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Wagons on Independent Light Railways


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When considering modelling Colonel Stephens type light railways in the early years of the 20th century, did many own their own wagons? If so, did they buy new or acquire secondhand cast offs? If not, did mainline wagons simply run from the national network to the minor line? Or would it probably be a mix of the two?

 

As always there is probably no easy answer but if creating your own small independent light railway then what is the most likely scenario?

 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or input!

 

David

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In that period, on Stephen's East Kent Light Railway system, there were four main coal pits, and these used a mixture - many owned by the pit owners, particularly Tilmanstone, where traffic was destined straight to Richborough port, but the rest by coal merchants and of course railway companies for overland distribution. The rest, for general goods (and I think I recall some livestock), were a mixture of PO and other main railway companies owned. I don't recall pics of goods stock owned by the East Kent, other than for brakes, stores and works, but as most of the stock was second hand anyway, I guess anything goes. Very little goods traffic was purely internal to the EKR (other than the coal to the port), and such as it was could be carried in a van or three attached to the sparse passenger workings.

 

There are many pics of the old EKLR and other Stephen's standard gauge lines on t'web, which will help you decide.

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I remember reading in a book on the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway that the Quarry at Criggion stopped sending stone by rail to S&MLR in 1929as it was cheaper to use lorries.

Most wagons ownd by the light railway would be used for deliveries on its own line only so their use would have declined after WW1 due to the availability lorries.

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A light railway would need its own wagons, or to use PO wagons, for originating traffic, unless they had a common-use agreement with other companies. General common-use agreements started in 1916, under government pressure. Before that, there were isolated examples of agreements: e.g. the Metropolitan Railway (not a light railway, but comparable in goods traffic) had an arrangement to use Midland railway wagons until they built their own.  

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The quick answer to your question is Yes. They may not have strayed far from their home patch as they may have been used on the whole on PW or other service duties. The PD&SWJR's wagons were all ex-Midland 3 plank drop sides, 8 ton 5 planks and 8 ton box vans. The Selsey Tram had a number of wagons and vans bought second hand from a number of sources mainly Midland, SECR and LBSCR.

 

Marc 

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The WC&P had a few exMR opens (D299 mostly – they turn up everywhere) but the stone traffic went in PO wagons, the CM&DPR had some (new?) stone wagons – there's one in a photo of I think Charlbury station on the OW&W line – the K&ESR, which started out with grand pretentions as the Rother Valley Railway, also started out with some of its own stock. The Bishops Castle, which predated the Light Railway movement by several decades, had quite a lot of stock, including I believe cattle trucks, mostly secondhand. They even had an Iron Mink type van which from memory was an ex-cement co. vehicle.

 

So the answer to your question is 'yes' but not many, mostly for internal use or originating traffic that wasn't catered for by PO wagons. Incoming traffic would have been in mainline company wagons and after the common user rules came into force they'd likely use them for out-bound traffic too as the expense of maintaining goods wagons to mainline standards wasn't worthwhile. By the late '20s most light railways wagons were confined to service vehicles.

 

Does that help?

Edited by wagonman
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The Bishop's Castle Railway had both carriages and wagons of its own, all as far as I can tell second hand, at least after the First World War. The original cattle wagons may have been new. But cattle wagons were also hired in for busy periods (as did the Barry Railway from the GWR,. to quote one example). The only photos I have seen of timber traffic which I think originated on the line are of other companies' wagons. But the BCR did have at least one new wagon - built on site by Beddoes, who had the contract for maintaining the wagons.

Coal came in in wagons belonging to collieries and coal merchants.

Hope this is helpful.

Jonathan

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In that period, on Stephen's East Kent Light Railway system, there were four main coal pits, and these used a mixture - many owned by the pit owners, particularly Tilmanstone, where traffic was destined straight to Richborough port, but the rest by coal merchants and of course railway companies for overland distribution. The rest, for general goods (and I think I recall some livestock), were a mixture of PO and other main railway companies owned. I don't recall pics of goods stock owned by the East Kent, other than for brakes, stores and works, but as most of the stock was second hand anyway, I guess anything goes. Very little goods traffic was purely internal to the EKR (other than the coal to the port), and such as it was could be carried in a van or three attached to the sparse passenger workings.

