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                                       Merseyside 3rd Rail Electrics
     
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1st message | this message only posted: 17 Jan 2009 12:18
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from:
David Catton
Chesterfield, United Kingdom

 

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Hi,

I'm a newbee to this list but Martin encouraged me to post this query.

Does anyone know the dimensions of the sleepers used by BR LMR in the 1950s/1060s for the Merseyside area third rail electric stock?  Contemporary (1950s/1060s) photos (a poor quality scan of one taken from a book is attached) confirm that asymmetric sleepers were in use in the period I am interested in but it appears that the dimensions were almost certainly different from the sleepers used by Southern Railway and presumably by BR Southern Region and currently (no pun intended!).Any help with this would be much appreciated - or even a pointer to a relevant source of accurate information so that the Templot scheming of my proposed layout can be completed as accurately as possible.Thanks in anticipation,David Catton

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2nd message | this message only posted: 19 Feb 2009 21:35
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David Burton
Crewe, United Kingdom

 

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David

I have asked several friends who work in railway civil engineering for any help that they may be able to give. This is the first response that I have received:

'I do not know the specific answer to the question but the history of the electric network is complex and knowing what part of the system was to be modelled would help them get an answer.  In the period concerned I would not be surprised if the electrification infrastructure was different depending on the origins
  As it was in the period concerned the Network was in two separate parts and had the origins in 3 different electrification schemes.  

Mersey Railway (1903)   This company electrified Liverpool Central to Rock Ferry and Birkenhead Park in 1903 on a 4 rail system.  The Mersey Railway was not grouped and remained independent until nationalisation in 1948.  The electrification was converted to 3rd Rail in 1955.  The original American designed stock was replaced by a further batch of LMS design 503s built in 1956.  The contractor was Westinghouse  

LMS Wirral Electrification (1938)   In 1938 the LMS completed 3rd rail electrification of Birkenhead Park to New Brighton and West Kirby.  The new trains - later Class 503 lasted until replacement by 508s (banished from the Southern) in the mid 1980s.  Electrification was planned by the Wirral Railway to the same standards as the Mersey Railway but they were unable to raise the finance   LMS and Mersey Railway trains interworked on each others system although there was apparently a short gap in the electrification systems at Birkenhead Park  

L&YR Electrification (1904-1911)
  This ran from Liverpool Exchange to Southport (+ on to Crossens) and Ormskirk.  This was 3rd rail but apparently as still happens in some places on Network Rail there were in places a non contact 4th rail for earthing purposes.  Contractor was Dick Kerr.  The original stock was replaced in 1939 (later Class 502 - replaced around 1980 by Class 507).  A feature was that trains of the Liverpool Overhead Railway (Closed 1956) were able to get to Southport and also Aintree (for the Grand National)'


If and when I get any further information I'll pass it on.

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3rd message | this message only posted: 19 Feb 2009 22:19
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from:
John Lewis
Croydon, United Kingdom

 

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David Burton wrote: L&YR Electrification (1904-1911)  This ran from Liverpool Exchange to Southport (+ on to Crossens) and Ormskirk. This was 3rd rail but apparently as still happens in some places on Network Rail there were in places a non contact 4th rail for earthing purposes.
Was not the rolling stock on this line unusually wide? IIRC 10ft or so.

John
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4th message | this message only posted: 19 Feb 2009 22:24
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from:
David Catton
Chesterfield, United Kingdom

 

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David Burton wrote: SNIPPED

knowing what part of the system was to be modelled would help them get an answer.

Hello,

I am modelling the area around Bankhall Engine Shed, Kirkdale Carriage Sidings and Kirkdale Station.  The photograph I attached to the original posting was in fact taken from the road bridge (Stanley Road) and is of the tracks leading past the Engine Shed and carriage Sidings from that bridge to Kirkdale Station.

In the meantime, a contact who works at Kineton has measured the surviving Class 502 unit and I now know that the distance from the inside of the adjacent running rail to the centre of the third rail was 16.5", i.e. the BR standard for third rail electrics.  What is (apparently) clear again from the photograph previously shown is that the system used standard 8' 6" sleepers but offset to allow adequate land to mount the 3rd rail.

