Title: London Manchester Liverpool
BR's new line in passeneger appeal
Pages: 53 - 57
Author: Robert Spark
BR's new line in passenger appeal
by Robert Spark
The latest passenger coaches and locomotives, introduced by British Railways for the electrified services between London, Manchester and Liverpool, provide evidence of growing understanding and collaboration between BR's Design Panel and engineers. The new Pullman cars, for example, create a standard of amenity, comfort and good looks which puts BR on a par with the best on the Continent. The Design Panel is slowly consolidating its earlier efforts, and BR's management is now fully aware that well designed passenger rolling stock is essential for success.
Although the new, integral bodied coaches are only just entering service in quantity, BR has already embarked on the design of the next generation of vehicles. The first is due to be built in 1968. They are likely to be longer (72 ft compared with the present 64 ft 6 inches) and to have wide, sliding doors and a higher standard of acoustic insulation. Coaches of fairly recent construction are likely to be gutted and given fresh interiors so that they should not be out of step with the new designs.
Later this year three reconstructed coaches, incorporating lounge sections closely based on the mock-up displayed at The Design Centre last year (DESIGN 193/51), will be tried out on three routes to test passenger reactions. For long distance services, the panel is developing some promising new seat designs. Also engaging its attention are high density commuter coaches, probably incorporating power operated sliding doors. Two interior arrangements are being considered, one with maximum seating and the other with a smaller number of seats but increased standing room. A cleaner frontal treatment, designed to tidy up the normal cluster of pipes and connections, is also promised.
The new uniforms are gradually being extended to other grades of staff, and designs are under development for the staff of British Transport Hotels. The panel already has a firm grip on the interiors of BR ships, and there is a likelihood that its influence in the future will extend to the design of superstructures as well.
But while we must wait for some time before the full impact of these new developments will become apparent, the London-Manchester-Liverpool route provides an immediate picture of Design Panel activities, representing the culmination of experimental work over the last few years. Experience with earlier designs, such as the diesel Pullman (DESIGN 140/36-41) and the XP64 train (DESIGN 189/42-45), has led to modifications and in some cases to substantial improvements in detail. The value of investing in the best possible design standards has clearly impressed itself on BR's management policies. In the first few weeks of operation, the new services to Manchester and Liverpool have shown a 38 per cent increase in passenger traffic - some 18 per cent more than BR had anticipated.
Three major pieces of equipment, introduced for this electrified line, are described and illustrated on the following pages - the Pullman car, a standard passenger coach and electric locomotive. In addition, a proposal for a new sleeping car compartment is shown and it is expected that these new compartments will gradually replace current types.
The interiors of the new Pullman cars for the London Manchester- Liverpool route are based on those in the earlier Pullmans, and the same designer - Jack Howe - was retained by the Design Panel. The vehicles are noticeably better than the diesel Pullmans, the biggest internal improvement being the seat design (compare the 1960 Pullman, a, with the new one,4). This was developed by Wilkes & Ashmore, and stems from the examples used in a proposed lounge car, a mock-up of which was shown at a Design Centre exhibition in 1965. The seat is adjustable, a knob allowing it to be moved fore and aft on two floor mounted plinths. A further control in one armrest enables the seat itself to come forward. The seat is covered in black pvc with blue or rust coloured wool fabric.
Walls are surfaced in pale grey, foam backed pvc, and the floor is carpeted in one of two colourways: blue/black or orange/black. End bulkheads are finished in random panels of non-matching rosewood, while the traditional Pullman table lamps have at last disappeared. The central fluorescent lighting is concealed behind ribbed plastics flanked by air conditioning louvres. The whole interior, is refreshingly restful and simple, though it is a pity that the old fashioned cutlery is still being used.
The exterior of the new Pullman cars, 2 is in the new colours of blue and pale grey. In contrast to standard coaches, the colours are reversed, the light grey being predominant and the blue forming a central strip enclosing the windows. The lettering of the word 'Pullman' and the crest are at present under review. The wide, double-glazed windows have adjustable Venetian blinds between the panes and full air conditioning is provided.
The integral steel bodies are mounted on BR's latest pattern B4 and B5 bogies. Doors are inward opening and gangways between coaches are wide and perfectly flat. Vestibules are surfaced in laminated plastics and incorporate baggage storage space. Wcs are basically similar to those on the diesel Pullmans.
The new Pullman interiors compare very favourably with the best Continental vehicles used on the Trans-Europe expresses.
New vehicles have been provided for ordinary express trains on the London - Manchester- Liverpool route. These are of standard integral design with B4 bogies, pressurised ventilation, electric heating and effective thermal and acoustic insulation. The coaches are finished in the blue/light grey livery and provide a steady, quiet ride at speeds up to 100 mph. The first class accommodation is all in six-seat compartments of conventional design, while the second class vehicles, 5 have an open plan layout based on the XP64 prototypes. The wide windows are retained, but doors are of the standard width. Seating, all in facing pairs, is a modified form of that used in the XP64 coaches, the seat and back contours having been changed in the light of experience and research.
The XP64 ceiling shape and light fittings have also been abandoned in favour of a simple elliptical shape with a centre fluorescent fitting like those used on the Clacton line electric trains. The baggage racks with recessed lights are retained. End bulkheads are finished in teak. Most disappointing is the we, which perpetuates BR's old style sanitary ware. continued
Only one basic design of locomotive is used on the electrified London - Manchester- Liverpool route. The first batch of 100, all of 3,300 hp. were built by several manufacturers and also in BR's workshops, 6. There were a number of variations of details within this first batch, most noticeably in the position of grilles in the side walls. The overall appearance was one of the Design Panel's earlier efforts, the designer responsible being J. Beresford Evans.
More recently deliveries commenced of the second batch of 100 locomotives, 7 these being more powerful and incorporating technical improvements. The front end profile is also different, bearing a greater resemblance to some of the diesel electric locomotive cab shapes. This provides a more homogeneous appearance when coupled to a train than occurred with the earlier design. Rather strangely the lion, shield and crown emblem continues to be used instead of the new British Rail symbol, and there seems still to be a lack of logical policy here.
A more flexible and up to date sleeping car compartment has been evolved by Design Research Unit. It is suitable for first class (single berth) or second class (two berth) use. The illustrations show a mock-up of the proposed car in its single berth, 8, and double berth 9, configurations. In the former, the upper berth folds away out of sight but provides additional luggage accommodation. The production version will be simpler than the mock-up to reduce costs. This is essential, as many of British Rail's sleeping cars are of comparatively recent construction, although their interiors do not necessarily meet present day requirements.
The interiors of these existing vehicles will be gutted and then fitted with the new compartments. Improvements to heating, ventilation, insulation and bogies will be incorporated at the same time. A proposed luxury sleeping car with showers has been abandoned due to its limited use and high cost.