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Source: (consider it) Thread: Heaven: The SoF Railway Enthusiasts' Thread
PD
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# 12436

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I cheerfully admit to being from the "if you can't fix it with a hammer you've got an electrical problem" school of thought. To me a "thou'" is a mythical unit of no relevance to me. However, I can identify with the cheerful shuffling between metric and imperial on the basis of whatever is most convenient.

With railway modelling you have some shuffling of scales to suit metric or imperial measure. American "O" is 1:48 or 1/4 to the foot in the USA; European O is 1:43 or 7mm the foot. However both run on 32mm - 1.25" track. Gauge One had a similar compromise between the UK's 1:30.5 scale "Ten Milly" and the rest of the world's 1:32 scale. However, from what I have read the UK is moving towards 1:32.

PD

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Enoch
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# 14322

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Aren't 7mm to the foot, 4mm to the foot, 3mm to the foot and 2mm to the foot in theory inconsistent even though they work OK? What must be really peculiar to people outside the UK is that the track gauges do not fit. 16.5 mm does not = 4' 8½". 18 mm and 9 mm are both 4' 6"". Hence Scalefour, and 9.5mm.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Wesley J

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# 6075

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We sang hymn 51 from 'Hymns Ancient and Modern' ('Lo, he comes with clouds descending') today and I felt greatly inspired:

quote:
Thousand thousand saints attending / swell the triumph of his train / Alleluia!


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Be it as it may: Wesley J will stay. --- Euthanasia, that sounds good. An alpine neutral neighbourhood. Then back to Britain, all dressed in wood. Things were gonna get worse. (John Cooper Clarke)

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Horseman Bree
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# 5290

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ISTM that OO scale was redefined as "4 mm to the foot, but with HO track, so that the British models would "bulk up" a bit on the smaller track.

Using the readily-available HO track allowed for the sale of 4 mm scale British models in the US, where HO was the "normal" scale.

4 mm is 1:76
3.5 mm is 1:87

O scale is 1:48 (1/4 inch to the foot), so HO was supposed to be 1:96 or 1/8 to the foot. Somewhere along the way, the 3.5 mm thing became the norm. No idea when - it was long established when I first knew anything about it in 1958

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It's Not That Simple

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ken
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# 2460

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And people used HO with other models for human figures and scenery built to 1:72 - but wargamers used what we called 25mm figures - though there were 21mm around as well

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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PD
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# 12436

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Aren't 7mm to the foot, 4mm to the foot, 3mm to the foot and 2mm to the foot in theory inconsistent even though they work OK? What must be really peculiar to people outside the UK is that the track gauges do not fit. 16.5 mm does not = 4' 8½". 18 mm and 9 mm are both 4' 6"". Hence Scalefour, and 9.5mm.

Rather a silly game, I admit, but here's the hits and misses for standard gauge modellers. Standard gauge although officially 1435mm (formerly 4'8.5" or 1438mm) actually ranged between 1435mm and 1440mm depending on country and railway. For example, French standard gauge railways were laid to 1440mm.

Anyway, here is a list of well-know scales and gauges. The format is Scale name (country of use) - scale/gauge = actual gauge multiply the model scale by the model gauge to give full size equivelent.

Z - 1:220/6.5 = 1430mm
N (Int) - 1:160/9 = 1440mm
OOO - 1:152/9.5 = 1444mm
N (UK) - 1:148/9 = 1332mm
TT (Eur) - 1:120/12 = 1440mm
TT (UK) - 1:100/12 = 1200mm
HO (Int) - 1:87/16.5mm = 1435.5mm
OO (UK) - 1:76/16.5mm = 1254mm
EM (UK) - 1:76/18.2mm = 1383mm
P4 (UK) - 1:76/18.82mm = 1430mm
S - 1:64/22.5mm = 1440mm
O (US) - 1:48/32mm = 1536mm
O (Euro) - 1:43/32mm = 1376mm
Gauge 1 (Euro) - 1.32/45mm = 1440mm
Gauge 1 (UK) = 1:30.5/45mm = 1372.5mm
Gauge 1 (US trainsets) - 1:29/45mm = 1305mm
Gauge 1 (US) - 1:29/45mm

Z, Int N, Euro TT, HO, P4, S, and Euro 1 are pretty close to correct in terms of scale to gauge relationship. English TT and OO are pretty close to awful.

Narrow Gauge modellers have a different problem. By definition their gauge is non-standard so they have to make some decisions. In the UK 009 is the most popular - 4mm scale running on 9mm gaue track, and it represents scale 2'3" gauge. However, OO9 is used to represent everything from 1'11.5" through to 2'6" guage. OOn3 is used from Irish and Manx narrow gauge as it correctly represents 3' gauge. Among three foot gauge modellers 5.5mm scale or 1:55.5 has a following as 16.5mm gauge wheel sets and mechanisms are cheap enough and plentiful.

