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The Up Mail





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#1 lakeview770

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 07:08

Hi We're a small group of American modelers who have decided to have a go at a British layout and are still bouncing ideas off the walls. To furher our research we are looking to model the S&D early 1950s and are looking for information on the up mail. As none of us know a great deal about UK railways were learning fast though we need help. From video and photos were confused as they show what we consider a regular passenger train and not mail cars? If this is correct what passenger cars make up the up mail, appologies for any American-isms in the post.

Our goal would be to have a fair representation of daily life on the S&D but at the minute were concentrating on a weekday schedule when it was quieter as this is a whole new adventure for us.

Andrew

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#2 Stormbringer

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 09:23

It may be worth your while looking for a book called "Mendips Engineman" by Peter Smith (if you don't already have it) In amongst his tales of life on the S & D during the 50's and early 60's I can remember a reference or two to the "UP Mail". Unfortunately my copy is in my truck and I won't be able to get to it til tomorrow.

Pete

#3 buffalo

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 09:25

Yes, the mail services were normal passenger trains, often with an added mail van. A photo on p75 of Mike Arlett & David Locket The Somerset & Dorset Railway 1935-1966 shows West Country class 34037 on the 3.35pm Bournemouth West to Bristol St Philips mail service on 6th June 1951. This is composed of a three coach Maunsell set with trailing outside framed bogie mail van. The coach set is one of the 390-99 group though I'm not certain what the van is. The van was detached at Mangotsfield where it was added to the 7.20pm Bristol to Newcastle postal service.

Nick

Edited by buffalo, 11 December 2011 - 09:43 .


#4 buffalo

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 09:42

It may be worth your while looking for a book called "Mendips Engineman" by Peter Smith...

Yes, indeed, he mentions two services known to S&D staff as the "down mail" and "up mail". The 2.40 am Bath to Bournemouth West "down mail" was a freight sevice with added mail vans for Poole and Bournemouth. However, the 8.10pm Poole Yard to Bath "up mail" was a freight service only.

Nick

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 10:38

Yes, indeed, he mentions two services known to S&D staff as the "down mail" and "up mail". The 2.40 am Bath to Bournemouth West "down mail" was a freight sevice with added mail vans for Poole and Bournemouth. However, the 8.10pm Poole Yard to Bath "up mail" was a freight service only.

Nick

My understanding is that the 15.40 stopping passenger service from Bournemouth West to Bath was the train known as the 'Up Mail' and that it was given the highest priority on the S&D so that all other trains had to give way as it were at crossing loops to ensure it arrived on time at Bath in order not to delay the northbound mail service to Birmingham.

Incidentally, the OP would benefit by acquiring the two books from Xpress Publishing in their 'The District Controller's View' series, nos. 4 and 5 which give very detailed and fascinating logs and timetables, engine diagrams and the views of the operating staff about the S&D on normal working days and, specifically, Summer Saturdays, respectively.

JE

#6 buffalo

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 11:15

My understanding is that the 15.40 stopping passenger service from Bournemouth West to Bath was the train known as the 'Up Mail' and that it was given the highest priority on the S&D so that all other trains had to give way as it were at crossing loops to ensure it arrived on time at Bath in order not to delay the northbound mail service to Birmingham...

It certainly was one of the services that has been described as the "up mail", but clearly not the only one! I don't have access to any timetable information but, from photo captions, etc., the 15.40 appears to have been a Saturday service. Was it effectively the same as the 15.35 (on a Wednesday) I mentioned in post #3, or did the time change at some point in the fifties?

In another Arlett & Locket volume, The Somerset & Dorset in Colour, there are 1962 photos of the 15:40 behind both Evening Star and Combe Martin. They mention that even the down Pines had to give way to this service and was booked to wait for nine minutes at Stalbridge. They also offer the following interesting note:

In his books, Ivo Peters always referred to the 3.40pm from Bournemouth as the "Up Mail". S&D men however, used this title to refer to the 9.28pm 'up' freight from Poole Yard, a service which, in latter years, ran as the 8.10pm. Just to complicate matters further, the GPO paid for the running of the 6.48pm 'up' from Bournemouth, so perhaps, officially. this should have been the train to have been known as the "Up Mail".


Nick

Edited by buffalo, 11 December 2011 - 11:33 .


