracting 100 from the previous number; this gave the operational advantage of there being an extra set of passenger door controls within the train for use by the conductor, making it easier to collect revenue without having to run the full length of the unit between stations. The 450 Class is operated by Northern Ireland Railways, it came to the end of its design life in 2014. One further unit was built for testing duties. Numbered in the Class 180 series, the unit is now in the departmental Class 950 series, numbered 950001, carries the yellow Network Rail livery.
The Class 150 units have BSI couplers which enable them to work in multiple with Class 142, Class 143, Class 144, Class 153, Class 155, Class 156, Class 158, Class 170 units, as well as with units of the same class. However, they cannot work in multiple with Class 165 or Class 166 units due to incompatible wiring arrangements; when introduced, the Class 150s had unique interior door open/close buttons. In the north of England they were blue. In the south of Scotland they were yellow in colour, lit up turquoise when enabled; the button lit up bright yellow in the south of England. The illumination feature was intended to aid visually impaired people, although they did not meet the subsequent standards set out by disability regulations that were introduced, because they had no raised braille and were too small for some disabled people to locate; as a result of this, the blue buttons are being replaced by the standard EAO series 56'easy to see, easy to press' raised circular door button, with braille writing for the visually impaired, over a yellow surround to comply with the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations.
After privatisation, North Western Trains and Arriva Trains Northern operated Class 150/1 and 150/2s on their routes. The North Western Trains units underwe
British Rail Classes 251 and 261
The Blue Pullmans were luxury trains used from 1960 to 1973 by British Railways. They were the first Pullman diesel-electric multiple units, incorporating several novel features. Named after their original Nanking blue livery, the trains were conceived under the 1955 Modernisation Plan to create luxury diesel express trains aimed at competing with the motor car and the emerging domestic air travel market. Although not successful – they were seen as underpowered and not economically viable – they demonstrated the possibility of fixed-formation multiple-unit inter-city train services, inspired the development of the Inter City 125, which resembles them in having an integral power car at each end of the train. There were two versions, built by Metro Cammell in Birmingham: two first-class six-car sets for the London Midland Region, three two-class eight-car sets for the Western Region, they were operated by the luxury train operator the Pullman Car Company, which the British Transport Commission had acquired.
Shortly after their introduction, in 1962, Pullman was nationalised, operation was incorporated into the British Railways network. Given the last Pullman vehicle numbers, towards the end of their operational life the trains gained the British Rail TOPS classification of Class 251 and Class 261, although they never carried these numbers; the WR sets operated from London Paddington to Birmingham and Wolverhampton, to Bristol and Swansea. The LMR sets operated the Midland Pullman between London St Pancras and Manchester Central, a journey it accomplished in a record 3 hours 15 minutes with a maximum speed of 90 mph; the Midland Pullman was withdrawn in 1966 following electrification of the Euston-Manchester line, which brought reduced journey times with which the Midland route could not compete. The LMR sets were transferred to the WR, where some of the first-class seating was downgraded to form two-class sets; the sets were an advanced and luxurious design, befitting a Pullman train, although they did suffer some criticism over a persistent ride quality problem.
Over time it became costly to maintain such a small fleet of trains. By 1972, with the development of first-class accommodation in Mark II coaching stock, the surcharge for Blue Pullmans seemed uneconomical and unreliable to passengers and BR managers, in 1973 the trains were withdrawn. None of them were preserved; the sets featured in three films, one of the same name as a documentary of the design and development, an observation of the first service. From 2006, the Blue Pullman name was revived as a charter railtour, operated by various companies. In June 1954, the BTC, which operated the railways through its British Railways subsidiary, purchased the full equity of the Pullman Car Company, a private operator of luxury carriages on the otherwise nationalised passenger network. Under the 1955 Modernisation Plan there was a push toward diesel power to replace steam locomotives, Pullman coaching stock was ageing; the BTC and PCC formed a committee to examine the possibility of running diesel express passenger trains using new trains.
Proposed as the Midland Pullman, it was timed to compete on the London to Manchester route against car and air travel. After being rejected for operational reasons, the BTC decided to make use of the reputation of the acquired Pullman company to operate the new service. Two six-car units – all first class – were to be ordered for the LMR, three 8-car units for the WR; the selection of Pullman caused some initial delays due to trade union staffing problems, variances in pay and conditions of the Pullman staff compared to BR train staff. After some production delays, the first set appeared for trials in October 1959; these trials revealed that rough ride quality was a problem, modifications were made. These mitigated the problem, but it was never removed. After a demonstration run on 24 June 1960, Midland Pullman started in July 1960, the WR trains on 12 September, they operated Monday to Friday only. Weekends were reserved for maintenance, allowed their occasional use on special or charter services to events such as the Grand National.
