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BR/FGW Motorail services

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BR/FGW Motorail services 11/03/2019 at 18:36 #116332
ajax103
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I'm trying to find the calling pattern of the above trains, I have found a article on Wikipedia but it doesn't give much detail, does anyone have any information on the stopping patterns of these trains for example London to Inverness, did it stop at intermediate stations or was it non stop etc....

I did check my BR timetable for 14th May to 30th September 1990 but there's no mention of the services that I can see

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BR/FGW Motorail services 11/03/2019 at 20:47 #116334
postal
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A wealth of information (scanned advertising leaflets, news articles etc.) at https://andygibbs.zenfolio.com/f56164866. It is a commercial site trying to sell you prints of the scans but you can probably read enough on the screen to answer some of your questions.
"Early to rise and early to bed make a man healthy, wealthy and dead." - James Thurber (08/12/1894 - 02/11/1961), American writer and cartoonist,
Last edited: 11/03/2019 at 20:49 by postal
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BR/FGW Motorail services 11/03/2019 at 22:57 #116338
Humorist
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These MR trains may not have had public stops, but that does not rule out stops for other purposes, change of locomotive, change of crew, and so on. If that does not sound too obvious, this may help.
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BR/FGW Motorail services 12/03/2019 at 00:33 #116339
bill_gensheet
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By 1990 the Motorails were simply attached to the respective sleepers or certain day trains, but cars were generally end to end only. The only intermediate Motorail calls I know of were at Carlisle or Edinburgh on the daytime trains.

Carlisle also had Motorail on its' sleeper portion, but Motorail ceased by 1994. In that year the Bristol sleeper had Motorail on it.

In 1993 you had a daytime Euston - Edinburgh Motorail, and the southbound was then formed DVT-coaches-loco-vans.

Back to 1980's there were Motorail-only day trains and more sleepers. Generally the Motorail was on the non-stop premium sleeper train, not the stopping one.

Bill

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BR/FGW Motorail services 12/03/2019 at 08:39 #116341
Diesel Rider
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When I lived in northeast at Ferryhill just south of Durham we drove to Newcastle put car on van, diesel attached it Class 47 I think then got coaches Mk2 and we went down to Bristol Temple Meads where it detached carriages from back and cars behind diesel shunted behind p1 unloaded and we drove down to Dorset through bridport to West Bay as my brother in laws dad had a static caravan there. He also bought the railway station at Draycott on the old cheddar line and he got the home signal from Blagdon in the garden! and 1899 timetable framed. Sadly the station masters house on one side and sidings on the other were sold as separate plots. Railway crossing gates still there but sidings is all housing now.
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BR/FGW Motorail services 12/03/2019 at 09:14 #116342
kbarber
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Motorail as a separate operation ceased after the 1981 summer season, and after that it only ran as tail traffic (mainly or perhaps solely on the Anglo-Scottish sleepers).

Winter operations were tail traffic only. At one stage there was traffic from Kings Cross. I'm not sure when the Euston traffic started, or whether there was ever tail traffic from any other terminal (I suspect not). By the end of the 1970s I believe Euston had become the only London terminal. Cars were carried in modified GUVs loaded in the parcels docks and shunted to the stop blocks in the platform before the sleeping cars were attached in front, hence 'tail traffic'. (That formation was necessary because the GUVs didn't, so far as I'm aware, have train heat connections.) It wasn't awfully convenient, because the cars had to be loaded quite early in the evening and passengers had to wait around for rather a long time before they could get access to their berths.

In summer, the London hub was Kensington Olympia, where the north west bays had been remodelled (not sure when) with a view to creating a major parcels terminal.

By 1979 daytime services ran to St Austell (with a stop for traffic at Newton Abbot) and Perth (with a traffic stop at Carlisle). In each case trains ran with 8 coaches and 12 carflats; 4 flats were knocked off/on at Carlisle (reproduced in Pascal's timetable, I believe) and at Newton Abbot, but the coaches ran through to destination.

Monday - Friday there were two night trains, to Inverness and to Stirling, again 8 coaches (sleepers) and 12 flats. I don't recall if there were any traffic stops on those trains but I rather suspect not; I can't imagine Motorail passengers appreciating being hauled out of bed in the small hours as their cars were shunted off the train. (Just to give that a bit of context, a good number of overnight travellers, on the Inverness in particular, drove Range Rovers. One of the facilities offered was dog boxes (which had to be prebooked) to take the dogs up for the shooting holidays I suspect many of them were going to. Many of the passengers were regulars and would be greeted by name by the car loading staff.)

