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Posted (edited)

I'm starting this topic to pick up a discussion that I'm guilty of leading a bit OT on the Depicting Awdry's Railway Series - Tidmouth Yards topic

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/145291-depicting-awdrys-railway-series-tidmouth-yards/page/5/

 

Most of us seek at least modest authenticity in our modelling, We don't fill Great Western sidings with American box cars, crew British locos with Germanic drivers from Preiser, put UHF TV aerials on the roofs of 1950s houses or use 1970s typefaces for steam era signs (well most of us don't!)  but, as soon as we get to the waterfront, authenticity seems to go out of the window.  How many of our quaysides, even supposedly on the South Coast are served exclusively by Clyde puffers or New York Harbor tugs (Revell-Taurus). I know that most ships are large and these vessels are small. They are also just about possible (American built tugs did come to Britain under lend-lease and some puffers and more VICs did end up in the south)  but typical they certainly are not.

 

A personal bugbear for many years has though been dockside cranes and specifically the Airfix/Dapol rail mounted travelling crane. I built one as a youngster but knew straight away that it simply seemed wrong. It was and is a very nice model but it  just wasn't a typical dockside crane. 

In this model there is a cable to raise and lower the jib and another cable to raise and lower the hook. At most angles, when the jib is raised and lowered the hook will, if left to its own devices, also  move up and down. For many types of crane this isn't a problem but for those used for handling general ships' cargo it is. 

 

1898031993_Dapoltravellingcrane.jpg.c3b429c57309c54990f36be80d060a85.jpg

 

 

At the time I was fascinated by ships and ports and was very familiar with the type of crane that could be found on almost every dockside that handled general cargo or ferries (where, if they weren't handling mail, their main job seemed to be to lift the gang planks in and out of position)

They all seemed to have been built by Stothert and Pitt of Bath (that wasn't actually true, it just seemed like it) and were characterised by the jib splitting to pass both side of the machine house with heavy counterweights each side and a crank - rather than cables- to raise and lower the jib.

 

I was quite into Meccano and the Dockside Crane between the Bedford Type Lorry  and the Pithead Gear in the instructions for my no. 6 outfit looked far more like the real thing especially if you removed the no. 7 strips, that made it totally useless as a portal crane, and braced the portal in a different way .

1608288214_MeccanoDocksidecrane001.jpg.4ff97fb88598b4cb113818a273470082.jpg

Cranes have always been a popular subject for Meccano enthusiasts but I didn't know at the time that this design missed the essential feature of the cargo handling cranes I was familar with; it is not level luffing.

Level luffing means that when the jib is raised and lowered the hook and,therefore its load, remains at the same level. This enables the hook to be moved around very easily whether it's at the bottom of a hold (where the crane driver can't see it) or loading and unloading from lorries and railway wagons. It also means that the frequent need to move loads horizontally to and fro  takes very little power   even though the jiib is constantly bobbing up and down. 

There are several ways of achieving this. Nowadays it tends to be done by electronically integrating the relative movements of the lifting and luffing winch drums but it can be built into the basic design as well.

 

The most obvious way is to use fairly simple geometry with the jib assembly forming a series of levers.

180px-Crane_double-lever-jib-type_sideview_animated.gif.1f5607aebc9e83d1e47917076c79c484.gif

This was the sort of dockside crane that I seemed to see whenever I crossed the channel. In the 1950s and 60s, along with much better food and more that two flavours of icecream, it all seemed part of the experience of "being abroad". It's known as a horse's head  and is entirely straightforward. It does though need rather a lot of steelwork and rises about twice as high as the end of the jib. though that's not normally a problem for cargo handling.  

 

This wasn't though the type of crane I associated with Britsh ports. They looked more like this (though the ships no longer did)

985055983_StothertandPittcranesGWRdocks.jpg.4c24e246c3b736044cac80e39ffd40a2.jpg

 

These were Stothert and Pitt "Patent Crank Level Luffing Cranes" as supplied to the GWR for its various ports. and these are the well known examples preserved alongside the M shed in  Bristol

Bristol_pw_from_ms.jpg.856207c11c4ff4be510823aebc37f0be.jpg

Creative Commons- Joe D

Good clear pictures of dockside cranes are surprisingly hard to find as they tend to appear in the background of pictures of ships or quaysides but I think these show fairly clearly the  principle of the level luffing system invented by Stothert and Pitt's Chief Engineer Claude Toplis in 1911 with a patent granted in 1913.  It is suprisingly simple. A tower mounted directly above the foot of the jib (in this case where it pivots) at a certain height carries two pulleys (aka sheaves) and there are also two pulleys at the head end of the jib.

the cable that raises and lowers the hook passes from the drum in the machine room below over one of the tower pulleys, it then passes over one of the jib head pulleys and  back to the tower where it passes over the other pulley and back to the jib head from where it drops vertically to the hook. I think you can see here that there are three runs of of cable between the tower and the end of the jib.

