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Loco Working practice of coal trains





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#1 treggyman

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 23:38

Hi All
I am thinking of doing something S & D. I hasten to add build a layout.

I had in mind an colliery/exchange siding layout.Not based on an actual site but S & D inspired.

My query relates to the working practice of loco's that would have worked these services.

I am assuming that empties ran from Bath to the coalfield in North Somerset,& then ran back to Bath with loaded wagons,rather than run to Bournemouth.

This being the case the trains would have been tender loco hauled.I have pictures of empty trains running from Bath nose first.For the return journey would the loaded train loco have been turned somewhere or did they run tender first 'till they could be turned or ???

Space dictates that I could only fit in a single line ( I realise that the track in the North Somerset area was double),but Ideally I should like to base the model on Henstridge,(wrong location altogether but I LOVE IT) with some exchange sidings coming from an offscene colliery.

The idea being the idyllic country setting with a busier than prototypical operation.

But would the locos run loaded nose first or tender first bearing in mind the gradients on the S & D & the effect of smoke etc on the crew? or if they were turned how & where?



Any suggestions/help/thoughts/etc more than welcome



#2 Chris Nevard

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 08:57

Get your self Radstock Coal & Steam (books 1 and 2) by Chris Handley. They're a great resource if you're interested in coal and the SDJR.
Locos that ran in and out of the collieries in BR days were either privately owned as at Midsomer Norton or Jinties ('Bagnalls' as they were called on the S&D).

On the mainline the chief player was the SDJR 7F (Bachmann) or in later years the LMS 8F. Various other engines were tried but whilst they had the power lacked the breaking power for the downhill bits. The 'Bagnalls' were used as bankers on fully loaded trains.

All shots on the mainline of coal trains I've seen are boiler first, I'm not sure of precise workings without reading up though.

As you know the line was single between Midford and Bath, you'd only have to move the coal field north by a few miles. There was genuine talk of a station between Midford and Bath (Lyncombe?), pop on those rose tinted specs and you can see it on all the old maps ;)

#3 The Stationmaster

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 09:10

From the Appendix it is clear that tender first running took place between Radstock & Bath as there was an Instruction that a second engine was not to be coupled in front of a loco running tender first through Combe Down tunnel when working trains.

#4 RailWest

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 10:31

"There was genuine talk of a station between Midford and Bath (Lyncombe?)...."

I understood that the intention was to locate it between Combe Down tunnel and Tucking Mill viaduct.

Perhaps the model could use some variation of one of the various schemes for (light) railways to diverge somewhere in the Midford area to serve the coalfields in the Camerton area? Dependign upon your chosen period, then you could imagine that a link to the GWR Camerton branch did go ahead, and that northbound coal traffic went out via the S&D rather than Limpley Stoke (if BR era, then after closure of the GWR line).

Edited by RailWest, 22 October 2011 - 18:29 .


#5 buffalo

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 10:44

Coal trains from Radstock and Norton Hill ran both north to Bath and south to Evercreech Junction where 7Fs could be turned on the turntables. 7Fs did sometimes work tender first though photos are rare. Ivo Peters mentions that 7Fs on Templecombe to Bath freights had to run tender first to Evercreech where they were turned. If they ventured further south on freight trains then, presumably, they would have to be turned at the Branksome triangle. Its my impression that most coal and other freight south of Evercreech was handled by 4Fs, though there was a Bath to Poole freight that usually started behind a 7F, but I'm not sure if or where the engines were changed.

Nick

edit: a couple of examples of 7Fs running tender first on freight trains on the Evercreech Junction to Bath section can be found in the Middleton Press Bath to Evercreech Junction volume. Fig 105 shows 53802 apparently heading north at Shepton Mallet on 5/10/1951 (it is on the main line, though it may be shunting), and Fig 113 shows 53803 with a train of empty minerals leaving the junction on 11/9/1957.

Edited by buffalo, 23 October 2011 - 13:03 .


#6 treggyman

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 15:09

Hi Chris Nevard,The Stationmaster,RailWest & buffalo,

Thanks for the replies.Very informative.

Certainly sounds like an idea to either move the coal field North or build the proposed station or combine the two ideas.Certainly food for thought.
I'll have to get the maps out & have a look!

I'd not seen pictures of double headed goods/coal trains,so I had always assumed assistance would be from a banker;certainly although working tender first was not pleasant, working through tunnels it might have been more pleasant for the loco crew.