At weekends there was a Stirling - Brockenhurst/Dover and return overnight train, which split or joined at Kensington. Joining was no problem, but we always had to be on our toes for the splitting; would never have done for the Dover cars to end up at Brockenhurst...

I very much doubt if the Western crew worked all the way through to St Austell. Whether the change took place at Newton Abbot or elsewhere I really don't know. As far as I am aware, the loco worked through.

The Scottish trains were a whole different ball game. They were dragged between Kensington and Mitre Bridge by a pair of class 25s, where electric traction took over. There was also a loco change at Mossend Yard, where a diesel took over for the run to destination. I rather suspect there were further crew changes en-route but no idea where (though Carlisle would seem a good place for the day train).

The Kensington operation was economic nonsense, given the lack of wires from Mitre Bridge, in spite of the premium fares it commanded. There was a scheme for the Willesden OHLE maintenance gang to run up some wires on the cheap in their spare time, but it came to nought because Addison Gardens Bridge was too low and it wasn't possible to lower the tracks because of a gas main beneath. Therefore, when Euston lost its parcels traffic in 1981, the Motorail operation was very vulnerable to being taken over and 1981 was the last season at Kensington. (That also allowed abolition of Kensington North Main Signalbox, which was a C grade, and a huge simplification at South Main so that had no chance of getting above a B. The Motorail bays ended up as a NCP car park, I believe.)

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BR/FGW Motorail services 12/03/2019 at 09:54 #116343
jrr
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Way back - somewhere around 1980 - I used Motorail to go to Inverness. The car was loaded mid-evening at Birmingham International and shunted onto the Euston - Inverness overnight sleeper service.
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BR/FGW Motorail services 12/03/2019 at 15:51 #116344
Zoe
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kbarber in post 116342 said:
Motorail as a separate operation ceased after the 1981 summer season, and after that it only ran as tail traffic (mainly or perhaps solely on the Anglo-Scottish sleepers).

The 1982 WTT shows St Austell to Paddington and Newton Abbot to Stirling motorail services still running so it seems that separate trains did continue for at least another year on those routes.

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BR/FGW Motorail services 13/03/2019 at 09:15 #116353
kbarber
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Zoe in post 116344 said:
kbarber in post 116342 said:
Motorail as a separate operation ceased after the 1981 summer season, and after that it only ran as tail traffic (mainly or perhaps solely on the Anglo-Scottish sleepers).

The 1982 WTT shows St Austell to Paddington and Newton Abbot to Stirling motorail services still running so it seems that separate trains did continue for at least another year on those routes.
Interesting. Did they run as separate trains or as tail traffic, do you know?

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BR/FGW Motorail services 13/03/2019 at 13:17 #116357
Zoe
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kbarber in post 116342 said:
Interesting. Did they run as separate trains or as tail traffic, do you know?

I never saw them personally but the WTT would seem to suggest separate trains, it shows a a 2010 Tuesdays departure from Newton Abbot as "Motorail to Stirling" running non-stop to Bristol Temple Meads before continuing north via Shrewsbury. I believe sleeping cars were conveyed on this service but I expect these were for motorail passengers. Photos of the St Austell service show only flats.

Last edited: 13/03/2019 at 13:44 by Zoe
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BR/FGW Motorail services 13/03/2019 at 15:34 #116358
Peter Bennet
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kbarber in post 116342 said:
Motorail as a separate operation ceased after the 1981 summer season, and after that it only ran as tail traffic (mainly or perhaps solely on the Anglo-Scottish sleepers).
The Night Rivera had Motorail vans for a long while.

Peter

“Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool” Plato
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BR/FGW Motorail services 13/03/2019 at 15:40 #116359
Peter Bennet
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Zoe in post 116344 said:
kbarber in post 116342 said:
Motorail as a separate operation ceased after the 1981 summer season, and after that it only ran as tail traffic (mainly or perhaps solely on the Anglo-Scottish sleepers).