 

When the jib is stationary, winding the hoist cable in and out raises and lowers the hook by the same amount but, ,when the jib is lowered,the length of the three runs of cable between tower and jib head increases just enough to compensate and keep the hook at the same level. Vice versa of course when the jib is raised. The relative length of the jib and the height between its foot  (where it's pivoted) and the top of the tower is critical. If that is right the hook will remain almost exactly level over a fairly large range of jib angles, certainly enough for normal cargo handling.

The Toplis system of level luffing only seems to have been used where a single cable is attached to the hook. For heavier loads, where there are one or more pulleys in a block attached to the hook, Toplis' patent does suggest that a greater number of passes of the cable between the tower and jib head could achieve the same result. However, running a  cable round a pulley does weaken it slightly so six or nine turns might weaken it too much.  whether or not this really is a limiting factor, I've simply not come across any examples of the Toplis principle being used this way. In practice, where heavier loads needed to be moved horizontally,  either a horsehead, or a hammerhead tower crane seems to have always been used.

Rail mounted level luffing cranes for cargo handlng seem to have arrived when electricity became a practical way of powering them.  On docksides, steam cranes were mainly either large and fixed- like the large Armstron steam crane at Bristol, or small and running on roughly standard gauge track. The new electric cranes could handle cargo more quickly and could come to the ship rather than the oher way round. 

 

I think it would be possible to adapt the Airfix/Dapol model to a Toplis type level luffing crane though you might need parts from two of them and maybe a few other bits and pieces. I know some people have produced accurate models of typical British type dockside cranes but presumably these were scratchbuilt. Any of you on RMWeb?

It would be great if someone could produce a model of one of the smaller examples of these - perhaps about the same size as the Airfix model. 

 

We could also do with a small steam coaster that's not a Clyde Puffer, some more typical ships of around 200-300 tonnes weren't that much larger.

I know Artitec and others have produced models of typical Dutch type coasters and latterly these probably were the most common type of such motor vessels in Britain too. Nevertheless, a traditional "dirty British coaster with a salt caked smokestack" would be nice,

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Pacific231G
typos and grammar
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Dockside cranes always reminded me of giraffe when I was a child, especially when seen at a distance towards sunset.

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Have you tried contact the Bath Record Office or the Bath Museum of Works for any plans?

 

 

 Description Held by Reference Further information

1. Records  Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.  See repos corresp file October 1994

 

2. c1950-90: administration files.   Bristol Archives.  Acc 40896.  See Annual Return 1996

 

3. 1880-1985: business records, glass plate negatives (c40,000).  Museum of Bath at Work.  See information from website

 

4. 1950-1959: technical drawings of winches, cable reels and capstans.  Bath Record Office.  Acc 706.  See Annual Return 2007.

 

Gordon A

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Posted (edited)
On 28/06/2019 at 08:58, Gordon A said:

Have you tried contact the Bath Record Office or the Bath Museum of Works for any plans?

 

 

 Description Held by Reference Further information

1. Records  Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.  See repos corresp file October 1994

 

2. c1950-90: administration files.   Bristol Archives.  Acc 40896.  See Annual Return 1996

 

3. 1880-1985: business records, glass plate negatives (c40,000).  Museum of Bath at Work.  See information from website

 

4. 1950-1959: technical drawings of winches, cable reels and capstans.  Bath Record Office.  Acc 706.  See Annual Return 2007.

 

Gordon A

Thanks Gordon

What is the website they're referring to?

These things fascinate me, I've yet to see a satisfactory trigonometric description of the Toplis principle,  and I might well look up those records.