The "Midland Pullman" ran from 1960 to 1966 in the morning from Manchester Central to St Pancras calling at Cheadle Heath near Stockport, a fill-in journey from St Pancras to Leicester, Loughborough and back, an evening return to Manchester. With completion in 1966 of the electrification of the West Coast Main Line from London Euston to Manchester London Road, there was the opportunity for a faster electric-locomotive-hauled Pullman service than the diesel sets, the Midland Pullman sets were transferred to the WR in March 1967; the introduction of new Mk1 Pullman cars on the East Coast Main Line in 1961 had been questioned as it was believed the ER had not waited for the completion of evaluation of the Blue Pullmans. The introduction of 2nd-class air-conditioned Mk2 coaches on these services hastened the perception that the Pullman supplement was not value for money; the WR "Birmingham Pullman" ran in the morning Wolverhampton Low Level to London Paddington, via Birmingham Snow Hill and through High Wycombe, with a fill-in journey from Paddington to Birmingham Snow Hill and back, before the evening return to Wolverhampton.
The "Bristol Pullman" from Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington and twice in a day. The two morning services were booked to arrive at the same time at Paddington, giving the possibility of a side-by-side arrival. From 1961, an additional morning train, the "South Wales Pullman", operated from Paddington to Cardiff and Swansea; the withdrawa
Blackpool North railway station
Blackpool North railway station is the main station serving the seaside resort of Blackpool in Lancashire, England. It is 17 1⁄2 miles northwest of Preston; the station was opened in its present form in 1974, succeeded a previous station a few hundred yards away on Talbot Road which had first opened in 1846 and had been rebuilt in 1898. The present station is based on the 1938 concrete canopy which covered the entrance to the former excursion platforms of the old station. Blackpool's other station, Blackpool South, is situated in the south of the town, with services towards Preston and Colne, does not connect to Blackpool North. Blackpool North has regular services to Manchester, Bolton and Preston. There are four intercity trains a day to London Euston; the first station opened on 29 April 1846 as Blackpool, renamed Blackpool Talbot Road in 1872, was first rebuilt in 1898. The rebuilt station consisted of two parallel train sheds and a terminal building, in Dickson Road between Talbot Road and Queen Street.
Platforms 1 to 6 were located in the sheds, with a larger island between platforms 1 and 2 to accommodate taxis. In addition, there was in all but name, a separate station at the east end of Queen Street, with open "excursion" platforms 7 to 16, used only in summer; the station was recommended for closure in the Beeching Report, but following lobbying by Blackpool Corporation it was Blackpool Central—Blackpool's other centrally-located station, but whose site was better-suited for re-development—which closed in 1964. The main station buildings, train shed & platforms were decommissioned and demolished in 1974, replaced by the current station based on the former excursion platforms. In November 2010 it was announced that the lines between Preston and Blackpool would be electrified, along with the line between Manchester and Preston; this resulted in the semaphore signalling at the station being replaced by modern colour lights controlled from the WCML North Rail Operating Centre in Manchester and the station track & platform layout altered.
The project was due for completion by May 2016, with the line onwards to Manchester following by the end of the year. This was subsequently pushed back twice - first to March 2017 and again to early 2018 so that the track remodelling & re-signalling work could be carried out at the same time as the wiring, reducing disruption to passengers; the remodelling required the station to be closed for a significant period of time with additional weekend & evening blocks either side. Replacement buses to Preston operated during the closure; the station was closed until 16 April 2018 for the work to take place. As can be expected of a terminus railway station for a large town, it is staffed and open for 24 hours a day, is equipped with payphones, vending machines and indoor seating, as well as a customer service office and a booking office. Step-free access to the station and platform is available for passengers with wheelchairs or prams, portable ramps are available for platform to train access; the station has its own covered concourse and, adjoining the concourse, it has a Pumpkin cafe, as well as a Point shop to Go convenience store.