The 1982 WTT shows St Austell to Paddington and Newton Abbot to Stirling motorail services still running so it seems that separate trains did continue for at least another year on those routes.
Seems a London to Stirling train may have run till 1989. https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/11991999.br-motorail-service-pulls-out-of-stirling/

Peter

“Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool” Plato
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BR/FGW Motorail services 13/03/2019 at 21:22 #116361
geswedey
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Kings Cross certainly had motorail well into the early 80's, it was one of the trickiest tickets to issue at KGX travel centre especially if the vehicle was travelling on its own. VAT also applied but I can't remember now if it was both accompanied or unaccompanied or if not both which one.

Glyn

Last edited: 14/03/2019 at 01:03 by geswedey
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BR/FGW Motorail services 13/03/2019 at 21:43 #116362
Peter Bennet
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geswedey in post 116361 said:
Kings Cross certainly had motorail well into the early 80's, it was one of the trickiest tickets to issue at KGX travel centre especially if the vehicle was travelling on its own. VAT also applied but I can't remember now if it bas both accompanied or unaccompanied or if not both which one.

Glyn
VAT applies to unaccompanied vehicles only.

Peter

“Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool” Plato
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BR/FGW Motorail services 14/03/2019 at 01:08 #116365
geswedey
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Thanks thought it was that. I hated issuing motorail tickets because we only issued them on the evening of travel in my role, and we had to check space available, vehicle dimensions etc and we didn't issue very many so it was also case of remembering what to do every time and correctly calculating VAT when it was chargeable.

Glyn

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BR/FGW Motorail services 14/03/2019 at 08:40 #116366
RainbowNines
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I used to work in VAT so was intrigued by this as I assumed pretty much everything except freight on the Railway was zero rated... Seems HMRC actually treat the movement of unaccompanied vehicles as freight.

Slightly different tack: Who was liable if damage was incurred during the journey on the car flats? (And is that different to freight movements of cars for, e.g., Ford, etc)

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BR/FGW Motorail services 14/03/2019 at 09:30 #116369
kbarber
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Thanks for that Zoe, so it looks as if the Motorail operation did continue from the West of England after 1981. Must have been a takeover, as far as I'm aware none of the Kensington office staff continued in Motorail. Peter, do you have any idea whether the KX services ran separately or as tail traffic? I suspect the latter, but it would be nice to know.
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BR/FGW Motorail services 14/03/2019 at 09:48 #116370
kbarber
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RainbowNines in post 116366 said:
<snip>

Slightly different tack: Who was liable if damage was incurred during the journey on the car flats? (And is that different to freight movements of cars for, e.g., Ford, etc)
I don't quite know the legal position (depends ont he conditions of carriage, which may not have been the standard conditions of course). But BR generally accepted responsibility for vehicles damaged en-route; in 1981 the day train (the Perth) was targeted by stone throwing vandals on a daily basis, resulting in every train arriving with numerous broken windscreens; it got to the point that we got Autoglass out every day as a matter of course, to meet the train as it arrived and get people on their way as quickly as possible. In the end, it needed the Motorail Manager (Mark Causebrook, later MD at Thameslink immediately after privatisation) to ride shotgun, sitting in the back vestibule with the rear corridor connection open (don't ask how many rules that was breaking...) to discover it was happening somewhere around Hillmorton. Transport Police went down and spoiled their fun the next day, but we lost a hell of a lot of money that way :-(((

Last edited: 14/03/2019 at 09:50 by kbarber
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BR/FGW Motorail services 14/03/2019 at 09:53 #116371
postal
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We're all still waiting for the book!
"Early to rise and early to bed make a man healthy, wealthy and dead." - James Thurber (08/12/1894 - 02/11/1961), American writer and cartoonist,
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BR/FGW Motorail services 14/03/2019 at 10:13 #116372
Peter Bennet
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RainbowNines in post 116366 said:
I used to work in VAT so was intrigued by this as I assumed pretty much everything except freight on the Railway was zero rated... Seems HMRC actually treat the movement of unaccompanied vehicles as freight.
Yes, unaccompanied vehicles are freight and accompanied are effectively ancillary to the passenger being transported: their baggage for what of a better phrase.

