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Lacathedrale

Finding out about 1870-1880s railways

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Not sure if it’s still there, I rather doubt it, but in the early-1970s there were still bits of a long-closed inclined railway up to a chalk pit on Mount Caburn, part of a Tramway that once linked, I think, with a ‘telpher’ to Glynde station, which was laid in early vignoles rail, probably secondhand stuff from the LBSCR.

 

I should have hacksawed a slice off as a sample, because it was interestingly different from modern FB rail, very round-headed, and squat in the web, with a wide foot with screw holes in it, and I’m pretty sure it was iron, rather than steel, because of the way that the worst-rusted bits had decayed. Steel sort of eats away all round, but iron sort of delaminates ..... quite hard to describe.

 

Kevin

Edited by Nearholmer

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The photo of the guard waving off the South Eastern train was published in a book called "Grandfather's London", edited by OJ Morris (of railway photograph fame).  As published, it had large-size reproductions of a collection of photos mainly (as I recall) taken in the 1890s around Blackheath and Greenwich, to be used in a magic-lantern lecture.  All of very high quality, with good definition.  There are a few railway ones, but the street scenes are also of interest.  Copies are usually available second-hand - see for example https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=22427260154&searchurl=tn%3Dgrandfather%2527s%2Blondon%26sortby%3D17%26an%3Do%2Bj%2Bmorris&cm_sp=snippet-_-srp1-_-title2
Some of the photos have been used elsewhere more recently, but tend to be less sharply reproduced.

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Reading Ahron's volume five has given some interesting information: the SER used open thirds from the 1850's way up until the 1890's on branch traffic in North Kent, they would happily run tender first until tank engines started appearing (primarily for shuttling between Charing Cross and Cannon Street). Singles were used everywhere for expresses even up to the SECR merger. He certainly has a way with words.

Bill

I think you may have misinterpreted Ahrons regarding open thirds.  His actual quote, which is courtesy of Acworth, another contemporary commentator, ".(he)...mentions  casually that (in the early 'nineties' I believe) evidence was given in a law court that the South Eastern still occasionally used in local trains some old coaches that were put on the road in 1852." I am sure that, given Ahrons' negative attitude to the SER, he would have made great play of open coaches in service at that date, and if they were, I would have thought that they would have been well photographed as a quaint anachronism, rather on the lines of hte preserved Bodmin and Wadebridge carriages, now in the NRM.

Unfortunately I haven't got information on the development of SER carraiges, but the recent books on LBSCR coaches give a lot of detail, and being neighbours, competitiors and occasionally sharing designs, I would have thought that the SER would mirror developments, and in fact by 1880 they were probably ahead of the Brighton in this field.

A brief history:

When the London and Brighton Railway opened, as with many contemporary lines, little thought was given to how the lower classes would travel, with minimal expectations of any revenue from this sector.  All express trains, and most others, were first and second class only. When necessary the labouring classes were given open carriages, with no roofs, and often confined to goods trains.  In 1844 the Government actually interfered, and introduced the regulation that at least one train a day had to transport third class passengers in enclosed carriages at a decreed fare per mile.  The Brighton, like many other commercial organisations, reacted to Parliamentary interference by following the exact letter of the law, rather than the spirit, and built mean boxes on wheels, with a single door on each side, no windows and minimal internal comfort, and ran them on services at times of little use to anyone.  However, there was a general improvement in facilities as the services were developed, and more respectable coaches began to be built for third class passengers, initially with roofs, and then with windows and shutters. In January 1859 the shareholders were told that all Thirds were now provided with a roof, although I'd be inclined to take this with a pinch of salt, with some un-roofed stock perhaps being retained for excursion or "fourth class" use. Enclosed thirds were built from 1859, probably with shutters rather than windows, and the last open-sided coaches were built in 1861. However, in 1862 the Brighton board agreed withthe BoT that only enclosed coaches would be used on general services, but open sided ones were still used on excursions, particulalry in the London area, such as to the Crystal Palace, but less on longer distances. By 1869 the number of open sided coaches had halved, to around 85 in service, and more would have disappeared after that, converted to enclosed types. I can't find out when open-sided coaches finally disappeared though.