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Posted 11 December 2011 - 11:29

Hi Nick, I've seen the afternoon train from Bournemouth West described as the 3.30 pm, 3.35 pm and 3.40 pm in various publications! In fact I took the '15.40' time from a Summer Saturday timetable and have looked now at the equivalent weekday timetable which confirms your comment as it is 3.35 pm there. (I really should use the 12 hour clock of S&D days rather than the 24 hour one!).

All these various references are what makes this hobby so interesting - I was basing my comments on Ivo's references, which were nearly always checked by Mike Arlett so it's interesting to see that Mike also gave the second lot of references to 9.28, 8.10 and 6.48 pm trains you've found in the book he wrote with Norman Lockett's son. Perhaps two trains (or even more?) carried mails in those days? Will we ever know?!

Jeremy

#8 The Stationmaster

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 12:02

Hi Nick, I've seen the afternoon train from Bournemouth West described as the 3.30 pm, 3.35 pm and 3.40 pm in various publications! In fact I took the '15.40' time from a Summer Saturday timetable and have looked now at the equivalent weekday timetable which confirms your comment as it is 3.35 pm there. (I really should use the 12 hour clock of S&D days rather than the 24 hour one!).

All these various references are what makes this hobby so interesting - I was basing my comments on Ivo's references, which were nearly always checked by Mike Arlett so it's interesting to see that Mike also gave the second lot of references to 9.28, 8.10 and 6.48 pm trains you've found in the book he wrote with Norman Lockett's son. Perhaps two trains (or even more?) carried mails in those days? Will we ever know?!
Jeremy

You'll probably ask 4 or 5 different surviving S&D men and get at least 6 different answers. On the Western in the late 1960s some trains were still being referred to by names they had acquired well over 60 years previously despite the traffic having long since moved to another train (before it vanished altogether). Equally train times came and went and names were transferred that way too of course.
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#9 buffalo

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 12:03

Hi Jeremy,

Yes, it never ceases to amaze me what an apparently simple question can lead to. Unfortunately, given their running times, I doubt if we'll find many photos of the up or down freight services with any added mail vans. Presumably, the up 9.28/8.10 must have included mail vans at some point in its history even if it had become freight only by the time described by Peter Smith. An additional full brake or van is often seen on various passenger services, so there may well have been other mail services on various parts of the route.

Nick

#10 lakeview770

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 13:50

Oh boy what a can of worms. Thanks for the info on the books but it looks as No4 is either out of print, so I'll keep looking.

Andrew

#11 The Stationmaster

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 14:52

Hi Jeremy,

Yes, it never ceases to amaze me what an apparently simple question can lead to. Unfortunately, given their running times, I doubt if we'll find many photos of the up or down freight services with any added mail vans. Presumably, the up 9.28/8.10 must have included mail vans at some point in its history even if it had become freight only by the time described by Peter Smith. An additional full brake or van is often seen on various passenger services, so there may well have been other mail services on various parts of the route.

Nick

I would be quite surprised if there were any freight services conveying mails after the 1928(ish) Letter Mail contract came into effect - it certainly does not mention anything to do with freight trains on the S&DJtR from what I can recall of the original lists of trains. The S&DJtR Appendix of 1933 clearly refers only to mail being carried by passenger train (by virtue of the fact that the stipulations relating to the handover and handling of mails would have been impossible to carry out on a freight train). So I suspect the names may go back a very long way and might even refer to freights which are running in times once used for passenger trains.

#12 buffalo

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 16:05

Hi Mike,

Yes, even with my limited understanding of the rules governing such things, I have difficulty envisioning a freight train with mail vans! The source is pages 45-6 of Mendip Engineman by Peter Smith who was a fireman based at Branksome from 1953 to 1963. In a chapter about the Standard fives, he describes the "Bath Number One duty", a diagram that took about 26 hours and covered nearly 300 miles. It included both the up "Pines" from Bournemouth and the down "Pines" from Bath, but started as follows:

Bath M.P.D. depart 2.15am for goods yard. Depart goods yard 2.40am with freight and mail vans for Bournemouth West; arrive 7.20am...

and ends with:

...Depart 7.10pm for Branksome goods yard. Depart with freight 7.25pm for Poole Yard; arrive 7.45pm. Depart with freight for Bath Goods Yard at 8.10pm; arrive 3.15am (next day)...The 2.40am and the 8.10pm were always referred to as the "down" and "up mails" respectively by "S&D" staff. The down train did have mail vans attached for Poole and Bournemouth. The 8.10pm did not, however, its make-up consisting of freight vehicles only.

