LONDON MIDLAND CONTROL
|LONDON MIDLAND LOCOMOTIVE LEGACY|
|On 1 July
1990, 47 569 was named "The
Gloucestershire Regiment" by Brigadier S.D.A. Firth
OBE at Gloucester Horton Road Open Day after a repaint in
red and dark grey Parcels livery. 47 569 thus became the
first diesel to bear a "Gloucester" title.
However, 47 569 became 47 727 in January 1994 and was named "Duke of Edinburgh's Award" at Glasgow Central station on 11 October that year by HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The name had previously been carried by 47 716, although 1999 saw 47 727 come under English, Welsh and Scottish ownership and the "Duke of Edinburgh's Award" nameplates were removed in October 2002 (and later transferred to 47 778) during a repaint in EWS red and gold markings. 47 727 was also named "Castell Caerffili / Caerphilly Castle" without ceremony at Toton (TO) in December 2002 before returning to Crewe (CD).
In fact 47 727 "Castell Caerffili / Caerphilly Castle" was to make a more formal move back to its first Nottinghamshire depot in January 2004 although a month later it was on the move again to Willesden (WN) north London as part of the EWS Tactical Reserve. It remains stored there at the end of 2006.
Despite an uncertain future however, the locomotive that began life as D1629 could already claim a fascinating history even before its "Back Badge" association of 1990. The Brush designed Co-Co was built at British Railways workshops in Crewe as part of Order Lot 400 and entered traffic at Toton depot on 17 October 1964. At this point Toton locomotives were carrying the shedplate 16A, formerly of Nottingham until September 1963. Before that, Toton had been 18A.
Still carrying its ex works two tone green livery with yellow warning panels, D1629 was then given a range of uniquely London Midland area codes from January 1965. These began with D16 (Nottingham Division) until April 1966 until D1629 moved allocation to LMML ( Line Power Controller - Derby ) and then later the same month to LMWL ( London Midland Western Lines ). The Sulzer engined Brush Type 4 then shuffled between these three entities until March 1971 when it joined D05 ( LM Stoke Division ), moving again to Birmingham Division (D02) in October that year before a return to Nottingham Division ( D16 ) in April 1972.
June 1972 meanwhile saw a move right away from London Midland Region to Immingham and D1629 remained on Humberside for the replacement of 40B shedplates with IM stickers in May 1973.
709 "The Lord Provost" - which appeared in model form at the GWR Modellers Group Exhibition of
April 2007 - was
built at Brush Falcon
Works number 704 as part of a Production Order dated 24
March 1964 and entered traffic as D1942 on the Western
Lines of London Midland Region (LMWL) on 16 June 1966.
Still carrying its ex works two tone green livery with yellow warning panels, one year later D1942 was loaned to London Midland's Nottingham Division (D16) for a month but stayed on LMWL until the Sulzer powered Type 4 was reallocated to Birmingham Division (D02) in June 1968.
Stoke Division (D05) claimed D1942 from November 1969 to October 1971 although after a second stint of service on D02 the engine moved to Western Region's Bristol Bath Road (82A) in September 1972 - and here it stayed until May 1974, by which time Bath Road had been issued with BR vinyl stickers rather than shedplates and D1942 had become BR blue 47 499 for just three months. During 2005 the erstwhile 47 709 was repainted in Nanking Blue to match Fragonset's "Blue Pullman" set of blue and white locomotive hauled carriages.
A third example of this new type of London Midland maintenace control was also appled to the locomotive that Lima eventually modelled in 4mm scale as 97 561"Midland Counties 150 1839-1989"
D1614 was built at British Railways workshops in Crewe as part of Order Lot 400 and entered traffic at Worcester (85A) on 25 August 1964.
Still carrying its ex works two tone green livery with yellow warning panels, D1614 was moved west to Cardiff Canton (86A) two months later but started 1966 as an Old Oak Common (81A) machine. Despite this however, D1614 returned to South Wales - Swansea Landore (87E) to be precise - in August 1966.
Apart from a spell at Bristol Bath Road (82A) from January 1968 to March 1969, D1614 remained a Landore resident until January 1973 when it joined the Birmingham Division (D02) of London Midland Region. Officially based at Bescot (BS) from May that year, D1614 was repainted in BR blue and renumbered 47 034 on 3 March 1974.
