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UK: Last 'Slam-Door' Trains Bite the dust

UK: Last 'Slam-Door' Trains Bite the dust

Old Jun 7th, 2005, 06:05 AM
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UK: Last 'Slam-Door' Trains Bite the dust

Britain is famous for its 'slam-door' trains, like the ones often seen in old movies where each row of seats has its own door and thus when the train arrives there is a cacaphonous din of train doors opening and slamming shut. Press reports indicate that the last of these delightful relics, running on Southeast London commuter service to/from Kent will soon be sent to the scrap heap of history, being replaced by modern coaches with conventional doors at each end of the carriage. Slam-door trains had been targeted for elimination long ago because of several complaints, including safety of women riding during off-peak and thieves who could exit too easy. the doors also often had to be slammed shut by the conductor before the train could depart. Ticket dodging was also easier with the ability to exit as the conductor worked his way down the train.
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Old Jun 7th, 2005, 06:36 AM
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I gather there aren't many, or any, champions of these pieces of equipment as there are for the Routemaster busses???? Or, if there are, will they suddenly emerge and be heard?
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Old Jun 7th, 2005, 06:38 AM
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The "slam door" commuter trains are being replaced with trains with sliding doors which are opened by pushing a button. These are not at the ends of the carriage, but each carriage usually has two sets of doors about one-third and two-thirds of the length of the carriage. Commuter trains need lots of doors because lots of people need to get on and off at the stops which are usually frequent. The "slam door" commuter trains were seen as unsafe because they are built largely of wood, so would disintegrate easily in a crash. Train crashes are, of course, extremely rare and even these carriages are statistically much safer than cars.
Some long-distance inter-city trains still have slam doors at each end of the carriages, though these now have locks activated by the train guard.
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Old Jun 7th, 2005, 06:50 AM
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Yes sorry about mistake - most commuter trains seem to have doors like you say. The InterCity trains with 'slam shut doors' are perplexing for tourists upon first encounter as they frantically find they cannot open the door from the inside - as you say many of these are now operated by conductor but i still see older models where you actually have to lean out the window to open the door. In any case the slam-door trains were part of the attraction to me in British trains and the newer ones, though better designed, etc lack the uniqueness once found in British trains.
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Old Jun 7th, 2005, 06:50 AM
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Intrepid: Routemasters have an inherent value as a method of transport in a busy city, in addition to being of iconic design and as indicative of London as Big Ben, Tower Bridge, black cabs and Pearly Kings and Queens(!).

Slam door trains have no value and should have been scrapped many, many years ago. As someone who has to occasionally take that line and sit on those dirty, filthy trains, I can't wait to see them go.

I wonder why the (beloved) EU sees fit to condemn Routemasters and not these trains, which are far more dangerous....? I have my theories...
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Old Jun 7th, 2005, 07:30 AM
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The story that Routemaster buses have been banned by the EU is another of the Euro-myths that British people like to believe. The safety problem of Routemaster buses is the open platform at the rear. If the buses were fitted with doors, they would still be quite safe and could continue operating. However, they need to have a conductor as well as a driver, even though the conductors no longer have to sell tickets, and they are unsuitable for buggies and wheelchairs which can be accommodated on modern buses. I like the Routemasters, but I can understand why they need to be replaced. I'm sure they will continue to be used for sightseeing trips and special services for tourists.
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Old Jun 7th, 2005, 07:32 AM
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Electrically operated doors are the excuse de la semaine for delayed trains.

They have more things to go wrong - so they do, and train sets get stuck inthe wrong place. They have a built in delay, so stops at each station take longer (We used to jump off before the train had stopped. Now we hang round the door, pushing the button and getting irritated). And they increase the electrical load on the line, which - especially in the SE, with its thiird-rail system - apparently leads to shorts.

Oh, and electric-door trains cost more. The argument for them was that idiots kept falling out. At least one a year - and they were normally football supporters anyway. Now, like the preposterous ID card scheme, there's a new reason for having them every week.

But they still slow trains down.
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Old Jun 7th, 2005, 07:55 AM
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Slam door trains were supposed to be withdrawn from service following the deaths of 35 people in the Clapham junction rail crash of 1988.

That it has taken 17 years, is primarily due to lack of investment, Firstly by the Government, and then by the railway companies following privatisation.

I am not sad to see the back of them. I am interesrted in the satistic about one person a year is killed falling out of the doors. Even more suprised that this is attributed to football fans (I have gone to away football matches for many years, nearly always on trains - and have never fallen out of a door )
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Old Jun 7th, 2005, 07:59 AM
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Rode Routemaster last Sep and it was so crowded i had to stand just inside the door - am surprised that more people don't fall out as i had to tightly grasp the railing to stay upright as the bus started up and stopped. Sorry these relics are going - love the way the conductor pulls the cord to tell the driver to get moving.
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Old Jun 8th, 2005, 10:20 AM
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Southwest Trains replaced its 155 slam door trains this spring, with the last running running May 26, 2005. The only remaining slam-door trains in operation of 35 operated by South eastern and Southern Trains in Kent and sussex but these will be replaced this summer, slamming the door for once and all on the slam-door trains in Britain.
(see Guardian May 27, 2005)
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Old Jun 8th, 2005, 10:32 AM
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Fortunately, all is not lost for folks who have some nostalgic attachment to the slam door trains. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has granted exemptions to enable twelve heritage/charter train companies, and other operators of Mark 1 rolling stock, to continue to run stock without central door locking (CDL).

English Welsh and Scottish Railways (EWS), Fragonset Railways, Hastings Diesels, North Yorkshire Moors Railway Enterprises, Riviera Trains, Scottish Highland Railway Company, Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust, Railfilms, Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE), Northern Belle, Scottish Railway Preservation Society Railtours, Wessex Trains, West Coast Railway Company - and Network Rail as infrastructure controller in respect of such rolling stock operations - can now continue to operate such stock subject to conditions.
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