 

There are many pics of the old EKLR and other Stephen's standard gauge lines on t'web, which will help you decide.

The East Kent owned a fair number of mostly ex-mainline wagons, lettered EKR. Full details are given in the excellent two part Oakwood Press history of the line by M. Lawson Finch and S.R. Garrett (Part 2 deals with stock). The only productive pit served was Tilmanstone. The others on the line were failures, and generated little traffic, although Hammill Colliery did become productive as a brickworks. The successful pits at Chislet, Snowdown and Bettteshanger weren't served by the railway (although not for want of trying - see the numerous proposed extensions). The Richborough extension was a bust, the bridge over the Stour being too weak, and the civilian port was never a success. I couldn't say for sure without looking, but I doubt if any coal traffic went that way via the EKR. Tilmanstone traffic went via the mainline connection at Shepherdswell, and also straight to a bunker in Dover Harbour via a ropeway. Some of it was used by the Southern Railway / Region. My late next door neighbour remembered having to fire with 'Tilmo'.

 

Sorry if this duplicates other posts. It will be delayed by the moderators. For at least a couple of years I have been on the moderator queue, without even being allowed the basic courtesy of knowing what I am supposed to have done wrong. 

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The Colonel Stephens Railway Museum website has lots of information such as this article on the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Railway's rolling stock. Unfortunately there are broken links within the website; I got to this by googling "Shropshire & Montgomeryshire rolling stock"

 

As has been mentioned, quite a lot of Midland stock on the second-hand market c. 1910 onwards - easy to build from Slaters' kits in 4mm and 7mm scales.

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For wagons to leave the home system, they had to be approved as being up to RCH standards: until 1904, for example, the EWJR wagons were not deemed as acceptable for carrying goods off the “home” railway. They bought 150 new wagons that year from BRCW, to standard designs.

The LNWR refused to accept Bishop’s Castle wagons, but some of the, had been built in their own workshops as direct copies of LBWR designs. Mr Beddoes was quite irate with them about this, and the LNWR were forced pay a visit, examine a wagon and to back down. (This is detailed in either Griffiths or one of the Scott-Morgan booms, but I am currently 106 miles away from my books, so cannot check on whether I got that right: it may have been a P.O. wagon.)

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The East Kent owned a fair number of mostly ex-mainline wagons, lettered EKR. Full details are given in the excellent two part Oakwood Press history of the line by M. Lawson Finch and S.R. Garrett (Part 2 deals with stock). The only productive pit served was Tilmanstone. The others on the line were failures, and generated little traffic, although Hammill Colliery did become productive as a brickworks. The successful pits at Chislet, Snowdown and Bettteshanger weren't served by the railway (although not for want of trying - see the numerous proposed extensions). The Richborough extension was a bust, the bridge over the Stour being too weak, and the civilian port was never a success. I couldn't say for sure without looking, but I doubt if any coal traffic went that way via the EKR. Tilmanstone traffic went via the mainline connection at Shepherdswell, and also straight to a bunker in Dover Harbour via a ropeway. Some of it was used by the Southern Railway / Region. My late next door neighbour remembered having to fire with 'Tilmo'.

 

Sorry if this duplicates other posts. It will be delayed by the moderators. For at least a couple of years I have been on the moderator queue, without even being allowed the basic courtesy of knowing what I am supposed to have done wrong. 

