Train GraphicClick on the map to explore geographics
 
I need help
FAQ
Emergency
About .
Travel & transport from BBC stories as at 15:55 03 Dec 2022
* Viking Polaris: Passenger killed after 'rogue wave' hits cruise ship
- Rail strike is cancelled - at the cost of paid sick leave
Read about the forum [here].
Register [here] - it's free.
What do I gain from registering? [here]
 30/03/23 - Railfuture Annual, Leeds

No 'On This Day' events reported for 3rd Dec

Train RunningCancelled
19:04 Bristol Temple Meads to Filton Abbey Wood
19:35 Swindon to Westbury
19:53 Filton Abbey Wood to Bristol Temple Meads
Short Run
14:30 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour
18:23 Portsmouth Harbour to Cardiff Central
19:29 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour
20:29 Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour
04/12/22 00:01 Wokingham to Gatwick Airport
04/12/22 06:11 Gatwick Airport to Guildford
Delayed
13:15 Plymouth to London Paddington
14:41 Gloucester to Westbury
PollsThere are no open or recent polls
Abbreviation pageAcronymns and abbreviations
Stn ComparatorStation Comparator
Rail newsNews Now - live rail news feed
Site Style 1 2 3 4
Next departures • Bristol Temple MeadsBath SpaChippenhamSwindonDidcot ParkwayReadingLondon PaddingtonMelksham
Exeter St DavidsTauntonWestburyTrowbridgeBristol ParkwayCardiff CentralOxfordCheltenham SpaBirmingham New Street
December 03, 2022, 03:56:14 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Forgotten your username or password? - get a reminder
Most recently liked subjects
[277] Advent Quiz - December 2022
[70] Growing Rail Revenue
[65] Vivarail in financial difficulties
[53] Privately owned funicular railway.
[51] "Just keep playing trains" - railways as mental health therapy...
[30] Why does Cholsey bridge have such a tall hump?
News: the Great Western Coffee Shop ... keeping you up to date with travel around the South West
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar Login Register  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: OTD - 23rd January (1947) - Start of the big freeze  (Read 581 times)
grahame
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 37298



View Profile WWW Email
« on: January 22, 2022, 09:29:56 pm »

"We don't have winters like that any more ..."

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_of_1946-47_in_the_United_Kingdom

Quote
The winter of 1946–1947 was a harsh European winter noted for its adverse effects in the United Kingdom. It caused severe hardships in economic terms and living conditions in a country still recovering from the Second World War. There were massive disruptions of energy supply for homes, offices and factories. Animal herds froze or starved to death. People suffered from the persistent cold, and many businesses shut down temporarily. When warm weather returned, the ice thawed and flooding was severe in most low-lying areas.

Beginning on 23 January 1947, the UK (United Kingdom) experienced several cold spells that brought large drifts of snow to the country, blocking roads and railways, which caused problems transporting coal to the electric power stations. Many had to shut down, forcing severe restrictions to cut power consumption, including restricting domestic electricity to nineteen hours per day and cutting some industrial supplies completely. In addition, radio broadcasts were limited, television services were suspended, some magazines were ordered to stop publishing, and newspapers were reduced in size. These measures, on top of the low temperatures, badly affected public morale and the Minister of Fuel and Power, Emanuel Shinwell, became a scapegoat; he received death threats and had to be placed under police guard. Towards the end of February, there were also fears of a food shortage as supplies were cut off and vegetables were frozen into the ground.

See also
https://blog.metoffice.gov.uk/2017/01/26/winter-1947-brought-a-freeze-to-post-war-britain/
https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/learn-about/weather/case-studies/severe-winters
« Last Edit: January 22, 2022, 09:56:44 pm by grahame » Logged

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
broadgage
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 5087



View Profile
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2022, 04:19:34 am »

The shortage of electricity was slightly alleviated by the use of moored diesel electric submarines to supply electricity to ports and coastal towns. Only in general applicable to places that used DC (Direct Current) supply.

The submarine crews hated this as the considerable air flow needed by the engines resulted in a freezing cold draught throughout the vessel, for days on end.

Known as operation blackcurrant.
Logged

A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
IndustryInsider
Data Manager
Hero Member
******
Posts: 9479


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2022, 08:33:13 am »

"We don't have winters like that any more ..."