Peter

“Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool” Plato
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BR/FGW Motorail services 14/03/2019 at 12:36 #116373
58050
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The other aspect of Motorail services are the different vehicles used on Motorail services. The Paddington - Penzance or Night Riviera' generally used NXX(TOPS code) or Non Gangwayed Motorail General Utility Van(GUV) which can convey up to 36 tonnes GLW & can run at 100mph. Although if they were part of a sleeper formation then they would run at 80mph. Other vehicles such as NVX(TOPS Code) also known as TCV were Non Gangwayed 2 Tier Motorail car vans. They could be loaded up to 44.5 tonnes GLW & had a max speed of 75mph. The overnight motorail from Ely - Inverness & those on the ECML conveyed those kinds of vehicles before being replacxed tby the GUV vehicles. I'm not 100% certain whether TCV were used on the WR. Some holidaymaker trains conveyed motorail traffic on the back & some of them conveyed PJA/XMA (TOPS code) which are Articulated Car Transporters (in sets of 4 vehicles) which had a maximum speed of 75mph. These however were loaded slightly differently. The outer 2 vehicles could be loaded up to 24 tonnes, whereas the middle 2 vehicles could be loaded to 20 tonnes & 19 tonnes respectively. No doubt to keeping the vehicle safe whilst in transit. Never actually saw one of these formations on the back of a loco hauled passengewr train, but have seen photos of them in books. The sleeper services on the ECML even in the mid to late 1980s had 3 GUV directly behind the loco up until such time the ECML lost the motorail services & they were transferred over to the WCML out of Euston. Anoth odd Motorail service I've seen is one that terminated at Brokenhurst on the Southern Region & IIRC was split off another inbound working at Kensington Olympia, but I'm Mr. Barber would have a better idea on that one.
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BR/FGW Motorail services 15/03/2019 at 09:18 #116384
kbarber
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58050 in post 116373 said:
The other aspect of Motorail services are the different vehicles used on Motorail services. The Paddington - Penzance or Night Riviera' generally used NXX(TOPS code) or Non Gangwayed Motorail General Utility Van(GUV) which can convey up to 36 tonnes GLW & can run at 100mph. Although if they were part of a sleeper formation then they would run at 80mph. Other vehicles such as NVX(TOPS Code) also known as TCV were Non Gangwayed 2 Tier Motorail car vans. They could be loaded up to 44.5 tonnes GLW & had a max speed of 75mph. The overnight motorail from Ely - Inverness & those on the ECML conveyed those kinds of vehicles before being replacxed tby the GUV vehicles. I'm not 100% certain whether TCV were used on the WR. Some holidaymaker trains conveyed motorail traffic on the back & some of them conveyed PJA/XMA (TOPS code) which are Articulated Car Transporters (in sets of 4 vehicles) which had a maximum speed of 75mph. These however were loaded slightly differently. The outer 2 vehicles could be loaded up to 24 tonnes, whereas the middle 2 vehicles could be loaded to 20 tonnes & 19 tonnes respectively. No doubt to keeping the vehicle safe whilst in transit. Never actually saw one of these formations on the back of a loco hauled passengewr train, but have seen photos of them in books. The sleeper services on the ECML even in the mid to late 1980s had 3 GUV directly behind the loco up until such time the ECML lost the motorail services & they were transferred over to the WCML out of Euston. Anoth odd Motorail service I've seen is one that terminated at Brokenhurst on the Southern Region & IIRC was split off another inbound working at Kensington Olympia, but I'm Mr. Barber would have a better idea on that one.
Some of the earlier Motorail publicity material showed cars being loaded on a PJA set at Kensington. It gave the impression the handling staff drove the cars on to them; the photo that sticks in my mind is Jimmy Goodrum putting his head out of the car window and giving a 'thumbs up' to the grateful-looking passenger. (This was British Rail, of course; why pay for actors when you could get the regular staff to do it for 4 hours overtime?) The PJAs were always known as 'Cartics' when I was around, but had completely ceased to be used for Motorail before 1979 (when I was a signalman on the West London and saw all the Motorails daily).

The Olympia trains all used carflats by the end of the 1970s until the service was lost. The night trains used vacuum-fitted flats (FVV) and were limited to 75mph; cars were secured by metal scotches. The day train used dual-fitted flats (FVX) and Mk II carriages and was booked at up to 90mph; as well as scotches, cars were secured by straps over the wheels to the very low rails that ran along each side, and pads were fitted over the windscreens (cars travelling bonnet-first) to ward off small debris (unfortunately no match for stones lobbed by vandals). I have no idea whether the St Austell ran air or vacuum braked; it no longer ran by 1981 and I didn't notice rolling stock that specifically as a 'bobby'. Certainly by that stage passengers drove their own cars on to the flats unless they requested otherwise, although the handling staff were always willing to do it for them if asked (especially when the vehicle concerned was a Rolls or a Bentley, or whatever was new that year).