The station has a 30-space car park, adjoining bus connections, which can accommodate Plusbus ticket holders. As Blackpool is a popular tourist resort, with its famous Pleasure Beach and beaches, there are many measures put in to prevent fare evasion, including automated barrier checks as well as the conductors on the train; the station is half a mile along Talbot Road from the Blackpool tramway, to be extended to the station in 2018/19 as part of a new transport interchange. The station is served by Virgin Trains. 1tph to Preston 1tph to Liverpool Lime Street 1tph to Manchester Piccadilly via Bolton 1tph to Manchester Airport via Wigan North Western 1tph to York via Leeds 4tpd to London Euston 1tpw from Birmingham New Street First TransPennine Express used to run the service to Manchester Airport, but it was passed on to the Northern franchise on 1 April 2016. Virgin CrossCountry used to run up to 8 services per day to Blackpool North from Portsmouth Harbour and London Paddington; the services were introduced by Virgin to increase the frequency of the CrossCountry trains and were introduced in 2000.
They were withdrawn in summer 2003 by the Strategic Rail Authority to improve the general punctuality of train services. First North Western operated a service between Blackpool and London Euston. Northern services to Leeds and York on weekdays were temporarily withdrawn prior to the start of electrification work in November 2017, but are due to resume in May 2019. Blackpool North was on the InterCity network until 2003 when Virgin Trains West Coast and Virgin CrossCountry withdrew High Speed Train and Voyager services to London Euston and Birmingham. Former local franchise holder First North Western ran services from Blackpool to London Euston, but these were soon discontinued. However, in the December 2014 timetable change, Virgin reintroduced direct services to/from London Euston albeit only on weekdays and only one each way a day; as of May 2018, there are four trains. In 2015, Alliance Rail Holdings, a company that formulates and implements open access rail proposals, was awarded the right to begin running six regular daily passenger services between Blackpool and London, to be operated by open access operator Grand Central using special
Crewe Works is a British railway engineering facility built in 1840 by the Grand Junction Railway. It is located in Cheshire, it is owned by Bombardier Transportation. The railway built 200 cottages establishing a new community in what had been the rural township of Monks Coppenhall. Among the first workers to arrive were those from the old works at Edge Hill producing an increase in the town's population by some 800 men and children; the first locomotive built at Crewe went into service in 1843. By 1846 the demand for space was such that wagon building was moved, first to Edge Hill and Manchester to a new works at Earlestown. By 1848 the works employed over 1,000 producing one locomotive a week. In 1845 the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was merged with the Grand Junction. These, in turn, merged in 1846, with the London and Birmingham Railway and the Manchester and Birmingham Railway to form the London and North Western Railway. All four had their own workshops but, in time, locomotive building was concentrated at Crewe.
In 1857 John Ramsbottom became Locomotive Superintendent. He had invented the first reliable safety valve and the scoop for picking up water from troughs between the tracks, he went on to improve the interchangeability of tools and components. In 1862 locomotive work was transferred from Wolverton. Wolverton became. In 1853 Crewe had begun to make its own wrought iron and roll its own rails, in 1864 installed a Bessemer converter for manufacturing steel. In 1868 it became the first place to use open-hearth furnaces on an industrial scale, it built its own brickworks. The works was fitted with two electric arc furnaces. Production increased and, with the sale to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway of ten 2-4-0 and eighty six 0-6-0 locomotives owned manufacturers took out an injunction in 1876 to restrain the railway from producing anything but its own needs; this remained in force until British Rail Engineering Limited was established in 1969. When the LNWR became part of the London and Scottish Railway in 1923 its passenger locomotives were eclipsed by those of the former Midland Railway, which offered light and frequent services.
As traffic density increased there was a need for longer trains and more powerful locomotives to haul them. In 1932, William Stanier set out to rationalise production. Since Crewe had experience with heavier locomotives and had its own steel making facilities, he chose it as his main production location. There followed the Princesses and Duchesses, along with the Jubilees and the "Black Fives". Crewe produced all the new boilers for the LMS, all heavy drop stampings and forgings, it produced most of the heavy steel components for the track and other structures. During World War II, Crewe produced over 150 Covenanter tanks for the army. After British Railways was formed in 1948, Robert Riddles introduced the BR standard classes, Crewe built Britannia and Clan mixed traffic engines and some of the Class 9 freight locomotives; the last steam locomotive, Class 9 number 92250, was completed in December 1958. Crewe Works built 7.331 steam locomotives. Diesel production commenced with D5030 the first main line example completed in 1959.