A journey north up the West Coast Main Line ensued in October 1976 when 47 034 was reallocated to Crewe (CD), and blue livery was retained on renumbering to 47 561 on 16 October 1980.
|THE SEEDS OF DIVISIONS|
|English Electric Type 4 D305 acclerates the seven carriage 15.55 Manchester service from Platform 6 of Birmingham New Street station on 17 May 1961|
|But what was
behind all this London Midland area coding? And what did
it mean for the locomotives that regularly travelled down
the Lickey Incline into Gloucestershire? One clue comes
from two footnotes in the "British Railways
Locomotive Sheds and Shed Codes" pages of the 1966
edition of the Observer's Book of Railway Locomotives of
Britain. Together they read:
"Consequent on the rapid reduction in the number of steam locomotives now taking place, many sheds are being completely closed, and in a good many cases some of those listed here may no longer be in operation by the time this new edition appears.
Main line diesel locomotives in the Midland Division are no longer allocated to specific sheds but to areas in accordance with the following codes
|ML||General reserve of locos under the control of the Line Power Controller at Derby|
|However, as early as 1961 the pool code LMW had been applied to locomotives on London Midland Region's Western AC Lines that had begun stretching from the post-Doric Arch Euston toward Weaver Junction, Liverpool and Manchester. And a fuller explanation of the evolving London Midland hierarchy was contained in both the Ian Allan Combined Motive Power volume dated to the summer of 1966 and the Ian Allan Locoshed Book of 1973.|
|LMW||Western AC Lines||LMW||Western AC Lines|
|ML||Western Lines||D01||London Division|
|D01||London (Western) Division|
|D02||Birmingham Division||D02||Birmingham Division|
|Stratford on Avon|
|D05||Stoke Division||D05||Stoke Division|
|5A||Crewe Diesel Depot||5A||Crewe Diesel Depot|
|5D||Stoke & Cockshute|
|Aberystwyth (Vale of Rheidol )||6F||Aberystwyth (V of R )|
|8A||Edge Hill (Liverpool)|
|8F||Springs Branch (Wigan)||8F||Wigan|
|9A||Longsight (Manchester)||9A||Longsight (Manchester)|
|12A||Carlisle (Kingmoor)||12A||Carlisle Diesel Depot|
|D14||London (Midland) Division|
|15A||Leicester (Midland)||15A||Leicester (Midland)|
|D16||Nottingham Division||D16||Nottingham Division|
|16A||Toton (Stapleford & Sandiacre)||16A||Toton (Stapleford & Sandiacre)|
|Reddish - coded 9C within D09 Manchester Division - played host to the Woodhead route Class 76 electrics.|
|The new London
Midland control and repair system was introduced on 11
January 1965 but beforehand all involved staff from Line
Maintenace Engineer and Movements Superintendent to depot
mainenance and running foremen were fully briefed on what
could be expected. Similarly, locomotive diagrams had to
be assessed and termed line or divisional, and individual
locomotives had to be allocated to Lines or Divisions to
cover the diagrams. Duty hours likewise had to be
computed for all workings and terminal simplifiers
compiled for all points at which trains started and
finished for allocations of locomotives to be made. The
Divisions similarly produced their own simplifiers for
the use of their Divisional Line Controllers.
Concurrently the Technical Officer in the new Line Records Office was organising the collection from the depots of all records of locomotives allocated to them, and from these was established on a maintenance planning board, to be used by the control, the exact state of each locomotive on the 0 - 3 600 engine hour examination scale.
The maintenance controllers spent a week visiting all Midland depots to talk to the depot superintendents about problems which could be forseen, and also to establish personal contact with the shift maintenance foremen with whom they would shortly be in regular contact by telephone about depot loading, progress of work, advice of failures and defects. Similarly, maintenance and running foremen would visit the centralised control offices on a regular basis.
During the initial month of operation of the new regime however there was no time to train the newly appointed diesel movements controllers but these staff were brought up to speed by more experienced men. Similarly, those in charge of the new Power Control function at Divisional level took a while to settle in to the new scheme of a centralised control of allocating locomotives to specific jobs while the new arrangements for centralised maintenance control were without precedent.
