Kit-bash a slip coach

The slip coach was a purely Bri­tish rail­way op­er­a­tion and one which, in the­ory at least, de­fied all normal safe op­er­at­ing prac­tices. Chris Leigh shows you how to cre­ate one from a Hornby model.

Model Rail (UK) - - News -

the slip coach was a typ­i­cally bri­tish in­ven­tion. chris Leigh shows you how to cre­ate one from a hornby model.

A or­der­slip coach was a spe­cially equipped ve­hi­cle that was de­tached from the rear of an ex­press pas­sen­ger train in to serve an in­ter­me­di­ate sta­tion with­out stop­ping the main train. It was first prac­tised by the Lon­don Brighton & South Coast Rail­way at Hay­wards Heath in 1858 and was sub­se­quently adopted by sev­eral other com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing the Great Cen­tral and the Great West­ern. It was a prac­tice which went against normal safe op­er­at­ing. Af­ter sev­eral se­ri­ous in­ci­dents of trains be­com­ing di­vided, no­tably on the High­land Rail­way, all pas­sen­ger trains had to have con­tin­u­ous brakes. From that time, if a train di­vided ac­ci­den­tally, both parts would nor­mally be stopped by the part­ing of the con­tin­u­ous brake hoses. In slip­ping a coach or coaches, the train is de­lib­er­ately di­vided with the con­tin­u­ous brake over­rid­den by spe­cial valves which sealed the part­ing hoses. These valves pre­vented the main train from be­ing slowed or stopped as the slip­ping took place, while the valve on the slip coach would let the guard re­store the vac­uum and ap­ply the brakes as nec­es­sary, al­low­ing the coach to roll to a stop ei­ther at the sta­tion plat­form or at a des­ig­nated point, from which it would be col­lected by the sta­tion pi­lot. The pur­pose of slip­ping was to al­low in­ter­me­di­ate sta­tions to be served by an ex­press with­out stop­ping or slow­ing the main train. The big dis­ad­van­tage was that there was no way of re­vers­ing the process for the re­turn­ing train go­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion. It had to stop so the slip coach could be reat­tached. Pas­sen­gers in the slip coach were also un­able to ac­cess the refreshmen­t ve­hi­cle or din­ing car in the main por­tion, as

This was my orig­i­nal slip coach, built when I was a teenager, us­ing some Kit­mas­ter parts and home-made brass sides. It still has the wheelsets, with their mas­sive fly­wheels.

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