Jump to content

GWR provender wagons


Mikkel

2,436 views

In 1884 the GWR centralized the provision of provender, so that every stable block on the system received a regular supply by rail from the provender store at Didcot, typically every 1-2 weeks. The supplies consisted of hay, chaff, straw bedding and sacks of feed. The feed included oats, beans and maize, either pre-mixed or separate.

 

The sizeable stable block at Farthing obviously needs a regular supply of feed and bedding, so two provender wagons have been made. I began with a diagram Q1, using the Coopercraft kit.

 

IMG_20200830_111956681_HDR.jpg.f9951b5b4f765a605a58ab228e21872c.jpg

 

 

 

The GWR only made a total of 12 dedicated provender wagons, in two slightly different lots of six. The Q1 kit represents the later batch, built in 1903 with diagonal bracing. They were very camera shy, the photo in Mike's post below is the only one I have seen so far.

 

On 02/12/2013 at 00:17, MikeOxon said:

As a result of Buffalo's information, I have now been able to examine a photograph of two provender wagons outside the Didcot stores.  This photo appears to be associated with an article from the Great Western Magazine, October 1906, by W.H.Stanier.  i agree that the left-hand wagon is probably the diagram Q1 as the DC1 type brake is visible.  The other wagon may well be from the earlier 1884 batch.

 

I have enhanced a small section of the photograph for research purposes and it would appear that the lettering does not conform to the usually accepted layout of the time. 

 

post-19820-0-06139300-1385939442.jpg

 

Nothing is very clear, so my thoughts are speculative.  It looks to me that the letters G.W.R are on the bottom plank at the R.H.end   The lettering on the visible end of the wagon is almost certainly not the number but looks to me as though it may well be the Tare weight.  At the bottom left of the side, there is probably the number but above that, it seems to me that it may state "To Carry", with the weight at the opposite (R.H.) end, so avoiding the diagonal bracing.  in addition, there is writing higher on the side, each side of the doors, which I think may be "Return to" on the left and "Didcot GWR" on the right (both in two lines).

 

I am well aware that's all very speculative, though the details are just a little clearer on the original.  'd welcome any further thoughts or comments.

 

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

As usual, the build involved modifications. The Vee hanger on these wagons was significantly off-center, towards the right. The instructions don’t mention this. So both vees were cut off. The solebars need shortening, and the end brackets must therefore also come off. Here is the original solebar (top), and a modified one (below).

 

IMG_20200830_151630057.jpg.12917fbfc7583c8bba1bda6648b87c9d.jpg

 

 

 

Then, sides and ends. The locating pips for the floor were removed. They make the floor sit too low, and the solebars in turn end up beneath the headstocks.

 

IMG_20200830_150042436_HDR.jpg.056ce5c10928aa6a14644bbcfd8b3dcc.jpg



 

As provided, the brake gear does not take the off-center Vee into account, as this trial fit shows.

 

IMG_20200901_085852266.jpg.c07cff8efdad589c24ac2050e636a64a.jpg

 

 

 

So the brake gear was modified to suit. Looks a bit odd, but that's what the drawing and text in Atkins et al shows.

 

IMG_20200904_160741603_HDR.jpg.249f208769b0aa6ad248cd61ccdb766b.jpg
 

 

 

 The DC1 brake gear was made using parts from the  Bill Bedford etch (recently withdrawn). The buffers are from Lanarkshire Models.

 

IMG_20200904_155824903_HDR.jpg.5e775c3da11450e6e225be54148cd4d0.jpg

 

 

 

The built-up wagon in GWR wagon red, as it would have been painted when built in 1903.

 

DSCN9282.jpg.428b2ec3391bca684b63ffd9fa5479c7.jpg

 

 

 

Apart from 12 purpose-built provender wagons, most of the GWR's provender was carried in numerous standard open wagons of all sorts. Several photos show them loaded improbably high, as illustrated in the image posted by Miss P. below.

 

On 17/02/2017 at 20:30, Miss Prism said:

Run out of Provender wagons? Got too much hay to shift? Got too many boring opens? Want to show off a bit more 'Swindon Improved Wagon Red'?

 

No problem:

 

post-133-0-22217600-1487359625.png

 

(Culham, c 1910)

 

 

 

I decided to have a go at replicating this. This close crop, from a much larger shot from King’s Meadow yard at Reading, illustrates what I was aiming for.

