What makes a train look British?

XAM2175

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Add some buffers and I think you're onto something. Perhaps it's the big windows that do it?
They did have buffers to begin with - you can see them in the first photo!

As it is, if you take the body off the 422 class have a lot more in common with the CIÉ 071 class than anything British.
 
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No silly windows all over the place with about 300 different floor heights.
 

Irascible

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It does have a couple of features not generally seen on UK LHCS, the ends being painted a colour other than black and hopper windows (common on multiple units of course but never fitted to any LHCS here), also a very different style of gangway connection.

Yeah, I mentioned the gangways - we did have a fair amount of coaching stock with coloured ends though & hopper windows are a feature of DMUs. I think it does show that the real difference is the height.

It may not have been the case many years ago, but isn't the Irish loading gauge fairly similar to GB nowadays? It's probably safe to assume that had either Irish or Brunel gauge become the GB standard, the restricted loading gauge would have mostly remained.

Can't find the loading gauge envelope at the moment, but I believe it's wider & not particularily taller, which would help in a few ways if not really helping with our current problem of tall containers. If the gauge commission had gone for Brunel's then I can't see a Stephenson-sized loading gauge persisting ( or what would have been the point? ), we'd have just had to suck it up & redo all our bridges & tunnels - which would be a hard stop to the excesses of the time, possibly us ending up with the network we really needed & a rather different & interesting path for the rest of the world - would everywhere have ended up 5'+ I wonder.

In the Big Boy's case, this was somewhat deliberate, as they were designed/built to haul massive loads and be as reliable/easy to maintain as possible as you say. I hold the opposite view to yourself in that I can find beauty in functionality, but hey: each to their own.

They weren't all just functional ( and I think some european designs were worse ) even ignoring the streamlined ones. Here's one I was always rather liked -



which doesn't really look that much different to the export models British builders were producing. Domestically we just tended to hide pipework a bit more, I think.
 
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Doomotron

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They did have buffers to begin with - you can see them in the first photo!

As it is, if you take the body off the 422 class have a lot more in common with the CIÉ 071 class than anything British.
I see it now. It does look quite British with them! Although I'd say they look more like a 50 than a 47.
 

AY1975

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And the UK doesn't mark Standard class, that being the default. Just the presence of a big 2 by a door looks European.
Yes, and at least in the BR era and in the early days of privatisation BR (and its successors) didn't usually mark smoking accommodation. In the pre-nationalisation era both smoking and non-smoking accommodation was marked, though.
 

SussexLad

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For me it's a combination of things:
- rarely having level boarding at stations
- badly designed toilets that always smell
- a bumpy ride
 

32475

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Such an interesting topic. I probably first pondered this subject in the 1970’s when I first travelled by train in France a bit. Getting the boat train from Dieppe to Rouen hauled by a BB67000 or something similar, I thought then how similar they were to a class 47 and yet how subtly different. Although the two are sort of similar in proportion, they have a split windscreen, both predominantly blue and with central vents over the cab fronts, the SNCF beast definitely had a foreign air about it. It was that bit bulkier to look at, it had angled side vent panels rather like a contemporary Renault or Citroen car might and the side panelling came down to not far above track level. Typically brash, Gallic and less reserved in design terms. Look at these two images c/o Wikipedia and make your own mind up. Having said that, the Class 52s were radical and the Warships were reminiscent of German and Danish loco design. As for the HS4000 Kestrel built by Brush, now that really was a European looking locomotive not least because they were looking for foreign export orders.
 

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norbitonflyer

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As for the HS4000 Kestrel built by Brush, now that really was a European looking locomotive not least because they were looking for foreign export orders.
As was the DP1 Deltic prototype. My model looks quite at home pulling Triang "Transcontinental" rolling stock.
 

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py_megapixel

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No silly windows all over the place with about 300 different floor heights.
I understand that the reason for this is to allow the doors to be at a height lower than the floor above the bogies needs to be, which makes level boarding (with the aid of gap fillers) easier to accomplish. It's actually an excellent idea and it's frankly embarrassing that it's not been adopted in this country by more than just Greater Anglia.
 

Bletchleyite

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I understand that the reason for this is to allow the doors to be at a height lower than the floor above the bogies needs to be, which makes level boarding (with the aid of gap fillers) easier to accomplish. It's actually an excellent idea and it's frankly embarrassing that it's not been adopted in this country by more than just Greater Anglia.

You can make it not look rubbish by way of a dark window band. That enhances pretty much every livery anyway.
 

Irascible

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and the Warships were reminiscent of German and Danish loco design.
The Warships ( not the first ones ) were a fairly literal copy of the German V200s, just squashed into our loading gauge. BR licensed the whole design iirc. That would be a good thing to compare in detail.
 

LOL The Irony

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Such an interesting topic. I probably first pondered this subject in the 1970’s when I first travelled by train in France a bit. Getting the boat train from Dieppe to Rouen hauled by a BB67000 or something similar, I thought then how similar they were to a class 47 and yet how subtly different.
I can see a passing resemblance but not much else. I think you'd find most noseless locomotives all look broadly similar as they are just a cuboid with some wheels underneath.
As for the HS4000 Kestrel built by Brush, now that really was a European looking locomotive not least because they were looking for foreign export orders.
They do look European, but the design of the Kestrel was an in thing at the time. The design language kind of harks back to streamlining, which had kind of made a return thanks to the 0 Series Shinkansen. I do however, see a little bit of Flying Hamburger in there. The HS4000 is still the most beautiful looking train to ever ride these rails.
 

Strathclyder

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They weren't all just functional ( and I think some european designs were worse ) even ignoring the streamlined ones. Here's one I was always rather liked -



which doesn't really look that much different to the export models British builders were producing. Domestically we just tended to hide pipework a bit more, I think.
Oh, indeed (that is one handsome New York Central machine BTW). It's just that the almost purely functional Amercian ones - most notably UP Challengers/Big Boys & SP Cab-Fowards - tend to stick in the memory and overwhelm all the others.
 

Doomotron

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The USA could make some beautiful locomotives when they tried, like the PRR T1 and S1, and the New York Central Hudsons. But of course none of them looked British in any way!
 

driverd

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You can make it not look rubbish by way of a dark window band. That enhances pretty much every livery anyway.
Can't agree more with the sentiment though! European trains just look untidy with the messy window layout, and the saloons look hideously badly presented with seats at all different heights. It's my main aesthetic complaint with the Stadler stuff. Functionally 10/10, but gosh they look hideous both inside and out.
 

52290

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When I reached Cordoba in 1967 I was surprised that the GWR had got there first.
 

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