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Branch line serving St Catherines and Londaon Docks

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In Disused Stations entry about Minories , there is mention of a branch line to serve St C's and London Docks built in 1864.

The only line I can see,on an old map, is a line going off  between Lemon St and Minories going to Smithfield- is there another one actually serving the docks as well as the Smithfield ( meat markets, I assume)

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The line is shown on the RCH Jcn. diagram from 1906 (now in public domain)

1024px-Aldgate,_Bishopsgate,_Haydon_Squa

 

Joe Brown's 'London Railway Atlas' has the branch shown as 'East Smithfield/ London Docks Goods (17/6/1864 - 1/9/1966)'.

Not really anywhere near Smithfield markets served by the Widened Lines at Farringdon/Aldgate.

Shown well on the 1951 OS 1:1250 map:

https://maps.nls.uk/view/102906592#zoom=3&lat=4548&lon=2397&layers=BT

Edited by keefer

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Found a more detailed map, 1896 OS 1:1056, which shows tracks in the goods shed and linking to the warehouse on the other side of the road:

https://maps.nls.uk/view/101201628#zoom=5&lat=7601&lon=9624&layers=BT

 

EDIT: 1873 OS map shows that it is a 'wool warehouse'

https://surveyoflondon.org/map/features/search/?q=East+Smithfield

(Click the 'layers' symbol and select Ordnance Survey, then zoom out a bit)

Edited by keefer
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This looks like a potential masterpiece of a model. Just need to work out how to operate all those wagon turntables and shunt wagons on and off them. (Shipley club have done some of this with Leicester South Goods using powered vans).

 

Research will be key. Many of the buildings shown on that map will have been destroyed during WW2 and since.

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I reckon to know London pretty well but this is the first time that I have encountered "East Smithfield". How confusing to have two Smithfields, even if this one is outside The City in Tower Hamlets. Just looked on Google and there has been a lot of rebuilding there in recent years.

 

I am struggling to absorb all the info on that 1896 OS map! Particularly interesting is that big lower warehouse, accessed by what appears to be a covered bridge and then a wagon lift to take wagons down to street level.

 

Similarly, the "action" at the GER depot is all at street level accessed from a wagon lift. But is the upper level in the open or under a roof?

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The line of route is clearly visible today, because the layout of buildings, big Victorian or Edwardian blocks of flats belonging to the Peabody Estate, very clearly follows the curve where the viaduct no longer is ..... look out for it if travelling on the DLR.

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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I have been checking out OS maps from other dates.

 

Much the most interesting period to model would be 1880s to c1920. The branch is all open to the elements with the GER depot tracks at road level under cover - a mix of proper buildings and lean-to's probably.

 

At some point in the 20th century (we can't entirely trust OS maps for dates), the whole depot, including the tracks on viaduct, disappears under a big warehouse building. It would need a modeller of real talent to work out how best to present this as an exhibition layout. Perhaps best not to stick too exactly to a representation of the real thing but use it as a theme and correct the dimensions and placement of buildings to optimise viewing. One might not even to stay north of the river. One could imagine a similar branch close to Tower Bridge on the south bank of the Thames (excuse for an 0 gauge Dapol Terrier).

 

Operationally, I think the trick/illusion would be to model the lower scenic level static with lots of mood lighting. The two wagon lifts would descend to a basement level of the baseboard for wagons to be exchanged to the upper level for shunting into trains. The trains themselves would be very short as the run round is very short.

Edited by Joseph_Pestell

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27 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

The line of route is clearly visible today, because the layout of buildings, big Victorian or Edwardian blocks of flats, very clearly follows the curve where the viaduct no longer is ..... look out for it if travelling on the DLR.

 

Have just been on Google Maps Satellite and new buildings over the whole site. The only constant with the 1896 map is Royal Mint Court.

 

I think that you must be thinking of another branch.

 

Edit: No, you are clearly on the right branch. That Peabody Estate history is very interesting. One of those blocks would be the perfect scenic break for the tracks on viaduct to disappear into the fiddle yard (cassette).

