TRIVIA: Summer loco-hauled trains terminating at stations with short platforms

AY1975

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At least until the 1980s a number of popular holiday destinations on lines otherwise worked by DMUs were served by summer-only loco-hauled trains to cater for holidaymakers.

Were there any instances of such trains terminating at stations where the platform was too short for the number of coaches on those trains? If so, how was the detraining of passengers dealt with, especially on trains formed of Mark 1 and/or non-aircon Mark 2 coaches without public address systems (which a lot of those summer holiday trains were)?

I would guess that the most likely answer would be that passengers would simply be expected to check that the platform was adjacent before alighting, and if not, walk through to the nearest coach that was adjacent to the platform. If there was an on-board ticket check during the journey, some guards might have warned passengers of this but they might not necessarily always think to do so. Obviously it would have been a bit of a pain to have to walk through two or more coaches to the nearest coach that was adjacent to a platform if you were elderly or had heavy luggage and/or young children in tow. In those days passengers were much more expected to look after their own safety, though.

Three other possible solutions that I can think of:

(a) The guard or a member of station staff could have used a loud hailer to tell passengers seated in coaches beyond the end of the platform to walk through (or an announcement to that effect could be made over the station PA system).

(b) The train could be split, with a shunter hauling half the train into one platform while the train loco hauled the rest of the coaches into another (only possible if there were enough spare platforms).

(c) The train could stop with the first few coaches in the platform first, then once the passengers from those coaches had detrained, the loco could haul the train a few coaches further forward so that the last few coaches were in the platform, allowing passengers seated in those coaches to alight (only possible at through stations, as opposed to terminal stations, and if doing this would not get in the way of other trains).

Take Tenby as an example (see also this now-closed thread on the third platform at Tenby: https://railforums.co.uk/threads/tenby-station-did-it-ever-have-3-platforms.213956/). As I recall the now disused outer side of the Carmarthen-bound platform used to be used by summer Saturday loco-hauled trains at least until about the mid-1980s, such as the York-Tenby train. It only looks long enough to take up to 6 or at the most 7 or 8 coaches, which might have been long enough but many of those summer Saturday trains (and indeed regular trains on the Cross-Country route in pre-HST days) were formed of up to 10 or even 12 coaches.
 
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Ianno87

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A more recent example is the Pembroke Dock HST, which is much longer than the terminal platform.
 

Taunton

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You have omitted jumping down onto the ballast. Some of us here managed this more than once, and even closed the door behind us.

Moving the train forwards once the first half had detrained was common practice. It was known as "drawing up", and there were specific staff handsignals and sometimes PA announcements about it. Commonly also a porter would go to the end of the platform and down onto the ballast to shout up at heads out of droplights to " 'ang on a mo', sir".

The PA announcements were not aimed at those in the rear coaches, who are obviously out of earshot, but for those on the platform to "stand clear, the train at platform x is about to draw up".
 

thesignalman

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At least until the 1980s a number of popular holiday destinations on lines otherwise worked by DMUs were served by summer-only loco-hauled trains to cater for holidaymakers.

Were there any instances of such trains terminating at stations where the platform was too short for the number of coaches on those trains? If so, how was the detraining of passengers dealt with, especially on trains formed of Mark 1 and/or non-aircon Mark 2 coaches without public address systems (which a lot of those summer holiday trains were)?

I would guess that the most likely answer would be that passengers would simply be expected to check that the platform was adjacent before alighting, and if not, walk through to the nearest coach that was adjacent to the platform. If there was an on-board ticket check during the journey, some guards might have warned passengers of this but they might not necessarily always think to do so. Obviously it would have been a bit of a pain to have to walk through two or more coaches to the nearest coach that was adjacent to a platform if you were elderly or had heavy luggage and/or young children in tow. In those days passengers were much more expected to look after their own safety, though.
Off-hand I can't think of any terminii where platforms were not long enough but there were probably a few. Bath Green Park might be one? Mostly, though, this issue would concern intermediate stops. The answer is simple in either case, the guard would walk through the train before arrival at each appropriate station, telling the passengers to move forward to alight. No way would you rely on passengers finding out the hard way - the subsequent bustle through the train to an appropriate coach would either result in delay or over-carrying.

It wasn't only holiday services that were so affected - for example the platforms at places like Millers Dale couldn't accommodate the full length of the St Pancras expresses (the BSKs were marshalled with brake compartment inwards for that reason), and some of the lesser stops on the Woodhead route could only accommodate a few coaches.

John
 

30907

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Off-hand I can't think of any terminii where platforms were not long enough but there were probably a few. Bath Green Park might be one?
It was. Swanage was a bit short for summer SO trains, presumably Lymington Pier also. Possibly New Romney - and indeed Weymouth before the SR 50s partial rebuild?
 

