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Schooner's (Mostly Maritime) Musings - A holiday in the Cotswolds [was Port of London, 1884]

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On 20/01/2021 at 20:55, Compound2632 said:


That's a splendid one, with the late-lamented gas holders. I like the carriage on the carriage truck. It's an official, DY 1825, as are most of the Science & Society Picture Library ones - from the NRM collection.


LNWR engines from the late 1850s onwards are much better recorded, photographically, than those of many other companies - something to do with being the Premier Line. That Trevithick Goods is a case in point.

Hi im sure that I read that the LNWR goods engine was shedded at buxton and that the drivets name was also Buxton. Al though I could be wrong 

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  • Schooner changed the title to Schooner's (Mostly Maritime) Musings - A holiday in the Cotswolds [was Port of London, 1884]
1 hour ago, Schooner said:

5&9's Birmingham and Gloucester Wagons


When, roughly, would they have been withdrawn from traffic? And withdrawn from private/internal use?


That's a very tricky question. The 1850s/60s are a real dark age for wagons. Going in, the primitive wagons of the 1840s, such as this; coming out in the early 1870s, recognisably "modern" wagons. If one supposes a typical wagon life in service of 30 - 40 years, these early wagons ought to survive well into the 1870s. For the Great Western, the fortunate survival of the wagon registers provides some hard numbers, as analysed in T. Wood, Saltney Carriage & Wagon Works (GWSG / Wider View, 2007). This shows 10 ft long coal wagons built in 1847 as condemned in 1880/1. So from that one could infer that wagons of the early 40s had probably gone by the mid-70s. But I can't help feeling that such very early wagons would have become outmoded and unfit for use more quickly than that.


I suppose similar wagons built for colliery companies might have survived longer in internal use but there's so little evidence. I should think the majority were broken up. 

Edited by Compound2632
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One interesting thing about that ancient wagon is how very similar it is to little un-sprung wagons that survived into the 1960s in use on various Welsh narrow-gauge railways, and to wagons built for the Glyn Valley Tramway in the 1880s and beyond, which IIRC did have springs.

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22 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

That's a very tricky question.

Thank you for the excellent answer and source. One for the library, a wealth of useful information has come from it over in the D299 Appreciation Society.


I'm wondering about layout stock variety for it's own sake, the narrative journey of a shunting puzzle being somewhat limited, and also perhaps for the intial stock owned by the  SN&T&SC&AIRC* if that idea ends up developing further. Ingleford** was initially set c.1900...but the layout plan allows the terminus post quem to be dictated by the rolling stock more than anything (albeit the earlier the less plausible) and the Grand Plan is set in early 1884...


That these early wagons could perhaps have been seen on a backwater branch being bossed about by a loco of 1870s vintage (implausably Scottish, I'd rather a little Fox Walker***, but it's with the other project in mind) is enough to keep the idea alive :) 


22 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

...survived into the 1960s...

So are they fairly well documented? An interesting thought...a genealogy of wagons  would be very helpful sometimes. Might finally be able to work out where those inside-framed Millwall Dock internal flats and trucks came from!


Thanks also for the follow-up chuckle @Compound2632, just the thing :) 


*Working title

** Ditto

***Information here. She almost made it to preservation

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22 minutes ago, Schooner said:

Might finally be able to work out where those inside-framed Millwall Dock internal flats and trucks came from!


I've said before that I'm sure the inside-frame basics came from contractors' tipping wagons, of the kind sometimes called "manchester ship canal wagons", although the design pre-dates the MSC and probably goes back to horse-drawn wagonways.


Inside frames persisted on wooden tipping wagons, because it allowed the body to be set low, keeping the centre of gravity down, while still allowing the body to tip without fouling outside frames. Once iron tipping wagons came along, the vee-skip shape and rolling end-bearing were standardised, which allowed outside frames. The wooden ones persisted until the 1960s in some application, though, partly simple conservatism, and in a few cases to avoid rust staining the contents (white clay) - salt-pan railways still use them now, 'cos steel wagons dissolve in that application!


Yes, the very tiny NG wagons are well-recorded, notably in drawings by JIC Boyd and C Downs, while the GVT ones are covered by manufacturer's literature and a beautiful set of drawings by W J Milner.


A wagon genealogy would be interesting - has anyone written a general history of wagon development, in the same away as has been done for locos and carriages?


A good couple of places to start would be "Early Wooden Railways" by M J T Lewis, and "Stone Blocks and Iron Rails" by B Baxter, although the latter isn't very good on the wagons. All those "Early Railways" conference proceedings ........... zzzzzz.



Edited by Nearholmer
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1 hour ago, Compound2632 said:

The crane in the centre is clearly rather put out...

