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Railway Race to Scotland.

A special correspondent of the Times, writing on August 20th, thus describes the breaking of the railway records : — In the third chapter of his history Macauley claimed it as one of the great triumphs of 19th century civilisation that passengers could fly from London to York in the short light of a winter's day. For my part I can boast to have flown from the Thames to the Tay in the short darkness of a summer's night, for night was closing in as we left King's Cross at 8 o'clock laat evening, and dawn was just breaking as we ran over the Tay bridge and down Into Dundee station at 4 o'clock this morning. Before I attempt to describe our journey let me briefly sketch the position antecedent. When at the conclusion of the race to Edinburgh in 1888 the two combatants agreed to divide the honors and to run the London-Edin-burgh express by both roads in 8£ hours, this left the West Coast train in the proud position of being distinctly the fastest long-distance train in the world. But the West Coast was deposed from its pride of place in the autumn of 1892 by an American rival, and for the last three years the fastest long-distance train in the world has been the Empire State express, which runs from New York to Buffalo — 440 miles — in 8 hours 40 minutes, or, in other words, 40 miles further than the Edinburgh express in only ten minutes longer time. To-day the championship has been so peremptorily reclaimed for England that our American cousins are hardly likely to try conclusions with us again for some time. This morning's East Coast train reached Dundee— 4s2 miles from King's Cross — in exactly 8 hours, 12 miles further in 40 minutes less time ; while .the West Coast got to Perth— 4so miles from Euston— in 7£ hours, 10 miles further, that is, in 55 minutes less time. On July 22 the published time for the arrival of the East Coast train at Aberdeen was advanced to 6.45 a.m. The West Ooast, leaving the advertised time of 7 a.m. unaltered, thereupon fixed the working time as 6.35. Then the East Coast on July 29 advertised 6.25 and the West Coast 6.20, but still only in the working notices and notin the public timetables. For the next three weeks the whole energies of traffic staff were absorbed in carrying bbc hoiiday ferafifc, heavier this year than ever, and there was consequently an apparent pause in the strife till August 17. Meanwhile the East Coast continued to arrive at its advertised time of 6.25, while the West Coast train ran in usually a good deal before 6.20, on the morning of July 31, indeed, as early as 5.59. But then it should be said that the two performances were in no way comparable. The West Coast train was practically a special with no advertised times at the intermediate stations, with no connections to make, and no luggage to load and unload ; consequently, it could leave each point the instant the work was done and accumulate for the benefit of the arrival at Aberdeen all the economies of time effected on the different sections of the journey. The East Coast, on the other hand, was advertised to leave Grantham, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Dundee, aud Arbroath, each at a certain fixed time, and, however early the train got in, the departure time from each station could not be anticipated by a single minute, so that, as actually happened one morning, the East Coast might be late in reaching Aberdeen because an old woman's market basket could not be found at Arbroath, and this, though the 80£ miles between York and Newcastle had been covered in 79min, or a gain of 13min over the booked time. As for the weights of the trains, a comparison is more easily possible. As far »s I can learn the East Coast trains have been on the average distinctly, but not very much, heavier, while on certain days the West Coast ran successfully trains heavier than any of which I can hear of on the East Coast. On the whole though, for the reasons given above, the West Coast seems to have accomplished the most brilliant feats, and no unprejudiced person can possibly attempt to disparage their brilliancy ; it may fairly be said that up to last Saturday honors were easy. Yesterday, however, there came a change in the situation. The East Coast oompanies took a leaf out of the West Coast book, and decided to accelerate, without public notice, by three-quarters of an hour at a stroke, a new train being put oa as between Edinburgh and Aberdeen for the benefit of the local passengers, and the stop at Arbroath being struck out of the log of the racing train, — for so, surely, we may now be allowed to call it. This meant allowing 580 minutes, stops included, for a distance of 523 miles. Such a feat one would have thought difficult to match and impossible to surpass. But the West Coast companies rose to the occasion, and as soon as they received notice that the train from King's Cross would pass on to their line at Kinnabor Junction at 4.56 a.m., instead of 5.36, they instantly gave orders that their onrn train should be quickened to reach Aberdeen at 5.35 once more, that is, 5 minutes in front of its rival. And now for the actual performances. As it is utterly impossible to be in two trains simultaneously, I must regretfully | dismiss the Euston train by which I did not travel with very few words. It left Euston at 8 o'clock with five vehicles of a total weight of about 120 tons. The propriety of cutting out the stop at Crewe and running straight through to Carlisle had been much discussed, but in the end the experiment was not risked, and the train called at Crewe as usual. It reached Carlisle, 300 miles, in 306 minutes, in spite of Shap Bank and a bad signal check a few miles short of it. It got to Perth, 150 miles further, at 3.45, notwithstanding a stop at Stirling, at the bottom of a big hill. At Perth two vehicles were detached, veduciug the lo&d to about 70 tons, and Aberdeen, a further 90 miles, was reached at 5.16, 540 miles in 555 minutes. The East Coast train, which weighed about 105 tons throughout, had a more checkered course. Booked to reach Grantham, 105£ miles, at 9.49, it in fact got there at 9.47. For the 82f miles thence to York 86 minutes were allowed and only 80 taken— a most magnificent performance for unvarying but never excessive speed. We left York, accordingly, full ten minutes in front of time, booked to run the next 8(H miles in exactly 80 minutes. But fn railway matters, alas ! though officers propose signalmen dispose, and no less than three signal checks, the last an actual full stop between York and Darlington, resulted in our only reaching Newcastle at 12.37, six minutes in front of time. Off again iv two m.'nutes, we covered 124^ miles to Edinburgh in 126 minutes, a fine run, which gave us once more ten minuces in hand. Our time hare was exactly 2.45, 6§ hours from London, a record that will take, I fancy, a good deal of beating. But at Edinburgh there occurred an inexplicable mistake which shattered all our high hopes, and, as the result proved, led to our being thoroughly beaten into Aberdeen. From Edinburgh forward fche train was, as I have already said, an extra or special followed by An ordinary train running in the times as given in " Bradshaw." Yet for some inscrutable reason it had been decreed by the authorities that we must not leave till the booked j time of 2,58. For eleven weary minutes, accordingly, engine and passengers fumed till at 2.56, the station clock being fortunately two minutes wrong, we started afresh. We gained six minutes on our booked time to Dundee, ouly once more to kick our heels for eight minutes at the platform. Off again at 4.8, wo picked up another eight* minutes en route, aud finally

