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Manchester Victoria Station's Telpher


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It's a long time since I worked Christmas at Bristol Temple Meads, but my recollection was that the bridge there carried a roadway for the mail trolleys, with a system of paternoster lifts on which you hung mail bags. Conveyors were planned to be used, but the Post Office Workers Union 'blacked' them, and they were stacked in an unused part of the complex, along with the ALF automatic sorting frames.

 

Thanks for that.  I never actually saw the inside of any of those installations and just assumed that there were conveyors.  Thanks for the correction.

 

Jamie

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I have not come across any other stations that have made use of a tephler. It might be that parcel traffic was particularly significant at Manchester Victoria, or the distances involved significant. I guess some stations would make use of subways for parcel traffic?

The Metropolitan line at Harrow on the Hill used a subway wih lift access from the platforms. I think it was mainly used by the Royal Mail sorting office adjacent to the station. The lifts served 2 of the 3 island platforms. The subway had pedestrian access via stairs. I used the subway every day on the way to school when changing trains at Harrow.

 

The Bachmann art deco platform station buildings are the lift tower, the subway stairs, and the waiting room at Harrow. What they didn't model was the section without the lift tower, can't remember if that was on the GCR platforms 1/2 or southbound Metropolitan platforms 5/6.

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Most older stations that handled a lot of mail and railway parcels had ordinary traction lifts, and subways/bridges for trolleys. A few places, notably in London, used hydraulic lifts.

 

I think that some 1960s PO installations linking direct to main sorting offices used continuous chain conveyors, onto which bags were hooked, Redhill maybe, and possibly Croydon, for instance.

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Most older stations that handled a lot of mail and railway parcels had ordinary traction lifts, and subways/bridges for trolleys. A few places, notably in London, used hydraulic lifts.

 

I think that some 1960s PO installations linking direct to main sorting offices used continuous chain conveyors, onto which bags were hooked, Redhill maybe, and possibly Croydon, for instance.

The one at BTM was a '60s construction (I worked there at Christmas 1974), but the only mechanical aids were the lifts/ conveyors from bridge down to platform. The place was vastly underutilised, some rooms just full of equipment waiting to be installed. Meanwhile, we still sorted using manual frames.

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Not heard of the term Telpher before. I doubt if the LYR used the name.

Why? Genuine question.

 

I don’t know when the name came into use, but I have found a reference suggesting 1885. I’m just curious as to why the L&Y would not have used it?

 

.

Edited by Arthur
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Most older stations that handled a lot of mail and railway parcels had ordinary traction lifts, and subways/bridges for trolleys. A few places, notably in London, used hydraulic lifts.

 

I think that some 1960s PO installations linking direct to main sorting offices used continuous chain conveyors, onto which bags were hooked, Redhill maybe, and possibly Croydon, for instance.

There was a hydraulic railway wagon lift in the goods warehouse at Huddersfield that lifted complete wagons up from the running lines to those of the warehouse floor which was quite some height above as it and the station were built into the hillside.

Edited by Gibbo675
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Why? Genuine question.

 

I don’t know when the name came into use, but I have found a reference suggesting 1885. I’m just curious as to why the L&Y would not have used it?

 

.

 

A little bit of research on the web shows that it was first used in the USA in the early 1880's and that it is an amalgam of two words, tele which means distance as in telephone, telegraph and telescope etc, and phore which means to bear or transport.   I suppose that it come from a similar root to Telepherique which is the French word for a cable car.

 

Jamie.

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As well as the distributed network from the hydraulic company in London, some larger industrial premises had their own hydraulic systems, although I don’t know whether or not that applied to railways.

 

I suspect that the Huddersfield example might have been a water-balanced lift, rather than pressurised hydraulic, does anyone know for sure?

 

Lots of modern slow-speed, short-rise lifts are hydraulic, but that is oil-hydraulic, usually driven by an electric pump, as opposed to the ‘traditional’ system.

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As well as the distributed network from the hydraulic company in London, some larger industrial premises had their own hydraulic systems, although I don’t know whether or not that applied to railways.

 

I suspect that the Huddersfield example might have been a water-balanced lift, rather than pressurised hydraulic, does anyone know for sure?

 

Lots of modern slow-speed, short-rise lifts are hydraulic, but that is oil-hydraulic, usually driven by an electric pump, as opposed to the ‘traditional’ system.

 

I'm not sure about Huddersfield but have a memory that there was at least one water tower in the complex that would have been high enough to supply working pressure for the lift on a total loss system.  There is plenty of high ground around the goods shed to provide water pressure and the lift only went to, IIRC the second floor.   I think that the ground floor had rails, the first floor was storage, the 2nd had rails, via the lift and the remaining floors were for goods only.  Road access was on the ground floor via the goods yard and I think the 3rd floor from the road network, but it's 45 years since I lived in Huddersfield, I also walked round the shed at night in the late 90's when I was a policeman in the town centre.

 

Jamie

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Dock systems, where a supply of water is endemic, used hydraulics for lock gates, swing or lifting bridges, and coal hoists.  One of the reasons that all that effort was put into building Barry Docks and it's associated railway network was that delays to trains and shipping, which cost money, were a problem at Cardiff docks where the traffic had outstripped the capacity of the hydraulic system to operate sufficient coal hoists quickly enough to cope.  Barry docks were built with a number of pumping stations and designed to cope with full capacity of ships at the wharves, as were the new docks at Cardiff, the Roath and Queen Alexander, that were constructed in response to this.  The locks were bigger as well, to take bigger ships (or more small ones at a time).

 

Barry was sometimes referred to as 'the town built for a ha'penny'; it was the boast when the dock opened that the shipping rate per ton of coal was that amount less than at Cardiff, run by what David Davies and his backers considered as an entitled landed elite (with some justification!).  It attracted trade and Barry docks were viable for many years, and was able to so because of the surplus of hydraulic pumping capacity.

 

This was at a time when the South Wales coal export trade was growing exponentially and there was work, and profit, for everyone!

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