 

hay.JPG.742fc0182e28a3a74b26706a6d2de7a4.JPG

 

 


Not the 9 o’clock news. I set to work on some plumber’s hemp, cut fine and built up in layers on a foamboard box, using diluted PVA.

 

IMG_20201018_115150170_HDR.jpg.3a260e0052af243952a3d0b116182cb4.jpg

 

 


Then sheets (a.k.a. tarps) were made, using my usual method. Ian’s superb sheets were re-numbered and printed on regular paper, then laminated with thin foil and varnished multiple times, before weathering. The result is a shell that can be easily shaped and supports it’s own weight (see this post).

 

IMG_20201019_193527102_HDR.jpg.57674f5b26ff1c3ef96548048b78a765.jpg


 


I designed the load to fit my 4-plankers. My initial plan was to have the entire load and sheeting detachable, in line with my normal approach. In this shot, the tarp and load are separate, but magnets hold them together and allow easy removal.

 

IMG_20201022_094008016_HDR.jpg.8d68fed0c7e6ef3bae7907b04a33a77c.jpg

 

 


However, with a high load like this I felt that the lack of roping looked odd. So I decided to see how it would feel to have permanent loads and sheets. I  recruited one of my 4-plankers and added roping and side-cords, using painted sewing thread.

 

IMG_20201027_164744524_HDR.jpg.fc3baaa8179522e29aa33cc03dd0924e.jpg

 

 


Indents were made in the sheeting by pressing the edge of a ruler into the paper/foil shell, in order to emulate the ropes pulling down the sheet.

 

IMG_20201101_084705194_HDR.jpg.d0e92c4479387d8f4e7ceea18692e93f.jpg
 

 


This is what I ended up with. Don’t look to closely at how the cords are tied at the ends. Photos of provender trains don’t show clearly whether and how they were used in a situation like this.

 IMG_20201107_085824795_HDR.jpg.5150b49d48482eb6d7e81dfee3e0dde8.jpg

 

 


Sometimes, the GWR used two sheets laid sideways instead, as illustrated in this cropped detail of a train of hay bales.

 

IMG_20200503_084924385_HDR.jpg.0ddf742e35ce72c4e1f37f446650b866.jpg

 

 


I decided to do the same on my high-sided Q1 wagon. Here is the usual foil shell, this time composed of two sheets.

 

IMG_20201022_212506204_HDR.jpg.1749c44c32dc2cbb40a5a82151c88cb1.jpg

 

 


For the roping and cords, I loosely followed the cropped image above.  I also tried to fold the sheets at the ends as per that photo, but gave up:  Try as I might, it just looked weird in 4mm scale. Another time maybe.

 

IMG_20201110_083920701.jpg.6b8ce996c1f5d26a6d2f423071ee1582.jpg

 

 

 
Here are a few photos of the wagons in action on the (unfinished) new layout. A Buffalo class arrives with the weekly delivery of provender. Conveniently, the stable block at Farthing happens to have a siding alongside.

 

DSCN9729.jpg.6184dd9304ef24f0b126586a534a3432.jpg
 

 


Meanwhile, Betty is having a drink in preparation for the morning round. Proper care of railway horses was a serious matter, though hardly for ethical reasons. Horses were a company asset and an important part of operations, so obviously needed good maintenance. 

 

DSCN9743.jpg.744339a690018ca1ce231ba8653b1cdd.jpg

 

 


The loco has left, and the wagons are sat in the sidings. The camera has exaggerated the sheen.

 

IMG_20201106_090233083_HDR.jpg.96bc24afcc49a17277ee5cd5eac66eb4.jpg

 

 

 

A close-up, warts and all. The mind struggles to accept that the hay wasn't completely covered over. There is room for improvement with the roping and cords, several lessons learnt there.

 

DSCN9693.jpg.2516999982eb01435e39bee12b15a9f5.jpg

 

 


I'd like to experiment more with the shaping of the sheets. Here I have made slight rounded indents along the bottom to avoid a straight line. Period photos show that, although sheets were pulled as taut as possible, there were still lots of wrinkles etc. 

 

IMG_20201106_092224934_HDR.jpg.214c0bd5caaedce2bcda088d5dbed7a8.jpg

 

 


Despite these experiments, I’m still undecided about permanent loads and sheeting. To illustrate my doubt: It's the next day and the Buffalo class is back to pick up the provender wagons. But wait, what’s this? They are still full and sheeted!