 

Because I model French railways I'm unlikely to need a model of an  actual Stothert and Pitt high speed level luffing crane but it would be good to see them appearing on more dockside layouts as they are very evocative

For me a large dockside crane would be more likely to be a horsehead but they are very large so I'd probably be more likely to use something like this

1760196742_174dieppe_laGareMaritime-EmbarquementdesFruitscollRolandArzul.jpg.ed0f36fb3741963b075c3a1f023e56b8.jpg

Though this image is from the first decade of the 20th Century, these self propelled steam cranes were still in use in the cargo ferry area of Dieppe's Gare Maritime until the mid 1950s some years after the passenger terminal had been equipped with a couple of large electric horsehead cranes. Their tracks, though apparently SG, were entirely separate from the actual railway lines.

 

Edited by Pacific231G

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I have given you the listed locations holding the Stothert & Pitt archives. The best way is to try and identify a crane by year of build and build number(?), then ask the archive holders if they have any plans or pictures of said crane. If a positive reply is given then the next step is a personal visit.

 

The same research is applicable to the small steam cranes.

 

Gordon A

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Quite a few of the cranes in this 1965 shot of the KGV docks in London:

post-1877-0-43196800-1519742371.jpg

 

and a higher resolution close-up of a couple of them:

CloseCranes.jpg.668500404305467513086b04c2681837.jpg

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1 hour ago, BernardTPM said:

 

Thanks Bernard

It's almost frightening how fast the traditional London docks collapsed even before the containerisation revolution. I signed off the MV Clan Matheson in KG5 in 1969 and it was practically deserted; I don't think there were more than five ships in the entire dock. Tilbury was still fairly busy but nothing like your photo.

 

6 hours ago, RLWP said:

These are interesting Richard

I've looked at a few more photos of Garston and similar cranes in the London docks and I think the counterwieighted jibs are fixed, they certainly all appear to be at the same angle. What look like chimneys here suggest these were steam cranes and possibly rail mounted - though not portal cranes. The similar London cranes appear to be fixed and possibly hydraulic (there were hydraulic power mains round London's docks before electricity took over).

 

 

 

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Hi

don't know if it’s interest but here’s a pic of my model of a small uk coasting vessel, based on one that used to trade into Boal Quay in Kings Lynn.

 

It’s a heavily modified Revell

A25DF7B8-5005-4534-AE7E-03B14AA05450.jpeg

90DDD358-FE50-42CF-A061-1F82574BE010.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Pacific231G said:

Thanks Bernard

It's almost frightening how fast the traditional London docks collapsed even before the containerisation revolution. I signed off the MV Clan Matheson in KG5 in 1969 and it was practically deserted; I don't think there were more than five ships in the entire dock. Tilbury was still fairly busy but nothing like your photo.

I remember most evenings when I was a child living in Forest Gate I would hear the low sound of ships' horns, but by the time I was a teenager (1970) that was a very rare thing. The last time I recall being stopped by one of the dock bridges, the one near Harland & Wolff, was (I think) 1976. There was nothing much around by then, as you say.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, David jennings said:

Hi

don't know if it’s interest but here’s a pic of my model of a small uk coasting vessel, based on one that used to trade into Boal Quay in Kings Lynn.

 

It’s a heavily modified Revell

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_06/A25DF7B8-5005-4534-AE7E-03B14AA05450.jpeg.a5aca95fa56a384c09543a554b413f95.jpeg

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_06/90DDD358-FE50-42CF-A061-1F82574BE010.jpeg.bcfca6818ecb676b42bb44cc09c37c62.jpeg

That's really excellent David. and exactly the sort of small-coaster-that's-not-a-Clyde-Puffer I was thinking of (or possibly its steam powered equivalent).  

I did build a supposedly H0 scale small motor coaster myself some years ago converted from the Frog "Shell Welder" but it wasn't a patch on yours (I still have it as an ornament but it's in a pretty poor state) In fact I thought from the hull shape and the raised quarter deck that yours was also based on the same kit. Having now found your Bole Quay topic I gather you used the Revell Grimsby Trawler as the base. The Shell Welder hull is a bit longer at 410mm but quite narrow at 70mm  so the basic hull size of the trawler is probably better and the Revell kit seems to still be available.  The Frog model was 1:130 scale and the real Shell Welder, built on Tyneside in 1955, was 170ft x 30ft. The kit is still available from Poland but I gather the moulds, that have been through several hands, are now very tired.I think mine was from the Soviet Union  "Novo" brand. 

