Carriage communication cord

Any aspect related to the prototype stock.
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Mike 1
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Carriage communication cord

Post by Mike 1 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:46 am

In the 1880s the Caledonian (like the LNWR) had a passenger alarm cord which ran along the outside of the gutter and operated a gong on the engine. The rear end of the cord must have been fixed solid, or pulling it would simply reel in from that end. Normally that would be inside the rear break van, but not always. It might also be necessary to tie the cord off on a vehicle being detached from a train. My question is, was there some sort of cleat on the ends of carriages for this purpose? and if so what did it look like?

Mike

Mike 1
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Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by Mike 1 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:20 am

I found this thread after posting the above

https://www.crassoc.org.uk/forum/viewto ... ison#p1838

But hope something may have come to light since then?

Mike

David Blevins
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Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by David Blevins » Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:57 pm

This a GWR circular on Cord Communication for August 1883. I am not sure how close it would be to Caledonian Railway practice but it could be helpful in establishing how the Passenger Cord Alarm System worked to the Guard and Engine Crew.
Would other Railway Companies have a similar system based on advice/instruction from the Railway Clearing House.
David Blevins.
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Mike 1
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Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by Mike 1 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:06 pm

Thank you David,

It describes securing the cord to "hooks" at the ends which resolves one question - they were hooks rather than rings. I had wondered whether a sort of carabina clipped onto a ring, but clearly not.

Thank you.

Mike

MIKEWILLIAMS
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Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by MIKEWILLIAMS » Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:50 am

The answer's in the Carriage Book page 36 onwards.

Best

Mike

Mike 1
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Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by Mike 1 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:11 pm

Thank you Mike. I'm surprised that wasn't mention on the original thread noted above. Looks like I need to buy a copy.

Being fairly new to Caledonian things I have the wagon books but not the carriage book ... yet!

Thanks all.

Mike

JimG
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:15 pm

Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by JimG » Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:06 am

Mike 1 wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:11 pm
Thank you Mike. I'm surprised that wasn't mention on the original thread noted above. Looks like I need to buy a copy.
Being one of the contributors on that thread, I think it pre-dated the publication of the coach book. ;)

Jim G.

dumb buffer
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:13 pm

Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by dumb buffer » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:23 pm

I refer to my entry of 25 November 2013, in particular the reference to cords on both sides. Neil Munro was no railwayman, but I would have thought he would be likely to get that fact right.

Allan F

Jim Summers
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Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by Jim Summers » Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:48 pm

And in addition to the carriages book, if I can just mention the sad death of Driver Fenwick in the Operations book, that refers to the locomotive end of things.

JimS

MIKEWILLIAMS
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Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by MIKEWILLIAMS » Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:05 am

G P Neele of the LNWR calls the connection a "clip" in his book which contains a pretty damning critique of the Harrison cord from an operational point of view.

Best

Mike

Mike 1
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by Mike 1 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:58 am

Exactly so Mike - and a "clip" on the cord doesn't seem to accord with a "hook" on the end of the carriage - a loop or staple would work much better as with a hook the clip could just slip off the end. BUT, if it is in the book I'll buy a copy shortly, so thanks very much for the lead and for all the contributions here.

Mike

Mike 1
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by Mike 1 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:31 pm

Well, the book came this morning and I like it a great deal. Tells me so much I didn't know and I would recommend it to anyone interested in rolling stock, Caley or not. How one man can research all that and wagons also is beyond me, so hats off to Mike.

However, having been told that "the answer's in the carriage book" I cannot find any mention of the cleat / hook or whatever it is at all. Have I missed it somewhere?

Mike

MIKEWILLIAMS
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Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by MIKEWILLIAMS » Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:51 pm

Mike - the whole saga is described from page 33 onwards. It shows how laggardly the railway companies (and its regulator the BoT) were - not very edifying reading. Glad you like the book.

Best

Mike

Mike 1
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Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by Mike 1 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:30 am

And the story is indeed fascinating. Not seen it described better anywhere.

But the reason for my initial post is that I am in a team nearing the end of a 20+ year restoration of an LNWR carriage which will have Harrison cord, and I need to make a set of replica cleats / hooks whatever they are for the ends, to tie off the cord when not in use. When I read above that it was all in the book I was quite excited (I know - sad!), but alas it isn't.

As an aside, we also have a matching LNWR full brake (so somebody can work out the location now!) from the period with some evidence of where and how the cord ran, so if we all live long enough that also can have a working Harrison cord coupled to the carriage and demonstrate how it actually worked.

The search continues ...

Mike

dunalastairv
Posts: 193
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:01 am

Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by dunalastairv » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:00 am

Mike 1: I don't actually know your location but how about obtaining the L.N.W. 6-wheel brake van, currently languishing at Crewe Heritage Centre? I owned this at one time and sold it to Dave Lewis, who said he'd restore it. Sadly Dave died and the brake van is languishing at the end of a siding, unloved, and as they say of buildings, in the highly at risk category... Sorry all, I know this isn't Caledonian.

Mike.

Mike 1
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by Mike 1 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:59 am

Mike (is there anyone on here NOT called Mike?),

You are dead right but I have enough work for two lifetimes as it is. I remember that van going to Tyseley in about 1970 and a friend who viewed it recently with a view to purchase said it now needs a total rebuild. Such a shame that goods stock is not yet appreciated in the way locos and (increasingly) carriages are. When they are it will be too late.

Mike.
(Northamptonshire)

jimwatt2mm
Posts: 632
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by jimwatt2mm » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:01 pm

Mike 1 wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:59 am
Mike (is there anyone on here NOT called Mike?)
There are quite a few of us called Jim! :)

Jim W

jasp
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Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by jasp » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:17 pm

Especially among the CRA Committee etc!
Jim P

Jim Summers
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:54 pm

Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by Jim Summers » Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:55 pm

Regarding the termination of communication cords, Nick Holliday has pointed out that the picture of the fish truck on p164 my "Operating the Caledonian Railway Vol. Two" shows the cords on a low-sided truck and how they were tied back when not in use. And so it does, very usefully. The sentence in the caption referring to the cords is misleading, in that they would have played little if any part in securing sheets, and it should have emphasised their original purpose in making wagons suitable for conveyance on passenger trains.

JimS

jimwatt2mm
Posts: 632
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Carriage communication cord

Post by jimwatt2mm » Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:46 pm

I did wonder about that caption as that was what I always imagined the cords in that photo were for (i.e. communication cords), but I thought 'Jim S is the expert, so my assumption must be wrong'. :?

Jim W

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