The garden gauges have their national characteristics. Britain has SM32 and SM45. "SM" I assume stands for "sixteen millimetre" with 32mm gauge used for 2' gauge railways, and 45mm for 3' gauge railways. I have already alluded to the situation with "G scale" in the USA above. Basically, if you model narrow gauge trains, unless you model a railway that complied with one of the well stablished scale:gauge relationships you get used to fudging a bit.

Of course there are some off the wall members of the model railway fraternity who model such things as Irish Broad gauge in 4mm scale. Hand building all that 21mm gauge track must be a real bear. Same goes for the odd bod who fancies Brunel's broad gauge.

PD

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daviddrinkell
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# 8854

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quote:
Originally posted by Wesley J:
We sang hymn 51 from 'Hymns Ancient and Modern' ('Lo, he comes with clouds descending') today and I felt greatly inspired:

quote:
Thousand thousand saints attending / swell the triumph of his train / Alleluia!

We sang 'At the Name of Jesus', which includes the lines:

'Brothers, this Lord Jesus
Shall return again,
With his Father's glory,
With his angel train'

Probably Great Western (as opposed to King's Weston, which is the tune we use). [Smile]

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David

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Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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This is probably better than the Norwegian State Railways, which will happily take you to Hell (every 30 minutes during the peak hours!)

Fortunately, I think that return tickets are available.

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daviddrinkell
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# 8854

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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
This is probably better than the Norwegian State Railways, which will happily take you to Hell (every 30 minutes during the peak hours!)

Fortunately, I think that return tickets are available.

I was in Hell with Belfast Cathedral Choir a number of years back - I think it's near Bergen.....

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David

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Horseman Bree
Shipmate
# 5290

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From what little I can remember, Hell is where you choose to go towards the Arctic or merely to Sweden.

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It's Not That Simple

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PD
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# 12436

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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
This is probably better than the Norwegian State Railways, which will happily take you to Hell (every 30 minutes during the peak hours!)

As opposed to Virgin XC who would happily strand you there! But we do not want this heaven thread to take Purgatorial turn.

I took a look at the yard today and found a suitable "wife-approved" route for the model railway. Perhaps when we have a life again after Christmas I can get to work. I am very intrigued by this model trains outdoors business.

PD

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Wesley J

Silly Shipmate
# 6075

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quote:
Originally posted by daviddrinkell:
We sang 'At the Name of Jesus', which includes the lines:

'Brothers, this Lord Jesus
Shall return again,
With his Father's glory,
With his angel train'

Probably Great Western (as opposed to King's Weston, which is the tune we use). [Smile]

Angel Trains. [Biased]

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Be it as it may: Wesley J will stay. --- Euthanasia, that sounds good. An alpine neutral neighbourhood. Then back to Britain, all dressed in wood. Things were gonna get worse. (John Cooper Clarke)

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virtuous sloth
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# 15364

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I confess to being a railway enthusiast. I want to experience the world's greatest trans-continental rail voyages, such as the India-Pacific rail trip from Sydney to Perth and the Canada Line from Toronto to Vancouver, and others - crossing as many continents as possible.

I confess that I experience an occasional temptation to travel by hopping freight trains.

I confess that I enjoy taking long walks along railway tracks.

I confess that the call of a freight train in the night is probably my favorite sound.

I confess that I have long held a fascination with model railways.

And lastly, and most embarrassingly, I confess that for most of my life, I have wanted to undertake the engineering and creative challenge of building an upside-down (and fully functional) model railway suspended from a ceiling.

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virtuous sloth
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Additionally, I confess that I have chosen where I want to live motivated, in part, by a desire to get around town by tram instead of by horseless carriage.

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Enoch
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# 14322

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If it's confession time, I have (though it was many years ago) taken advantage of the complete shut down of the entire network on Christmas Day to walk through a normally working tunnel, and on another to walk over a bridge.

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PD
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# 12436

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I have always been intrigued by roadside tramways. They were never that plentiful in Britain, but Ireland, the Netherlands and France had quite a few. Unlike urban Trams which were electrically powered and usually in the street, these were steam driven and ran on a road side reservation. In the mainland UK context, where there was a handful of them, they look like one of those good ideas that never took off, I suspect because of the legislative structure imposed on them - The Tramways Act 1870 -which allowed for county/municipal buy-outs after 21 years. The Tramways Act (Ireland) 1883 gave the proprietors more security, hence the litany of tramways there:

Dublin and Lucan
Dublin and Blessington
Clogher Valley
Schull and Skibbereen
etc.