Edited by Pacific231G
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A couple of dock cranes I have built.

 

First a hydraulic crane at Herculaneum Dock, Liverpool. 4mm scaleDSCF1202.JPG.c21394df230dfed4b5e46038c39bc3c4.JPG

 

It was used to unload mineral wagons and involved  tipping the wagon to open the end door and discharge the coal. Now on Mike Edge's Herculaneum layout.  Built by Armstrongs. It was a visit to Cragside and viewing the lift which helped me work out how it worked.

 

Secondly the steam crane at Bristol.DSCF0055.JPG.a3959d5cf7533c9ec27e468767b12f5c.JPGDSCF0054.JPG.55715681450ff49e3c820d329fd75edf.JPG

 

Built by Stothart & Pitt. The model is 7mm scale for Leeds MRS club layout Regis Bay ( now defunct). The jib is 1:48 the cab 1:43 just to keep the size reasonable. It is non working but someone with the right skill could make it into a working model. This crane now sits in store and I have no use for it. I may be open to sensible offers.

 

Nick

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, Nicktoix said:

A couple of dock cranes I have built.

 

First a hydraulic crane at Herculaneum Dock, Liverpool. 4mm scalehttps://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_06/DSCF1202.JPG.c21394df230dfed4b5e46038c39bc3c4.JPG

 

It was used to unload mineral wagons and involved  tipping the wagon to open the end door and discharge the coal. Now on Mike Edge's Herculaneum layout.  Built by Armstrongs. It was a visit to Cragside and viewing the lift which helped me work out how it worked.

 

Secondly the steam crane at Bristol.https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_06/DSCF0055.JPG.a3959d5cf7533c9ec27e468767b12f5c.JPGhttps://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_06/DSCF0054.JPG.55715681450ff49e3c820d329fd75edf.JPG

 

Built by Stothart & Pitt. The model is 7mm scale for Leeds MRS club layout Regis Bay ( now defunct). The jib is 1:48 the cab 1:43 just to keep the size reasonable. It is non working but someone with the right skill could make it into a working model. This crane now sits in store and I have no use for it. I may be open to sensible offers.

 

Nick

Both really excellent models Nick. I've never seen the Bristol Stothert & Pitt crane steamed though I understand it is from time to time.  The Liverpool Armstrong crane is fascinating. It appears to have had a fairly limited luffing range but presumably was carrying out a fairly repetitive operation. 

Edited by Pacific231G

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There were two of the Armstrong cranes at Herculaneum Dock employed on coaling ships alongside. They only had to lift wagons from one of two tracks by the dockside and swing them out over the ship so no greta luffing range was needed. They were powered from the hydraulic mains and moved up and down the dockside when required by ropes and capstans (also poered from the hydraulic mains).

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Hi,

 

This link may be of interest:- Fairbairn Steam Crane

 

An 1868 example is still extant at Dover:-

 

Dover_1869.jpg.9ad7da926fe431ac4d06a137116785cb.jpg

 

A similar crane was available as an multi-media kit in HO from an obscure German manufacturer

 

Cheers

 

Jack

 

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I was very luck to be at Bristol on a day when the crane was in steam and got a good look inside the cab. I'll post some pics when can find them.

Nick 

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Quickly found !

DSCF0048.JPG.c04035235fcc6819ce029cf15f70cf84.JPG

 

One cylinder on each side. DSCF0047.JPG.34fec0304fabe2be5946452c73a5c64d.JPG

 

And some gearing !! Health and safety anyone ?

Not much room to get to the boiler and round the other side

Nick 

DSCF0049.JPG

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On 29/06/2019 at 00:43, Pacific231G said:

  The Frog model was 1:130 scale and the real Shell Welder, built on Tyneside in 1955, was 170ft x 30ft. The kit is still available from Poland but I gather the moulds, that have been through several hands, are now very tired.I think mine was from the Soviet Union  "Novo" brand. 

 

This used to be a Novo Shell Welder , but it's been "got at" quite a bit..............

DSCF3539.JPG.fc0088a57209e90a4ae28628f1efada5.JPG

See how many original components you can spot!

