Jump to content

Tallpaul69

Salt Wagon Workings

Recommended Posts

Hi All,

Can any one advise when the peak roofed Salt Wagons went out of use?

Did the movement of salt then go by road?

If it stayed on rail, what replaced the peak roof vans?

 

If they were still widely in use in 1960-62, does anyone know how they were worked away from the Cheshire salt mines?

Were there special trains, or did they just get picked up by the local pick up freights?

 

I am also particularly interested in how in the 1960-62 period salt got to the station yards between Acton and Reading (if by train that is!)?

 

Many thanks

Paul  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Be aware that the other significant salt-producing area that used some specialised wagons was Stafford.

 

I had a bit of a delve into this a few months ago, and came away with the impression that wagons travelled as individuals or small "cuts", depending upon the demand levels at the receiving end.

 

I too would be interested in dates when the traditional wooden wagons went OOU. my impression is "all gone by early 1960s", but that may be incorrect.

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also in the West Midlands near Bromsgrove had a large salt works.

 

I did a bit of research for these a few years ago (only for my own needs). I wanted an excuse for a couple I had bought for a 1950s O Gauge branch line I was building at the time.

 

By the early 1960s most would be in ICI livery. Some of the advertising ones were still about though. They were used like vans for table salt and salt in packets. Later it seems that the salt was mostly carried in normal BR vans. Salt for uses like the chemical industry and road salt was carried in open wagons and later in Presflos.

 

I found a website full of information recently. I'll try and find it.

 

 

Jason

  • Informative/Useful 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Steamport Southport said:

Also in the West Midlands near Bromsgrove had a large salt works.

 

 

Droitwich (Salinae to the Romans), on the River Salwarpe ("throws up salt"). Salt Union Ltd was the major company there, as well as elsewhere - I gather the firm still exists, though salt is no longer its main interest.

  • Informative/Useful 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes. Stoke Prior.

 

Couldn't think of it's name even though I've been there quite a few times as one of my mates puts Rock gigs on the Country Club.

 

Nice little pub by the canal as well called The Boat & Railway.

 

 

 

Jason

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, hmrspaul said:

Some of the BR shock vans were written for SALT.

 

I wouldn't have thought of salt as the sort of commodity that was particularly liable to damage though rough shunting, even when bagged?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 31/01/2020 at 16:24, Tallpaul69 said:

Hi All,

 

 

I am also particularly interested in how in the 1960-62 period salt got to the station yards between Acton and Reading (if by train that is!)?

 

Many thanks

Paul  

 

I am unfamiliar with the section of line you refer to, but if there are no major salt using industries I would doubt if delivery by rail would have been a major traffic at that time.  Salt for road de-icing would equally not have been the major traffic that it is today.

 

Table salt would have been packed at the table salt factories and if then distributed by rail, would have been in cardboard cartons containing either cardboard tubes of salt or packed in the new fangled polythene bags.   Neither would have required special vehicles and would have been transported in vans.  

  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It includes the giant Mars foods factory at Slough, doesn't it? I'd be surprised if they weren't feeding the nation salt by the wagon-load.

 

There was a book about the Slough Estates railway published c25-30 years ago, which might well include clues.

  • Like 3
  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was a major industry. How much salt would a smallish town get through in a week? Never mind if there was an industry that needed it. A bakery or something similar probably needed salt by the train load.

 

Some details of salt here. I would have thought that salt for Reading would come from Worcester, just for convenience sake.

 

https://www.miac.org.uk/saltunion.html

 

According to this, rail traffic ceased in 1964.

 

https://www.miac.org.uk/ici.html

 

But that's just that works. I remember the Runcorn salt works still had shunters until at least the 1980s. One of them is currently available from Oxford Rail.

