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Tallpaul69

Returning Freight Locos from London to South Wales

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Hi Everyone,

In Mike Pope's Photo Album "Steam Ramble South and West" there is a photo of 4 28xx and 38xx locos setting out in convoy from Southall Shed down the relief line. in October 1961.

My Locoshed book from the period tells me two were from Seven Junction shed and two from Newport. The photo cation suggests that this happened weekly when there were no return freights for up trains.

I cant find mention of this in relevant WTTs and I do not have the relevant Loco diagram books.

 

So can anyone suggest a time of day for this movement? The photo was taken in October, in daylight, so I guess it was before 6pm, but any facts or theories would be appreciated!

 

Many thanks

Paul

 

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Light engines coupled together to save paths would not necessarily appear in the WTT unless they were a regular booked working.  These are more likely to have fetched up at Southall because their was no traffic for their booked return workings, which are then ‘caped, no traffic’.  One wonders if the photo was taken on a Friday or Saturday.  

 

Time of day might be indicated by shadows if it was a sunny day; the GWML is pretty much aligned East-West here.  Shadows in front of the locos mean morning, shorter ones to the right of them mean midday, and lengthening ones behind them mean afternoon or early evening.  

 

Signals and telegraph poles can be used as sundials to pin the time down further.  At 09.00 GMT the sun is due NE casting a shadow due SW, and at 15.00 it is due NW casting shadow due SE, irrespective of the height of the sun above the horizon.  Adjust for BST if you know the date of the photo!

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The usual thing in those days was to clear surplus traffic from South Wales by specials run over the weekend - often on Sundays because that was when men and engines were most likely to be available although outside the heavier summer period for passenger traffic there would probably be some on Saturday afternoons (although that was not a popular time for overtime whereas Sundays were very lucrative for traincrews - and the rest of us).  I can remember from a bit later in the '60s that there could be as many as seven or more specials booked out of South Wales at the weekends purely to clear surplus traffic in the London direction.

 

I would think it most likely that these engines had worked up on such trains and went back under Control orders so wouldn't even appear in a Notice let alone the WTT although the trains were usually published by Notice.  In most cases the trains were probably relieved at Swindon - that was certainly the practice later in the 1960s.  at that time the WR still issued special traffic amendments for loco diagrams but I doubt - if you could actually find any of them - that they would tell you very much as the return workings were probbbly not diagrammed in detail.

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I seem to recall that a common practice with mineral trains into London was for the empties trains to be loaded with more wagons than the fulls, thus saving train paths. A consequence of that is a net migration of locomotives to the London area, with a requirement to get the surplus back home somehow.

 

Jim

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1 hour ago, The Johnster said:

 

 

Signals and telegraph poles can be used as sundials to pin the time down further.  At 09.00 GMT the sun is due NE casting a shadow due SW, and at 15.00 it is due NW casting shadow due SE, irrespective of the height of the sun above the horizon.  Adjust for BST if you know the date of the photo!

 

 

This isn't correct at all. It could be a typo. 

 

The sun rises in the East on two days each year (if we are being exact); and those are the Spring and Autumn equinoxes. The sunrise on those days is about 0600GMT with sunset at 1815GMT approx, because of the tilt of the planet and the fact that it is not a perfect sphere. 

 

Between Spring and Autumn equinox the sun rises to the north of due East, and between Autumn and Spring it rises to the south of due East. 

 

Therefore at 0900GMT the sun will be in the Southeast at various heights in the sky depending on the time of year, and Southwest at 1500GMT. Of course, in midwinter it will be very low in the sky at both these times - as they are less than an hour from sunrise/sunset respectively. 

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Yes, you are right of course.  Typo/senior moment!  Sun is SE at 09.00 GMT and SW at 15.00.

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My notes suggest such 'special' workings continued for years after steam ended;

e.g.

 

Sunday, 29th. June 1969;                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the following 'Peaks' arrived at Old Oak Common with 'special' freights from Severn Tunnel Jcn. for the Southern Region

103, 138, 149, 154

All four locos returned light to Severn Tunnel Junction

 

Sunday 6th. July, 1969 ;                                                                                                                                                                                                                              the following 'Peaks' arrived at Old Oak Common with 'special' freights from Severn Tunnel Jcn. for the Southern Region

79, 102, 103 

the following 'Peaks' arrived at Acton with special freights from Severn Tunnel Jcn. for the Southern Region

119, 154

the following 'Peaks' arrived at Didcot with 'special' freights for Temple Mills

36, 84, 112

These three trains were worked forward from Didcot by Eastern Region Cl.47s.