Pascal, you're absolutely right about the Brockenhurst. It came up from Stirling combined with a Dover portion and we split them at Kensington; there was also a back-working which we combined at Kenny. Again, it was a sleeper service that used FVVs and was timed at 75mph. Obviously the Southbound working was the one with potential for embarassing error, so I always made sure I was around for that. I think (but again I didn't take so much notice as to be sure) that one of the Southern locos took over from the electric at Mitre Bridge Junction to bring the combined train to Kensington, where we put it in the up platform (a loop, in those days, of the up main). We hooked off the front 4 coaches which the incoming loco drew forward then shunted back into the up main. Meanwhile, the last 6 carflats were hooked off at the North end and, once the coaches had come to a stand (local regulations prohibited shunting both ends of the section simultaneously) were shunted on to the rear of the coaches. While buckling up and doing the brake test, the forward engine for the other portion would be put on the remaining vehicles in the up platform. The two portions then went forward in due course (the long section to Latchmere Junction meant quite a long pause for the second to depart) and the shunters went back to their card school (or improvised bed or whatever... some things were best not known about). There wasn't even any point doing a visit to one of the signalboxes; the bobbies would likewise be resting their eyes and there was a distinct lack of activity, especially on a Saturday night when the next movement was likely to be the Brighton-Manchester in the middle of Sunday morning, so I did quite a bit of reading on those shifts.

Last edited: 15/03/2019 at 09:20 by kbarber
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BR/FGW Motorail services 15/03/2019 at 11:35 #116385
Humorist
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jrr in post 116343 said:
Way back - somewhere around 1980 - I used Motorail to go to Inverness. The car was loaded mid-evening at Birmingham International and shunted onto the Euston - Inverness overnight sleeper service.
I don't think that anyone has mentioned the use of Sutton Coldfield as a Motorail terminal, for traffic to, I think, Stirling or Perth (different eras?), and perhaps to destinations in the South-West (?)

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BR/FGW Motorail services 15/03/2019 at 15:57 #116391
TomOF
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I’m not sure exactly when the FGW motorail services finished but I was surprised to find them in the consist of a daytime train I caught from Bodmin to Truro in summer ‘04. This finished in Penzance.

I’m not sure when the facilities to load them at St Austell went out of use.

More recently a few motorail carriages have been stabled at Canton, but why I’m not sure.

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BR/FGW Motorail services 17/03/2019 at 13:18 #116417
bill_gensheet
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For a good few years in the 1980's there were a few Motorail flats abandoned in the yard at Basingstoke, I assume left for the winter after doing the Surbiton - Newton Abbots and it simply did not run the following years.

Summary of the research from the 1980's timetable CSCOT:

1978 trip notice:
Trip G85 class 08 at Stirling, continuous use except SAT night and SUN afternoon shifts and a couple of hours at shift change.
'During Motorail Season'
"Shunt at Stirling station including Motorail trains ......."


Collected data, but note the sim timetable is not a strict correct on one day, just 'probably a Thursday'.
At that time, one day train only for Stirling.
1V69 Stirling - Newton Abbot/Bristol
1S01 11:15 Euston - Stirling (a 18:16)
Locos changed Carstairs
The reverse workings were the alternate day.
Above from GBTT 1984/84, nothing showing for 1985/86 (source 1H85 book)

London - Perth
1S27 22:40 Euston - Perth
1M12 22:25 Perth - Euston
These had Glasgow and Carlisle portions.

London - Inverness
1S25 22:10 Euston - Inverness
1D15 20:30 Inverness - Euston (1M15 from Mossend, Fort William portion)
The non-stop sleeper


1981 'a different sim' for Inverness the timetable lists
06:45 from Kensington
09:15 from Ely
20:20 to Ely
21:25 to Kensington
On days when the Ely did not run, there was a York


1977 Aviemore
http://www.gensheet.co.uk/photo2L/47002_Aviemore_77.jpg
I'd guess around midday, but beyond that no idea !

Bill

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