 

https://www.hattons.co.uk/507885/hattons_bundles_h4_b_j_002_janus_bundle_with_0_6_0_janus_diesel_shunter_in_ici_maroon_livery_with_three_mat/stockdetail.aspx

 

 

 

Jason

  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Note the photo there showing salt packets being unloaded from a Salt Union five-plank wagon - an ordinary PO wagon apparently in no way different from those used by coal merchants etc. The covered goods wagons are, I believe, also Salt Union wagons - the X-bracing and cupboard doors are attested in another photo. This shows that salt was a product widely distributed in the salt company's own wagons - rather an unusual arrangement for a finished product, which was almost invariably shipped in railway company-owned wagons. Presumably the need to keep the salt free from contamination was the justification for a dedicated fleet of wagons. I'm going to have to work out how to build one of those covered vans...

  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bakery needing salt by the train load?

 

I don't think so Jason.  You are applying current manufacturing practice to the 1960s.  Most bakeries then were small affairs - perhaps covering just a few shops in a very local area.  [Hovis would be the one exception to this at that time, but how many bakeries were used to supply an area I have no idea.]  I make my own bread and use 5g salt for a small loaf.  So if a bakery made 25.000 small loaves or the equivalent in  day to cover perhaps 3 or four shops that would be just five 25kg sacks per day - hardly a train load.

 

As to more recent salt by rail, Boulby Potash (AFAIK) is still a major shipper of salt as a by-product from the N Yorks mine.  ICI tried to stitch them up by making sure that a specification for road salt was applied that only they could meet from their Runcorn plants, but found that while they struggled to maintain the specification, Boulby consistently exceeded it.  

  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Andy Hayter said:

 

I am unfamiliar with the section of line you refer to, but if there are no major salt using industries I would doubt if delivery by rail would have been a major traffic at that time.  Salt for road de-icing would equally not have been the major traffic that it is today.

 

Table salt would have been packed at the table salt factories and if then distributed by rail, would have been in cardboard cartons containing either cardboard tubes of salt or packed in the new fangled polythene bags.   Neither would have required special vehicles and would have been transported in vans.  

 

You are judging the today with yesterday as many traffics were still running as they had for years to small customers probably via agents. 

 

Salt was still moved as unwrapped blocks (lumps) in the vans and also Dairy salt was still going via Liverpool Docks to New Zealand.

  • Informative/Useful 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Andy Hayter said:

Bakery needing salt by the train load?

 

I don't think so Jason.  You are applying current manufacturing practice to the 1960s.  Most bakeries then were small affairs - perhaps covering just a few shops in a very local area.  [Hovis would be the one exception to this at that time, but how many bakeries were used to supply an area I have no idea.]  I make my own bread and use 5g salt for a small loaf.  So if a bakery made 25.000 small loaves or the equivalent in  day to cover perhaps 3 or four shops that would be just five 25kg sacks per day - hardly a train load.

 

As to more recent salt by rail, Boulby Potash (AFAIK) is still a major shipper of salt as a by-product from the N Yorks mine.  ICI tried to stitch them up by making sure that a specification for road salt was applied that only they could meet from their Runcorn plants, but found that while they struggled to maintain the specification, Boulby consistently exceeded it.  

 

How many biscuits do you think that places like Huntley and Palmers baked?

 

Crackers at Jacobs?

 

Crawfords?

 

Warburtons?

 

All bakeries and dating from the 19th or early 20th century.

 

 

Jason

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Andy Hayter said:

As to more recent salt by rail, Boulby Potash (AFAIK) is still a major shipper of salt as a by-product from the N Yorks mine.  ICI tried to stitch them up by making sure that a specification for road salt was applied that only they could meet from their Runcorn plants, but found that while they struggled to maintain the specification, Boulby consistently exceeded it.  

 

When Boulby mine was opened it was a 50/50 ownership between ICI and Anglo American but no salt was produced till after ICI sold their share to Anglo American; hence why here were no Salt wagons built and BR owned ones used till more recent years!

  • Agree 1
  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, and Huntley and Palmer’s huge factory is in the span of the OP’s question.