 

IMG_20201106_091312377_HDR.jpg.71fd930eeedf7160cead1dfef78d7749.jpg

 

 

More thinking needed. It never ends! :)

 

 

Edited by Mikkel

  • Like 23
  • Informative/Useful 1
  • Craftsmanship/clever 23
  • Round of applause 2

78 Comments


Recommended Comments



For Lydham Heath, try Regularity, he haS Some Strange tendencieS.

Edited by Northroader
  • Agree 1
Link to comment
14 hours ago, Regularity said:

Certainly seems to have gay on top, awaiting a tarpaulin...

 

I read that as a typo for "hay", rather than suggesting anything else!

 

On 13/11/2020 at 20:50, Mikkel said:

Incidentally, one might say that hay and straw is all very well, but what about the sacks of feed? I had a close look at a 1906 photo of the provender store at Didcot. Below is a crop. It suggests to me that sacks were loaded at the bottom of wagons, then covered with hay and straw. So the wagons we see in photos may well be full of unseen sacks! 

 

IMG_20200527_071344481_HDR.jpg.a5181ba860c29cc15400a5d7d149c7f8.jpg

 

2 hours ago, Mikkel said:

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I got out the looking glass and read some instructions from the GWR Horse Dept that are reproduced in Tony Atkins' GWR Goods Cartage Vol. 1 (p76).  Unfortunately there is no date.

 

"All requisitions for Provender must be made (through book no. 605) to the Horse Superintendent. They will be due at his office on each alternate Thursday [...] A supply for fourteen days ending on a Monday must be ordered each time, except for those Stations specially instructed to order weekly [...] The provender must be weighed on its receipt, and should a deficiency of any of the component parts be discovered, the circumstances must be at once reported. Great care must be taken to prevent waste and misappropriation."

 

So this suggests bi-weekly delivery as the norm, rather than weekly as stated elsewhere. The weighing is also interesting. How would that be done I wonder. Perhaps there would be scales at the stables. 

 

My underlining. This all suggests that the fortnightly delivery could be a single wagon loaded with the appropriate combination of ingredients - the heavy sacks of oats at the bottom, with the hay piled up loose on top. 

 

2 hours ago, Mikkel said:

Horse Superintendent.

 

This gentleman really needs to give over shouting at his staff, for the sake of his own larynx if no other reason.

  • Funny 3
Link to comment

Twelve bespoke provender wagons, each maybe achieving six round trips in a fortnight, that's 72 stables supplied. Of course that doesn't take into account the variation in sizes of stables. Did someone do a calculation that a wagon this big was needed to convey the fodder for a "standard" sized horse establishment, or was it just a case of askinging "What's the volume of 10 tons of provender?"?

  • Like 1
Link to comment

I think that they found that it was easier to just use one of the normal range of open wagons than to have to search for the rare and probably elusive dedicated provender wagons. I bet those  were rarely emptied immediately. Where were the provender supplies shipped from.? I don't envy the desk clerk trying to balance his/her books, regarding  (loose) hay and straw quantities.  

Doesn't Mikkel lead us into uncharted territories !!! Fascinating stuff.. Thanks Mikkel .

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
2 minutes ago, DonB said:

provender wagons. I bet those  were rarely emptied immediately. Where were the provender supplies shipped from.? I don't envy the desk clerk trying to balance his/her books, regarding  (loose) hay and straw quantities.  

 

"The provender must be weighed on its receipt, and should a deficiency of any of the component parts be discovered, the circumstances must be at once reported. Great care must be taken to prevent waste and misappropriation."

 

That reads to me as an injunction to unload the wagon promptly.

 

There was some discussion of how provender got to Didcot in @Mikkel's earlier posts on his stable block, I think. 

Edited by Compound2632
  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
Link to comment

The Provender wagons are a bit of an anomaly, few in number, so they could not have been regarded as much of a success, otherwise a lot more of them would have been made. The vast majority of hay was transported in normal opens.

 

  • Agree 1
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold
2 hours ago, Simond said:

Lydham Heath?  Not me, guv!

 

Right, I meant the other Simon :)

 

50 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

Twelve bespoke provender wagons, each maybe achieving six round trips in a fortnight, that's 72 stables supplied. Of course that doesn't take into account the variation in sizes of stables. Did someone do a calculation that a wagon this big was needed to convey the fodder for a "standard" sized horse establishment, or was it just a case of askinging "What's the volume of 10 tons of provender?"?