Edited by Joseph_Pestell
Correction

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Honest JP, it’s really clear in reality. A series of big yellow-brick 18890s blocks, in a ‘threepenny bit’ curve along where the viaduct was ........ they are clearly visible on the 1890s 1:1056 map, and apart from one in the middle that I think went in the blitz, they are still there. 
 

They don’t show clearly on the satellite image, because they have been re-roofed, and when looked straight down upon, they look modern.
 

The new building is to the west of the route; these are to the east of it.

Edited by Nearholmer
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Sticking with an "accurate" model, which GER/LNER locos would have been used to haul short trains to/from Temple Mills (?).

 

I am thinking J67 or J69. Jim McGeown (Connoiseur) does the J68. Mainly a passenger class but some were optimised for goods traffic and 12 were at Stratford shed in early LNER period.

Edited by Joseph_Pestell

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Are you aware of Blackwall Station? http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/b/blackwall/index.shtml

It's a bit further down the road from St Catherine's dock but I've always thought it would make a fantastic Micro/small layout. Just got to pluck up the courage to try it myself.

I've had a glance through London's East End Steam  and you've got J15's, J65's J66's, J68, J69's, Y4's and J50's amongst others working around Stratford.

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The goods dept is mentioned in Commercial Motor from 20/2/1959:

http://archive.commercialmotor.com/article/20th-february-1959/34/gen-russell-to-be-member-of-13tc

 

"UNITED CANNERS SWITCH TO RAIL implementing plans to distribute 'some 20,000 tons of canned products throughout the Greater London area, Beaulah Benedict Sales, Ltd., are to switch deliveries from their cannery at Boston, Lincs, from road to rail.

The factory, United Canners, was previously served by the cornpany's own lorries and those of local haulage concerns. New plans, however, include the use of a floor of the East Smithfield goods depot, which is railway property. Here, the contents of a dozen wagons will be delivered daily, returning to Lincolnshire with loads of imported fruit. Other imported consignments for the Boston factory will be landed at Immingham and conveyed by rail to the cannery."

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13 minutes ago, sb67 said:

Are you aware of Blackwall Station? http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/b/blackwall/index.shtml

It's a bit further down the road from St Catherine's dock but I've always thought it would make a fantastic Micro/small layout. Just got to pluck up the courage to try it myself.

I've had a glance through London's East End Steam  and you've got J15's, J65's J66's, J68, J69's, Y4's and J50's amongst others working around Stratford.

 

Yes, I know about Blackwall and agree about it's potential as a model. I did quite a lot of research on Docklands' railways back in the 1970s when developing the proposal that ultimately became the DLR.

11 minutes ago, keefer said:

The goods dept is mentioned in Commercial Motor from 20/2/1959:

http://archive.commercialmotor.com/article/20th-february-1959/34/gen-russell-to-be-member-of-13tc

 

"UNITED CANNERS SWITCH TO RAIL implementing plans to distribute 'some 20,000 tons of canned products throughout the Greater London area, Beaulah Benedict Sales, Ltd., are to switch deliveries from their cannery at Boston, Lincs, from road to rail.

The factory, United Canners, was previously served by the cornpany's own lorries and those of local haulage concerns. New plans, however, include the use of a floor of the East Smithfield goods depot, which is railway property. Here, the contents of a dozen wagons will be delivered daily, returning to Lincolnshire with loads of imported fruit. Other imported consignments for the Boston factory will be landed at Immingham and conveyed by rail to the cannery."

That would be into the rebuilt depot. Easier to model but much less interesting as all under cover.

 

I am thinking of something set around 1925 so pre-group wagons still in pre-group livery as well as GER/LNER liveried locos.

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Guy Rixon is RMWebs resident expert on modelling big inner-London goods depots, so worth seeking his thoughts.

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I work in Thomas More Square, so if anyone needs pictures of locations nearby then PM me and I will see what I can do.

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11 hours ago, chesterfield said:

In Disused Stations entry about Minories , there is mention of a branch line to serve St C's and London Docks built in 1864.

