International Links in an Important Industrial Area
ON ONE OF THE WORLD’S FASTEST LINES. The Northern Railway of France claims some of the fastest steam-
THE Northern Railway of France rightly claims to be one of the most important of the world’s transportation undertakings. Although not the largest of the French railways, this line, in addition to operating a heavy passenger traffic in connexion with Anglo-
Founded in 1845, the Northern Railway of France originally consisted of a main line from Paris to the Belgian frontier, with branches to Calais and Dunkirk. In 1847 amalgamation was effected with the Creil to St. Quentin Railway, and in 1851 with the Amiens to Boulogne Railway. Two years later, the company obtained from the Belgian Government the valuable concession which it still exploits in Belgium, namely the Nord-
From 1875 to 1881 the Nord line undertook the working of a number of less important lines in the districts in which it operated the principal lines of communication, and at the end of the nineteenth century the company was constituted in its present form.
As is usual in France, the staff of the Northern line is divided up into three principal services. These are respectively the locomotive and rolling-
The locomotive and rolling-
The traffic department supervises the working staff at stations and yards. It has two sub-
From Paris via Amiens to Calais the company operates an important trunk route providing the quickest rail service for Anglo-
These two great international arteries are connected by cross-
ABOUT 2,500 MILES OF LINE are operated by the Northern Railway of France. The railway also controls over a hundred miles of line in Belgium. As this map shows, the Nord line serves the wealthy industrial area of north and north-
The remaining lines of the Northern Railway owe their importance to the resources of the districts served, and to the heavy traffic in passengers and merchandise carried to and from the mining districts, the large ports, and the areas with abundant agricultural production. One of these lines runs from Paris to Lille, diverging from the Paris-
The Northern Railway has always specialized in high speed for its long-
Trains classified as Rapides and Express serve the principal stations, notably between Paris and Lille, attaining similar high speeds. In addition, local services, offering connexions in heavily populated regions, are operated at speeds over fifty miles an hour where the distance between stations permits. Stopping time at stations has been reduced, and quicker acceleration obtained by special locomotive effort. The average speed of stopping trains has thus been improved from sixteen to twenty-
A DEEP CUTTING on the Northern Railway of France near Wimereux, three miles from Boulogne. The railway has sections of its line based on Boulogne, Calais, and Dunkirk, with routes leading towards Central and Southern Europe.
Recently the general application of continuous brakes to the majority of freight rolling-
Most of the large sorting sidings on the Northern Railway have recently been reconstructed on a new plan, avoiding duplication of shunting movements. The arrival roads are on a gradient, and all of them permit the formation of trains on other roads at lower levels, doing away with the need for engine power for shunting purposes.
The formation of outgoing trains is carried out at the other end of the sidings, built with a falling gradient and calling for a minimum of shunting-
The Northern Railway of France handles one of the densest traffics in Europe. Paris Nord Station carries at its peak period up to 150 movements per hour, and this on ten roads, which number is limited at present by local conditions. Great advances have been made by the Northern Railway of France in track construction and maintenance, and a journey over its main lines is now fully the equal in smoothness of the best in Great Britain. The rails are 24 metres (78 ft 9-
Block signalling is employed throughout, with repeater signals on the locomotives. A track device automatically engages a special whistle on the locomotive on passing a distant signal at “danger”. On a registering band of the speedometer, fitted to each engine, the speed is recorded, as well as the position of all distant signals passed. This control facilitates inquiry into bad running, and enables disciplinary measures to be taken. for any default. Automatic signalling has been introduced on many sections, but the heavy initial expense of such installations has prevented their general use.
LENS STATION, on the Northern system of France, is a striking example of modern French railway architecture. The town, noted for its coal mines, is situated near Arras, and was the scene of heavy fighting during the war of 1914-
The striking passenger train performances of the Northern Company are rendered possible by the employment of powerful “Super-
“Pacific” and “Atlantic” type locomotives are utilized for passenger train haulage on most of the Northern secondary routes. The Paris suburban services, until recently worked by tender engines with six-
A NORD EXPRESS LOCOMOTIVE. This “Super-
For its freight services, the Northern Railway principally uses superheated four-
The Northern line operates some of the finest passenger carriage stock in Europe. Recently, particular attention has been devoted to the placing in service of fireproof and collision-
The process does away with all rivets, reduces the weight of the vehicle, increases its solidity by causing the body to become virtually one block of steel, and suppresses the noise peculiar to all steel coaches of riveted construction after a period of use. For suburban haulage, the Northern Company utilizes comfortable vehicles, each seating from sixty-
As with railways all over the world, the Northern Railway of France has experienced considerable difficulty in connexion with unregulated road competition. With a view to meeting the situation, the company has set up an independent road-
The Northern Railway is largely interested in the social questions which arise in every large corporation. It is constantly increasing its activities in ameliorating the living conditions of its numerous staff. It has formed no fewer than thirty-
ON THE SUBURBAN LINES of the Northern Railway of France superheated tank engines are extensively used. The local services of this line have recently been much Improved, and speeds of over fifty miles an hour are common when the distance between stations permits. The photograph shows an all-
[From part 37, published 11 October 1935]