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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Will somebody explain (in railway terms of course) up and down lines. Up to where and down from where?
Not travelling by train much, I thought trains came into the platform from the right. I also notice that some lines on models are marked both up and down.
Thanks
 

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The early railways running into London used the term 'Up Line' to indicate which line took trains 'Up to London' and the 'Down line' was the one on which trains returned.

Railway Companies not connected to London, for example the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and the early Midland Railway, usually used their HQ as the reference point, so for the Midland trains heading towards their Derby HQ were the 'Up trains', until the extension to London was opened.

Lines that can be used by trains in either direction are 'Bi-directional' lines. Althought used in the past, it is only really in the last few decades that they have come into being on the UK as power signalling has developed. They have certain operating advantages or can replaced a number of lines with fewer lines due to their greater operational flexibility.

Hope this helps,
Regards,
John Webb
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you John that does help. Using a map right way up (N up) would have caused me to say Down to London (unless I was in Brighton of course). I presume that since my view is at odds with whomever did decide, that up must have been hierarchical instead.
Is it true to say that trains enter the platform from the right or is that mixed?
Thank you.
 

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QUOTE (Donone @ 23 Oct 2008, 15:06) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>....Is it true to say that trains enter the platform from the right or is that mixed?
Thank you.

It depends on the station/platform you are on.
 

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Most stations on simple double track lines have a platform on the outside of each track, so with left hand running the train will arrive from the right. Occasionally you see "island" platforms on double tracks, with a double-sided platform between the tracks and hence the train will arrive from the left.

Where there are four tracks there are two common arrangements for directions of running. If the tracks are "up, up, down, down" then there will most likely be an island between the two up tracks and another between the down tracks. Trains arrive from the left and right on opposite sides of each island. If the tracks are "up, down, up, down" then there are more likely to be two side platforms and an island and again all the trains will arrive from the right. There are of course many exceptions to this!

At major stations all bets are off. There can be many platforms on either side of the lines and it is common also for the same track to be used in both directions.
 

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QUOTE (Donone @ 23 Oct 2008, 15:06) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thank you John that does help. Using a map right way up (N up) would have caused me to say Down to London (unless I was in Brighton of course). I presume that since my view is at odds with whomever did decide, that up must have been hierarchical instead.....

It appears that the railways adopted accepted road transport practice when saying 'Up to London'. But in Scotland the various companies agreed that trains moving Southwards geographically were the 'Up' trains. The Edinburgh and Glasgow line (running East/West) decided that trains running to Edinburgh were the 'Up' ones. (Information from "The Oxford Companion to British Railway History" by Simmons and Biddle, OUP 1997.)

Regards,
John Webb
 
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