...and something of an individualist:




Edited by Schooner
Please forgive the rapid re-post
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A plan is forming.


A plan so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel:










I should also include a link to RT Models, whose Manning Wardle detailing parts are also on their way - pipped at the post by exmplary service from both Rails and Hardies Hobbies.


As we know from The Ploughing Poet, Bobbie of Bern*, "...the best laid plans of mice and men normally go pretty much according to the script with little scope for surprise or clustercuss..."


*Swiss farmhand with lyric pretensions. Said to wear a perpetually peeved expression. Nobody is sure why.

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Posted (edited)

Shall we have a little update?


Unpacking the previous post:

The current layout (on which more below) is very much a trial run for the Port of London project. Please forgive the toing and froing between the projects for the forseeable, it's inevitable! Whilst different in many regards, the canal wharf layout will serve as an excuse to start collecting stock for the PoL layout. Having somewhere to run that stock will give me a reason to build kits and keep things progressing. The things I learn for this layout will all be aimed improving the next.


So, locomotives...


Millwall Dock Company, by 1884, was operating 4 little Manning Wardles:

  • Primus (sometimes erroneously referred to as No.1) - F Class 423/1873 - top picture in previous post
  • 5 - F Class 727/1880
  • 7 - H Class 752/1880 - bottom picture in previous post
  • 8 - P Class 876/1883

(two more P Class were added to the stud about 1887, and a brace of Peckett W4 in 1901)


None of which would look out of place shunting a quayside wharf elsewhere in the country. So far, so good.


I have long coveted a Hornby W4, and recently Rails have had Niclausse at a 20% discount. Hardies Hobbies have printed resin body kits for a MW H Class (dimensionally very similar to the F and not far off a P, although I haven't yet done enough research on the differences. If you know, please do feel free to coment!) to fit the W4 chassis, also at a reasonable price. Add to these some detailing parts from RT Models (chimney, water filler lid, safety valve covers etc to closer match an F Class as per the photos above), and I've got two locomotives of great utility running on a very well-reviewed chassis without hurting the pocket too badly*. 


I would have the H Class body to practise painting and lining (transfers only!); the liberated Peckett body to practise weathering with washes and powders. The work to the chassis should, I think, allow either body to be used. Things were looking suspiciously feasible. 

There is, of course, a problem. 

I couldn't bear to do anything with the Peckett - it's too lovely! Even the quality of the packaging made me smile, a good design well executed.


The solution takes a fix-and-flank approach: accept that the Peckett I'm really after isn't Niclausse but one with an open cab and/or Daphne, whose livery I rather like; then while I'm still working out the implications take the tools to Niclausse so that it will be too late to change my mind. Opinions invited.


*a pocket which, after a recent indulgence which I look forward to sharing here in due course, has earned some respite.


On things being too late, and even more exciting (YMMV):




A model railway! No going back now!


...although the only fixed item in the above is the supporting frame. 'Baseboard' and canal bed are still loose (pending wiring, which is pending the delivery of RH points). Things being what they are, I don't know if I'll be home again next week, next month, or next year to move on the next stage, but it's great to have made a definite start :) The track is some elderly code 100 brought out of retirement to give me something to plonk rolling stock on. Having spent the afternoon building the thing there was no way I wasn't going to spend the evening pushing wagons around.


For those who've managed to miss my blatant cross-promotions, the setting is a fictional canal wharf somewhere a little West of Stroud c.1880-1900. The location allows for roughly equal influence from the GWR and MR (neither of whom were big players at the West India Dock, I should probably admit), with plenty of plausible foreigners. It's possible that an independant railway-and-canal company will be invented in the future, and fleshed out to justify particularly ancient wagons or odd motive power etc but in general I'm happy to just Rule 1 my way through an operating session**.


The plan:


(The white lettered rectangles are horse- and hand-carts, but they will be subject(-ed?) to change. Everything else is, I think, self explanatory)


It will, of course, change as it comes into contact with reality so any feedback would be very welcome.


Originally planned as a sort of 'super-kit' I could gather together and then assemble in a reasonable period (I was aiming at c.100 hours over a month's leave), I now view it as an indefinite work-in-progress. The month's leave evaporated, so the plan expanded to fill hypothetically-available time. Although still leaning heavily on RTP buildings, some kits have crept in as have a couple of scratch items - the shed on the left and the bridge on the right. Initial sketches for these:



No real prototype, I've stolen bits from all sorts. The framing takes it's lead from one of the older transit shed at West India Dock (because why not); the canvas dodgers from (eg) the Midland shed at the Royal Victoria; the curtailed far side from (eg) the GWR shed at Stroud etc





...which prove nicely that I need to do more work on the sizing of the thing!