The final diesel locomotives built at Crewe Works were the Class 56 with the last completed in 1984, while the final class of electric locomotives were the Class 91 with the last completed in 1991. Much of the site at Crewe was cleared in a major redevelopment in the mid 1980s. Crewe works became a part of British Rail Engineering Limited when the former BR Workshops were set up as a separate business in 1969 and was privatised in 1989; this company was soon sold to ASEA Brown-Boveri, which merged with Daimler Benz in 1996 to form Adtranz. Adtranz was itself taken over by Bombardier in 2001. At its height, Crewe Works employed over 20,000 people. Current work is focused on general maintenance, the inspection of damaged stock. Much of the site once occupied by the works has been sold off and is now occupied by a supermarket, leisure park, a large new health centre. From 1862 until 1932, the works was served by an internal narrow gauge tramway, the Crewe Works Railway. Under the London and North Western Railway, Crewe Works produced many famous locomotives: the Webb 2-4-0 Jumbo class and the compounds, the Whale Experiment and Precursor classes, the Bowen-Cooke Claughtons.
In particular, Whale's 1912 superheated G1 Class 0-8-0 developed from a locomotive introduced by Webb in 1892, lasted, in many cases until 1964, near the end of steam in 1968. Under the London and Scottish Railway, the works was noted for Sir William Stanier's locomotives and in particular the'Jubilee' 4-6-0s, the Class 5 mixed traffic 4-6-0s and the'Princess Royal' and'Princess Coronation' 4-6-2s. Under British Railways, the works built many notable steam designs including the Britannia 4-6-2s and the Franco-Crosti boilered Class 9 freight locomotives. Mitchell, Vic. Stafford to Chester. West Sussex: Middleton Press. Figs. 76-80. ISBN 9781908174345. OCLC 830024480. Kelly, Peter. "This is Crewe". Rail Enthusiast. EMAP National Publications. Pp. 16–19. ISSN 0262-561X. OCLC 49957965. Official website
West Anglia Great Northern
West Anglia Great Northern was a train operating company in England owned by National Express, that operated the West Anglia Great Northern franchise from January 1997 until March 2004 and the Great Northern franchise from April 2004 until March 2006. Prism Rail was awarded the West Anglia Great Northern franchise and commenced operations on 5 January 1997. West Anglia Great Northern made an open access application to extend services from Peterborough to Doncaster but this was rejected by the Office of Rail Regulation. In July 2000, West Anglia Great Northern was included in the sale of Prism Rail to National Express. In 2002 as part of a franchise reorganisation by the Strategic Rail Authority, it was announced that the franchise would be split with the West Anglia part merged into the Greater Anglia franchise. In December 2003, the Strategic Rail Authority awarded the Greater Anglia franchise to National Express, with the West Anglia services transferring to One on 1 April 2004. After being granted a two-year franchise extension, the Great Northern services were retained with the company now referring to itself as WAGN rather than West Anglia Great Northern.
West Anglia Great Northern operated all stops and limited stops West Anglia services out of London Liverpool Street to Chingford, Enfield Town, Hertford East, Stansted Airport, Cambridge, all stops and limited stops Great Northern services out of London King's Cross to Cambridge, King's Lynn and Peterborough, West Anglia Great Northern inherited a fleet of Class 313, Class 315, Class 317, Class 322 and Class 365s from British Rail. Some Class 322s were loaned to First North Western from 1997 until 1999, before all five went to ScotRail in 2001. In 2004, sixteen Class 365s were transferred from South Eastern Trains; the trains to receive an overhaul were twenty-four Class 317/2s, which were made more suitable for long distance use through repainting, the addition of carpet, installation of lower-density seats and an improved first class area. Dedicated bicycle and wheelchair spaces and improved lighting were provided, with the exterior receiving a new white, grey and red livery. Suburban trains were improved with the Class 313s gaining new seats with higher backs, wheelchair provision and minor improvements to fittings such as stanchions in the passenger areas.
