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Were banana vans every yellow?

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In the 60s, Banana vans were a common sight in South Wales, with Barry Docks a major importer.

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This led to lines of such vans standing between Cadoxton and Barry Dock stations awaiting the next vessel to come alongside (generally from the Windward Islands).

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There was a Barry Docks - Temple Mills  working, for such traffic, commonly Warship hauled.

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I never saw a yellow van, and all vans by that time were 10'0" wb.

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Banana traffic dwindled when the shippers introduced their own containers, and eventually moved out of Barry.

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Many of the redundant banana vans were then used as "fitted head" on certain South Wales workings.

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These were all 10'0" wb vans, renamed "Tadpole"

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Tadpoles gathered at Llantrisant, where they were used as fitted head on Llantrisant - East Moors ore trains. The ore originated from a BSC owned mine at Llanharry (not Llanharan) on the former Cowbridge branch, from where they were tripped, unfitted, to Llantrisant and the Tadpoles added when the train ran "main line"

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The Tadpoles also ran with hoppers containing limestone, from Llantrisant - East Moors, the hoppers having been worked, unfitted, from Creigiau Quarry.

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These trains reversed at Pengam, in later years, and the Tadpoles were then on the rear, so the hoppers ran unfitted from Pengam to Tidal, then East Moors.

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Brian R

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37 minutes ago, br2975 said:

........ Many of the redundant banana vans were then used as "fitted head" on certain South Wales workings.

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These were all 10'0" wb vans, renamed "Tadpole"  .......................

I remember seeing a number of these for scrap at Barry : certainly some were Southern types and had been ballasted with a couple of feet of concrete inside !

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4 hours ago, corneliuslundie said:

, From memory, Barry, Southampton and Liverpool were the main ports at different dates.

Your memory is pretty good, Cornelius; you can add Preston and Avonmouth to the list.  Part of the GW's motivation for building the Badminton cut-off was better access to Avonmouth from London for the banana trade.

 

Geest's ships were very smart and doubled as luxury cruise liners, with a dozen or so staterooms.  Barry and Avonmouth do not come to mind as obvious high end cruise ports, but they were, all the same.

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1 hour ago, br2975 said:

The ore originated from a BSC owned mine at Llanharry (not Llanharan) on the former Cowbridge branch, from where they were tripped, unfitted, to Llantrisant and the Tadpoles added when the train ran "main line"

Yes, Llanharry not Llanharan, my thanks for the correction Brian.  The work was a staple for Llantrisant men.  The ore workings at Llanharry were described as a mine, but were more a quarry, an opencast site.  

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1 hour ago, Wickham Green said:

I remember seeing a number of these for scrap at Barry : certainly some were Southern types and had been ballasted with a couple of feet of concrete inside !

They were used on trains from Llandeilo Jct towards Cardiff. I was told that it was to move mineral workings up a Class from 8 to 7, to allow faster pathing on the SWML east of Port Talbot.  This would be from 1972/3.

On Saturdays, after shopping in Swansea, dad would take us down to the Mumbles; we would sometimes see the banana boats going to and fro, a mile or so off-shore.

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52 minutes ago, The Johnster said:

Yes, Llanharry not Llanharan, my thanks for the correction Brian.  The work was a staple for Llantrisant men.  The ore workings at Llanharry were described as a mine, but were more a quarry, an opencast site.  

There was certainly a deep mine at Llanharry: I found quite a few photos of the headgear and so on, one link to which I've posted below:-

https://museum.wales/collections/online/object/67e93eeb-7571-3f83-9a83-271b60711cae/Llanharry-iron-ore-mine-negative/?field0=with_images&value0=on&field1=string&value1=tram&index=24

The ore was haematite, with a much higher iron content than the ironstone quarried from Oxfordshire east to Lincolnshire.

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Theres remains of a yellow box van at NL depot currently.., as well as a Regional Railways mk2 and an engine block (no idea what) outside on a wagon...

 

here’s a screen grab..

66EE599B-C9C1-4975-9768-4E26EA36E5C7.jpeg.10196e5859b4e116bc4aebfc5bb4f0af.jpeg

 

although I doubt it’s seen any bananas recently.. 12mins 20seconds in.

