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Regrettable incident at 3 PM


Mikkel

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Over the years I’ve gathered a small collection of anecdotes and photos that document quirky situations and customs on the real-life railway. The idea is to re-enact them in model form while the glue dries on other projects. The Slipper Boy story was one attempt at this, although admittedly that one got a bit out of hand!

 

Here’s another, simpler one.  First, the props:

 

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*****

 

Clear as mud, I suspect! :jester: Here’s what it’s all about:

 

Railway Magazine, January 1906:

 

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Just another incident on the everyday railway, but we can’t allow this stuff to be forgotten! Below is an attempt to re-enact it in my Farthing setting. I’ll see if it works without words:

 

 

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*****

 

That was the event as reported.  But I wonder what happened afterwards? All those tasty eels, and no ice left to keep them fresh... A quick discussion among the staff, perhaps, to find a solution?

 

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:)

 

*****

 

PS: I couldn’t find a period description of exactly how live eel were transported in Edwardian days, so the container seen here is loosely based on a 1970 FAO publication which documents a method that does not seem out of place in earlier days:

 

"Live eels can be transported in small quantities in tray-boxes […]. A typical wooden tray-box contains four lift-out trays about 50mm deep, each designed to hold about 10kg of eels graded according to size. The top tray is usually filled with crushed ice so that cold melt water trickles down through the eels during the journey to keep them cool and lively. […] Each tray has drain holes and is divided across the middle to make a total of eight compartments holding about 5kg each, that is about 40kg for the whole box. The lid of the box is nailed on, and the whole is steel-banded both to prevent pilferage and to prevent the eels escaping through the joints. Boxes of this type are used successfully for live transport not only within the UK but also for 24-hour journeys from the Continent with little or no loss."

 

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Source: http://www.fao.org/3/x5915e/x5915e01.htm#Live storage and transport

 

Edited by Mikkel

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Another trip into the enchanting and wonderfully bizarre world of Farthing!

One almost forgets just how good the modelling actually is when enthralled in the story telling :)

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“No, not the perway hut, all you burn is cut up sleepers, think of the creosote”

”Goods office all you got is coal, think of the sulphur taste”

“oh,..er...?”

”got it! lose some hardwood packing out of the breakdown van!”

”brilliant! oak smoked!”

 

61965D3E-D4BD-4BD4-B828-FAA5D0261ECD.jpeg

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Mikkel,

Just brilliant!  Not just the modelling but the thought that changed the story into reality.  I love the use of the mountain troops.  I do spend time looking at model figures to transform them into pre-grouping railway characters but this is another level.  It encourages me to redouble my efforts.

 

I look forward to the recreating of other stories.

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Well done....or is it "w'eel done"... a unique and thoroughy entertaining contribution to Railway Modelling and Fish Mongering.

Kit PW

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Wonderful storytelling and very clever modelmaking combined.

 

Using salt as ice works well, must remember that one. 

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14 hours ago, mullie said:

That is brilliant.

 

Martyn

 

Thanks Martyn. I have just had a look at your thatching on Pott Row, very tempting to try out though I don't have anywhere on the layouts for a thatched building.

 

14 hours ago, drduncan said:

Absolutely brilliant!

Duncan

 

Thanks Duncan, it was fun to do as usual. I did struggle a bit with the eels though, not easy to get right!

 

14 hours ago, LBRJ said:

Another trip into the enchanting and wonderfully bizarre world of Farthing!

One almost forgets just how good the modelling actually is when enthralled in the story telling :)

 

Many thanks LBRJ. The original plan was to do just one single photo. I don't know why these things always develop!

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

14 hours ago, Northroader said:

“No, not the perway hut, all you burn is cut up sleepers, think of the creosote”

”Goods office all you got is coal, think of the sulphur taste”

“oh,..er...?”

”got it! lose some hardwood packing out of the breakdown van!”

”brilliant! oak smoked!”