What confuses the issue a bit in Ireland is that a lot of the Irish Tramways renamed themselves "Railway" after they went broke the first time! Or hedged their bets by calling themselves "Light Railway and Tramway."

Unfortunately I am far too young to remember any of them with the exception of a couple of industrial light railways. The one between Grimsby and Immingham that at one time had parallel electric tramway, is the only one I remember with any clarity. The drivers on that line all used to swear that they were going to start painting little cars on the side of their engine cabs if they hit many more cars. Car drivers had this strange notion that a 50 ton class 08 shunter can stop on a sixpence and used to cut in front of moving trains - with occasional unfortunate results. Thanks to the 15mph speed limit no-oe was ever injured, but quite a few cars were written off! I assume this perennial hazard was one reason a lot of the old tramways closed.

PD

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Lord Pontivillian
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# 14308

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quote:
Originally posted by PD:
I have always been intrigued by roadside tramways......Unfortunately I am far too young to remember any of them with the exception of a couple of industrial light railways. The one between Grimsby and Immingham that at one time had parallel electric tramway, is the only one I remember with any clarity. The drivers on that line all used to swear that they were going to start painting little cars on the side of their engine cabs if they hit many more cars. Car drivers had this strange notion that a 50 ton class 08 shunter can stop on a sixpence and used to cut in front of moving trains - with occasional unfortunate results. Thanks to the 15mph speed limit no-oe was ever injured, but quite a few cars were written off!...

PD

Does the Manx Electric Railway fall into the same category? I remember being told, by a driver, that a manager had once told him "when an accident happens(and it will) and there is nothing you can do to stop, just put your feet up and enjoy the ride". The tram always comes out best, we were told, unless the car takes out the brake cylinder(I think that is the article that got taken out, anyway)!

ah good times!

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The Church in Wales is Ancient, Catholic and Deformed - Typo found in old catechism.

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Darllenwr
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# 14520

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Along those lines, I am reminded of a tale told to me by one of the drivers on the Manx Electric Railway when we visited in 2007. He was talking about his training as a driver and I had made some remark about car drivers failing to understand that trams cannot stop dead. His reply went something like this:

"I'll never forget something the guy who trained me said. He said, "The first time you hit a car, and you will, everybody does, there will come a point when you realise that there is nothing more that you can do, collision is inevitable. When you get there, just sit back and enjoy the bang!"

I don't know that the motormen ever considered painting cars on their trams, but one could certainly understand it if they had.

There is something about level crossings, particularly on narrow gauge railways, that brings out the idiotic in certain car drivers. They always assume that a narrow gauge locomotive is a small thing and slow, therefore it cannot hurt them. Try explaining that to the locomotive drivers on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, for example. A collision with one of their engines will certainly write off the car, but there is a fair probability that it will also kill the train driver ~ certain motorists don't seem to understand that point. [Mad]

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Darllenwr
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# 14520

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Apologies for the cross-post with Lord P above ~ same episode, different narrators.

Our internet connection is playing S.B.'s tonight on a grand scale, hence the cross post. It took 5 attempts to post it, and then it appeared twice. Irritating, or what?

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If I've told you once, I've told you a million times: I do not exaggerate!

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Enoch
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# 14322

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There used to be one that ran along what I think is the A1101 out of Wisbech. I never saw anything moving on it, but always hoped to see what would, I suppose, now be called a Toby.

There were also quite a lot of urban tramway sections around. There was a goods one worked by a diesel shunter through the streets of Great Yarmouth to the docks, and Bristol had a line that crossed the Floating Harbour and ran between the A4 and the docks and into a goods yard at Canon's Marsh.

Wantage and Stoney Stratford both had passenger ones, but they are long gone and I never saw either.

Another oddity that I never saw was that Ashby-de-la-Zouche once had a conventional electric tram with tramcars, which ran through open country, not through streets. Does that make it an inter-urban?

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PD
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# 12436

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
There used to be one that ran along what I think is the A1101 out of Wisbech. I never saw anything moving on it, but always hoped to see what would, I suppose, now be called a Toby.

There were also quite a lot of urban tramway sections around. There was a goods one worked by a diesel shunter through the streets of Great Yarmouth to the docks, and Bristol had a line that crossed the Floating Harbour and ran between the A4 and the docks and into a goods yard at Canon's Marsh.

Wantage and Stoney Stratford both had passenger ones, but they are long gone and I never saw either.

Another oddity that I never saw was that Ashby-de-la-Zouche once had a conventional electric tram with tramcars, which ran through open country, not through streets. Does that make it an inter-urban?