 

I agree with most of that (I did not mean Chislet, Betteshanger and Snowdown), and have several books on the EKLR, due to my local interest at one time, having walked several stretches of the old routes. The Richborough port civilian flow certainly existed after around 1926 (possibly 1923 when the initial agreement for the EKLR consents to be enacted by the SR was made, after military handover), but almost certainly ceased in 1929, so it all depends on what the OP means by "early" 20th C. I agree the vast majority went via Shepherdswell post WW1 (and all prior to that), but one book I have relates the reminiscences of an EKLR driver who had to traverse the bridge to the port a few times a week - he recalls being prepared to jump the footplate at the merest strange sound. I believe, from memory, that his recall is from the 1930's, but goodness knows what traffic this was. Passages in the Stephens Society records and in the Richborough port official history suggest there was no further use of the port until WW2, mainly due to silting up,  but one can imagine coastal barges still using an otherwise pristine, mile-long harbour - as happened at Sandwich, and may have happened at Reculver were it not such a stupid idea, to break the railway monopolies at Dover and Folkstone). But the other three pits were productive up to WW1, including Wingham and the two whose names I cannot recall, just outside Shepherdswell, but did indeed fall into disuse prior to 1923, at the latest, as coal prices plummetted after the war.

 

It was also my belief that Stephens adopted many wagons, second hand, and labelled them as belonging to the railway (and one of my Oakwood Press books says the same) but there is little available evidence regarding how much they were actually used, other than for works and limited local moves, as stated. I have found no evidence that they ever moved off the EKLR, until adopted by the SR at least.

Edited by Mike Storey
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Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. There is some fascinating information there which I will need to re-read and digest.

 

The upshot seems to be he originating traffic could be of a railways own wagons, supplemented by PO stock with incoming traffic being a mainline company. I hadn't appreciated the 'common user' aspect so that is good to note (you learn something new every day!). There is good scope for a wide variety of types and from a number of sources then in any modelling.

 

Thinkig on as a supplementary question, an example would stone/quarry traffic be likely to be carried in RCH type wagons? Maybe 5 or 7 plank for instance?

 

Thank you all again and apologies if my questions come across as very basic or naive :( It is nice to learn from the collective knowledge and resource available here and rest assured any help, advice and your time is greatly appreciated by me.

 

Cheers,

David

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Thinkig on as a supplementary question, an example would stone/quarry traffic be likely to be carried in RCH type wagons? Maybe 5 or 7 plank for instance?

'RCH type' wagons were just that.  The various RCH specifications which came out were bringing together various design features, mainly (but not exclusively) relating to running and draw gear, which had developed by that date and were then those which railway companies would require to be met before they would permit wagons to be run on their system.   There were many detail differences between wagons built by different builders, but which all met the latest RCH specification.  A quick look through some of the collections on the HMRS website will illustrate this.  Do a search by 'collection' (bottom option).

 

Jim

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The Beddoes built wagon for the BCR was based on a wagon the company had bought from the LNWR but with rubber springs instead of the original design. That was what he LNWR inspector objected to.

For quarry wagons, have a look at BQC. It had quite a large fleet and there are a few photos around. Mostly five plank, from memory.

The early BCR cattle wagons were interesting as they were open at the ends in the same way as at the sides. Later the BCR bought some from the Midland - as per the drawing in one of the MR wagons books.

Jonathan

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Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. There is some fascinating information there which I will need to re-read and digest.

 

The upshot seems to be he originating traffic could be of a railways own wagons, supplemented by PO stock with incoming traffic being a mainline company. I hadn't appreciated the 'common user' aspect so that is good to note (you learn something new every day!). There is good scope for a wide variety of types and from a number of sources then in any modelling.

 

Thinkig on as a supplementary question, an example would stone/quarry traffic be likely to be carried in RCH type wagons? Maybe 5 or 7 plank for instance?

 

Thank you all again and apologies if my questions come across as very basic or naive :( It is nice to learn from the collective knowledge and resource available here and rest assured any help, advice and your time is greatly appreciated by me.

 

Cheers,

David

 

 

Stone quarry traffic would be carried in PO wagons owned by the quarry company and built to meet whatever RCH standards were in force at the time – without which (as Caley Jim says) they wouldn't have been registered by the mainline companies.

 

Stone is generally denser than coal so a normal 10 ton load of stone would need a smaller wagon than 10 tons of coal: most stone wagons were 3 or 4 plank as for instance the Dhu stone from Clee Hill, some limestone was lighter and would need a 5 plank as in Derbyshire Peak district. On the other hand 'dimension' stone such as Bath or Portland produced was usually carried in 1 or 2 plank wagons as it was just one big lump!

 

So, as in many of these things, it all depends...

