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Southern Railway
Carriage Restrictions


The following is an explanation of the term "Restriction" which is often applied to carriages - most frequently in terms such as "Restriction 4" or "Restriction 0".

The lines which the Southern Railway inherited in 1923 had been built by different companies over many decades, and the clearances through platforms, bridges and tunnels differed. Therefore the wider carriages had to be prohibited from routes with narrower tunnels (for example), for obvious reasons. The Southern Railway codified this in 1934 into a series of "Restrictions" which were applied to stock (in the form of plates at the end of each carriage).

The following more detailed information has been collected from Southern Railway Loco-Hauled Coaching Stock (SRLHCS) E-mail group discussions on this topic. Whilst much of the information is in the David Gould (Oakwood Press) and Mike King (OPC) books on Maunsell/Southern carriages and David Gould's LBSCR Bogie Carriages book, most of this data below is from Working Timetable Appendices (i.e. primary sources).


From Mike Watts:
As per the Southern Railway 1934 WTT Appendices, here they are in full:

RESTRICTED WORKING OF COACHING STOCK.

Southern Railway steam train coaching stock which must not work over certain portions of the Southern Railway, is indicated by a route restriction plate fixed on the end of each vehicle vis-

RESTRICTION 1.
Vehicles so marked may pass over all portions of the line except between:-
  (a) Grove Junction (Tunbridge Wells) and Battle.
  (b) Hastings and Winchelsea.

RESTRICTION 2.
Vehicles so marked may pass over all portions of the line except between:-
  (a) Grove Junction (Tunbridge Wells) and Battle.
  (b) Hastings and Winchelsea.
  (c) Tonbridge and Grove Junction (Tunbridge Wells).
  (d) Gipsy Hill and. Crystal Palace Low Level.

RESTRICTION 3.
Vehicles so marked may pass over all portions of the line except between:-
  (a) Grove Junction (Tunbridge Wells) and Battle.
  (b) Hastings and Winchelsea.
  (c) Tonbridge and Grove Junction (Tunbridge Wells).
  (d) Gipsy Hill and Crystal Palace Low Level.
  (e) Cooksbridge and Lewes.

RESTRICTION 4.
Vehicles so marked may pass over all portions of the line except between:-
  (a) Grove Junction (Tunbridge Wells) and Battle.
  (b) Hastings and Winchelsea.
  (c) Tonbridge and Grove Junction (Tunbridge Wells).
  (d) Gipsy Hill and Crystal Palace Low Level.
  (e) Cooksbridge and Lewes *.
  (f) Charlton and Plumstead.
  (g) Dartford and Strood.
  (h) Hawkesbury St. Junction and Archcliffe Junction (Dover) **.
* May work between Cooksbridge and Lewes providing no other train is allowed on the adjacent lines in Lewes Tunnel at the same time.
** May work between Hawkesbury Street Junction and Archcliffe Junction providing no other train is allowed on the adjacent line between those points at the same time.

RESTRICTION 5.
Vehicles so marked must be confined to the section of line which originally constituted the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway. They may not work between Gipsy Hill and Crystal Palace Low Level. They may not work on the Eastern and Western Sections of the Line.
Coaches Nos. 6926, 7638, 7639, 7640, 7642, 7643, and 7775 may not work between Gipsy Hill and Crystal Palace Low Level nor between Cooksbridge and Lewes.

RESTRICTION 6.
Vehicles so marked must be confined to the section of line which originally constituted the London & South Western and London Brighton & South Coast Railways. They must not work between Gipsy Hill and Crystal Palace Low Level.

Note:- No coaching stock, except open carriage trucks, may be allowed over the Canterbury West and Whitstable Harbour Goods Line.

Mike adds:
R0 stock could pass over any line, R1 any line but those mentioned, R2 over any line but R1 and R2 restricted lines, and so on, and so on.

For most purposes R0, R1 and R4 stock are all the ones you are likely to come across.


From Clive Standen:
A RESTRICTION 2A was added subsequently which applied to certain Pullman cars.

Restrictions 1-5 were physical based upon stock dimensions and 6 was an operational restriction and only applied to ex LSWR 'gate' stock.


From Glen Woods:
"Restriction 0" was never included in the original 1934 instructions (although both Mike King and David Gould imply that it was). It was introduced in a later amendment in No. 3 Supplement, dated 1st May 1936:-
RESTRICTION 0
Vehicles so marked are not subject to restriction except as between Canterbury West and Whitstable Harbour (see below).
NOTE: - No coaching stock, except open carriage trucks, may be allowed over the Canterbury West and Whitstable Harbour Goods Line.

In essence Restriction 0 carriages were 8' 3/4" wide over the body, Restriction 1 carriages were 8' 6" wide, and Restriction 4 carriages were 9' wide, although as explained below that is a slight simplification, since height, length and body profile also have an effect.

Over the years most route restrictions were eased, leaving only
Restriction 1 prohibited Grove Jcn-Battle
Restriction 4 prohibited Grove Jcn-Battle and Tonbridge-Grove Jcn

With Restriction 5 stock being withdrawn from service by January 1943, all other lines (excepting of course the Canterbury & Whitstable) were suitable for all stock up to and including Restriction 4. The Restriction 5 carriages were ex LBSCR 'Balloon' stock which, whilst only 8' 6" in width, were 12' 111/2" above rail level to the top of the high eliptical roof. The seven R5 coaches with additional restrictions were essentially The City Limited all first-class 'Balloon' set, which had an overall width of 9'.

The Isle of Wight, of course, did not need such a restriction system, since only stock suitable for use on the island was shipped across the Solent. Indeed sometimes it had to be specifically modified to reduce the overall height first.

The gentle curve of the Bulleid carriage side enabled an extreme width of 9' 3" at waist level, and this profile being quite advantageous in allowing the maximum space for seating inside the carriage was copied directly in the BR Mk.I design.

The SR Restriction 4 was thus essentially equivalent to the later BR "C1" clearance. A few early Southern Region Mk.Is, it appears, carried "Restriction 4" plates.

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