 

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I thought that this maybe of interest, A very good mate of mine built this Dockside Crane for me, it is based on a Stothard & Pitt design it uses bits from the original Airfix (now Dapol)  and Pola kits mixed with a lot of scratchbuilt ingenuity, I am very lucky as it now sits on a new yet to be to exhibited layout of mine called "Millway Dock".

730263443_smallpix282.jpg.ab1013a32e0ca6471741e5aec3b72cc1.jpg

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On the subject of dockside cranes some great examples can be found at Sharpness docks,

 

These two are not used now, as roadside cranes do the job

 

Sharpness Dks LR_042

 

this one on the opposite side of the dock, is used, this shot gives you an idea of scale

 

Sharpness Dks LR_130

 

the shot below show all the cranes in one shot. Most of the trackwork for the internal railway is still in place, and yes it does run over the bridge in the picture (which it shares with the road). Just needs a little 0-4-0 and a couple of wagons to complete the set.

 

Sharpness Dks LR_028

 

 

 

 

 

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On 29/06/2019 at 15:41, The Johnster said:

A proper dockside crane, for unloading big ships efficiently, is a very large piece of equipment.  The jib must be able to reach over the far side of the hold of a ship of perhaps 30’ beam, and not luff so low that it affects SWL.  Bristol docks has preserved examples of the sort of thing common in the later steam era. 

 

The Airfix and Kibri cranes are much too small, intended as dockyard cranes for the purpose of lifting machinery or equipment aboard ships being repaired; they have neither the capacity or power for serious cargo handling.  One can understand why they are marketed, though; proper cranes are much too big for most domestic layouts.  We are talking about something about 4 feet high in 00. 

It's a similar challenge to the size of ships but if you look at the Airfix box art, though it describes it as  a "travelling crane", it's clearly being depicted as a general cargo handling crane though I don't think a crane like this would have been used in that role.

317628447_Airfixtravellingcraneboxart.jpg.7e7b69df15c09f2e334e92eb2b2b2dc9.jpg

Cranes like those on the London and Bristol docks handling ocean going general cargo ships were indeed very large compared with railway rolling stock but so were the ships they worked (Two medium sized cargo ships I sailed on were about 500ft long with a 65 ft beam which in OO would require a two metre long model) 

However, smaller ships and smaller dockside travelling cranes did exist.  Looking at photos of Weymouth harbour the height of the cranes in their most upright "rest" position is less than half the length of the Sarnia and Caeseria. These were  322ft long - about four foot three in OO so the cranes in that scale would be  no more than two feet high and I've seen smaller examples than that.   

 

To avoid hi-jacking 9793's thread, given that he's not actually planning to model Tidmouth harbour, I think we might usefully take this discussion onto the topic set up for this subject.

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/145628-dockside-cranes/

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Hampshire Hog said:

I thought that this maybe of interest, A very good mate of mine built this Dockside Crane for me, it is based on a Stothard & Pitt design it uses bits from the original Airfix (now Dapol)  and Pola kits mixed with a lot of scratchbuilt ingenuity, I am very lucky as it now sits on a new yet to be to exhibited layout of mine called "Millway Dock".

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2019_06/730263443_smallpix282.jpg.ab1013a32e0ca6471741e5aec3b72cc1.jpg

An excellent model that certainly looks the part. Stothert and Pitt also had a design where the shoreside rail ran above the ground, often built into the warehouse but sometimes on a girder structure like the one in the background of your photo. There were several of these in the old Folkestone ferry terminal though they're long gone now. In its "rest position" how high is the end of the jib above the quayside?

Edited by Pacific231G

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Southampton had (possibly still has) some of these cranes you describe; they are sometimes to be seen in photos of the dock railways.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Fat Controller said:

Southampton had (possibly still has) some of these cranes you describe; they are sometimes to be seen in photos of the dock railways.

I have  vague memories of these from when I worked in S. Western House almost opposite Dock Gate 4 from about 1979 but don't know where. If they were anywhere it was in the older Eastern Docks as I'm almost certain all the cranes along the long quayside of the newer Western Docks were (and are) free standing. I've looked through a load of Britain from Above images of Southampton from the 1930s but all the cranes there seem to be fairly standard Stothert & Pitt freestanding portal cranes so I've not found them yet. I did find some intriguingly small travelling cranes on Town quay in the 1930s. They look far more like the Airfix crane but I think they're rigged for Toplis level luffing  so if I can find a better image of them they could be useful.

Edited by Pacific231G

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