Any more info always appreciated,

Thanks again

Bill

#7 RailWest

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 18:41

The 1960 SA describes banking arrangements only for Freight trains in the Down direction between Bath Junction and Combe Down tunnel, and Radstock to Masbury summit, and for Up trains from Evercreech Jcn to Binegar.

The SA instruction about double-heading mentioned previously simply talks about 'trains' without differentiating between passenger or goods. Although it is not specific as to direction, as it talks about trains "between Radstock and Bath" then I assume that it is referring to Up trains - this would seem logical, as Down trains would be going with the gradient and therefore not working hard - but it may well be that the restriction was meant to apply for both directions. No doubt somewhere a photo lurks to disprove that theory!!

#8 buffalo

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 19:30

I have always assumed, on no particular evidence, that the restriction applied in both directions.

...Down trains would be going with the gradient and therefore not working hard...

They would have been working hard through Devonshire tunnel and, for the first part of Combe Down tunnel would still be working to lift their loads over the summit which was at the entrance of the tunnel.

That said, it may be irrelevant to the OP's interest in freight working where, unlike passenger services, banking was the norm, not double-heading. I don't recall ever seeing a photo of a double-headed freight (I won't say it never happened...). There is one example that doesn't really count where a Radstock Bagnall was attached to the front of a train for the trip up to Midsomer Norton where it would detach and deal with empties into and loaded wagons out of Norton Hill colliery.

Nick

#9 queensquare

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 21:45


That said, it may be irrelevant to the OP's interest in freight working where, unlike passenger services, banking was the norm, not double-heading. I don't recall ever seeing a photo of a double-headed freight (I won't say it never happened...). There is one example that doesn't really count where a Radstock Bagnall was attached to the front of a train for the trip up to Midsomer Norton where it would detach and deal with empties into and loaded wagons out of Norton Hill colliery.

Nick


I have a picture of a pair of Bulldogs (3F's) climbing Bath bank with a freight c.1920 - very much in the Midland style. That said, its the only picture I can think of that shows a freight being double headed.

Jerry
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#10 buffalo

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 00:07

Thanks, Jerry! I knew if I said that someone would be able to come up with an example of double-heading. Anyone have any more recent examples?

Nick

#11 Dazzler Fan

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 19:06


From an initial look-see:-

Bradford Barton, Richardson's, "Steam on the Somerset & Dorset"

P23 shows a southbound coal train with a banker, from Binegar, climbing to Masbury Summit.
I don't think the North Somerset Coalfield was considered good steam coal, and southbound
could have been steam coal being delivered from other coalfields. [In the same series
"Great Western South of the Severn" has several examples of southbound coal trains via
Limpley Stoke.]

P34 shows two tender first 0-6-0's returning with a good rake of Passenger coaches from Highbridge.

P36 shows a tender first 7F No.53810 tender first on an Evercreech Junctoon- Templecombe pick-up goods in 1963

I don't think this was only on the northern section of the line. On p65 has a 22xx Passenger Train running tender first from Bailey Gate to Templecome in the 1960's



#12 buffalo

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 20:15

...P23 shows a southbound coal train with a banker, from Binegar, climbing to Masbury Summit.

As previously mentioned, banking was standard practice on this part of the route and is seen in many photos.

I don't think the North Somerset Coalfield was considered good steam coal, and southbound
could have been steam coal being delivered from other coalfields...

Yes, I understand that a high proportion of the output went to gas works and, in later years, to power stations. Again, as previously mentioned, in BR days, coal trains ran south from Radstock (coal from Writhlington) and Norton Hill colliery at Midsomer Norton. There are earlier examples of coal from further north seen on southbound trains on the Somerset & Dorset. For example, a couple of photos from the 1930s in Stephen Austin's The Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway: a View from the Past, show 7Fs (13807 and 13810) on mixed freights with a high proportion of private owner coal wagons, including some identifiable as Bolsover collieries (Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire). Of course, in BR days with standardised mineral wagons, it is rather more difficult to tell where the coal came from, unless details of the particular working are given in the photo caption.

P34 shows two tender first 0-6-0's returning with a good rake of Passenger coaches from Highbridge.