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The Beddoes built wagon for the BCR was based on a wagon the company had bought from the LNWR but with rubber springs instead of the original design. That was what he LNWR inspector objected to.

For quarry wagons, have a look at BQC. It had quite a large fleet and there are a few photos around. Mostly five plank, from memory.

The early BCR cattle wagons were interesting as they were open at the ends in the same way as at the sides. Later the BCR bought some from the Midland - as per the drawing in one of the MR wagons books.

Jonathan

 

Ta.

 

Early GWR cattle wagons were also open at the ends in the same way as the sides.

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Ta.

 

Early GWR cattle wagons were also open at the ends in the same way as the sides.

As were CR ones to an 1870 drawing. The ends were boarded over later. Even earlier ones had no roofs!

 

Jim

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I agree with most of that (I did not mean Chislet, Betteshanger and Snowdown), and have several books on the EKLR, due to my local interest at one time, having walked several stretches of the old routes. The Richborough port civilian flow certainly existed after around 1926 (possibly 1923 when the initial agreement for the EKLR consents to be enacted by the SR was made, after military handover), but almost certainly ceased in 1929, so it all depends on what the OP means by "early" 20th C. I agree the vast majority went via Shepherdswell post WW1 (and all prior to that), but one book I have relates the reminiscences of an EKLR driver who had to traverse the bridge to the port a few times a week - he recalls being prepared to jump the footplate at the merest strange sound. I believe, from memory, that his recall is from the 1930's, but goodness knows what traffic this was. Passages in the Stephens Society records and in the Richborough port official history suggest there was no further use of the port until WW2, mainly due to silting up,  but one can imagine coastal barges still using an otherwise pristine, mile-long harbour - as happened at Sandwich, and may have happened at Reculver were it not such a stupid idea, to break the railway monopolies at Dover and Folkstone). But the other three pits were productive up to WW1, including Wingham and the two whose names I cannot recall, just outside Shepherdswell, but did indeed fall into disuse prior to 1923, at the latest, as coal prices plummetted after the war.

 

It was also my belief that Stephens adopted many wagons, second hand, and labelled them as belonging to the railway (and one of my Oakwood Press books says the same) but there is little available evidence regarding how much they were actually used, other than for works and limited local moves, as stated. I have found no evidence that they ever moved off the EKLR, until adopted by the SR at least.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on which pits were productive. Coal was won in significant quantity at Tilmanstone, producing an eventual return. The same cannot be said for Wingham, Guilford and Woodnesborough (Hammill), where nearly all effort was spent digging down, rather than bringing coal up. Of the others not mentioned, only Dover Colliery and Stonehall progressed beyond a test bore, and they were also failures and not served by the EKR anyway! The EKR planned to serve Stonehall though, with two possible routes and some interesting gradients. 

 

Richborough was largely disused as a port after Pearson, Dorman Long took over. They made use of the workshops for maintenance of mining equipment. It seems from the records that they weren't particularly well disposed towards the EKR anyway, and only allowed the EKR access to Stonar Wharf under pressure from the Southern Railway. According the aforementioned books, for a short period some PDL coal from Snowdown traversed the EKR to Richborough (having come down the ex-LCDR line first), and in the opposite direction came pit props for Tilmanstone. It would have taken a brave man to drive a heavy train over that bridge, or even a loco for that matter. I can imagine the driver you mention listening for every creak and bang. An uncharitable soul might say that was just the sound of the loco.

 

The port as it was at the end of WW1 and in the immediate aftermath would make an interesting subject for a shunting layout. Equally, if all the plans of the various Concessions, Syndicates and the colourful Mr Burr had come to pass, East Kent would have been heavily industrialised - a subject for 'what if' surely? What if the EKR had grown into a major heavy rail system linking the collieries and steelworks and the proposed port near Minnis Bay? Perhaps it could even have gained an independent route to London? A freelance layout based on this premise would be fun. 

 

By the way, please, FolkEstone. People are always losing an E. We've lost so much, including our port and branch line. We need that E.