He also mentions that the 8.10 carried Dorset clay bound for Stoke.

Nick

#13 Captain Kernow

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 16:53

My understanding is that the 15.40 stopping passenger service from Bournemouth West to Bath was the train known as the 'Up Mail' and that it was given the highest priority on the S&D so that all other trains had to give way as it were at crossing loops to ensure it arrived on time at Bath in order not to delay the northbound mail service to Birmingham

In fact, I've heard it described as being a through train to Bristol TM, which would make that essential connection with the north-bound mail train at Mangotsfield...

#14 The Stationmaster

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 17:47

Hi Mike,

Yes, even with my limited understanding of the rules governing such things, I have difficulty envisioning a freight train with mail vans! The source is pages 45-6 of Mendip Engineman by Peter Smith who was a fireman based at Branksome from 1953 to 1963. In a chapter about the Standard fives, he describes the "Bath Number One duty", a diagram that took about 26 hours and covered nearly 300 miles. It included both the up "Pines" from Bournemouth and the down "Pines" from Bath, but started as follows:
(noting 'mail vans' on the down train)
Nick

Nick, If anything it would have thought Parcel Post most likely but I would find even that unusual although I don't know much about the contractural arrangements for that prior to the new agreement in the 1960s (when it very definitely did not go by freight trains). The only other longshot is that somehow the 2.40 was a Post Office Controlled Train or, more likely, ran in a Post Office Controlled Path and might have conveyed Letter Mails in locked vans but I would still think that very unusual.

A possible answer might therefore lie in the original list of PO Controlled Trains but I've never been able to find anything even hinting at its existence, let alone content, on the 'net and as I said previously I wasn't struck by any mention of freight trains when I looked at a copy of it many years years (apart from one or two obvious trains the only oddity which stick in my mind was a P.O. Controlled road lorry working which ran from Barnstaple to Lynton!).. Looks like a search ought to be made for the Controlled Trains list?

Addenda - It often helps to use a different search engine :beee: I have now found where the lists of controlled trains are held in archives and all that's needed is a visit to the Royal Mail archive (and registration there of course) to get at the lists which cover basically from the Grouping onwards as far as I can make out.
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#15 lakeview770

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 04:40

Yes, the mail services were normal passenger trains, often with an added mail van. A photo on p75 of Mike Arlett & David Locket The Somerset & Dorset Railway 1935-1966 shows West Country class 34037 on the 3.35pm Bournemouth West to Bristol St Philips mail service on 6th June 1951. This is composed of a three coach Maunsell set with trailing outside framed bogie mail van. The coach set is one of the 390-99 group though I'm not certain what the van is. The van was detached at Mangotsfield where it was added to the 7.20pm Bristol to Newcastle postal service.

Nick



hi and thanks for the timetabling insight too, so the Mausell set can be bought off the shelf from Hornby? and the outside framed bogie mail van who produces one of these please.

Andrew

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 05:25

The Maunsell set appropriate to the S&D from Hornby was part of their 2011 programme but hasn't - yet - been released. The bogie van could be any one of many types as it was being sent on to the Midlands and would probably be a different one each day. The Hornby ex-LMS bogie van would probably be the most typical one used, or even the ex-SR 4-wheeled Maunsell van.

JE

#17 lakeview770

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 06:35

Thank You

#18 Combe Martin

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 13:42

You have made an excellent choice in deciding to model the S&D in British Railways days, as every type of loco that ran on it regularly in this period (except for one) is available as a good quality RTR model. You will have to do a bit of re-numbering in some cases, but it's surprising how many S&D numbered regulars have been produced by our RTR manufacturers in recent years. Do be carefull with re-numbering though (if you like to get it right) as there were many variations with British locos, and, as an example, you might end up renumbering a loco that had a different tender to the one that you wanted it to be.

There is a lot of expertise whose brains can be 'picked' on here though.

The Maunsell 3 coach set in the picture mentioned has now been released, I've just had an email from Hornby stating that, so expect it to be in some shops by the end of this week.

