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Fat Controller

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  1. Is this one that worked between sites on either side of the N Wales main line near Mold?
  2. Kerr-Stuart's works were in California; not the American state, but alongside the Trent and Mersey Canal. It was on the Stoke side of the wagon works (which are still there)
  3. The Gwendraeth Valley Railway (not to be confused with the BP&GVR) ran between a standard railhead at Mynydd-y-Garreg, and a silica brick works on the coast side of Kidwelly station. At the rail-head, narrow-gauge (2'6", I believe) tracks fanned out to a network of quarries working the various outcrops. The narrow-gauge line was steam worked for much of its existence. Much of the track-bed was still easily traceable when I did some surveys in 1973, in connection with an A-Level project.
  4. There were two locations in Llanelli where there were flat crossings of the main line to Fishguard by the Nevill's Dock and Railway. One was at the western end of the station, where a line from the docks in the Seaside area gained access to various industries around the town centre. The other was at Old Castle Crossing, where the line served Llanelly Steel (later Duport), Llanelly Foundry, and Castle and Cille collieries, as well as my great-uncle's builder's yard. Both these crossings remained active into the mid-1960s, and ran in the streets south of the main line. The ND&R escaped both Grouping and Nationalisation, being owned by a consortium of local businesses. There were another four flat crossings of the mainline between the Loughor Bridge and Llanelli station, and two more at Pembrey and Burry Port, but these were all absorbed at Grouping or before. Briton Ferry went one further, with a narrow-gauge tramway connecting the various bits of steelworks and ancillary works, and crossing the SWML in the process. Operations seem to have continued into the 1960s. I have seen photos of some of the line, but not of any trains using it.
  5. She was going to be training people in basic electronic repair and maintenance at the National TV station....
  6. In more innocent times, my wife re-soldered a plug on a colleague's head-phones on a flight between Madrid and Managua......
  7. To return to bridge-bashing.. 30+ years ago, I had a job stripping out a motor factors next to the bridge at Glebe Street, Stoke. The bridge had been built to replace a level crossing at the southern end of Stoke station, and was very restricted (3.1 metres/ 10'3"). During one week, I saw three hits. A skip-lorry, with the lifting beam half up. A flat-bed, carrying a high stack of bales of wool A (local) Leyland National, which lost the 'pod' off the roof Apparently, that was an average week....
  8. You're almost certainly correct; didn't stop drivers of low-slung sorts cars ducking, however..
  9. Yes- and I used to work there.... My recollection is that the clearance under the tell-tale is 2.3m, meaning a Range Rover would pass, but the early Discovery wouldn't.
  10. If it is a blueprint, then check dimensions against the drawing. They are prone to shrinking and stretching. Those in the drawing office that my father worked in had 'DO NOT SCALE' printed on the bottom-centre of the page.
  11. Most of the screens I saw were on loops, rather than dead-end sidings, with a slight gradient from the empty wagon sidings, through the screens to the loaded sidings. Working under the screen would be by pinch-bar (to get the wagons moving) and gravity. Every so often, a loco would take the empties from the Reception sidings; after leaving them in the Empties sidings, it would head around the 'loaded' sidings, collect a load of 'fulls', and take them to the Departure sidings. Clearances under the screens were minimal; many screens around South Wales (and probably elsewhere) were too low to accept anything taller than a 21t mineral. My father's firm modified quite a few to accommodate 21t hoppers when the House Coal Concentration programme started. I was lucky enough to spend weekends and school holidays visiting various pits in the anthracite field; Onllwyn, Abernant and Wernos come to mind.
  12. For those of you who watch 'Vera' on the telly, some of these views will be familiar; quite a few views of Cambois and North Blyth have been used, including at least one view including an alumina train. None as good as David's, though....
  13. Gypsum was brought in to the cement works in some cases (block trains at Northfleet, wagon loads at other locations). I don't know if anyone uses it at present. There were also works that used an iron compound as an additive. Steelworks slag and fly-ash have also been added at different times Fuel would be mainly coal, but also petroleum coke, abattoir waste, and carpet offcuts. There have been cases of works that have brought in supplies of chalk or limestone, presumably to either sweeten the supplies from around the works, or to make up shortfalls. An example was a works between Rugby and Leamington Spa, which received supplies from a quarry near Tring; this flow was important enough to justifying a special build of Chalk Tipplers.
  14. I'm pretty sure I saw at least a couple on Carlisle- Tyne Yard Speedlinks in the early 1980s, when we lived near the line.
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