 


 

(i know its not original Geest or Fyffes yellow) :-)

 

Edited by adb968008
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It’s not a banana van either; the ventilators five the game away as the mortal remains of a common or garden BR standard plywood Vanfit. 

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Although it seems that banana vans were in bauxite brown livery after Nationalisation it is possible that they were in Fyffe's yellow livery before 1948.

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15 minutes ago, Robin Brasher said:

it is possible that they were in Fyffe's yellow livery before 1948.

 

What evidence do you have to offer in support of this?

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Well, Hornby might have thought so - https://api.maas.museum/object/43911 - and with green underframes too ! ................... though the complete lack of any railway identification - let alone the complete absence of of photographic evidence rather suggests that our Frank was having a 'Rule 1' moment !

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There are also examples with red frames and red roof - I posted a link to one earlier.

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On 15/02/2020 at 17:01, Robin Brasher said:

I am not sure if banana vans were painted yellow but the LSWR and Southern Railway may have painted them cream.

 

HMRS Livery Register LSWR & Southern on page 45 suggests that refrigerator vans were painted pink or stone: the shade is a matter of dispute but their colour chart shows pink or light tan.  It does not mention banana vans. Precision Paints have adopted the pink shade for wagon stone.

 

The model manufacturers have adopted a pale cream shade for banana vans.  These include Hornby's 1937 0 gauge model which was contemporary with the real SR wagons, Hornby Dublo's SR refrigerated van, Hornby's 00 gauge banana van and Peco's N gauge van.  I presume they all did some research to arrive at the same colour.

 

The picture shows a Peco banana van. I hope you find this useful,

P1090649.JPG


Is the PECO banana van an accurate model then?  Would the roof have been painted the same colour.

 

Many thanks

 

Paddy

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Also, does anyone know why PECO used their standard ventilated box van for their BR bauxite banana van?
 

Many thanks

 

Paddy

 

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7 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

As usual, the LNWR seems to have been first in the field for this traffic, its first banana vans dating from 1904 with the Midland and, I now learn, the Great Northern joining the fray in 1905. I'd welcome clarification but my impression is that import was first through Liverpool, hence the LNWR, Midland, and perhaps Great Northern, interest, though later (but still before the Great War) the Midland was running Avonmouth - St Pancras banana trains via the SMJ. I don't have Atkins to hand but from what I can glean, Great Western banana traffic began c. 1913, at much the same time as the LSWR traffic.

The first imports for which the LNWR deployed vans were by Elders and Fyffes into Manchester via the ship canal. Later - IIRC 1912 - they moved the terminal to Garston.

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55 minutes ago, Paddy said:

Also, does anyone know why PECO used their standard ventilated box van for their BR bauxite banana van?
 

Many thanks

 

Paddy

 

 

The answer here is probably money related. 

 

2 hours ago, Wickham Green said:

That'll be goods van B786181 http://www.ws.rhrp.org.uk/ws/WagonInfo.asp?Ref=13866

 

I'm afraid the link isn't working for me :(

 

21 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Not just banana vans; it would be unusual (not unknown) to see cattle wagons other than in block trains, and petrol and similar traffics passed from refineries to distribution depots in block trains as well.  Mineral traffic apart from coal was almost exclusively in block trains as well; coal ran in blocks, but also as the tail end of part fitted trains.  

 

 

Forgive me for going OT but wouldn't cattle vans crop up frequently in the humble pickup goods if it was in a cattle farming area? I would have thought small cattle movements in these areas would be relatively frequent and unlikely to warrant a full train all the time or would at least have been collected via the regular goods working and taken to a larger yard to be passed further on?

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1 hour ago, Paddy said:


Is the PECO banana van an accurate model then?  Would the roof have been painted the same colour.

 

Many thanks

 

Paddy

It looks like their refrigerator van painted yellow. The refrigerator van, IIRC, was based on a SR-designed van (so was not very accurate when painted up for the LNER); it may be that the SR banana vans were similar externally.

 

I don't think Peco have ever made an accurate model of any wagon.

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Roadrailer?

 

I did say that it was unusual but not unknown for cattle wagons not to run in block trains, admittedly an awkward double negative. 
 