The "apply the brake and wait for the bang technique" was also common on the Tralee and Dingle and the Cavan and Leitrim. The T&Ds alarming habit of serving across the road to maintain the grade (it had long stretches of 1 in 29/30/31; 3.2% to 3.5% to Americans). Thankfully cars were rare enough on the Dingle peninsular that they did not score too many. A situation probably helped by the fact that regulat traffic on the T&D finished in 1947, leaving only the monthly cattle specials until 1953. The C & L in more prosperous Leitrim had far more difficulty with stray motorists.

According to my lights, the Manx Electric Railway is more like an American style interurban - an electric tramways running largely on its own right of way or a roadside reservation. The Ashby-de-la-Zouche and Isle of Bute lines were similar to the MER. None had any significant freight traffic, which is what to my mind puts them different into a different category to lines like the Tralee and Dingle, GSR/CIE Arigna Branch, and the Wisbeach and Upwell Tramway. The latter were really cheaply built feeders for the mainline railway systems. They were precursors of the "Light Railway" rather than true urban/interurban tramway systems.

Speaking of the Wisbeach and Upwell, it was indeed the origin of Toby the Tram engine. "Toby" was based on the J70 0-6-0 tram locomotives used on the line from c.1906 through to the 1950s. In the original drawings you could tell that Toby was meant to be a J70 because he had the three cab steps of the J70 rather than the two of the older Y6. The J70s and Y6s were also used on Yarmouth Docks, and a few other places where the GER/LNER needed tram locomotives. They had a go at replacing the J70s with Sentinal Steam Tractors, but that did not work out too well as it had insfficient water capacity.

The W&UT was built in the mid-1880s as a feeder to the GER system. It was an agricultural feeder line, and would have been built as a Light Railway had it been planned in the late 1890s. The line lost its passenger service in 1927, but stayed open until 1966 for freight. Until the late 1950s it used to handle some serious quantities of freight, mainly agricultral produce, but when that traffic deserted rail for road its viability was undermined. It hung on, mainly for coal traffic until 1966, then closed. FWIW, the diesel locomotive "Mavis" in the Thomas the Tank Engine stories was based on one of the Class 04 shunters sent to replace the tram engines in 1952. Apparently, the Rev W. Awdry lived that way on in the early 1950s.

Tram locomotives were originally required to have twin cabs, enclosed motions, bells, cowcatchers, and some method of silencing the noise of the safety valves. This tended to produce something that looked like a self-propelled brake van (caboose). Eventually the regulations were relaxed but the Wisbeach and Upwell's steam locomotives carried sideplates and twin cabs right up until closure. Other UK lines eventually used conventional locomotives continued fitted with cowcatchers and side plates. In Ireland the tram style features disappeared apart from the cowcatchers. The large expanses of frame at the front of many Irish narrow gauge locomotives were relics of the twin cab regulations.

PD

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daviddrinkell
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# 8854

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quote:
[snip] - I think we'll assume that the select band following this thread will have read the immediately preceding posts, and it is therefore not needful to quote them in full - Firenze, Anti-Scrolling Host
I think the Clogher Valley Railway in Ireland ran by the side of the road for much of its length.

I remember shunting taking place in the streets by the harbour in Great Yarmouth. My home town of Colchester also had lines along the quay, but I don't remember seeing a train on them. One of the ringers from St. Leonard's Church, where I was organist, used to get his bike wheels stuck in them on his way home from the pub of an evening.

Yes, the Manx Electric Railway has much of the look of an American tramway. It carried a little goods and had the mail contract until one winter when it closed and the mail went by road.

Revd. W. Awdry was Vicar of Emneth, Norfolk, which was on the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway - hence Toby.

For roadside tramways, the Belgian 'Vicinal' is an interesting study. The trams ran through the streets of towns, but in the country occasionally took off through the fields.

[ 23. December 2009, 09:13: Message edited by: Firenze ]

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David

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Darllenwr
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# 14520

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Prior to its closure by BR in 1956, the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway used to run through the streets of Welshpool, tramway fashion, in the sense that the railway did not have its own, fenced-off, reservation. The section known as 'The Narrows', where the railway ran over the top of the Lledan Brook before emerging between two shops to cross Church Street, must have been a particular hazard, as there was nothing to stop local residents using the boards as a shortcut from the Seven Stars to Church Street. Pictures of this length show lines of washing within 10 feet of the passing steam locomotives ~ cannot have been too popular with the local housewives!

The road crossing on Church Street was a recognised hazard ~ the railway emerged from between two shops (both 2 storey structures) crossed a (fairly narrow) pavement, and was straight onto the road. OK, so when the line was opened in 1903 this was not too much of a problem. By the time it closed in 1956 it had become a serious issue, not least because Church Street was also the A458 / A483 ~ the Shrewsbury - Mallwyd and Newtown - Oswestry roads respectively. This was the major reason that the local council refused the Preservation Company the use of the Town section when the line was re-opened, apart from a very few trains in 1963. From 1964 onwards, the line was truncated to Raven Square, which is its terminus today.