However, concurrently with these rather crude third class coaches, first and second class carriages were slowly improving, and by 1852 some respectable vehicles had been produced. The 5&9 Models website has pictures of the various kits available, helpful in showing open and open sided thirds,and although particular later examples of more traditonal types are based on 1863 designs, those produced ten years earlier looked very similar. By the eighteen seventies many of these luxury items had been downgraded to third class, and I would surmise that it would be this sort of vehicle that would turn up in SER branchline trains in the nineties. I don't think that the southern lines were alone in keeping antique stock in service this way, in fact some of the Scottish lines were building new designs in 1878 which looked very little different from the LBSC enclosed thirds of twenty years earlier.  There were also interesting survivors that appeared on lines like the Shropshire and Montgomery Railway which acquired the LSWR Royal saloon of 1844, which lasted over 100 years.

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The 1844 regulation was the origin of the 'Parliamentary' trains, better known as 'parlies'.

 

Jim

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Ah understood, my search for legitimacy fails! On the bright side I have two books on Victorian Railway photographs, one on Signalling and that Ahrons book to complete so I think I'm sown up for a while with regard to material. Thank you all for your kind help and assistance.

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La Cath

 

Not sure if you’ve seen this, a ‘proper’ history, rather than a picture album, but well illustrated.

 

There is a copy going for £15 if you contact [email protected] . She has a copy in here SH bookshop.

 

Kevin

post-26817-0-03105300-1518110446_thumb.jpeg

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As an armchair pre-grouper, I think you raise some good questions.

 

Lots of good advice already, but a few further thoughts:

 

 

- ‘Our Iron Roads’ was an early general railway book that was churned out in great quantity, so is easy to find at sensible prices. Mine is a 3rd edition, dated 1883, and cost £16.

 

- this was before ‘lock, block and brake’, so signalling and traffic control practices varied widely, with only the best and latest bearing much resemblance to what has become familiar as ‘traditional’ railway practise.

 

 

'Our Iron Roads' is available from the Internet Archive  https://archive.org/details/ourironroads00will

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Bill

I think you may have misinterpreted Ahrons regarding open thirds.  His actual quote, which is courtesy of Acworth, another contemporary commentator, ".(he)...mentions  casually that (in the early 'nineties' I believe) evidence was given in a law court that the South Eastern still occasionally used in local trains some old coaches that were put on the road in 1852."

 

The oldest SER thirds still running in the late 19th century were probably former open coaches given the minimum of enclosing needed to pass Parliamentary approval. These were four or five narrow compartments, about five foot wide, with very low roofs and high waists and the windows were shared between "compartments". I use quotes there because there were no partitions between compartments - as indeed there rarely were in third class carriages prior to about 1880. On the roof there was a single lamp pot suggesting the SER believed one lamp was sufficient for the entire carriage. These are probably the vehicles Ahrons referred to, technically not open but probably once were. They certainly lasted a long time, possibly into the 20th century on the Canterbury and Whitstable.

 

They are a bit of a challenge to build, like cattle wagons there is little solidity above the waist, but the general comment I have had when I have shown people my efforts is a pledge not to complain about Thameslink-Govia again!

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Indeed, Cudworth was reluctant to design tank engines for quite a while, five drivers petitioned him to build tank engines, resulting in the gunboats

 

Cudworth was also reluctant to provide cabs, only the last batch of 0-6-0s had them

 

The Gunboats were actually a Richard Mansell design, though as always when a Carriage Superintendent takes over the loco works after the previous engineering manager leaves you have to wonder how much of the design was either down to his predecessor or to the boys in the office. Cudworth's tank engines - built initially for Charing Cross to Cannon Street shuttles - were a couple of 0-4-2T well tank classes and the first 0-4-4Ts to run in Britain, again a well-tank.

 

The second 0-4-2T class would a useful engine for someone to do as its members ended up spread across the system doing things like Ash-Aldershot locals, piloting at Reading and running the Ramsgate-Margate Sands local goods. These had 5' diameter drivers rather than 5'6" thus were better suited to this "maid of all work" stuff. I believe they did local goods service close in to London too.

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There is a small book on Cudworth and his locos, The Locomotives of James Cudworth, by Charles Fryer. It's a useful little book but only because it covers virgin territory for writers as it were. It's a shame the author wasn't able to make use of some of the good drawings the SECSOC has published to its members. Although reasonable drawings of some of Cudworth's early locos are included the absence of a drawing of the very numerous "118" class 2-4-0 is a big miss. I was also disappointed that no drawings were provided of Cudworth's well tanks even though I know the SECSOC has published at least one and there is a drawing of the 0-4-2T with the smaller drivers in the National Archive, though how you get hold of them these days is a mystery these days. I had a copy but it disappeared in a house move, grrrrrr.

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