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The Stationmaster

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Everything posted by The Stationmaster

  1. Yes - certainly post-war and from Manchester/Liverpool to Torbay/Kingswear
  2. Surely one each for Up and Down Fast Lines and Up & Down Slow Lines?
  3. And all sorts of other things. Covid is still causing production (and model development delays) in China, there is a worldwide shortage of chips (of the electronic variety) and that is perhaps impacting model railway manufacturing area as much as it is car manufacturing etc, the cost of materials is rising rapidly which might cause delays where financing is tight, the cost of shipping and c ontainer space has sky-rocketed which again apart from adding delays could well squeeze cash flows and profitability, and finally the Chinese economy has just taken an enormous hit from the collapse of the Ever Grande Property company (China's second largest property developer) and the Chinese Govt is having to inject a massive sum of money into the economy as a result. So in summary bits and pieces of anything and everything could be delaying development and production in China and even if that hurdle is cleared the next one is actually getting the products on their way to the UK (among other western markets) - hence in the latter respect one company is moving some models from China to Europe by train. What exactly Hornby's delays might be down to we don't know and thus far it appears they don't see any reason to tell us - after all we are already used to some of their products arriving more than a year later than advertised and no doubt for reasons beyond their control and they are still very much in business.
  4. Use of D63XX (later Class 22) to replace steam) was quite common on certain Cornish branches - maybe a consequence of shortage of DMU SPCs (Single Power Cars) but also no doubt because of the branch engine(s) also being used to work freight trains which the DMUs obviously couldn't do. Technically the St Ives branch included a short section which was too steep for an SPC to take a tail load but it might have been thought that it wouldn't be a problem because it was so short. But with over a mile at 1 in 60 the branch would have been rather close to the 1 in 50 limit for a DMU tail load and a poor rail head condition would have spelt doom. The Gloucester SPCs (later Class 121) seem to have performed pretty reliably elsewhere - the only time I heard of one in trouble on our local branch was when it got stuck in a snowdrift in the 1962/63 winter. Indeed so but the opportunity too work back - with certain exceptions - depended on there being a train to work back on. For Plymouth/Penzance and Torbay/Kingswear the situation was relatively simple because there were daily services to/from Manchester/Liverpool which provided an over night balance for teh stock (or soem of it as soem LMS stock did another trip and sometimes two) in the West of England before finding its return working to the LMS. But here we aren't really talking about the branches such as Newquay where the working might only run on a Saturday. For example in the Summer 1929 TT the 10.55 ex Paddingtom arrived Newquay at 17.15 so the stock had to go somewhere, and it worked back as the 18.15 SO Newquay - Par from where it presumably ran either empty or as another advertised train towards where it would be stabled ready for whatever working it did next (which might not be until the following Saturday). The problem - as always in the Summer peak - was that the biggest demand for travel was on Saturdays (plus Friday nights in some cases) and unless trains worked out overnight there was no back working for them until the following weekend. And this sort of thing continued over many years until the arrival of the Good Doctor enabled those on the railway who cared about it to bring to his attention the stupidity of keeping hundreds of ageing coaches simply to make a few journeys every Summer often involving as much 'light' mileage as revenue earning miles.
  5. An interesting point is that it would have been painted by the same gang which painted the stations on the Henley branch. One that interests me in this respect is the very long stretches of spear fencing at Newbury and they definitely changed in colour appearance (on b&w photos) over the years. When the long stretch of fence on the Down side was erected c.1906-09 it was painted in a dark colour - probably black and it might even have been the pitch/tar treatment as used on the fencing made from old boiler tubes. It remained in a dark, or faded dark colour for many years and definitely appears like that in a photo dated as 1950; the much shorter stretch of fence on the upside is also in a faded dark colour ina similarly dated photo. The Up side fence (or more accurately part of it) appears in a much paler colour in a photo dated 1968. The down side fence appears in a very pale colour - almost certainly cream - in an undated photo which judging by various items of infrastructure is either late 1950s or very early 1960s. Newbury would have been painted by the same gang that painted both the Henley branch stations and Marlow/. Kintbury is interesting in that the earlier fence colour seems to match the timber buildng and it was similar when it went to WR cream with the fence again matching the building. However Tilehurst was different in that the fence on the Up Relief Platform was definitely dark (again probably black) so it diodn't match the timber building on the Up Relief Platform but it was repainted in cream - again in the late 1950s and while the station still had gas lighting - matching the new colour for the timber building on that platform. The fence on the Down Main line platform at Acton Main line was in dirty cream before teh station closed to freight traffic (early 1960s I think?). I've not yet looked at any other Engineers' Districts.