Again, refering to the mentioned picture, I think the van on the end could be what's known as an ex-SR GBL (Gangwayed Bogie Luggage) van, or in BR days known as a Corridor PMV (Parcels and Miscellaneous Van). I'm suggesting this because it looks like it has the 3 sets of non-flush double doors on the side, and also the shape of the roof profile. Photographic evidence shows that these were sometimes used on the S&D in the late '40s to early '50s, though I havn't seen any late '50s pictures, and they were mostly being withdrawn by then. Odd ones did last into the '60s, on the 'Golden Arrow' and Winston Churchill Funeral Train for example (not S&D trains). Hornby do make a model of one of these (the Winston Churchill funeral one at the moment) but it's a very old moulding dating back to about 1961 ?, so is not up to present day standards.

However, I could be wrong about what this van is, the picture angle is very acute and it's not very sharp . It may be an ex-GWR Siphon H (outside framing and the high roof), but I'm not an expert on GWR vehicles. I believe Hornby are also about to re-introduce this model.

Also, as mentioned earlier, the van on this train could have been of a different type every day of the week, but virtually all of the parcels vans used in BR steam days are available now as RTR models.

#19 buffalo

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 16:24

...Again, refering to the mentioned picture, I think the van on the end could be what's known as an ex-SR GBL (Gangwayed Bogie Luggage) van, or in BR days known as a Corridor PMV (Parcels and Miscellaneous Van)...
...However, I could be wrong about what this van is, the picture angle is very acute and it's not very sharp . It may be an ex-GWR Siphon H (outside framing and the high roof)...

To me, it looks more like an outside-framed vehicle than an SR GBL, but you are right about the roof shape suggesting a Siphon H. I was deliberately vague, partly because I hadn't expected to see a Siphon at that date, however, the picture of the 6.05am Bristol-Bournemouth stopper on p110 taken a couple of years later shows something that looks very much like a Siphon G with an (I think) ex-LMS van.

Nick

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 19:20

The Maunsell set appropriate to the S&D from Hornby was part of their 2011 programme but hasn't - yet - been released. The bogie van could be any one of many types as it was being sent on to the Midlands and would probably be a different one each day. The Hornby ex-LMS bogie van would probably be the most typical one used, or even the ex-SR 4-wheeled Maunsell van.

JE

Just to update that post, almost as I was writing it the S&D set became available! Have a look at this on Hattons website.

JE

#21 lakeview770

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 20:54

Thanks and good price too comes out at 70 pounds plus P+P

#22 lakeview770

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 22:58

2 More books arrived today with some great shots in, no housework done but I read and drank a lot of coffee. Now my plans for my own personal layout have me thinking, my original plan for a modified ex railway that came out of Paddington based on Barnstaple has got me thinking. ( I dare not mention the railway in question as it is kind of like an actor saying Macbeth or so I'm told)
I now have six S&D books and another just ordered today and I will be trying to work out a rough weekday timetable from the photographic details as I am having difficulty in finding a WTT or the District Controllers books mentioned.

Andrew

#23 Combe Martin

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 00:37

Have you got 'The Modellers and Enthusiasts Guide to The Somerset & Dorset Line' by Brian Macdermott. It was first published in 1982 but is an excellent book containing a wealth of detail about train workings. I learnt a lot from it when I first 'got into' the S&D, and it also contains some WTTs from 1961. There are plenty around among the secondhand book sellers.

I know you mentioned being interested in modelling the early '50s period, but I'll 'stick my neck on the line' here and suggest that modelling the late '50s to mid '60s period is easier. I think there is more detailed information about this period, and certainly more books with colour photos. S&D layouts at exhibitions are more likely to be of this period too, suggesting it's the period most people model, and you can definitely find the 1961 passenger timetable.

#24 lakeview770

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 03:16

No I haven't got it, Ive found a couple of copied but both were very unreasonable for shipping to the USA one dealer wanted $40 to ship a little too expensive for my tastes so I'll keep looking and waiting.

Andrew

#25 Benbow

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 12:13

Just for interest here is a not very good picture of a not very good model I made in the early 1970s from card of the 6 wheel brake built at Highbridge specifically to carry mail on the 2.40 am down freight. It was still around in 1950 as shown in Ivo Peters S&D in the Fifties Volume One.
Regards
Roger

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