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Carriage communication cord

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

Re: Carriage communication cord

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:20 am
by Mike 1
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

Re: Carriage communication cord

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:57 pm
by David Blevins
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.

Re: Carriage communication cord

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

Re: Carriage communication cord

Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:50 am
by MIKEWILLIAMS
The answer's in the Carriage Book page 36 onwards.

Best

Mike

Re: Carriage communication cord

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

Re: Carriage communication cord

Posted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:06 am
by JimG
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.

Re: Carriage communication cord

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

Re: Carriage communication cord

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

Re: Carriage communication cord

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:05 am
by MIKEWILLIAMS
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

Re: Carriage communication cord

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

Re: Carriage communication cord

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

Re: Carriage communication cord

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:51 pm
by MIKEWILLIAMS
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

Re: Carriage communication cord

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

Re: Carriage communication cord

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:00 am
by dunalastairv
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.

Re: Carriage communication cord

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:59 am
by Mike 1
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)

Re: Carriage communication cord

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:01 pm
by jimwatt2mm
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

Re: Carriage communication cord

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:17 pm
by jasp
Especially among the CRA Committee etc!
Jim P

Re: Carriage communication cord

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

Re: Carriage communication cord

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:46 pm
by jimwatt2mm
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