AY1975

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It was. Swanage was a bit short for summer SO trains, presumably Lymington Pier also. Possibly New Romney - and indeed Weymouth before the SR 50s partial rebuild?
I presume you mean New Romney on the standard gauge branch from Appledore, as opposed to New Romney on the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway?!

I didn't know New Romney was ever served by any summer SO trains.
 

30907

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I presume you mean New Romney on the standard gauge branch from Appledore, as opposed to New Romney on the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway?!
Correct :)
I didn't know New Romney was ever served by any summer SO trains.
Lasted long enough to be operated by Hastings Diesels - not sure when they started, but they were to serve the Holiday Camps at Greatstone/Littlestone.
 

AY1975

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It wasn't only holiday services that were so affected - for example the platforms at places like Millers Dale couldn't accommodate the full length of the St Pancras expresses (the BSKs were marshalled with brake compartment inwards for that reason), and some of the lesser stops on the Woodhead route could only accommodate a few coaches.
Yes, I knew that this used to happen (and may still occasionally happen today) at intermediate stations en route, in which case passengers were presumably expected to ensure that they travelled in a part of the train that would stop adjacent to the platform. Today this kind of situation is dealt with using Selective Door Opening.

I was referring specifically to stations where trains terminated that had more coaches than could fit in the platform.
 

Class800

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The terminus situation is quite unusual and specific - and would be interested in any first hand experiences people have of what would happen if the terminus is too short for the train. All my examples are about intermediate stations, and these in modern times have always been dealt with by asking people by PA system and/or guard coming through to be in the first 4 or how many coaches. There was one poorly executed example when on a London Bridge to Ore via East Croydon and Eastbourne service (an odd working, due to engineering work on the route to Victoria), the screens and announcements said to be in the first coaches for stations with short platforms, not factoring in the reversal at Eastbourne, leading to manual announcements and a lot of moving around as Eastbourne approached. Also, the auto announcement on that train after Eastbourne said the first 3 coaches for some stations, the first 4 for others and the first 5 for some others, out of 8 coaches. Saying first 3 for all the short platforms would have avoided confusion! But, no, I don't have any experiences relating to terminus stations.
 

delt1c

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Back in the 70's the guard would walk down informing passengers of short platforms and passengers would move forward to relevant carriages, I cant recall any issues and passengers would follow the instructions. . Of course in todays Health and Safety enviroment it is a differnt matter.
 

markindurham

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This was a regular occurrence at Appleby & Settle in the 1970s, when the Thames-Clyde Express called there. Drawing up was required; the platforms being so short. This practice continued, of course, even after the service was dropped south of Nottingham, until the only passenger services were Leeds-Carlisle locals, initially short rakes of stock & then, latterly, DMUs.
 

30907

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The terminus situation is quite unusual and specific - and would be interested in any first hand experiences people have of what would happen if the terminus is too short for the train.

I mentioned Swanage upthread: we used it twice in the mid 60s, either side of the Bournemouth electrification.
The London trains each time were 8x63ft (Mk1/Bulleid/TC). Arriving from London the last coach must have been off the platform (ditto when 8TC was used in 1967); departing in 1966, the stock had been shunted from the former goods yard by the train engine and was a very tight fit (memory says the front coach was part off the platform, but I can't locate my photo...).
For some years earlier the first Saturday departure was 10 Bulleid corridors not just 8, which confirms what others have said, that it wasn't a big issue.
 

Cowley

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I mentioned Swanage upthread: we used it twice in the mid 60s, either side of the Bournemouth electrification.
The London trains each time were 8x63ft (Mk1/Bulleid/TC). Arriving from London the last coach must have been off the platform (ditto when 8TC was used in 1967); departing in 1966, the stock had been shunted from the former goods yard by the train engine and was a very tight fit (memory says the front coach was part off the platform, but I can't locate my photo...).
For some years earlier the first Saturday departure was 10 Bulleid corridors not just 8, which confirms what others have said, that it wasn't a big issue.

Wonderful memories, I wish I’d been around to see that.
 

peteb

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Harlech was the destination for a few West Midlands Merrymaker excursions in the 70s I think. Platforms may have been too short but drawing forward probably done before reversing into excursion sidings.
 

Ken H

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What about the Kent Coast expresses from Charing X. After electrification they were 12, splitting at ashford. They didn't really fit into the westernmost platform at Charing X. The driver had to coax them up to the buffers and 1 coach was off the platform. We used them to visit Grandma & Grandad who had retired to Folkestone in the 60's

Oops. just reread the title. No loco hauled - sorry.
 
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30907

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Harlech was the destination for a few West Midlands Merrymaker excursions in the 70s I think. Platforms may have been too short but drawing forward probably done before reversing into excursion sidings.
Barmouth perhaps, which had long-ish platforms and still had sidings? Neither is a terminus, though - but I suspect Pwllheli platform was a little short for a full-length train (unlike, say, Minehead, Newquay, and Kingswear).
 

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