  6. Without going through all sorts of sources it is difficult for me to positively state one way or the other how many broad gauge branches on the GWR had engine release turntables. Henley is undoubtedly the best known example and it went straight from broad to narrow gauge in 1876 without a mixed gauge interlude. However there is the open question - at this stage - about what happened in various engine sheds, for example Westbourne Park served a mixed gauge railway into Paddington for many years and while there might have been (I think) different broad and narrow gauge sheds were there separate turntables? and of course it wasn't unique in serving both gauges. The Crossrail digs at Westbourne Park uncovered separate broad and narrow gauge pits but the turntables changed over the years at one time there were two and by 1889 there appears to have been one serving the short shed building which was probably the broafd gauge shed as teh longest pits were narrow gauge according to photos from the dig. A Has anybody got a copy of Lyons' second book dealing with thh various closed sheds that went prior to 1948?
  7. Yes, but what went down sometimes came straight back up empty and went down again empty in order to come back up loaded. Dn't forget that many of the longer distance workings were weekly so were effectively unbalanced because the down working arrived long after the up working had departed and few of the branch stations in the West of England had siding space to hold coaching stock from one weekend to the next. Hence stock had to be worked away, probably forming part of a local branch service for part of its journey if it was the odd coach or so but then moved to somewhere where it could be stabled for a working the following weekend. in other cases the coaches would be worked forming part of a succession of trains before they got back to London to start the circuit all over again.
  8. The oil was the traffic that came and went and came back. originally it was Petroleum Sector train then it went on Speedlink then it went road borne when Speedlink closed but it returned as a trip of a couple of wagons worked I'm not quite sure who (probably cross-hired traction) then it came back asa regular train in EWS days. When we closed the Speedlink service a question was asked at the consiultation meeting about how the Newlyn trawler fuel would be dealt with? My boss looked at me. (I was WR feight Train Planning Manager at the time) and I looked at him (he was the WR Operations Planning Manager) and I was sent off to make enquiries. I managed to get hold of the rep I knew in the Petroleum sector and he was just as puzzled as the rest of us so he had a look back through some files and found out that it had ceased to pass by rail years earlier. Apparently the staff reps at Penzance hadn't noticed that it had ceased
  9. Not always exactly at right angle to each other but not far off and never in the same plane as you wouldn't be able to hang the coupling on the hook if they were. The lower shackle also needs to be a bit further screwed out in order to reach the hook properly
  10. Any closer and that thing might have knocked the shed door(s) off
  11. There is one photo - taken during the day - with the engine over by the shed (for coal presumably) and the autocoach is not coupled to it. The Marlow branch was one line where the full auto rodding tended at times not to be connected to the engine according somebody I knew who occasionally fired over the branch.
  12. It seems to have sometimes depended very much on where the fence was situated and - from photo evidence - on which gang did the painting plus possibly changes to instructions over the years. Thus Wargrave - where the fence was at the back of the platform had them painted cream which was probably done when all the branch stations were repainted c.1956 (the paint date at Henley was definitely 1956 and i think it likely that Shiplake and Wargrave were done as the gang worked their way along the branch). But at Henley the spear fencing that separated the adjacent footpath from the railway was painted black and photos suggest that it was painted in a dark colour (black once again?) prior to the 1956 repaint. It appears in some of my photos in this thread - https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/66922-the-stationmaster-says-goodbye-to-steam-at-henley-on-thames/ I'm trying hard to remember the colour of the fence alongside the path at Shiplake so I've checked my memory from photos in Paul's book which reveals an interesting result. A 1953 dated photo shows part of that fence in a dark colour (probably black) but in another (alas undated) photo it is very definitely in a pale colour - probably cream as at Wargrave. However the fence at Wargrave appears in a darker colour (but not as dark as black) in older photos. Now a possibly important point is that the fence at Henley was there to keep people off the railway but the fence at Shiplake was alongside a footpath which led to a foot crossing which was an official public access to the Twyford end of the platform - in other words it had something to do with passenger use of the station. In late 1950s/early '60s photos the fences at Frome, Witham, and Castle Cary all appear to have been painted black and casting the net wider black seems to have been more common that cream. But having a look further west all the stations between Swansea and Llanelly with spear fencing on platform edges and passenger approaches to the platforms had it painted cream. What I haven't looked for so far is other London Division stations which would have been painted by the same gang that did the Henley branch but there definitely appears to have been differences between the various District Civil Engineers' painting gangs.