The missing piece of information that I now seek is what happened at the overlap where the conductor rail swapped from one side to the other for various reasons, e.g. pointwork or to move the conductor rail away from platform faces.  At these points there would be a very short stretch where there was conductor rail (or at least ramps) on both sides.  At these places, where longer sleepers used so conductor rail mounts could be on both sides or were the sleepers just offset alternately.

I realise this is one of those questions (as someone has already said to me), "Will anyone else notice or care?"  Well if we are going to use tools such as Templot in the search for accuracy, the answer must be, "Yes, I do care!"

So, if anyone knows the answer, please let me know as it's holding up Temploting and track building.

Incidentally, if anyone has any photos or drawings of the 70ft diameter Cowans Sheldon turntable installed at Bankhall Shed, I'd love to obtain copies.

Cheers,

David C

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5th message | this message only posted: 20 Feb 2009 19:28
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from:
John Lewis
Croydon, United Kingdom

 

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On three rail track, can you estimate the length of the 8ft 6in sleeper projecting beyonds the rail nearest the conductor rail, then om four rail track, apply that distance to the other end of the sleeper?

So FOR EXAMPLE if an 8ft 6in sleeper with three rails projects 2ft beyond the running rail nearest the conductor rail, then on 4 rail track the sleepers should project this ammount between the running rail and the sleeper end.

Something like 2ft + 4ft 8in + 2ft where the 4ft 8is the distance between the outer faces of the running rails.


John
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6th message | this message only posted: 26 Feb 2009 17:45
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from:
Russ E
 



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The LT/SR/BR standard distance from the inside of the adjacent running rail to the centre of the third rail was 16", not 16.5".

A thought, David - are they 9' timbers?

 

 


 

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7th message | this message only posted: 5 Mar 2009 19:09
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from:
David Catton
Chesterfield, United Kingdom

 

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Russ E wrote: The LT/SR/BR standard distance from the inside of the adjacent running rail to the centre of the third rail was 16", not 16.5".

A thought, David - are they 9' timbers?

 

 


 
Definitely used 8ft 6ins sleepers and the measurement of the real thing shows 16ins.

If I could figure out how to attach the photos with the ruler in place, I would  . . . . .

Cheers,

David C

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8th message | this message only posted: 5 Mar 2009 19:24
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from:
David Catton
Chesterfield, United Kingdom

 

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Here's the photo I first when I opened this topic sent but with measurements added to show the 8ft 6ins sleeper.

I guess I'll have to send the photos of the show in place on the extant Class 502 one at a time.

DC

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9th message | this message only posted: 27 Sep 2018 18:37
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from:
David Catton
Chesterfield, United Kingdom

 

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I wonder if anyone can help with this query?
 
As already stated when I started this thread, I'm modelling the Liverpool area electrification system in P4 and would like to include accurate bases to the 3rd rail conductor supports.  I've attached a photo showing the base that was fastened to the sleeper to locate the 3rd rail chairs.  Can anyone provide me with the dimensions of the base plate so I can draw up etching master to reproduce these in model form?

Many thanks in anticipation . . .

David C
 


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10th message | this message only posted: 27 Sep 2018 22:49
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d827kelly
Coventry, United Kingdom

 

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Have you seen the page on the CLAG area groups website? http://www.clag.org.uk/3rd-4th.html#third-rail-ramps

It doesn't specifically mention the Liverpool electrification howevever.

The Andrew Dow book on track may have some relevant information in it, my copy isn't to hand to check atm.
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11th message | this message only posted: 28 Sep 2018 19:59
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from:
David Catton
Chesterfield, United Kingdom

 

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Yes, I'm familiar with the CLAG website and, as you state, it doesn't cover the Liverpool Area system

If the Dow book does contain any useful information, I'd be delighted to learn more.

TIA,

David C
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12th message | this message only posted: 28 Sep 2018 21:06
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from:
Richard_Jones
Heswall, United Kingdom



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Hi,

Although I live on Merseyside, I'm afraid this isn't my area of interest, but have you tried Merseyside Railway History Group?

If there is no contact that can be identified from an internet search I can try asking a few people, if that helps.

best wishes

Richard

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13th message | this message only posted: 29 Sep 2018 13:09
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from:
Tony W
North Notts., United Kingdom

 

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Hi David.
Andrew Dow's book states that the Mersey Railway, when electrified in 1903, had conductor rails 22 inches outside the running rail, and 4 1/2 inches higher, but does not go into any more detail.
Regards
Tony.

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