 

As Miss P. says, photos of the Didcot provender store show an overwhelming number of other Opens, so the Q1s were always a small minority. Perhaps the result of an aborted attempt to improve safety, or perhaps make better use of limited siding space in some yards (one high wagon rather than two lower ones)?

 

5 minutes ago, DonB said:

I think that they found that it was easier to just use one of the normal range of open wagons than to have to search for the rare and probably elusive dedicated provender wagons. I bet those  were rarely emptied immediately. Where were the provender supplies shipped from.? I don't envy the desk clerk trying to balance his/her books, regarding  (loose) hay and straw quantities.  

Doesn't Mikkel lead us into uncharted territories !!! Fascinating stuff.. Thanks Mikkel .

 

Thanks Don!  As Compound mentions, I wrote up some detail on GWR provender from one of Tony Atkin's excellent books (recommended) in a post here: 

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold
On 15/11/2020 at 11:55, Miss Prism said:

The Provender wagons are a bit of an anomaly, few in number, so they could not have been regarded as much of a success, otherwise a lot more of them would have been made. The vast majority of hay was transported in normal opens.

 

 

Yes, and after pooling too. See e.g. the second photo down here: 

 

The Didcot railway Center has posted some nice photos:

 

A rare internal view here: 

 

Edited by Mikkel
  • Like 2
Link to comment
1 hour ago, Mikkel said:

The Didcot railway Center has posted some nice photos:

https://www.facebook.com/DidcotRailwayCentre/photos/pcb.2960267614000107/2960257807334421/

 

 

Illustrating pooling of wagon sheets - a double-sheeted wagon with LMS and LNER sheets (better seen in the gwr.org.uk photo).

 

And for those who like that kind of thing, an ex-Midland D299 - with oil axleboxes, either from one of the late lots or more likely, upgraded from grease. No. 57??7 ?

  • Like 2
  • Agree 1
Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold

I have been studying the two horse-drawn carriages in that photo, one on the left with a large load of hay and an empty one on the right. There are no GWR markings on the latter, which is a little confusing as I would not have expected the hay to arrive directly from the fields to the wagons. 

 

This connects to another point: There can't have been enough fodder around Didcot. We know from Atkins that in 1906 the GWR required  "over 9,000 acres of farmland" distributed over the system for all the different kinds of fodder needed. So this must mean that there was also provender being delivered to the provender store, including I assume in wagons.

 

It does seem a bit odd that this centralized approach was economical.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

I read that the sides of cuttings and embankments (and presumably other Railway land that couldn't be used otherwise) were harvested for hay. Can’t remember where or when, but it would be logical to use a/o store locally what would be needed, and ship the rest around the system.

 

atb

Simon

Edited by Simond
  • Informative/Useful 1
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to comment
47 minutes ago, Simond said:

I read that the sides of cuttings and embankments (and presumably other Railway land that couldn't be used otherwise) were harvested for hay. Can’t remember where or when, but it would be logical to use a/o store locally what would be needed, and ship the rest around the system.

 

atb

Simon

 

But not necessarily by the railway company - farmers of adjoining land could apply. 

  • Informative/Useful 2
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold

Thanks both, didn't know about the harvesting of cuttings and embankments.

 

Still exploring the various aspects of provender traffic. Further from the Horse Department instructions:

"Immediately upon receipt of a supply of empty provender, the Station Agent must shoot as much of it in the Bin accommodation will admit of, pack up the empty sacks and forward them to the Provender stores [...] Provender sacks must not be lent, or used for any other purposes."

 

I wonder how the sacks were returned. Possibly with the provender wagons, depending on whether those wagons were to be returned directly. The Q1s yes, but also the Opens?  

  • Like 1
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to comment

Sheet-making had quite a lot in common with sail-making so it's not surprising that there might be similarities of equipment and terminology. There's a splendid LMS period photo of the Midland sheet factory at Sheet Stores Junction in the Essery article in Midland Record No. 3. This shows freshly-stencilled sheets hanging up to dry, short edge uppermost, with rows of ropes down the sides just as in your GW photo.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold

I wonder how they knew what ropes were connected to what sheets, can't see any numbering. 