The only line I can see,on an old map, is a line going off  between Lemon St and Minories going to Smithfield- is there another one actually serving the docks as well as the Smithfield ( meat markets, I assume)

It's rather optimistic to claim that branch as serving that dock.

It is actually St Katherine's Dock with a K not a C.

That branch only goes as far as East Smithfield.

From my walks in that area I seem to remember the warehouse being associated with tea as one of the main products.

It does, as others have noted, look like a very attractive prospect to model.

 Part of the reason for the relatively early decline of St Katherine's Dock was the lack of a rail connection.

If it had been rail served a non PC model would be attractive with imports of ivory and ostrich feathers among an assortment of other exotic animal parts.

That part of London was the centre of the animal trade , both whole and alive and dead and in bits.

I can just see the reaction of punters at an exhibition.:o

Bernard

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This is one of the most elusive stations/lines to find anything about.   

There is one photo of the line, probably at Royal Mint Street,  in the Middleton Press book about the Fenchurch Street line, and that is about all. 

Despite searching, I have never seen a picture with railway wagons in or beside the wool warehouse.   All wagons crossed East Smithfield using capstans, so no locomotives could ever used in the docks .

The only rails I have seen on OS maps show one line running alongside the wool warehouse, but not right to the side of the dock.

I do have one Victorian street atlas of the area which shows other lines continuing around the dockside, but have never found anything to corroborate this.

As has already been mentioned, St Katherine's Dock was never rail connected. 

The whole stretch of line from Fenchurch Street to Blackwall had numerous goods sheds belonging to different companies, and has been well documented (except for East Smithfield!)

 

Wagon hoists were pretty common in London, because, of course, like many cities, the railways were built on "arches."  

 

Edited by jointline
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The branch was quite comprehensively covered in "Great Eastern in Town and Country", which Wild Swan Irwell Press published a while back in 1990. It is probably out of print now but I have a copy and will update with the ISBN details shortly its full details are -

 

ISBN 1 871608 16 3

Publisher - Irwell Press, 1990

Author - Chris Hawkins

Title - as above.

 

Jim

Edited by jim.snowdon
To update and correct information.
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I am overwhelmed with the responses to my question. First of all, I note Catherine spelt with a K and Londoan spelt London.

I am hoping for a very rainy weekend (I know Britain is not!)(We have had up to 400 mils and it has put out most of our big fires.)

so that I have to stay indoors and can follow-up all the leads you have given me. My thanks

Edited by chesterfield
incorrect spelling
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20 hours ago, jim.snowdon said:

The branch was quite comprehensively covered in "Great Eastern in Town and Country", which Wild Swan Irwell Press published a while back in 1990. It is probably out of print now but I have a copy and will update with the ISBN details shortly its full details are -

 

ISBN 1 871608 16 3

Publisher - Irwell Press, 1990

Author - Chris Hawkins

Title - as above.

 

Jim

 

That ISBN number appears to be invalid, but I managed to find the book easily enough by title on Amazon.

 

Is that a picture of the branch on the front cover? It shows a Barry Slip which is, I think, shown on the OS map.

 

(The ISBN number is right according to all the booksellers but does not work via the ISBN search engine. Odd!)

Edited by Joseph_Pestell

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There's an ariel shot of that area I've seen somewhere recently, maybe on the Memories of London  FB group or one of the London Transport groups. It clearly shows the modern building between the river and Aldgate that survived the blitz, the devastation of WW2, Aldgate Bus station and the viaduct carrying the line to St.Catherine's docks.

 

ISTR that thread also contained a discussion and photos of track still visible at street level.

 

The trouble is I've seen so many old pics recent;y, I can't remember what group it was on!

Edited by roythebus

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20 hours ago, PenrithBeacon said:

 

Prices for this book on Amazon were very varied. I have one on the way that was £11.50. Elsewhere, it could be had for £140+!!!

 

Btw you have linked to Vol 2 of the series. I think it is Vol 1 that we need.

Edited by Joseph_Pestell

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