About the blog

British railways are run on a foundation of paperwork. Everything must have an instruction; a list; a rule. The railway was once such a huge, chaotic system that the only way to manage it was with reams and reams of paper. Today the system is much more compact but the mountain of literature upon which it is run is greater than ever. This is simply a collection of pages from railway documents. They may be old or new, interesting or tedious, large or small. Most are obscure and esoteric. Many feature interesting diagrams and all share the same strange mix of dry railway language and exotic nomenclature that has hardly changed in 200 years. I love these documents and have a large collection to share. If you want to see more of something or less of another, please get in touch or leave a comment.


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

A nautical note..

From - Corporate Identity Manual; British Railways Board 1965 (This chapter 1966)

While I had the Corporate Identity Manual out, I couldn't resist posting this. If you've always had a burning desire to paint your cross-channel ferry into BR livery then this is the diagram for you. Remember to reverse the arrows of indecision on the Port side of the funnel though, or you'll annoy all the rivet counters.

British Railways inherited some large shipping operations from the Big Four companies on nationalisation in 1948. You could find railway vessels plying the Humber, Thames and Dart estuaries; train, car and passenger ferries crossing the channel to France, Belgium and Holland; steam packets linking the UK mainland with Ireland, the Isle of Wight, the Isle of Man and the Hebrides; trampers working out of the railway owned docks at Goole, Grimsby and Hull as well as pleasure boats on Lake Windermere. BR even ran a small fleet of hovercraft* at one point. Over the years this curious branch of the railway suffered a slow decline and sell-off until ultimately upon privatisation in the mid 1990s, BR had no shipping interests left at all. Interestingly, some of the railway owned vessels were listed on BR's computer system (TOPS) as 'class 99' locomotives and showed up on it just like any other item of rolling stock.

*The hovercraft operations were conducted under the brand "Seaspeed" and later "Hoverspeed" until a management buy out in 1984 took them out of BR hands. While this manual does indicate exactly how you should sign your Seaspeed terminal, it remains regrettably silent on the subject of how you should paint the vehicles themselves.

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