The main traffic was from the Irish Sea ports (Fishguard, Holyhead, Liverpool, Heysham, and Stranraer) to slaughterhouses in London or other big cities, and these were the destination of block trains from mainland cattle areas as well.  The odd one or small raft of them would be used to take cattle to local markets though, and they were used for sheep and pig traffic in this way as well.

 

Cattle wagons were vacuum fitted an XP rated so could run as tail traffic on passenger trains as well.  

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51 minutes ago, The Johnster said:

Roadrailer?

 

I did say that it was unusual but not unknown for cattle wagons not to run in block trains, admittedly an awkward double negative. 
 

The main traffic was from the Irish Sea ports (Fishguard, Holyhead, Liverpool, Heysham, and Stranraer) to slaughterhouses in London or other big cities, and these were the destination of block trains from mainland cattle areas as well.  The odd one or small raft of them would be used to take cattle to local markets though, and they were used for sheep and pig traffic in this way as well.

 

Cattle wagons were vacuum fitted an XP rated so could run as tail traffic on passenger trains as well.  

Many cattle wagons were indeed vacuum braked, but quite a few pre-BR examples were piped only, and quite a few, more in the pre-Grouping period, were fitted with hand brakes only. Those examples that were vacuum braked, or vacuum piped, could travel in passenger trains, but if loaded were required by the BoT to be coupled immediately behind the locomotive so as to lessen any shocks from starting and stopping. Empty, they could be coupled as tail traffic, but then if empty, there wouldn't be either need nor justification for attaching them to a passenger train.

 

Jim

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Agree.  This meant that a cattle wagon could not be marshalled behind the loco during the steam heating season as the train could not be heated, though I believe some LMS cattle wagons were piped through for steam heating.  
 

As for coupling empties as tail traffic, this might occur if a wagon was stranded somewhere and was needed urgently elsewhere before the next pick up.  In this case control would instruct it’s attachment to a passenger train.  This might apply for any ‘specialist’ XP wagon or van, of course.   If it was a regular booked move, it would appear in the WTT. 

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3 hours ago, Guy Rixon said:

It looks like their refrigerator van painted yellow. The refrigerator van, IIRC, was based on a SR-designed van (so was not very accurate when painted up for the LNER); it may be that the SR banana vans were similar externally.

 

I don't think Peco have ever made an accurate model of any wagon.

It does have the three hinges on each door, which seemed to be a characteristic of most, if not all, banana vans. There was another type of SR banana van that had the 3-centre roof of the standard SR van.

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18 hours ago, Fat Controller said:

There was certainly a deep mine at Llanharry: I found quite a few photos of the headgear and so on, one link to which I've posted below:-

https://museum.wales/collections/online/object/67e93eeb-7571-3f83-9a83-271b60711cae/Llanharry-iron-ore-mine-negative/?field0=with_images&value0=on&field1=string&value1=tram&index=24

The ore was haematite, with a much higher iron content than the ironstone quarried from Oxfordshire east to Lincolnshire.

You are right Brian.

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The Glamorgan Haemetite mine at Llanharry was just that, a "deep" mine, a former colleague now owns and lives in the cottage at the entrance to the site.

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When the mine closed in the mid-70s all but one of the battery locos were abandoned below ground.

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The branch from Llantrisant to Llanharry was worked by an 08 which drew the empties to Llanharry then reveresed in the former station propelling into the mine, whilst the brake van was left on the branch.

Fulls were drawn out, pushed onto the brake, then propelled back to Llantrisant, where they were then drawn back across the SWML  to reach Llantrisant yard.

The Cardiff Division shunter/pilot diagrams allowed for several return trips each day by the LTS pilot.

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For those hoping forva reopening to Cowbridge, my daughter lives in a housing estate built across the trackbedvat Tylagarw.

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The opencast, The Johnster refers to may have been at Llanharan, a coal producing site feeding mainlybDidcot PS in later years.

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Brian R

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I'm confused, not having previously realised that bananas were mined in South Wales.

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8 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

I'm confused, not having previously realised that bananas were mined in South Wales.

 

It's next to the pot noodle mine

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