Dover Marine platform lengths and 14-coach boat trains

Colin1501

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Following the Kent Coast electrification of 1959-62, boat trains to Dover and Folkestone were generally formed of three four-coach multiple-units (CEP and BEP), and either one or two Motor Luggage Vans (MLV). This gave a total train length of 14 coaches, and some of the platforms on the eastern side of Victoria were lengthened to accommodate these. However, various accounts of the electrification work state that the original 700 ft platforms at Dover Marine were extended by 114 ft at the London end. This gave a total length of 814 ft, sufficient to accommodate 12 coaches, but not 14 (or even 13). So my question is, how were boat trains with one or two MLV handled at Dover Marine?

The MLV were usually marshalled at the London end of boat trains, so they could not have been off the seaward end of the platform at Dover Marine. And the track layout and signalling at the London end meant that no vehicles could have been off the platform end there.

Grateful for any thoughts or information.
 
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yorksrob

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I've only travelled by train to Dover Western Docks a couple of times, and then not on boat trains, however, I seem to recall seeing that the tracks continued through the station onto the pier, so could it have been that the train drew forward a bit to allow the last van to be unloaded ?
 

ag51ruk

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There is a picture on the disused stations website (second picture down on the link below) which seems to show an MLV at least partially clear of the platform at the London end (assuming the train isn't moving when the picture was taken) and a 12 coach train without MLV only just fitting into the platform alongside it

 

30907

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There is a picture on the disused stations website (second picture down on the link below) which seems to show an MLV at least partially clear of the platform at the London end (assuming the train isn't moving when the picture was taken) and a 12 coach train without MLV only just fitting into the platform alongside it

The photo also shows an MLV on the quayside. They were fitted with batteries to allow registered luggage to be transferred directly to/from the ships rather than unloading at the platform.
How they coped from a signalling point of view I don't know though.
A 1976 photo on the linked site shows the seaward end S stop marker at the platform end. I can only assume the MLVs were detached/attached beyond the platform starters. Access to the quayside line was possible from both directions.
 

Cheshire Scot

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Admittedly this is looking back at events over 25 years ago, and noting comments above re MLVs at the London end, but my recollection is of MLVs at the seaward end of Dover Marine/Western Docks - beyond the platforms, which facilitated transfer of mail, luggage etc from the side of the train nearest the quay, through the side doors of the building and directly to the ship. Perhaps they were shunted there after arrival of the train.
I could certainly see the benefit of the MLVs at the London end for Victoria to avoid towing 'goods' all the way up the narrowing platforms on BRUTEs, but it just doesn't sound right for Dover.
 

30907

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Admittedly this is looking back at events over 25 years ago, and noting comments above re MLVs at the London end, but my recollection is of MLVs at the seaward end of Dover Marine/Western Docks - beyond the platforms, which facilitated transfer of mail, luggage etc from the side of the train nearest the quay, through the side doors of the building and directly to the ship. Perhaps they were shunted there after arrival of the train.
I could certainly see the benefit of the MLVs at the London end for Victoria to avoid towing 'goods' all the way up the narrowing platforms on BRUTEs, but it just doesn't sound right for Dover.
The station had island platforms, not at all ideal for dealing with registered luggage, and as the OP said not capable of holding 14 cars.

The MLVs were moved onto the quayside tracks 1/2 after arrival, and would presumably have been unloaded at the most convenient point along them.

You are certainly right about Victoria, and all the photos I have found show MLVs at the London end of trains - this tallies with my spotting memories.
 

eastwestdivide

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all the photos I have found show MLVs at the London end of trains - this tallies with my spotting memories
Ditto here: living, spotting and photting in Kent from about 1977-86, the MLVs on boat trains were always at the Victoria end of the train.
 

30907

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I have just located the 1960 Sectional Appendix which has a specific local instruction for starting trains ahead of fixed signals involving handsignals and telephone calls (complete with the form of words to be used - the example given is the Night Ferry but it would apply to any over-long train; it must have been common practice).

Marine station wasn't so busy that a train fouling another running line for a few minutes would have been a problem.
 

Colin1501

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I have just located the 1960 Sectional Appendix which has a specific local instruction for starting trains ahead of fixed signals involving handsignals and telephone calls (complete with the form of words to be used - the example given is the Night Ferry but it would apply to any over-long train; it must have been common practice).

Marine station wasn't so busy that a train fouling another running line for a few minutes would have been a problem.
Interesting, thanks. So presumably, a 12-coach boat train with two MLVs at the London end could stop in Marine station with the MLVs outside the starting signals, those MLVs could then detach and shunt to the dockside lines, and then subsequently re-attach to a London bound train outside the starting signals? And I recall reading somewhere that, although Dover Marine and the two junctions leading to it (Archcliffe and Hawkesbury Street) were colour-light signalled, the three boxes worked absolute block to each other, rather than TCB. Presumably, this made this type of operation a bit easier.

And thanks to everyone who's replied to this thread - all really helpful stuff.
 
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Taunton

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The MLVs conveyed through "registered" luggage from the ship, which was examined for customs on arrival at Victoria at accommodation on platform 2.

I wonder if part of the security of the unexamined inwards items was they should not be stood alongside a platform?

Although Marine station was not that busy, it had its moments at peak times when two or even three trains in close succession would be required to clear over 2,000 passengers arriving on a ship. I wonder how that worked, it not being known whether passengers with registered baggage were on the main train or the reliefs.

Must also have been a long wait at Dover where passengers boarding the first train had to wait for the registered baggage to be craned off the ship, loaded into the MLVs on the quayside, and when complete finally move (doubtless ponderously) by battery forward, and back onto the front of the train, before departure.
 

30907

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I wonder how that worked, it not being known whether passengers with registered baggage were on the main train or the reliefs.
I suspect that (except for the Golden Arrow) all baggage was handled together.
Must also have been a long wait at Dover where passengers boarding the first train had to wait for the registered baggage to be craned off the ship, loaded into the MLVs on the quayside, and when complete finally move (doubtless ponderously) by battery forward, and back onto the front of the train, before departure.
Looking at the 1958 timetable (steam of course, but that only affected arrivals at Victoria), waits for the main train were 45-60 minutes, and the reliefs would have followed; only the Golden Arrow passengers got away in half an hour. Customs and Immigration would have taken time - in high season anyway, but I never experienced that!
 

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