 

61965D3E-D4BD-4BD4-B828-FAA5D0261ECD.jpeg

 

Ha! :D I should have thought of that, would have made for some interesting modelling! I learnt a bit about the social history of jellied eel along the way. We also have it here, though not nearly as important as it was in Britain I think. 

 

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Southwark residents buying jellied eels from a stall at the Elephant and Castle in South London, 8th January 1949. Source: Getty Images (embedding permitted).

 

 

14 hours ago, ChrisN said:

Mikkel,

Just brilliant!  Not just the modelling but the thought that changed the story into reality.  I love the use of the mountain troops.  I do spend time looking at model figures to transform them into pre-grouping railway characters but this is another level.  It encourages me to redouble my efforts.

 

I look forward to the recreating of other stories.

 

Thanks Chris, the German mountain troops are from my childhood collection (alas not the box, which I have lost). I remember very strongly the pleasure of visiting the local toy shop and going through the shelves of Airfix soldiers. I didn't have a clue about them, just selected the ones that looked interesting. It's nice to be able to use them like this, although their use is limited in this case!

 

 

13 hours ago, kitpw said:

Well done....or is it "w'eel done"... a unique and thoroughy entertaining contribution to Railway Modelling and Fish Mongering.

Kit PW

 

Thank you Kit. The topic of fish traffic is not something I know much about. Should be interesting to explore.

 

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Billingsgate Fish Market, dated 1926-27. Source: Getty Images (embedding permitted).

 

Edited by Mikkel
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13 hours ago, Brinkly said:

Mikkel, that is brilliant! All the best, Nick.

 

Thanks Nick, it has kept me amused while doing the groundcover on the new layout.  Seems that distractions are often the best part of my railway modelling :locomotive:

 

3 hours ago, Dave John said:

Wonderful storytelling and very clever modelmaking combined.

 

Using salt as ice works well, must remember that one. 

 

Thanks Dave, there must be lots of scope for modelling fish traffic on the CR!

 

I also tried sugar but it was a bit too fine.

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Brilliant, as ever. 

 

On the question of disposal of undeliverable goods, E.L. Ahrons has a tale relating to a station on the Midland's Leeds & Bradford line. A local family had gone on a yachting holiday, shutting up their house. A few days after their departure, a goose (dead) arrived at the station for them, a present from a friend. After a decent interval,  'a carefully-worded communication was despatched to Derby, giving a most harrowing description of the parcel - a bird hopelessly in the throes of incipient decomposition - with an urgent enquiry for immediate instructions as to its disposal. A wire was duly received in reply, which contained, so report said, permission to bury the bird, and Mr. Stationmaster "buried" it. I am unable to indicate definitely the exact site of its interment, but ... it was concluded by the inhabitants of the surrounding district that the bird had found a resting-place "somewhere in stationmaster".'

 

As an aside, I notice that your method of carriage painting gives the impression of the brown line on the cream panels - in fact the angle between panel and beading.

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Thanks very much gents! I had never thought someone would come up with contemporary examples of very similar events - the eels in Shanghai (where else), and crabs at Gateshead! 

 

Not to mention the goose and the stationmaster. The eating was supposed to be the fictional bit, but not so far fetched then!

 

PS: Stephen, I won't pretend that the painting effect on the coaches is deliberate, pure luck!

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Harlequin

Posted (edited)

Absolutely wonderful, Mikkel!

I can imagine the station staff "effing and jeffing" as they struggle with the slippery little beggars and shocked young ladies having to be escorted away from the scene, having never heard such language before.

 

Edited by Harlequin
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I can’t remember where it was, possibly New Radnor, but a customer once arrived to ask of the goods clerk the whereabouts of his new chair, only to find said employee sitting on it!

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Compound2632

Posted (edited)

Works both ways. The first house we bought, there were four 1970s-style chairs in the front garden - the square wood framed sort that one used to find in the lobbies of public buildings, so hideous there's not even a photo on Google Images. They went straight to the dump. Next time I went to the dump, the dump staff had them in their office.

Edited by Compound2632
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While on the subject of animals and rail transport, we must also not forget the issues caused by categorisation of pigs... Sadly Farthing is not a little country station.