These emerged from refurbishment at Railcare, Wolverton in a plain white undercoat before a metallic purple livery was introduced in 2001. A dedicated Class 317/7 fleet was created for the Stansted Express through the refurbishment of 9 Class 317 units during 1999/2000; these featured new metallic blue Stansted Express livery. West Anglia Great Northern's fleet was maintained at Ilford depots; as part of a franchise reorganisation by the Strategic Rail Authority, the Great Northern services were merged into the Thameslink franchise. In December 2005, the Department for Transport awarded the Thameslink franchise to FirstGroup with the services operated by West Anglia Great Northern transferring to First Capital Connect on 1 April 2006. Media related to West Anglia Great Northern at Wikimedia Commons
British Rail Class 33
The British Rail Class 33 known as the BRCW Type 3 or Crompton is a class of Bo-Bo diesel-electric locomotives ordered in 1957 and built for the Southern Region of British Railways between 1960 and 1962. A total of 98 were built by the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company and were known as "Cromptons" after the Crompton Parkinson electrical equipment installed in them. Like their lower-powered BRCW sisters, the 26 and 27 classes, their bodywork and cab ends were of all steel construction, they were similar in appearance to class 26/27 locos, but carried Southern Region two-digit headcode blinds between the cab windows. The original number sequence was D6500–D6597; the locomotives began service on the South-Eastern Division of the Southern Region but spread across the whole Region and many were used much further afield – an example being the weekly Cliffe to Uddingston cement train which they worked as far as York in pairs. Only the new electric train heating was fitted, rather than the ubiquitous steam heating which passenger carriages used.
Early delivery problems and a shortage of steam locomotives resulted in many Class 24 locomotives being borrowed from the Midland Region and pairs, of 33 + 24, became common on winter passenger services. This resulted in unpopular, complex run-round manoeuvres at termini as the Class 24 needed to be coupled inside to provide steam heat. Emergency provisioning of through-piping for steam heat on some examples of class 33 alleviated this somewhat; the Southern Region was unaccustomed to the operational overhead and maintenance associated with the use of class 24 and they became unpopular. With the advent of modern stock and warmer seasons, they were returned to the Midland Region. Most of these locomotives have now been withdrawn from active duty, though three, 33025, 33029 and 33207 are available for use on passenger services with spot hire rail company West Coast Railways. WCRC has 33030 as a spares donor. A number of others are are operational on heritage railways. There were three variants becoming Class 33/0, 33/1 and 33/2.
All 86 of the first delivery were built as standard locomotives. With the advent of TOPS these would become class 33/0 and were numbered in the range 33001-33065. Two locomotives did not survive long enough to receive TOPS numbers as they were withdrawn due to damage sustained in accidents. While third rail electrification was expanding on the Southern region, it was not considered to be justified to extend beyond Bournemouth and so, in 1965, D6580 was fitted with experimental push-pull apparatus, high-level brake pipes and jumper cables to make it compatible with Multiple Unit stock. Commencing 21 July 1965 tests were carried out between Wimbledon Park and Basingstoke, from 17 January 1966 on the Oxted Line using a 6-coach rake of unpowered multiple unit coaches; the use of this equipment removed the necessity for the locomotive to run around to the front of its train at each terminus, as it could be controlled from the driving position of a TC unit and hence could propel its train from the rear.
Following successful completion of trials, D6580 and eighteen other members of the class entered Eastleigh Works to be fitted with a modified version of the push-pull apparatus – compatible with Class 73 and Class 74 Electro-Diesels and indeed any Electro-Pneumatically controlled Multiple Unit stock. They emerged painted in the new BR corporate blue with full yellow ends. D6521 re-entering service by November 1966 so equipped and by November 1967 the remainder had returned to traffic fitted for push-pull working. With the advent of TOPS, Class 34 had been reserved for these modified locomotives but it was not used and they were grouped, into class 33/1 being numbered in the range 33101–33119, they settled into sterling service, proving themselves useful and reliable. The prototype locomotive was the only member of Class 33 to run in green livery with the Multiple Unit control equipment – not to be confused with preserved members of Class 33/1 that have been repainted into green; the second batch of 12 locomotives was built with narrow bodies to allow them to work through the narrow tunnels between Tunbridge Wells and Hastings in Kent and East Sussex.
The "Hastings profile", required the bodies to be reduced in width by 7 inches to avoid clipping tunnel linings on that line, leading to their nickname of'Slim Jims'. The high cost of re-tooling the jigs and fixtures for construction of these narrow bodies was extensive and based on the small number of locomotives, was financially painful to BRCW; this and other order book issues with the rolling stock business contributed to the bankruptcy of the business. The mainstay of push-pull operations was the operation over the un-electrified track from Bournemouth to Weymouth and the service continued like this across three decades. Weymouth trains started at London Waterloo powered by third-rail electric traction via Winchester and Southampton to Bournemouth; the consist was twelve cars made up of a powerful 3,200 hp 4REP electric multiple unit on the rear with two leading units of un-powered 4TCs. At Bournemouth the train would be divided with the 4REP remaining at the London end of Bournemouth station and the 4TCs hauled onward to Poole and Weymouth by Class 33/1.