Despite a steep learning curve for many staff involved however, the new system still paid off in the face of rapidly changing circumstances since Line and Divisional Control had first been mooted in March 1963. For example, although staff recruitment had boosted the capacity of Derby Etches Park depot, the diesel locomotive fleet had grown from 173 units to 339 by January 1965.
Toton, Nottingham, Leicester and Wellingborough, although still steam depots, now had their own allocation of diesels and limited facilities for maintaining them. But a new maintenance depot of modern design was opened at Toton in mid January 1965 which accompanied the rundown of the latter three.
A British Railways Derby built Type 4 1Co-Co1 Class 45 "Peak" rests at Washwood Heath in Birmingham
conclusions emerged when the Chief Mechanical and
Electrical Engineer carried out an exercise to discover
how nearly duty hours approximated to engine hours. Ten
Type 4 locomotives had been fitted with modified engine
hour recorders - which worked reliably - and over four
months the two values were practically the same. However,
the average duty hours worked between 150 hour
examinations was 180.
The effect was that when the new control system was introduced and locomotives were programmed for maintenance not on 12-14 working days but on 150 duty hours there was immediately an increased maintenance commitment of roughly 15% on the same fleet of locomotives with the same depot capacity.
In effect this meant that the improvement of 15% in availability predicted by the consultants for Type 4 locomotives had to be achieved right away in order that the prevailing availability of 60% could be maintained. If this could not be done, the increase in maintenance required under the hours schedule would would actually drop availability by 15%.
In fact, availability was maintained for all types of locomotive at exisiting levels : 60% for Peaks - raised from 50% with a better main Works position - 83% for Classes 47 and 50 and 82% for the Type 2s. The arrears of maintenance of some 40 locomotives overdue in January 1965 had been cut down to a steady 10 by that April with additional maintenance commitments being absorbed by planning the workload on to the depots according to staff and berth capacity - and by keeping this planning flexible as circumstances changed.
Although locomotive availability did not rise significantly in the 18 months from January 1965, the Midland Line fleet of 456 locomotives never contained more than 4 overdue maintenance by even a few hours.
|The new scheme
succeeded due to the tight control exercised over
maintenance by the control organisation, backed up by the
centralised records office, which ensured that the
correct examination sequence was adhered to, and passed
currently to the control requirements such as tyre
turning, oil and coolant changes and data on
For all London Midland diesel locomotives the mileage per failure had increased from 8 000 in January 1965 to 13 500 in January 1966 as a result of both design improvements and the increased standard of maintenance under the new common user system. For one thing much of the routine paper work formerly completed at depots was now being handled centrally and there was no need to work specific locomotives home to their own depots for inspection. Furthermore, centralised control could rapidly offer defect histories of otherwise unfamiliar locomotives and more focus could thus be given to internal depot planning and staff deployment. Any sub standard workmanship in repairs could be more readily traced back to the depots responsible too - and locomotives that had developed faults while fulfilling off-region duties could be assessed and repaired at the 150 hour exam stage.
One feature of the new system which did prove difficult was the depot forecast of maintenance completion times. It was laid down that the shift maintenance foreman would give the maintenance controller estimated completion times for stopped locomotives. This allowed movements controllers at Line and Division level to be told when newly maintained motive power was likely to be ready for action, and to allocate the best duties on which to allow the next wave of locomotives due to be inshopped to reach the most suitable depot. The flipside of this decision making would also allow maintenance controllers to know how depot capacity was to vary in the near future. If heavier than anticipated repairs meant extended maintenance time, fresh inshopping of locomotives for maintenance could be diverted to more lightly burdened locations. However, forecasts become more accurate with time and experience.
|The whole fleet was more than 50% Type 2s but because traffic problems restricted the use to which they could be put - for example many collieries only worked a day shift - the weekly hours in traffic not working for the whole fleet were still relatively high.|
|Under the new LMR
control system, locomotive utilisation of owned hours was
raised from 33.2% in March 1965 to 38% in March 1966.
These results were consistent with the claims originally
made even if the predicted levels were not quite reached.
For example the Type 4s were within 7% of the target
utilisation with availability still 5% short. The whole
fleet was more than 50% Type 2s but because traffic
problems restricted the use to which they could be put -
for example many collieries only worked a day shift - the
weekly hours in traffic not working for the whole fleet
were still relatively high.