 

.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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7 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Yes, you are right of course.  Typo/senior moment!  Sun is SE at 09.00 GMT and SW at 15.00.

Ha yes, but Noddy Holder from Slade

Has seen the the sun set in the east & in the west.

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Maybe there were mushrooms by the line side where he was spotting ;)

 

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Maybe there were mushrooms by the line side where he was spotting ;)

 

Edited by jonny777

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9 hours ago, br2975 said:

My notes suggest such 'special' workings continued for years after steam ended;

e.g.

 

Sunday, 29th. June 1969;                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the following 'Peaks' arrived at Old Oak Common with 'special' freights from Severn Tunnel Jcn. for the Southern Region

103, 138, 149, 154

All four locos returned light to Severn Tunnel Junction

 

Sunday 6th. July, 1969 ;                                                                                                                                                                                                                              the following 'Peaks' arrived at Old Oak Common with 'special' freights from Severn Tunnel Jcn. for the Southern Region

79, 102, 103 

the following 'Peaks' arrived at Acton with special freights from Severn Tunnel Jcn. for the Southern Region

119, 154

the following 'Peaks' arrived at Didcot with 'special' freights for Temple Mills

36, 84, 112

These three trains were worked forward from Didcot by Eastern Region Cl.47s.

 

.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Definitely - I was in the London Division Freight Train Office in 1968 and they were running then as described in my earlier post. (I know that because I used to monitor the loads ;) ).

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5 hours ago, Ray M said:

Ha yes, but Noddy Holder from Slade

Has seen the the sun set in the east & in the west.

:offtopic:

I found it a bit confusing when I visited Australia and the sun went the wrong way across the sky.

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Returning to the subject but not in the same area,, it was not unusual to get multiple light engines out of Birmingham during the summer 'coal stacking' season. Surplus coal from the pits was moved to Washwood Heath for distribution to gas works and power stations in preparation for the increased winter demand. This sometimes resulted in multiple light engines and crews returning home together when there were no empties waiting to go back.

 

It was also common for local shed to yard moves, there's a nice old Ben Brooksbank one in Edinburgh with a V2 leading a WD 2-8-0 and Scottish Director.

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18 hours ago, jonny777 said:

 

 

This isn't correct at all. It could be a typo. 

 

The sun rises in the East on two days each year (if we are being exact); and those are the Spring and Autumn equinoxes. The sunrise on those days is about 0600GMT with sunset at 1815GMT approx, because of the tilt of the planet and the fact that it is not a perfect sphere. 

 

Between Spring and Autumn equinox the sun rises to the north of due East, and between Autumn and Spring it rises to the south of due East. 

 

Therefore at 0900GMT the sun will be in the Southeast at various heights in the sky depending on the time of year, and Southwest at 1500GMT. Of course, in midwinter it will be very low in the sky at both these times - as they are less than an hour from sunrise/sunset respectively. 

As far as I can tell the shadows are to the north of the engines which could suggest early afternoon as the date was in October.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts.

Regards

Paul

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Same between Brum and Gloucester.... fewer up trains than down trains, hence light engine moves. 

 

Must have persisted in to diesel diesel days as am struggling to find sufficient up trains in the wtt to balance down workings on Abbotswood. Need to run a few 8Zxx northbound I think....

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36 minutes ago, Phil Bullock said:

Same between Brum and Gloucester.... fewer up trains than down trains, hence light engine moves. 

 

Must have persisted in to diesel diesel days as am struggling to find sufficient up trains in the wtt to balance down workings on Abbotswood. Need to run a few 8Zxx northbound I think....

Not uncommon to see two or three 4Fs coupled heading north for Saltley. 

One occasion  I  remember which resulted in unbalanced workings was a planned guards strike

On the Sunday before it was due to happen I was working at Langley Green. We had about 15 unscheduled freight trains Birmingham bound and nothing outwards except for some groups of coupled light engines.

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15 hours ago, Phil Bullock said:

Same between Brum and Gloucester.... fewer up trains than down trains, hence light engine moves. 

 

Must have persisted in to diesel diesel days as am struggling to find sufficient up trains in the wtt to balance down workings on Abbotswood. Need to run a few 8Zxx northbound I think....

I think you might mean 0ZXX, however if they were heading 'over the border' to the LMR they would be 0M00 ;)

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1 hour ago, The Stationmaster said:

I think you might mean 0ZXX, however if they were heading 'over the border' to the LMR they would be 0M00 ;)

Cheers Mike 

 

Am sure we can sneak the occasional 0M00 through.... photos of the day do show a good few freights admittedly in both directions running under 8Zxx codes..... often minerals . Big advantage there in that headcode is not direction specific....

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