We certainly don't seem to, though 1963, 1981 and (to an extent) 2010 were no too far away.  As every year passes the chances reduce, though it's still not impossible.  With twelve years since any significant falls, you can bet the railways will grind to a halt in the south when the next one does arrive.
Logged

To view my GWML (Great Western Main Line) Electrification cab video 'before and after' video comparison, as well as other videos of the new layout at Reading and 'before and after' comparisons of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/
didcotdean
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 1372


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2022, 11:05:34 am »

Since 1963, the Central England Temperature series has recorded a mean negative value for a month only three times: January 1979, February 1986, and December 2010.

My grandad was a Midland Red bus driver in 1948 and he used to tell stories of how he helped reach villages that had been cut off for 3-4 weeks, with a snow plough fitted on the front of the bus.
Logged
stuving
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 6517


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2022, 02:13:18 pm »

I'm not sure there is a single date when the severe weather of 1947 started, even in a single place, let alone the whole country. It was already a cold winter with disruption to rail services before Christmas. So when did "bad" cross the line to become "severe", or does it need to be "very severe"? And who's judging?

For example, on 7th January the Liverpool Echo was reporting nationwide power cuts after three days of bad weather:
"Starting with a 5 per cent. reduction at 8 a.m., the cuts were increased in stages to 15 per cent., but after a short time 1.5 per cent. cut continued until noon.  Liverpool was more fortunate than some districts where a complete "cut-out" was made, and many breakfasts were cold."

Note the linguistic point that at this date "power cut" means a power reduction, achieved by voltage reductions and agreed turning off of big industrial loads. "Complete cut-out" or "black-out" were used for what we would call a power cut. Plus of course the electricity supply was still recovering from the war, so power cuts (or black-outs) were still quite common in a "normal" winter.

The later flooding has a much clearer start date, at least for a given place - 14th March in Reading. Talking of which (and climate change) I was at one of the Environment Agency's meet-the-people events about the Reading/Caversham flood barrier and came across this guy who was convinced there would never be another Thames flood. His "reasoning" was that we would not get much snow, due to warming, and the last big flood was due (only in part, actually) to snow melt. I got drawn into trying to put him right, which was of course pointless, and just led to him thinking I was EA staff (they were under strict instructions to avoid anything resembling an argument, even at the cost of not putting the arguments across).

One point I was trying to make was that the biggest known flood (based on flow measurements) was in 1894, and was in early November. No snow involved - just three days of heavy rain in the Thames catchment - and with negligible benefit of global warming, too. But there is still a memory of 1947 (partly inside living people), and none of 1894 (and surprisingly few photos).
« Last Edit: January 24, 2022, 10:59:58 am by stuving » Logged
broadgage
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 5087



View Profile
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2022, 05:00:04 am »

The more modest levels of "power cut" such as 5% do indeed almost certainly refer to voltage reductions.
Not certain about 15% though as that is an improbably large voltage reduction.

Voltages were not standardised in that era and varied from one district to another, there was still a fair bit of DC (Direct Current).

A 15% reduction would prevent proper operation of many appliances, especially under worst case conditions such as an already rather low voltage before the reduction.

Worst case might be a nominal 200 volt supply that was already down to  an actual 190 volts at  the intake, and down to 185 volts at the point of use. A further 15% reduction would result in only about 160 volts at the point of use.

A 200 volt lamp run at 160 volts will give a truly miserable light and tempt most consumers to use extra lamps or higher wattage bulbs, thereby increasing consumption.
A 200 volt heater run at 160 volts will be significantly less effective and prompt use of an extra heater if available.
Electric motors would be at risk of stalling and perhaps burning out.
Fluorescent lamps might fail to start.
Logged

A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
stuving
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 6517


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2022, 10:55:19 am »

The more modest levels of "power cut" such as 5% do indeed almost certainly refer to voltage reductions.
Not certain about 15% though as that is an improbably large voltage reduction.

Quite so - that's why I referred to "voltage reductions and agreed turning off of big industrial loads". The Echo made the same point later in its piece, describing events in various surrounding areas, for example:
"There was no actual cut-off in the supply of electricity in the Birkenhead area to-day, and the Echo is officially informed that the necessary saving was effected by lowering the voltage and by the co-operation of industries."

In addition, I think you have taken those figures of 5 per cent etc. as reductions in voltage - which I did initially too. But when read carefully, it becomes clear that they are literal power reductions. Of course disconnecting a big single load is easier to include in the count of savings that way.
Logged
Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

 
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit www.gwr.com for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link). Forum hosted by Well House Consultants

Jump to top of pageJump to Forum Home Page