  13. I think the GWR had an occasional fondness for putting some of the less used loading facilities where they would interfere with everyday operation - or what we might like to think of think of as 'everyday operation'. The cattle dock at Twyford was situated on the bay platform run round loop and end or side loading docks frequently blocked part of the passenger operating facilities with traffic such as horses, in particular, being loaded or unloaded via passenger station platforms. Looking at the railway of the past 30 -40 years it's all too easy to forget that on many branch lines and other rural lines the passenger train service was a long way for today's clock face regular interval operation and there were sometimes gaps of several hours between trains. Even in the early 1950s there was a gap of almost 2 hours in the late morning in the Monday -Friday passenger service on the Marlow branch and a similar gap on the Wallingford branch while Watlington only saw 4 passenger trains a day and had a gap of 3 hours late morning to early afternoon and Didcot - Newbury and the Lambourn branch were similar to these sort of patterns. In fact from a quick check round the timetable this late morning - early afternoon gap was quite common on Western branch lines and could sometimes be as long as 4 hours (e.g Brent - Kingsbridge winter timetable) although 2 -3 hours was the most common. And of course a simpe reason for it - the trains service suited when folk needed to travel and the gaps were usually filled by at least one additional train on Saturdays. So plenty of time to load or unload cattle
  14. Volume 5A 'Gloucester to Swindon and Branches, Part 1 Gloucester to Stroud' has just arrived chez Stationmaster and as usual direct from the publisher and their highly efficient mail order service. Another suprerb volume in this excellently put together series and well wothrth the money for anybody with any interest in this area.
  15. One unusual traffic which ran for a while back in the 1980s was fish - in airbrake open wagons (unsheeted) and that came out of the docks although i'm not at all sure exactly where it was loaded, on its way to be processed into fish meal so it went forward on the Cornish airbrake service. Reportedly it stank to high heaven - especially when the train was standing in Bristol TM waiting a path
  16. Cholsey was I suppose more of a smaller-medium' size station - definitely not in the 'small' category as it had a goods yard, branch line and a quite large signal box (75 levers). Mitchaell & Smith say 10 staff were employred there between the wars but that suggests to me a late 1930s figure after the number had been reduced due to a decline in freight traffic. I would think as an absolute minimum there would the Stationmaster and two clerks (one booking/parcels and one goods) although three clerks would have been more likely - that possibly changed as both parcels traffic grew and freight traffic declined considerably between 1923 and 1933. According to the GWR 'Towns & Villages' book Cjholsey village was within the free cartage distance so there would have been a road delivery vehicle of some sort so if we look at the Goods Dept alone I reckon a minimum of one clerk (possibly part of a second clerk who also did other work), at least two Goods Porters, more likely three, who would be on a middle/day turn possibly with some overlapping of their times, a Motor Driver and maybe a Van Boy as well. That brings the Goods staff alone up to six and that's without adding in three Signalmen plus porterage cover on the station and maybe even two Shunters to deal with the branch train and shunting of freight traffic. So going back to Mitchell & Smith's 10 staff I reckon that could only have been the station and probably included the Signalmen. So a Goods staff of at least six and two or three working roughly 07.00 - 17.00/18.00 on the shed deck plus various jobs in the goods yard although that might be affected by the timing of the freight trips. the hours of opening of the Goods Dept would have been different from that of the passenger station. Now I might be an under estimate because I know that at Henley-On-Thames there were two Goods Clerks right up to the end of freight traffic in the 1960s although it was quite a lot busier than Cholsey. And the paybill at Henley, including the small stations on the branch was c.70 at 1960/62 but that also included PerWay staff and traincrew. So I think the 10 for cholsey between the wars sounds on the low side and there was definitely enough goods work t keep 2/3 men busy although it did decline into the 1930s.
