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British Rail Terminology for OO Gauge Model Railways

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Here is the first video in a series about basic British Rail terminology and how to apply it to OO Gauge model railways.

This video covers some basic common terms such as permanent way, OHLE, WCML and ECML. The video then

focuses on:

  • Left Hand Running
  • Rail Direction
  • Route Availability (both line and rolling stock)

This is the first part, I'll post subsequent parts in this thread below.


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It is very unlikely that a five car train would have three first class vehicles. Not even the main line Inter-City services outnumbered standard seating with first, so a shorter cross country formation would certainly not carry so much first class accommodation. Four standards and one first would be more realistic in a five car train, or at least swap one of the FKs for another TSO or a Mk1 catering vehicle.

When I worked in the telegraph office at Manchester the usual composition for a twelve car London train was a full brake, three or four firsts, one or two catering cars and the rest of the train made of of standard class vehicles. The actual ratio of first to standard varied between services and each set was allocated to a specific service so that the reservations system tallied with the actual seats on the train. The only exception to this was the "Manchester Pullman", which used to run first class only, but even this was eventually downgraded to a mixed class service where standard class vehicles outnumbered first.

Shorter consist cross country services rarely conveyed more than one first class coach and if they did one of them would be filling in for a failed standard class vehicle and labelled for the use of standard class passengers.

Edited by Blackcloud Railways

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Yes you are quite correct. In the video I do mention that you would want to add 3-4 more TSOs and a BSO at the opposite end to complete the rake.

The configuration displayed in the snapshot of the video is a cut-down version of what I run (BSO + TSO x 6 + FK + FK + BFK). The above configuration is a good initial starting point, as the FK coaches are currently on-sale at Hattons and the TSOs are quite expensive :blink:

I will be doing a video in the near future with examples of actual configurations from photographs etc. This was intended to help people get started.

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