Saying that, from time to time, the council makes noises about inviting the railway back into the Town ~ they know a good tourist draw when they see one. Given that the Welshpool bypass has turned Church Street into a mere sideroad, the major objection to the Railway has disappeared. Whether the 'noises' will turn into anything substantive remains to be seen. Watch this space!

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If I've told you once, I've told you a million times: I do not exaggerate!

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Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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Some other roadside lines:

1. The Sintra-Atlantico near Lisbon, Portugal. This is a genuine tramway with vintage cars, starting in Sintra and running about 10 miles to the coast. It closed for some years in the 70s and looked very sad, however Stagecoach reopened it when it came to them in a job lot of newly-privatised bus companies. It is now owned by the local Council. It has been relaid and upgraded recently and runs for tourists, at weekends and probably more often during the summer.

2. The Sibiu-Rasinari tram in Romania. Again, a genuine tramway. This is the last relic of the Sibiu tramways, it closed some yearts ago but opened again in 1994, using ex-Geneva cars (not repainted and still with the original advertisements!) When I saw it a few years back it looked totally derelict and overgrown - imagine my surprise when I saw a tram coming along it! The cars are single-ended and turn on a Y at both ends. The service has steadily decreased and is now a rush-hour only service I believe. It can't be long for this world.

3. The Kecskemet lines in Hungary - not a tramway but a NG railway, much of it running along the roadside. Again, due for closure any time soon though there are hopes to sell it as a preserved railway. When I saw it about 8 years ago it still had freight, I believe it is passenger-only now. Trains on this and most Hungarian NG lines consist of a diesel shunter and one carriage. The timetable is weird with trains running at about 4 am. Some years ago a part of the line was relaid so it could cross a motorway!

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Enoch
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Some years ago a part of the line was relaid so it could cross a motorway!

Is that on the level? I like the idea of traffic being stopped on a motorway for a tram to cross.

Back in the days before motorways, there was a level crossing on the A5 (Watling Street) where the line from Leicester to Rugby crossed it. That was the Midland one, not the Great Central. A train crossing during daytime could generate a queue of over a mile.

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Baptist Trainfan
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That's what I can't remember, I'm afraid! I suggest looking on G**gle maps and following the line south from Kecskemet, it's not far. I can't do it as my Internet is very slow just now.

There are a couple of interesting crossings on preserved lines in Britain - the Mid-Norfolk in East Dereham has an unguarded crossing on a major intersection under a flyover; there is also a crossing on the Ring Road around Wallingford. And I'm sure a Dutch steam line crosses a dual-carriageway on the level. Sorry not to be more precise.

Near us in Melton the East Suffolk line crosses a main road on an unguarded crossing on a sharp bend. Trains stop at the station so are only travelling very slowly. I don't know if the speed limit applies to the weekly nuclear flasks train from Sizewell - though one of those hit a car near Leiston on the Aldeburgh branch a year or two back. How can you run into a train which only runs once a week? Presumably the driver thought the line was closed.

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Some years ago a part of the line was relaid so it could cross a motorway!

Is that on the level? I like the idea of traffic being stopped on a motorway for a tram to cross.

Back in the days before motorways, there was a level crossing on the A5 (Watling Street) where the line from Leicester to Rugby crossed it. That was the Midland one, not the Great Central. A train crossing during daytime could generate a queue of over a mile.

Until Pelham Bridge was built (1957?) Lincoln would come to a complete standstill as there was a level crossing to the immediate east and west of Lincoln Central station. To make things more interesting there was an umpteen way junction at the eastern end (plus lines to Ruston's and Robey's) so the city was cut in two regularly and often.

If you think level crossing can be tricky for road traffic, have a look at Gisborne Airport (third picture down).

[ 23. December 2009, 12:47: Message edited by: Sioni Sais ]

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The old Midland Railway of Canada/Grand Trunk/CN line through Peterborough ran right up the middle of Bethune Street with no reserved right-of-way. This was a standard-gauge main line, or rather branch line, but still full service.

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PD
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Cleethorpe* Road in Grimsby was pretty hellish until the fish traffic declined and the fly over was built in the late 1960s. With fish trains off the docks, shunting moves, and 50-70 passenger moves a day in/out of Cleethorpes the signalman must have been built like Popeye. To add to the fun, until the late-20s Grimsby and Cleethorpes Tramways crossed the GCR on the level at the same point. As is usual with British transport planning the flyover was built just at the time fish traffic was going over to road transport in the 1960s.

The roadside tramway that sticks in my mind is Wexford Quay where Dublin-Rosslare trains pick their way down the road at 5mph six times a day.