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Salt is a hugely important feed-stock for the chemical industry, which is why the basic chemical industry in the UK is located close to the Cheshire salt resources, but I'm not sure there was much of that sort of thing between Acton and Reading.

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason that the salt manufacturers used their own fleets was that they didn't want to risk spoilage due to water ingress, which was not uncommon in the Railways' own wagons (there had been an action by the Aberthaw Portland Cement Company against the GWR due to this very issue) . Hence the apex roofs on salt 'vans'; much easier to recover. The salt vans were not Pooled during WW2, and remained 'Non-Pool' until their demise towards the end of the 1950s. David Larkin has recently published two volumes on 'Non-Pool' wagons, which has lots of photos of salt wagons. All retained wooden underframes, due to the corrosion problems inherent to steel. Vehicles shown include 'Saxa', 'Shaka' and 'Mangers'.

As regards quantities used in baking; my great-uncle was a baker before WW1, and I inherited his recipe book (of the sort, 'Take 1 cwt white flour, 5 lbs salt etc...). That was a small Welsh town; multiply by hundreds for a city. 

Don't forget also the quantities used in 'brining' hams and bacons on an industrial basis, or used for glazing earthen ware.

  • Like 2
  • Informative/Useful 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎31‎/‎01‎/‎2020 at 18:56, Steamport Southport said:

Also in the West Midlands near Bromsgrove had a large salt works.

 

I did a bit of research for these a few years ago (only for my own needs). I wanted an excuse for a couple I had bought for a 1950s O Gauge branch line I was building at the time.

 

By the early 1960s most would be in ICI livery. Some of the advertising ones were still about though. They were used like vans for table salt and salt in packets. Later it seems that the salt was mostly carried in normal BR vans. Salt for uses like the chemical industry and road salt was carried in open wagons and later in Presflos.

 

I found a website full of information recently. I'll try and find it.

 

 

Jason

Thanks Jason, and to all the others who have contributed to this thread!

I have six salt wagons, three of which are in ICI livery (two different versions!). So I think they are in the right proportions?

 

One is a query though, as it is in DCL Livery. Now I know Distillers had fingers in a lot of pies, was the salt for their own use, or a byproduct of some distillation or did they have a salt mine somewhere?

 

If for their own use I guess the vans would only be seen in the north of England/Scotland?

 

Anyone got thoughts on this?

 

Many thanks

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Distillers took over Murgatroyds salt and chemical operations in 1954 (together with Fisons) based around Sandbach.  This was to secure their raw material supplies for their chemical operations including their PVC plant in Barry.  So wagons might have gone south but probably not over your stretch of line.

  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎02‎/‎02‎/‎2020 at 14:11, Andy Hayter said:

Distillers took over Murgatroyds salt and chemical operations in 1954 (together with Fisons) based around Sandbach.  This was to secure their raw material supplies for their chemical operations including their PVC plant in Barry.  So wagons might have gone south but probably not over your stretch of line.

Thanks Andy,

Just to confuse the issue, since I posed the question about Distillers Peak Roof wagons I have found in David Larkins "Private Owners Wagons on British Rail" a picture of one of the DCL wagons. The caption to this suggests the wagons were used for grain carrying for whisky manufacture prior to the use of the bulk grain hoppers! The same book suggests in captions to photos of Murgatroyd's and ex Murgatroyd's wagons that the operation later became part of BP Chemicals! 

So although this means the peak roof wagons  might at one time have reached East Anglia, sadly, the Paddington to Reading line is out, which means my DCL model will have to go in the "awaiting repaint " box! 

 

Thanks to all who replied,

Regards

Paul 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just come up in another thread, but worth highlighting here:

 

ICI open salt wagons, with slightly raised ends and sockets for sheet rails/chains, being used to deliver salt (probably) to a water works. 
 

Several sheeted wagons in one cut, so a sizeable load.

 

Not a traffic we identified before?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can anyone advise why (some/all?) salt wagons had the strange shape "top"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.