reached Aberdeen at 5.30, to find that, as has been said already, the West Coast train had been there a quarter of an hour Had our iron horse not been pulled at Edinburgh and Dundee we should have run a dead heat. Such, then, is the present position of affairs. What the next step will be it is not easy to see. lam inclined to believe that the East Coast could get to Aberdeen in nine hours without very great difficulty, and without running at any unreasonable speed down hill. We travelled perfectly smoothly last night. I feel a difficulty in believing that the West Coast could keep up 60 miles an hour, including stoppages, for nine hours on end ; but; theu no one would have believed a month I ago that they could have done what they did last night. Probably we may expect yet further accelerations directly, for it is difficult to see where room comes in for compromise, though, on the whole, it is perhaps to be hoped, in the interest of all concerned that a modus vivendi will soon [ be found. Enough has already been done for glory. England once more leads the world in speed. The public, too, has gained enormously. Aberdeen was 14 hoars from London in 1888 ; it is 9£ hours ! off to-day. The arrival time at Inverness is 9.15 a.m. now. Seven years back ib was 11.50. As for the talk about danger from high speed, it is simply childish. .Every railway man knows that these trains are distinguished, not by exceptionally high speeds, but by the exceptional absence of low speeds. There are scores of traius unknown to fame which run every day at certain points of their journey | as fast as anything done between London ' and Aberdeen. The railway race to Scotland entered upon yet a new phase on Tuesday night, when the competing companies essayed to eclipse the Becorda established the previous day. The West Coast companies took the initiative, and allowed nine hours for the journey of 540 miles, or a rate of 60 miles an hour throughout. This they succeeded in accomplishing with a margin of two minutes to spare, the express which left Euston at 8 p.m. on Tuesday night steaming into Aberdeen at 4.58 on Wednesday morning. The East Coast express leaving Kings-cross at the same hour also succeeded in accomplishing a highly-creditable performance, its time of arrival being 5.11, or 21 minutes in ' adraac& oS its pre\>it>»» record, [ The London and North- Western and the Caledonian Companies' express, which shows the remarkable performance of 540 miles in 538 minutes, consisted of four of the heaviest' North- Western bogie carriages—a composite, two sleeping saloons, and a guard's van. It reached Carlisle at 12.25 — seven minutes ahead of time. The operation of changing Engines took only four minutes, and the train proceeded north six minutes in advanca of her time. The East Coast train (Great Northern and North-Eastern Companies) consisted of six vehicles, equal to about 110 tons, and with one stoppage at Grantham reached York at 11.7, when a stoppage of four minutes was made. Resuming the the journey, Edinburgh was reached at 2.42 ;i.m. This is the fastest on record between London and the Scottish capital, the 397 miles being accomplished iv 402 minutes. The express entered on the final stage of its journey at 2.44, after a wait ot only two minutes, and arrived at Aberdeen, as above stated, at 5.11. The time thus occupied in covering the 527 miles was 551 minutes. With respect to the complaint that such rapid travelling produces a sensation of nausea, it may be mentioned that the officials at Euston have received from a passenger who travelled by Tuesday night's express a telegram saying the progress of the train was so smooth and comfortable that the occupants could hardly realise thefaot that they weretravellingata higher rate of speed than by an ordinary train. The Pahiatua Argus has characterised a certain Liberal Justice of the Peace in that district as a common thief. This is pretty plain speaking (says the Wairarapa Times), and if the individual referred to— there can beno mistake about his identity — deserve such a character the Argus has done good service to the community by putting him in the pillory. The Government should also be put in the pillory which obviouajy appointed a man of doubtful character to a position of honour. There have been some fearful and wonderful appointments made by the present Ministry, but surely we have Ht last reached the bedrock. Those who never read the advertisements in their newspapers miss more than they presume. Jonathan Kenison, of Bolan, Worth Co., lowa, who had been troubled with rheumatism in hia back, arms, and shoulders read an item in his paper about how a prominent German citizen of Ft. Madison had been cured. He procured the same medicine, and, to use his own words, "It cured me right up." He also says : " A neighbor and his wife were both sick in bed with rheumatism. Their boy was over to my house and said they were so bad he had to do the cooking. I told him of Chamberlain's Pain Balm and how it had cured me. He got a bottle and it cured them in a week. For sale by E. D. Smith, wholesale and retail agent. — Advt.)

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Bibliographic details

Railway Race to Scotland., Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XXII, Issue 7455, 8 October 1895

Word Count

Railway Race to Scotland. Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XXII, Issue 7455, 8 October 1895

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