  17. Yes - but, there hasn't been any ship victualling and component etc rail traffic into Falmouth Docks for a very long. time. Several RFAs are/have been based there and i think there might even hav e been some refit work done in the shipyard but they definitely wouldn't load ammo and military stores there as they go to Plymouth for that. as far as container trains are concerned you could of course buy loads of suitable wagons and containers and assume the Falmouth container port schem actually happened and there is at least one container train through Cornwall in each direction every hour for most of the day (the base case was 14 trains daily, each way )
  18. Here I must throw my hat into the ring. The DJM 14XX had the 'little hook' because it was one of the things I suggested t Dave should be done to add to the overall realism of the model (I said nothing abi out its mechanicals so done't blame me guv). the 14XX also had another feature I suggested and i have made sure that it is incorporated on the Accurascale 'Manor' but you can find out for yourselves what it is when you get your hands on one. I believe the hook might also have appeared on at least one other model. The hook should be there on the Accurascale 'Manor' as I asked the designer to make sure it was included and also made sure that he took a photo of it on the day detail was being photographed and measured at Didcot - and it was on the early CADs so I presume it has survived tooling etc - as confirmed by McC above. (And yes, there's even a video online somewhere to prove I was there that day ) As to the original reason for the hook I think it was most likely there to avoid fully extended screw couplings hitting the ATC ramps (and possibly other things?) rather than hitting the shoe on the engine (which as already pointed out was in fact under the cab in many instances).
  19. I'm a bit puzzled by some of the above cmments. Firstly as Western engines were right hand drive the offside was the Driver's side, the fireman was on the nearside. Now to battery boxes - again look at photos as some 57XX would have been unlikely to have tn me as they only had 3-link couplings and were intended solely for shunting although they no doubt did some trip work. And I would be surprised if any pannier tank was ever fitted with BR AWS in BR days as the Western only started to convert to BR AWS after steam had finished. yes, there is a photo of a pannier shopped at Eastleigh fitted with a BR AWS battery box but that doesn't mean the engine had BR AWS - just that it had that pattern of battery box.
  20. Or as they might say in pantomime - 'Oh no it didn't'. Yes the platform at Marlow had two faces but the back face was a siding accessed via handpoints so it very definitely wasn't a passenger train bay line. That was seemingly the case at any time in its history as the signalling - renewals apart - changed very little over the years and there is no evidence that I can find that it was ever protected from other yard sidings by trap points. It could have been used to stable passenger stock but not, without a lot of messing about, be used for a passenger train. The line was in any case reduced to One Engine in Steam working from May 1954 so if the railtour preceded that date the car has been shunted clear of the running line and stabled in that siding.
  21. A lot of light was needed in goods sheds - hence the walls being whitewashed or painted in pale colours. The staff needed to be able to read labels on consignments and the Checkers had to write the delivery sheets out somewhere on the deck. So when electricity arrved in woukld in soem respects be more necessary ina goods shed than elsewhere on a station. The busy places for paperwork were the Stationmaster's office (especially at smaller stations where there wasn't a general duty clerk); the booking office; the parcels office and the goods shed and its office. The amount of paperwork was staggering by today's standards as all transactions had to be recorded and then accounted for, balances had at one time to be prepared at the end of every shift although later just once every day (and ultimately some of it became weekly), daily balances had to 'proved' weekly by adding up the whole lot once again and checking that debits and credits balanced for the entire week (then there was also the four weekly account as well); outwards goods and parcels traffic had to be invoiced and some of that even continued into the late 1960s (I can show my age by recalling the Ledger Label 6 - LL6 - (cut flowers) parcels still had to be invoiced as late as 1966). So there were literally mountains of apper having to be stored as well - ready to be accessed in case of any queries. So good light was an essential - far more so than in the Ladies Room
  22. Isn't it strange how fashions change even on model railways? At one time having a bus on a bridge was all the rage - the in thing. Now it seems that the go ahead sorts have to have a bus underneath the layout. I wonder when the bus will finish up on the floor as its descent continues over the years?
  23. The 'depot' at Gloucester Horton Road was actually the former repair shop and was modernised to maintain on-track machines and not normally used for locos - hence it has no fuelling facilities as would normally be found in a loco servicing shed on the WR (as visible in the second down photo of Canton servicing shed). Diesel depots usually had a servicing shed, or area outdoors for servicing, plus a separate heavy maintenance shed hence the photos show two different types of depot building usage.
  24. It would only matter if you are selling copies of them on a commercial basis. As some from much later dates than 70 years ago have been available without charge for downloading from one website for quite a few years (including WTTs) I can't see any problem. and of course if you own an old timetable there's nothing that legally prevents you from selling it.
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