Jump to content

Recommended Posts

The way that companies attempted to tracktheir wagons was to send out letters. I have a lot of correspondence from Llynclys which largely consists of wagon owners asking if their wagon has arrived and if yes, when was it dispatched. I have no doubt that some wagons disappeared and were repainted and assumed a new identity.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, John-Miles said:

The way that companies attempted to track their wagons was to send out letters. 

Missing cat posters. There's a Midland circular to the Great Western, dated 24 April 1917, giving the numbers of one hundred wagons that if found on the Great Western system should please be sent home [Midland Record No. 35 p. 95]. I have a strong suspicion that these were life-expired D299s that were wanted home for breaking up and replacement by new wagons.

  

3 hours ago, John-Miles said:

I have no doubt that some wagons disappeared and were repainted and assumed a new identity.

 

3 hours ago, Regularity said:

Given that wagons had a registration plate, and this could be cross-referenced, how would that work?

 

Quite. The RCH would be on their case.

Edited by Compound2632
sp.
  • Like 4
  • Agree 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

Missing cat posters. There's a Midland circular to the Great Western, dated 24 April 1917, giving the numbers of one hundred wagons that if found on the Great Western system should please be sent home [Midland Record No. 35 p. 95]. I have a strong suspicion that these were life-expired D299s that were wanted home for breaking up and replacement by new wagons.

  

 

 

Quite. The RCH would be on their case.

The modern equivalent is car theft. All cars carry such things as VIN numbers and registration plates - you just create fakes and off you go. Same with wagons. Repaint and provide fake plates.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, John-Miles said:

Repaint and provide fake plates.

 

I dare say there are some fake plates around on the collector's market. That doesn't mean there are any genuine fake plates about!

 

I haven't found any photos of NBR numberplates but looking through Hooper's book I've come to the conclusion this is due to them being systematically replaced by LNER plates rather swiftly following the grouping. The old plates no doubt went for scrap and there weren't collectors around then. Still, I think I've managed to scale off photos reasonably well:

 

731290933_numberplatesheetNBR.png.0c11d345283b45c7e6febd8dfee82dfb.png

 

 

 

  • Like 4
  • Craftsmanship/clever 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see how a van or a wagon could get 'lost' - say, by being wrecked in a heavy shunt a long way from home when those responsible knew it was unlikely the owners knew where the wagon was so kept quiet about it - but in CC Green's second Cambrian Album he mentions that when they were absorbed into the GWR, the Cambrian had 39 guards vans, three of which were 'never found'.  How do you lose a guards van?

  • Like 3
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 2
  • Funny 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

With wagons, there should at least be a paper trail, though I suppose from time to time that could go cold through error or omission. Ahrons has a tale about an engine that went missing that way - an 800 Class 2-4-0.

  • Like 2
  • Agree 1
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have spent an interesting half hour looking through Welsh Newspapers Online (it's free unlike a lot of other sites). I found lots of examples of theft from wagons but only one of someone stealing wagons. This was done by hiring wagons and then selling them on to other people and claiming they were lost. Of course, it didn't work. So I am now eating a large portion of humble pie. It looks like wagon theft was not common. There are some interesting articles about missing wagons, for example one about a LNWR wagon loaded with copper ingots which was missing. Most of the thefts concerning wagons was petty pilfering, often for tiny amounts such as 3d worth of coal. Alcohol was much in favour for stealing.

  • Like 3
  • Informative/Useful 1
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 3
  • Friendly/supportive 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, John-Miles said:

I have spent an interesting half hour looking through Welsh Newspapers Online (it's free unlike a lot of other sites). I found lots of examples of theft from wagons but only one of someone stealing wagons. This was done by hiring wagons and then selling them on to other people and claiming they were lost. Of course, it didn't work. So I am now eating a large portion of humble pie. It looks like wagon theft was not common.

Wouldn't worry about that pie, John: you at least went and found out, and it's useful information to know.

Next time someone suggests this, you can point them to the fruits of your research!

Quote

There are some interesting articles about missing wagons, for example one about a LNWR wagon loaded with copper ingots which was missing. Most of the thefts concerning wagons was petty pilfering, often for tiny amounts such as 3d worth of coal. Alcohol was much in favour for stealing.

Alcohol as the target item, or as an influencing factor? ;)

  • Like 4
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1
  • Funny 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve seen a bogie bolster “disappear” from traffic stock (a civil engineers match wagon was damaged in a derailment, and a “replacement” was found.)

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

With wagons, there should at least be a paper trail, though I suppose from time to time that could go cold through error or omission. Ahrons has a tale about an engine that went missing that way - an 800 Class 2-4-0.

 

It was in the same volume of Ahrons where a small tank engine really did disappear from outside Miles Platting works.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • RMweb Gold
Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, John-Miles said:

Welsh Newspapers Online

 

A remarkable resource for an insight into (Edwardian) goings-on, thank you!

 

Edited by Mikkel
  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

 

I dare say there are some fake plates around on the collector's market. That doesn't mean there are any genuine fake plates about!

 

I haven't found any photos of NBR numberplates but looking through Hooper's book I've come to the conclusion this is due to them being systematically replaced by LNER plates rather swiftly following the grouping. The old plates no doubt went for scrap and there weren't collectors around then. Still, I think I've managed to scale off photos reasonably well:

 

731290933_numberplatesheetNBR.png.0c11d345283b45c7e6febd8dfee82dfb.png

 

 

 

You are quite correct, the survival rate for genuine NBR wagon plates is very low.  I suspect a lot of this is because many returned home to be scrapped and there were many less collectors based in Scotland than England.  A good proportion of pre grouping original wagon plates came from a handful of collectors regularly visiting scrap yards and even digging them up at the locations where the wooden bodies were burnt.  The other main source was grounded bodies. I should add that of the PO registration plates that survive, a good proportion come from tank wagons which lasted into the early days of railwayana collecting.