That photo actually shows a 7F 2-8-0 and a 4F 0-6-0 on a Home Counties Railway Soc special in 1964. A couple of pages earlier they are shown heading north towards the tunnels and Bath boiler-first. They are running tender-first here because there were no facilities for turning on the branch. The turntable at Highbridge works does not seem to have been much used since the works closed in 1930. Tender-first running was common on the branch for this very reason.

P36 shows a tender first 7F No.53810 tender first on an Evercreech Junctoon- Templecombe pick-up goods in 1963

Again as mentioned previously, this was common practice on this part of the route because the 7Fs were too big for the Templecombe turntable and could only be turned at Evercreech. What is strange about this train is that it appears to be carrying a class A headcode rather than the usual S&DJR freight code :scratchhead: *

I don't think this was only on the northern section of the line. On p65 has a 22xx Passenger Train running tender first from Bailey Gate to Templecome in the 1960's.

Indeed, the point I was trying to make earlier was that it was relatively rare on freight trains on the northern section. This photo is of the Bailey Gate to Templecombe milk train, so a little OT, however I suspect the reason is simply that as Bailey Gate had no turning facilities, it was easier to run one half of the trip tender-first than to send the engine off on a long trip to be turned. Again, this train appears to be carrying a class A headcode... :scratchhead:

Nick

* I've since found other examples of this headcode: a pickup goods in 1958 and a permanent way train in 1912...

#13 bike2steam

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 12:01

Indeed both Blandford gas works, and the Admiralty pumping station at Bailey Gate took Somerset coal.

Edited by bike2steam, 24 October 2011 - 12:01 .

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#14 Captain Kernow

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 13:05

Perhaps the model could use some variation of one of the various schemes for (light) railways to diverge somewhere in the Midford area to serve the coalfields in the Camerton area?

you could imagine that a link to the GWR Camerton branch did go ahead

This is my take on re-writing history in that part of the world.. :D
http://www.enginewood.co.uk/
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#15 johnofwessex

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 20:52

As previously mentioned, banking was standard practice on this part of the route and is seen in many photos.

Yes, I understand that a high proportion of the output went to gas works and, in later years, to power stations. Again, as previously mentioned, in BR days, coal trains ran south from Radstock (coal from Writhlington) and Norton Hill colliery at Midsomer Norton. There are earlier examples of coal from further north seen on southbound trains on the Somerset & Dorset. For example, a couple of photos from the 1930s in Stephen Austin's The Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway: a View from the Past, show 7Fs (13807 and 13810) on mixed freights with a high proportion of private owner coal wagons, including some identifiable as Bolsover collieries (Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire). Of course, in BR days with standardised mineral wagons, it is rather more difficult to tell where the coal came from, unless details of the particular working are given in the photo caption.

 

 

Interesting

 

I was wondering how much - if any 'non Somerset' coal the S&D carried - it seems that it carried some - logical considering that it connected to harbours at Highbridge &  Poole, also of course the Somerset Coalfield was a small one & I have seen a picture of a PO wagon owned by a coal merchant in Frome with a return to a colliery in the Forest of Dean despite Radstock being 12 miles away.

 

So does anyone know more?



#16 JZ

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 13:33

Interesting

 

I was wondering how much - if any 'non Somerset' coal the S&D carried - it seems that it carried some - logical considering that it connected to harbours at Highbridge &  Poole, also of course the Somerset Coalfield was a small one & I have seen a picture of a PO wagon owned by a coal merchant in Frome with a return to a colliery in the Forest of Dean despite Radstock being 12 miles away.

 

So does anyone know more?

Can't answer your question, but coal from different areas had different characteristics and uses, so it is entirely possible.



#17 w124bob

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 21:37

Here is some insparation, a 3f shunting Writhlington appears about halfway through.

Edited by w124bob, 06 November 2018 - 21:41 .


#18 phil_sutters

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 00:22

Highbridge and, more importantly, Bridgwater imported coal from South Wales. It was mainly steam or loco coal, for which certain South Wales collieries were famous, for use on the S&D and LSWR. There was also culm or anthracite slack, which seems to have been used in kiln firing. There was a processing plant for that on Highbridge Wharf, using a building that had previously been used for processing peat into brickettes.  The more important traffic from Wales into Highbridge was steel in the form of rails. The S&D's ships also carried general goods, and especially grain, often imported into the Welsh ports as return cargoes balancing outgoing coal shipments. 

For more information on the S&D's ports and shipping please see Chris Handley's excellent 'Maritime Activities of the Somerset & Dorset Railway'.