The Tralee and Dingle had a 12 mph speed limit when roadside and 25mph when it took to the fields. Similarly, the Wisbeach and Upwell trams were limited to 12ph, but were allowed disengage their speed governors when on reserved track. However, they tended not to bother as their line was almost entirely roadside.

One major problem for the roadside tramways once road transport took off was the speed limits imposed by the Board of Trade. Most were limited to originally 8, but later 12 mph when running on the roadside, which gave the early bus operators a tremendous advantage.

PD

* not a spelling mistake. The "s" was added to the name of the town c. 1875, the street in Grimsby retains the old spelling.

[ 23. December 2009, 16:38: Message edited by: PD ]

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This has reminded me that boat trains with passengers in them used to be worked through the streets and along the dockside in Weymouth.

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Horseman Bree
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According to one trainman, the shunting run up the street one street in, I think, Lindsay was blocked by the car owned by a guy who went into a local bar for his lunch. The crew went in to talk to him, and his answer was "I'm staying. You can move it if you want to" (witnessed to by the bartender)

So they used the locomotive to push the car out of the way. I'm told that CN sued the car owner for damage to the loco.

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Wesley J

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Brilliant! [Killing me]

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virtuous sloth
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quote:
Originally posted by PD:
I have always been intrigued by roadside tramways. They were never that plentiful in Britain, but Ireland, the Netherlands and France had quite a few. Unlike urban Trams which were electrically powered and usually in the street, these were steam driven and ran on a road side reservation. In the mainland UK context, where there was a handful of them, they look like one of those good ideas that never took off, I suspect because of the legislative structure imposed on them - The Tramways Act 1870 -which allowed for county/municipal buy-outs after 21 years. The Tramways Act (Ireland) 1883 gave the proprietors more security, hence the litany of tramways there:

Dublin and Lucan
Dublin and Blessington
Clogher Valley
Schull and Skibbereen
etc.

What confuses the issue a bit in Ireland is that a lot of the Irish Tramways renamed themselves "Railway" after they went broke the first time! Or hedged their bets by calling themselves "Light Railway and Tramway."

Unfortunately I am far too young to remember any of them with the exception of a couple of industrial light railways. The one between Grimsby and Immingham that at one time had parallel electric tramway, is the only one I remember with any clarity. The drivers on that line all used to swear that they were going to start painting little cars on the side of their engine cabs if they hit many more cars. Car drivers had this strange notion that a 50 ton class 08 shunter can stop on a sixpence and used to cut in front of moving trains - with occasional unfortunate results. Thanks to the 15mph speed limit no-oe was ever injured, but quite a few cars were written off! I assume this perennial hazard was one reason a lot of the old tramways closed.

PD

Interesting! In Melbourne, Australia, trams are a primary means of public transportation. According to Yarra Trams' website:

quote:
* Melbourne has the biggest tram network in the world with 249 kilometres of double track.
* There are more than 1770 tram stops across the network.
* Yarra Trams operates 27 tram routes and the free City Circle tourist tram:

from: http://www.yarratrams.com.au/desktopdefault.aspx

Most of them run on rails going down the middle of streets. Some lines are partitioned off from traffic in most places (like a median strip with trams running on it), while some lines (especially the older ones) seem to simply occupy a couple of tram-specific lanes right beside the lanes for cars.

Yes, they do hit cars on occasion, but I suspect it's usually the driver's fault. There are tram-specific traffic lights that give drivers plenty of warning about approaching trams, and the trams move a lot more slowly and predictably than the cars. But occasionally, a driver will ignore the signs of an approaching tram and / or try to dangerously "out-run" a tram as it is turning a corner. I've seen a couple of collisions like this. But the tram system seems to be designed well in regard to drivers who obey traffic signals and don't engage in reckless behavior.

quote:

* Around 80% of Melbourne’s tram network shares road space with other vehicles.
* The average speed of a tram is 16 km/h. Within the central business district this drops to 10 km/h.

More facts and figures on this part of the website:

http://www.yarratrams.com.au/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-47/74_read-117/

The trams are one of my favorite things about Melbourne.

[ 24. December 2009, 15:50: Message edited by: virtuous sloth ]

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PD
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Virtuous Sloth,

Britain also had a lot of electrically driven street tramways in the cities and larger towns. Even rural Lincolnshire, where I grew up had two systems - one in Lincoln, the other in Grimsby-Cleethorpes - but very few survived into the fifties and none survived beyond 1962 other than Blackpool-Fleetwood.