 

Tony

Edited by Rail-Online
addition
  • Like 2
  • Informative/Useful 3
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've waded through mountains of official bumf in the course of my research and have come across a few cases of wagons being written off as 'lost'. Rare, but it did happen. One could speculate endlessly as to how...

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, wagonman said:

I've waded through mountains of official bumf in the course of my research and have come across a few cases of wagons being written off as 'lost'. Rare, but it did happen. One could speculate endlessly as to how...

 

I've been looking through Hooper's North British Wagons book recently - and more closely, thanks to @billbedford's promptings. That reports a census carried out on 4 July 1920, which failed to find 1,480 NBR wagons, 2.47% of stock. This was actually better than the other Scottish companies except the Sou'-West, 2.2%; the Caley was worst off at 4.04%. (Although it's not stated, I presume this must have been an RCH census throughout Britain, as with pooling a good proportion of the company's stock would be off the company's lines.) However, only a small proportion of the missing wagons were common-or-garden opens and vans - 510 were service vehicles (out of 4,006 - who's hoarding the ballast wagons?) and 589 were "other types" (out of 2,026) which seems especially odd since I would assume these were special wagons on which one would think tabs would be kept. The Chief Goods Manager clearly didn't want to get involved in a wild goose chase, fobbing the General Manager off with the explanation of "errors and omissions". 

 

  • Like 2
  • Informative/Useful 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Mmm, so not so rare at least in Scotland. From memory there was only one MSWJR wagon declared irretrievably lost.

 

A lot of these figures do seem to come in around 1920 – presumably part of the run-up to Grouping?

 

Could part of the problem in Scotland be due to the practice of hiring out wagons to collieries? There's a word for it which I have temporarily forgotten...

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, wagonman said:

Mmm, so not so rare at least in Scotland. From memory there was only one MSWJR wagon declared irretrievably lost.

 

A lot of these figures do seem to come in around 1920 – presumably part of the run-up to Grouping?

 

Could part of the problem in Scotland be due to the practice of hiring out wagons to collieries? There's a word for it which I have temporarily forgotten...

 

 

Thirling

 

There are quite a few legal terms peculiar to Scotland.

 

Was this part of the reason the NB had such a large wagon stock?

Edited by Asterix2012
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Asterix2012 said:

Was this part of the reason the NB had such a large wagon stock?

 

The largest wagon fleet of the Scottish companies and the fifth largest in Britain. 

 

I think you may be right there. Just under 80% of NB wagons were opens and minerals at the time of that census, almost exactly the same proportion as the Midland, which had a large proportion of its own wagons in mineral traffic. Compare 63% on the LNW and 65% on the GW. The Caledonian, which I believe was also thirling wagons, was also at 80% open and mineral. (All 31 Dec 1921 figures from the 1922 Railway Year Book.)

 

The NB was the largest Scottish company on most counts. It had over 31,000 employees in 1921, 2,000 more than the Calodonian, making it the largest Scottish employer after the General Post Office. 

Edited by Compound2632
sp.
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
  • Informative/Useful 3
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 02/03/2021 at 16:10, John-Miles said:

The way that companies attempted to tracktheir wagons was to send out letters. I have a lot of correspondence from Llynclys which largely consists of wagon owners asking if their wagon has arrived and if yes, when was it dispatched. I have no doubt that some wagons disappeared and were repainted and assumed a new identity.


As others have noted, I’d think theft extremely unlikely for a host of reasons of which the amount of faff in relettering is just one. The paper trail is the other big one: it was known where the things were supposed to end up, and even quite large collieries had fleets of a size that would make checking and searching practical. 
 

The only bona fide example (a complete accident I should add), I know of comes from the preservation era when the Dart Valley (as it then was) acquired a Toad with some vehicles they’d actually legitimately purchased. BR - in the form of Plymouth CCE - found out quite quickly and had it returned, but not before it had a large GW applied. It retained that  for the rest of its days (well attested in photos - the anecdote is dad’s, a volunteer at the time).

 

Adam

  • Like 6
  • Round of applause 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Rail-Online said:

I remeber seeing that Toad - at Plymouth station around 1975 and (as a youngster) being surprised that so long after nationalisation it was still in original GWR livery!

 

Tony


And now you know why!

 

Adam

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • RMweb Gold

On the subject of wagons disappearing, a tale I’ve heard from an ex Stratford driver I work with.  This is BR, pre TOPS.  There was a scrap yard locally where the regular trip was 16t minerals, empties in, loaded out full of scrap bound for a steelworks somewhere.  When TOPS arrived, it was discovered that the yard were in the habit of occasionally regarding the odd empty wagon or three as a benevolent donation from BR, cutting it up and sending it out as scrap.  Apparently it had been going on for years.

 

Owain

  • Like 3
  • Funny 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 06/03/2021 at 12:36, Compound2632 said:

The Caledonian, which I believe was also thirling wagons, was also at 80% open and mineral. (All 31 Dec 1921 figures from the 1922 Railway Year Book.)

 

 

Ah yes, 'Thirling' was the word I was groping for. Thank you Stephen and Asterix.

 

 

Edited by wagonman
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.