 

Frustrating that it's a vertical photo. I understand the photographer's dilemma in this case, and that there may have been an artistic aim, but in general I have always disliked vertical photos. Even more fiercely now, where an entire generation have been brought up to capture the world through smartphones, as if we were all fitted with blinkers.

 

Rant over :)

  • Like 3
  • Agree 1
Link to comment
On 15/11/2020 at 11:10, Mikkel said:

Just catching up on this entry. It is interesting to see that the Buffalo in the first photo is fitted with a spark arresting chimney - not surprising I guess with all that hay and straw around!

Ian

  • Agree 1
Link to comment
On 15/11/2020 at 11:10, Mikkel said:

 

The Didcot railway Center has posted some nice photos:
 

 

Yes, an interesting collection.  Further changes have now removed the cooling towers that form such a prominent background, following closure of the coal-fired power station.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold
20 hours ago, Ian Smith said:

Just catching up on this entry. It is interesting to see that the Buffalo in the first photo is fitted with a spark arresting chimney - not surprising I guess with all that hay and straw around!

Ian

 

Yes, later engines allocated to Didcot had them too, e.g.: https://www.rail-online.co.uk/p416923824/e9831852d

 

The whole provender store would make for an interesting layout, although aesthetically I don't fancy  the style of the building.

 

Here is a Midland equivalent at Ashchurch: 

https://sites.google.com/site/gloucestershirerailwaymemories/home/ashchurch/messrs-dowty-s-private-siding-ashchurch

 

 

18 hours ago, MikeOxon said:

Yes, an interesting collection.  Further changes have now removed the cooling towers that form such a prominent background, following closure of the coal-fired power station.

 

 

I have only just realized that this is the BG shed now in the railway centre. Took a while before the penny dropped :)

 

1200px-Didcot_SR_4-4-0_geograph-2636994-

Source: Ben Brooksbank, Wikimedia Commons

 

Edited by Mikkel
  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to comment

Continental wagons and a T9 at Didcot?

  

8 hours ago, Mikkel said:

Here is a Midland equivalent at Ashchurch: 

 

In this matter, the Midland wasn't quite as centralised as the Great Western. There was a provender store at Oakham as well as at Ashchurch. [Link is to catalogue thumbnail of Midland Railway Study Centre Item 88-2018-0064. Note the mix of sheeted opens and vans. The Midland had no specific provender wagon design; I'm not aware of any company other than the Great Western having such a thing.]

 

Edited by Compound2632
  • Like 1
Link to comment

T9s were regulars on the DN&S, but what 30120 is doing at that end of the station I'm not sure, unless it is turning itself around on the Didcot triangle (rather complex compared to taking a visit to the shed).

 

The continental wagons are a mystery.

 

 

  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold
7 minutes ago, Miss Prism said:

T9s were regulars on the DN&S, but what 30120 is doing at that end of the station I'm not sure, unless it is turning itself around on the Didcot triangle (rather complex compared to taking a visit to the shed).

 

The continental wagons are a mystery.

 

 

 

Similar FS wagons to those pictured at Pembridge on another recent thread.

  • Agree 1
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold
14 hours ago, Miss Prism said:

T9s were regulars on the DN&S, but what 30120 is doing at that end of the station I'm not sure, unless it is turning itself around on the Didcot triangle (rather complex compared to taking a visit to the shed).

 

The continental wagons are a mystery.

 

 

 

Intriguing! On the Up relief line, it seems, heading backwards. The Wikipedia caption says it's due to work the 15.38 stopping train to Southampton. So presumably heading for the D&NSR bay in some roundabout way as you say Miss P (although some trains, including the last of the day, seemed to have departed from the through platforrms).  Would it be picking up coaches maybe?

 

Ca. 1950s plan (hmm, upload seems to reduce image quality):

 

IMG_20201205_070755787.jpg.e636f6452fbf4998f894a3db92a5e67e.jpg

 

PS: The provender store sidings from the same map:

 

IMG_20201205_073539804.jpg.6729deaedf7374de82731e2197903b9d.jpg

 

Edited by Mikkel
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Informative/Useful 2
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold

Here is a crop of a photo I came across. It's a 7-plank O2, amply loaded with hay at Shipton under Wychwood. They would of course have been good for provender, with those high sides. Perhaps they were part of the reason that no further provender wagons were built. 

 

IMG_20201209_210346027.jpg.c8c509c7aa9a4a34bf0f01658cd65e48.jpg

 

Edited by Mikkel
  • Like 5
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.