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

Having thus covered the relationship between railways and guinea pigs, I felt the need for further existential enlightenment and sat down to read "The Evolution of Railway Fish Traffic Policies, 1840–66" by R. Robinson in The Journal of Transport History (here but gated). 

 

I found it interesting that the railways had an important impact on making fish affordable for the masses. For example, the author describes how a pioneering agreement between the Manchester & Leeds, Leeds & Selby, Selby & Hull and York & North Midland railways meant that "Instead of selling for between 8d and 1s per lb, fresh fish was [now] available at 1 3/4 d per lb" in Manchester (p36).

 

Upon the formation of the RCH there followed drawn-out discussions over the carriage of fish.

 

"Before a really complete and cohesive rating policy for fresh fish could be agreed, several bones of contention had to be settled. One concerned the question of risk. This provoked a particularly divisive clash of interests. The fish trade wanted to have the option of sending its wares by rail at the carrier's risk, whilst many of the railway companies, noting the perishable nature of such consignments, were keen that it should be forwarded at the sender's risk." (p39).

 

Given the eels in the fourfoot, this question is of course a very important matter! 

 

"This was a constant source of friction, for during 1853 the YNMR in particular had been involved in several lawsuits with fish merchants on the issue. The matter was not cleared up, along with other outstanding fish traffic queries, until early 1857. Under the terms drawn up by a Clearing House committee representing both English and Scottish companies it was conceded that fish merchants should be able to forward fish at the companies' risk, but as an inducement to do otherwise they were offered an alternative range of carriage rates some one-fifth lower under which the sender accepted the risk." (p39).

 

Another aspect of the heated fish traffic debates in the RCH was  whether fish should be classified as goods or passenger traffic. As we now know, the latter was eventually agreed upon.

 

The author goes on to describe how the railways from then on actively sought to develop the fish trade, including free travel to merchants seeking new markets, and  "the Clearing House made trading easier by formulating a system for the free carriage of empty fish boxes and barrels, albeit at the owner's risk."  (p42).

 

 

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1st March 1907: Fish on arrival at Marylebone in special tanks. Source: Getty Images, embedding permitted.

 

 

Edited by Mikkel
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The Midland had tanks like those Great Central ones, with special passenger-rated trucks for them to sit on, as the Great Central also had. The only other phot I've seen is of one of each company's trucks at Grimsby. Note the lifting hooks. I suppose the ones piled up are empty - they'd be pretty heavy when full of water and fish.

 

Re. it being fortunate that they were guinea pigs not elephants, I note Midland Railway Carriage & Wagon drawings 1498 and 1499 of June 1901: "30 Ton Trolley fitted to Carry Elephants" and "Details for 30 Ton Trolley fitted to Carry Elephants"; unfortunately neither drawing has survived. At this date, the Midland's only 30 ton trolleys were four built in 1897 (replacing probably the same number built in 1875) which we might think of as bogie well wagons. Presumably the modifications included some sort of cage or house as well as a timber floor. 

 

Barnum & Bailey were touring continental Europe from April to November 1901, wintering in Paris, so it seems unlikely this work was for their elephants. 

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4 hours ago, Mikkel said:

"1853... ...The matter was not cleared up, along with other outstanding fish traffic queries, until early 1857." 

A somewhat odorous delay. ;)

 

Quote

heated fish traffic debates 

 

Hopefully a heated debate about fish traffic, rather than a debate about the traffic of heated fish?

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Absolutely outstanding as always Mikkel. I’m a great believer that a model railway should be an opportunity for story telling, a bit of theatre to entertain and amuse. You are truly a master at this. Bravo!

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39 minutes ago, Regularity said:

Hopefully a heated debate about fish traffic, rather than a debate about the traffic of heated fish?

 

There was a question on another forum about steam heat for fish vans - fortunately it turned out that the Westinghouse pipe had been mistaken for a steam heating pipe, the vans in question being dual fitted for Scottish fish traffic.

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