The sort of tramway that we were short of was the road side, interurban, steam drive, and freight hauling variety. They were reasonably plentiful in Europe and in Ireland, but not in Britain. I believe the legislative framework had something to do with this. The Tramways Act of 1870 allowed compulsory purchase by the City or Borough after 21 years; and then in 1896, the Light Railways Act passed which gave a cheaper and easier way of building railways and without the threat of local municipal buy-outs. Indeed, a some of the later street tramway construction in GB was done under Light Railway Orders rather than Tramway Orders because it was cheaper and easier.

PD

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chiltern_hundred
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Thank you for that information, virtuous sloth - Australia seems an even more appealing destination than it did already.

I have spent much of Christmas Day watching some of a boxed set of DVDs I bought ages ago about steam railways in Ireland, a subject on which PD has had a certain amount to say in the past.

The one on the narrow gauge was particularly interesting - an evocation of another age, almost another world. I find it extraordinary that some of these lines were so long and their locomotive power so large. The Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway must have been fascinating to ride on.

The terminus of one of the lines in the West of Ireland was a town where one could see, in the streets, the occasional nun, several ponies and traps, but no motor vehicles. This was sometime between the 30s and 50s. Like I say, another world.

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PD
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
This has reminded me that boat trains with passengers in them used to be worked through the streets and along the dockside in Weymouth.

The Weymouth tramway was worked by Cl.03 shunters IIRC apart from the Boat Train which was a Cl.33 gig. I hear tell that the Boat Train was preceeded by a posse of burly railway employees to remove obstructions from the track. I am told that they once pick a Citeron 2CV up bodily to get it out the danger zone.

PD

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Darllenwr
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In the context of electric tramways, I was wondering whether anybody know a bit more about the Kinver Light Railway, in particular whether there is anything published (and currently in print) about this unusual system. Built on (I believe) 3 foot 6 inch gauge, this was a street tram system for most of its length (it ran, I think, from Wednesbury to Kinver via Dudley, Brierley Hill, Stourbridge and Amblecote) but took to the fields for the last 3 or so miles from Amblecote to Kinver via Stourton.

In spite of having been dragged up in Stourbridge, I know next to nothing about the trams. I believe that they were taken out in the 1930's ~ certainly I cannot remember my father ever mentioning anything from personal memory about the trams, and he would have moved to Stourbridge (from Bristol) in 1936 or 37. Can anybody add any pertinent information?

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Metapelagius
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quote:
Originally posted by PD:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
This has reminded me that boat trains with passengers in them used to be worked through the streets and along the dockside in Weymouth.

The Weymouth tramway was worked by Cl.03 shunters IIRC apart from the Boat Train which was a Cl.33 gig. I hear tell that the Boat Train was preceeded by a posse of burly railway employees to remove obstructions from the track. I am told that they once pick a Citeron 2CV up bodily to get it out the danger zone.

PD

In an earlier age, when I enjoyed seaside holidays in Weymouth, the motive power was a Churchward outside cylinder pannier tank, fitted with a bell. Less problem with cars - there were far fewer of them.

Roadside tramways - would the Wisbech and Upwell count? There three rival forms of transport ran in parallel - road, rail and canal, though even when I first saw it the canal was derelict, and Outwell lock in the last stages of decay (c. 1964)

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y rof a duv. dagnouet.
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PD
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quote:
Originally posted by Metapelagius:
Roadside tramways - would the Wisbech and Upwell count? There three rival forms of transport ran in parallel - road, rail and canal, though even when I first saw it the canal was derelict, and Outwell lock in the last stages of decay (c. 1964)

To me the Wisbeach and Upwell is one of the archetypal roadside tramways. The canal had been ailing even before the W&UT was built. For a few years coal delivered by Tram and transhipped to be taken further into the Fens helped the canal to survive, but by 1916 it was a dead duck.

The other two public roadside tramways that I know of in England were the Alford and Sutton in Lincolnshire (2'6" gauge) and the Wolverton and Stony Stratford (3'6" gauge). Though there were plenty of industrial/private ones - including two in the parish I grew up in.

As I pointed out above, Roadside steam Tramways were more plentiful in Ireland where the 1883 Tramways Act (Ireland) did not include the 21 year Local Authority buy-out clause that made the English legislation unattractive to investors and promoters.

PD

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Legend has it that the Toronto Transit Commission's predecessors the Toronto Railway Company and the Toronto Civic Railway chose their unique streetcar gauge of 4 feet 10 7/8 inches so that standard gauge freight cars could not be operated in city streets.

Nobody knows if this is true, but Toronto never allowed its streetcar operators to run freight on city streets until very late in the radial railway era.

However Toronto's streetcar system still uses its unique gauge. This is one of many design considerations for the next generation of Toronto streetcar, the Bombardier Flexity Outlook. The intial order will be for 204 cars, and the final fleet will probably come in at 500 once the fleet fills out and proposed new lines are built.