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Again thanks to all above for your informative replies and I am sorry for asking such basic questions :( it is good to learn though and understand a little more about things. So 5 plank (and fewer) wagons are most suited to any proposed quarry/stone loads - I will have a look at what I can get hold of and I think I will have a go at repainting in my own (entirely fictitious!) quarry livery :)

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The Mid-Suffolk had its own goods wagons.  Drawings of two I have in an article somewhere. One was dumb buffered and, IIRC, the article suggest that this one was restricted to 'internal user', whereas the more modern wagon could be sent further afield. 

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I think we'll have to agree to disagree on which pits were productive. Coal was won in significant quantity at Tilmanstone, producing an eventual return. The same cannot be said for Wingham, Guilford and Woodnesborough (Hammill), where nearly all effort was spent digging down, rather than bringing coal up. Of the others not mentioned, only Dover Colliery and Stonehall progressed beyond a test bore, and they were also failures and not served by the EKR anyway! The EKR planned to serve Stonehall though, with two possible routes and some interesting gradients. 

 

Richborough was largely disused as a port after Pearson, Dorman Long took over. They made use of the workshops for maintenance of mining equipment. It seems from the records that they weren't particularly well disposed towards the EKR anyway, and only allowed the EKR access to Stonar Wharf under pressure from the Southern Railway. According the aforementioned books, for a short period some PDL coal from Snowdown traversed the EKR to Richborough (having come down the ex-LCDR line first), and in the opposite direction came pit props for Tilmanstone. It would have taken a brave man to drive a heavy train over that bridge, or even a loco for that matter. I can imagine the driver you mention listening for every creak and bang. An uncharitable soul might say that was just the sound of the loco.

 

The port as it was at the end of WW1 and in the immediate aftermath would make an interesting subject for a shunting layout. Equally, if all the plans of the various Concessions, Syndicates and the colourful Mr Burr had come to pass, East Kent would have been heavily industrialised - a subject for 'what if' surely? What if the EKR had grown into a major heavy rail system linking the collieries and steelworks and the proposed port near Minnis Bay? Perhaps it could even have gained an independent route to London? A freelance layout based on this premise would be fun. 

 

By the way, please, FolkEstone. People are always losing an E. We've lost so much, including our port and branch line. We need that E.

 

Thanks for that - There is now no need to agree to disagree - I agree. I had obviously confused the extensions of the EKLR to Wingham and the other two, and subsequent operation, as evidence of their production, but clearly this was used only for moving equipment, props and suchlike, and maybe removal of the sand deposits being pumped up with the water. Now I have read the pit histories in further detail (which I should have done before!!), they are fascinating, especially Guilford.

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According to Paye's book, the Mid-Suffolk had four three plank ballast wagons, second hand from their contractor, which started off with dumb buffers, but were modified, and, because of their duties, these didn't leave the line, except for repairs. They bought, new, ten four plank, raised ended, opens from the Lincoln Carriage Company, and these did travel widely. The MSLR had to pay mileage levies to the GCR and GNR in 1911, and, later, probably in common user traffic, had to pay the NER for repairs, in 1919. They also had three second-hand GER cattle wagons, but in 1905 they bought six new ones from Turner of Langley Mill, based on the GER design, and these were also widely travelled, and the traffic was often heavy enough to require hiring additional cattle wagons from the GER.

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The East and West Yorkshire Uninon Rly had ballast wagons , 5 planks and brake vans. The 5 planks were well traveled as most of the photos of them are either in Scotland or Barmouth junction on the Cambrian.

As a side anyone looking for odd wagons Barmouth junction is a great place to look. A lot of the HMRS photos were taken there.

Marc
 

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The East and West Yorkshire Uninon Rly had ballast wagons , 5 planks and brake vans. The 5 planks were well traveled as most of the photos of them are either in Scotland or Barmouth junction on the Cambrian.

 

As a side anyone looking for odd wagons Barmouth junction is a great place to look. A lot of the HMRS photos were taken there.

 

Marc

 

 

Are the dates of these photos known? Many photos showing pre-Grouping wagons either in great variety or far from home turn out to be post-Great War, i.e. after the pooling agreements had come into force.

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