On the return leg, the locomotive propelled the train back to Bournemouth where it would be attached to a waiting London-bound 4REP and the locomotive detached to await the next Weymouth-bound portion. The usual configuration was 4TC+4TC+Loco with the locomotive at the country end. Light traffic would result in 4TC+Loco, in ra
Rail transport in Great Britain
The railway system in Great Britain is the oldest in the world. The first locomotive-hauled public railway opened in 1825, followed by an era of rapid expansion. Whilst the network suffered gradual attrition from about 1900 onwards, more severe rationalisation in the 1950s and 1960s, the network has again been growing since the 1980s; the UK was ranked eighth among national European rail systems in the 2017 European Railway Performance Index for intensity of use, quality of service and safety performance. Most of the track is managed by Network Rail, which in 2017 had a network of 15,811 kilometres of standard-gauge lines, of which 5,374 kilometres were electrified; these lines range from more. In addition, some cities have separate light rail and tram systems. There are many private railways, which are short lines for tourists; the British network is connected with that of continental Europe by the Channel Tunnel, opened in 1994. The United Kingdom is a member of the International Union of Railways.
The UIC Country Code for United Kingdom is 70. The UK has the 17th largest railway network in the world, it is one of the busiest railways in Europe, with 20% more train services than France, 60% more than Italy, more than Spain, The Netherlands and Norway combined, as well as representing more than 20% of all passenger journeys in Europe. The rail industry supports another 250,000 through its supply chain. In 2016, there were 1.718 billion journeys on the National Rail network, making the British network the fifth most used in the world. Unlike a number of other countries, rail travel in the United Kingdom has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, with passenger numbers approaching their highest level; this has coincided with the privatisation of British Rail, but the cause of this increase is unclear. The growth is attributed to a shift away from private motoring due to growing road congestion and increasing petrol prices, but to the overall increase in travel due to affluence. However, passenger journeys in Britain grew by 88% over the period 1997–98 to 2014 as compared to 62% in Germany, 41% in France and 16% in Spain.
To cope with increasing passenger numbers, there is a large programme of upgrades to the network, including Thameslink, electrification of lines, in-cab signalling, new inter-city trains and a new high-speed line. The railways started with the building of local isolated wooden wagonways in 1560s; these wagonways spread in mining areas. The system was built as a patchwork of local lines operated by small private railway companies. Over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries, these amalgamated or were bought by competitors until only a handful of larger companies remained; the entire network was brought under government control during the First World War and a number of advantages of amalgamation and planning were revealed. However, the government resisted calls for the nationalisation of the network. Instead, from 1 January 1923 all the remaining companies were grouped into the "big four": the Great Western Railway, the London and North Eastern Railway, the London and Scottish Railway and the Southern Railway companies.
The "Big Four" were joint-stock public companies and they continued to run the railway system until 31 December 1947. The growth in road transport during the 1920s and 1930s reduced revenue for the rail companies. Rail companies accused the government of favouring road haulage through the subsidised construction of roads; the railways entered a slow decline owing to a lack of investment and changes in transport policy and lifestyles. During the Second World War the companies' managements joined together forming one company. A maintenance backlog developed during the war and the private sector only had two years to deal with this after the war ended. After 1945, for both practical and ideological reasons, the government decided to bring the rail service into the public sector. From the start of 1948, the "big four" were nationalised to form British Railways under the control of the British Transport Commission. Although BR was a single entity, it was divided into six regional authorities in accordance with the existing areas of operation.
Though there were few initial changes to the service, usage increased and the network became profitable. Regeneration of track and railway stations was completed by 1954. In the same year, changes to the British Transport Commission, including the privatisation of road haulage, ended the coordination of transport in Great Britain. Rail revenue fell and in 1955 the network again ceased to be profitable; the mid-1950s saw the rapid introduction of diesel and electric rolling stock, but the expected transfer back from road to rail did not occur and losses began to mount. The desire for profitability led to a major reduction in the network during the mid-1960s, with ICI manager Dr. Richard Beeching commissioned by the government under Ernest Marples with reorganising the railways. Many branch lines were c