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PD
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Conversely, the street tramways in Glasgow, Paisley, etc were built to the strange gauge of 4'7 3/4" to allows standard gauge wagons to run along the tram lines. The short wheelbase two-axle wagons favoured by British railways did fine on the tramways, and Glasgow Corporation Tramways had quite a sieline in delivering wagons of freight to various places around the city. To faciliate this they had a small fleet of electric locomotives with standard British drawing and buffering gear rather than the usual Tramway link and pin, or "Norwegian" couplers.

Glasgow also plays host to a four foot gauge subway system that was originally cable hauled. When Strathclyde PTE's livery was orange and black it was predictably referred to as the "Clockwork Orange." Mabbe still is for all I know.

PD

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Baptist Trainfan
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I also understand that Lisbon's street tramways (and there are still 5 lines running, hurrah, though not a patch on the system when I lived there in the late 70s)!) were regauged from standard gauge to 900mm early in the 1900s as the horse-bus operators had found they could run along the top of the rails and cream off their traffic. Their buses were too wide for the narrower gauge. (Presumably the rest of the road surfaces were pretty awful!)
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Enoch
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I've a sort of recollection of reading many years ago that back in the 1930s, a through sleeping car was regularly worked between two Paris termini in the middle of the night by taking it via an urban tramway route that took it round the Arc de Triomphe. Does anyone know whether there might be any truth in this?

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Baptist Trainfan
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I have no idea but it sounds far-fetched, especially as Paris was equipped with not one but two "Ceinture" lines around it (Petite and Grande).
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Corvo
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I've a sort of recollection of reading many years ago that back in the 1930s, a through sleeping car was regularly worked between two Paris termini in the middle of the night by taking it via an urban tramway route that took it round the Arc de Triomphe. Does anyone know whether there might be any truth in this?

I do not think there would be any need to do that as the Paris termini were/are linked by a 'ring' line anyway. Through trains (at least international ones) regularly arrived at one station and departed from another.
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Baptist Trainfan
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According to Wikipedia, the Petite Ceinture, which was mostly in a cutting, closed in 1934. There have been ideas to revive parts of it as a tramway, other bits are used for a RER suburban line. But the PC itself was a heavy rail system.
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Metapelagius
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The Petite Ceinture ran round the outer edge of Paris, and was linked to the various lines leading to the terminal stations, so that it would have been possible to move a train from one terminus to another easily. The passenger service, apart from a suburban service from Saint-Lazare to Auteuil (roughly the nw quadrant of the line) was withdrawn in the 1930s, as passenger numbers dropped to an uneconomic level. The impressive Viaduc du Point du Jour - a double deck structure carrying both road and rail - was demolished in the early 1960s, replaced by a road only bridge, breaking the complete circle. The service to Auteuil disappeared when the link from the PC to Invalides was resurrected as part of the RER.

This is a useful site for the history of the railways around Paris.

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y rof a duv. dagnouet.
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PD
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I am afraid my interest in French railways has never ventured far beyond the Breton Metre Gauge systems that disappeared in the 1960s. It looks as though I may have to broaden my horizons a little.

PD

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Baptist Trainfan
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Visiting Brittany this summer, I was surprised to discover that there was once a large number of long-defunct metre-gauge "departmental" lines that were not part of the better-known Reseau Breton. Most of them succumbed before the War. Some of them (eg Rosporden - Chateuneuf-le-Faou- Landivisiau - Plouescat were very lengthy and crossed the central mountainous spine of the area.

If you can get hold of the earliest "Railway Roundabout" videos (they have recently been reissued on DVD) there is a short section on the Cotes-du-Nord line and a long bit around Carhaix, Chateaulin and Camaret on the Reseau Breton. What a wonderful preserved line this would have made!

[ 30. December 2009, 15:47: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Mr. Spouse

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
If it's confession time, I have (though it was many years ago) taken advantage of the complete shut down of the entire network on Christmas Day to walk through a normally working tunnel, and on another to walk over a bridge.

Some people make that sort of thing an annual event! (Went this year, and very interesting it was too.)

Changing the subject, did anyone see the repeat of the 1995 BBC Great Railway Journeys yesterday, where Victoria Wood travelled from Crewe along the Cumbrian Coast, through Scotland and back via Whitby, the NYMR and York? (available on iPlayer - in the UK - for the next week)

Interesting to see the last days of Regional Railways and the running down of the system and stations. I found the section on Carnforth particularly fascinating. She was discussing with a former extra in Brief Encounter how tourists would enjoy coming to the station if it could be revived. That was the year before the Carnforth Railway Station Trust was formed, which in turn led to the construction of the visitor centre and 'Brief Encounter' cafe, which I have visited several times and recommend most highly. [Cool]

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