The advantages of a proactive Control soon became apparent. Using their initiative, the controllers made tactical decisions based on enhanced information applied to a wider area. Working in the same office, maintenance and movement staff were able to cooperate to focus on repairing certain classes of urgently needed locomotives and for local motive power shortages to be solved by sending in fresh locomotives perhaps double heading on timetabled services to maximise line capacity.
|CREWE REGIONAL CONTROL|
shaken down, the London Midland control system even
starred in a British Transport Films documentary cum
training film and received delegations from other Regions
keen to study it. However, by 1968 the Line level was
removed from the organisation and with it the unified
traction maintenance and traffic control and records
offices at Derby, Crewe and Manchester. The three
controls were centralised into one new Regional Control
Office at Crewe and the corresponding records offices
were combined into the CM&EEs Shopping Bureau at
The shift controllers for maintenance and movements worked together as before, but each group now had a different manager. The maintenance controllers' chief responded to the CM&EE's engineer running the Shopping Bureau Office at Derby while the Chief Operating Manager (COM) for London Midland Region - based at Crewe - took over responsibility for the motive power movements controllers through a senior power controller.
Although unified control of maintenance and movements had ended - and the respective bosses sometimes argued - the basic concept of centralised control continued, with common user maintenance extending to all London Midland Region depots and the COM also in charge of the diagramming office. Divisional power controllers continued to take instructions from the maintenance controllers for their allocations.
|DECADES OF CHANGE|
|The American designed
Total Operations Processing System (TOPS) introduced in
the mid 1970s meant not only the renumbering of all
diesel and electric locomotives but also the arrival of
desktop keyboards and monitors as it was integrated into
motive power control as an information system. As well as
the chore of translating every incident and defect into
TOPS coding, the new system required each locomotive to
have an "allocated depot" - although the London
Midland common user system could circumvent this by using
the TOPS "alternative maintenance terminal"
By the mid 1970s too, other British Rail regions had learned to spread the overall load of maintenance between depots even if the LM common user system was not directly copied. Heavier D and E maintenance examinations could be outsourced away from an overworked home depot while technically trained maintenance controllers now populated both regional and divisional offices.
On Eastern Region "Traction Maintenance and Running Controllers" combined both repair and traffic logistic functions at divisional level with the high speed Deltic fleet being managed from regional HQ. Technical Riding Inspectors were another Eastern Region innovation to keep a roving eye on "rogue" or ailing locomotives or those due to undergo heavy examinations.
|DIVIDE AND RULE?|
|For the mainly 90 mph
railway, the mixed traffic locomotive reigned supreme,
able to work express and stopping passenger trains, fast
fitted, medium speed partially fitted and loose coupled
freight as well as mail, parcels and newspaper services.
In particular the Class 45 "Peaks" working the
Midland lines and the Scotland - York - Birmingham -
Gloucester - West Country services regularly logged 18
duty hours per day at the end of the 1960s: perhaps the
zenith of of locomotive utilisation.
However, the changing demands on freight and passeger traffic in the 1970s were to lead to the introduction of both slow speed, high tractive effort diesels to haul block trains and high speed fixed formation and multiple unit passenger sets. Unlike the "Peaks" and "Brush Type 4s" of the 1950s and 60s, freight-specific Classes 56 and 58 would have very different maintenance and operational requirements from InterCity 125s. Similarly, the replacement of historically sourced geographic Regions by business sectors in 1982 led to common user fleets being split into sector and sub sector ownership and individual locomotives once again becoming the property of specific depots.
However, although apparently reinforcing this trend, Privatisation since 1994 has led to a semi flexible common user policy in the shape of the English, Welsh and Scottish Railway (EWS) Class 66 fleet in which individual General Motors built Co-Cos can receive light repairs at any EWS depot but must return home for heavier examinations.
In fact the London Midland Region also pioneered this approach with its ac electric engines of Classes AL1-5 which - although in a common user maintenance regime for 14 and 42 day examinations returned to their home depot every 84 days for more detailed inspection. LMW AL1s and 5s were allocated to Crewe Electric depot with AL2s, 3s and 4s going home to Longsight. After the extension of the overhead catenary to Scotland in 1974, the AL1s moved to Glasgow Shields depot.
In any circumstance though, motive power and rolling stock are valuable assets which require close control to achieve maximum use and return on capital - and most Train Operating Companies apply this either from a discrete traffic and maintenance control centre or from a major depot.