I used the plan view for the mock-up, sorry, but the widths are planned at roughly 45mm/11'3" of roadway over the span (c.50mm across all), with the wings flaring out to pilaster terminals c.65mm/16'3" apart. A little larger than the inspiration:





It is, of course, an Inglenook puzzle. A 5-wagon train must be made up in an order dictated by The Rules, out of the 8 wagons available on the layout, and taken off-scene. The extra length is to allow a bit of flexibility in stock and motive power, and work with the large (ish) radii to help the whole scene look like a model rather than toy. That said, you'll have noted I'm sure that the radii tighten towards the back. I'm hoping to be able to get away with Sprat and Winkle couplings, but we'll have to see how they cope...


You will also have realised that there isn't much in the way of off-scene. To me, this is one of the benefits of an Inglenook - all 'required' movements take place on the basic trackplan of headshunt and three sidings). The plan is to shunt the wagons into Peco loco lifts for now. Assuming stock is well-organised at the start, this would allow for a session to run chronologically - 3 wagons being exchanged each time for a more modern set. This way the stock would rotate fairly rapidly but retain a coherence to the session overall and at any given moment. The same principle could apply to owning company too - the arrival of the afternoon Midland train at the nearby-but-off-scene goods station would be seen as three Midland wagons arriving on the wharf. Once all the wagons are scrambled or the session is over, the reverse could be carried out: taking the random selection on the layout and shunting them by owning company or chronology. Up for debate though.


The last little bit I got up to over the weekend was smashing together a couple of kits:


Cambrian 2-plank; Slater's 8-ton box; Mousa D299.


 They were done for fun and at speed to gain a little familiarity with three different manufacturers, rather than with a particular standard or end point in mind. I just enjoyed popping them together, although none are close to finished (plenty of loose-fitted parts in the above, to go with the loose-fitted boards, track and scenery!) and giving them a quick spray of primer before I had to head off. That I a nice time doing them was all I needed to know. I'll put in more orders for more stock as and when funds allow, and enjoy taking my time with those as and when the world (and completion of the layout!) allows.


Now that the layout has a defined setting, the stock can be collected to support and inform everything else going on. Whilst the locos will be the stars of the show, a strong supporting cast will be vital to a successful production :) All suggestions welcome!


Thanks for stopping by, please do share your thoughts. I have drawn a line under the planning thread, but I've got nothing to make but plans until I'm next back. All input is appreciated and will be used to help make the layout a better model and myself a better modeller :) 


Th-th-th-that's all folks!


PS. Sod it, might as well go the whole hog. Current wiring plan:

Wiring 2020.01.04.png

Libera me...

Edited by Schooner
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Ah, the 'little update' wasn't, really, was it. Sorry. Normal service is now resuming - no more railways or modelling! 


The cargos of the Stroudwater Navigation


Long story short (I've already lost this post to a dropped internet connection, and don't intend to inflict a re-write on you), the Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology has some wonderfully detailed information available on the canal. This includes tabulated summaries of the Tonnage Books for the period  January 1st to May 31st, 1881, for barges (inc. trows I suspect) and boats (narrow)*. Over 800 cargo-carrying trips over a c.20-week period (ice made the Navigation un-navigable for ten days or so) mostly Eastbound from South Wales, Worcestershire and the ports of Gloucester and Bristol, returning empty. Of these, majority cargos were, in rough order:

  • coal
  • roadstone
  • corn and wheat
  • timber (inc. deals and staves)
  • bricks
  • 'goods'
  • hay
  • sand, gas tar and iron all make less frequent but not uncommon appearances

I made an error with my recreational Excelling, but will revist it in the near future to try to pull some useful informtion from the data, and to make a stab at how much of this traffic was directly lost to the railways between 1880 and 1900.


Initial thoughts are that if the trow ends up looking like Spry, with her distinctive Chepstow transom (although see end of this post), she should be carrying stone or timber from that place; the barge carrying grain, brought up from Gloucester docks; and the narrow boat coal from the East Midlands. All three cargos can be shown on the wharf itself, which should help tie the scene together.


These cargos also tie in quite nicely to the private owner wagons commissioned by the GWSR from Dapol, eight* of which would suit the layout's location quite nicely (1, 2, 3, 4 (Ward crops up a lot in the canal records, eg, I'll be mentioning him in the future) 5, 6, 7, 8). Maybe not dream rolling stock, but I'm pleased to have found some relevant RTR to help get me started.

*For Inglenooking


There will be a future post on Stroud barges, but I must link this investigation into two barges (which I don't think I've posted before here, but forgive me if it's old news), seen in a familiar photo:


https://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EPW050626 - Between Ryeford and Stonehouse, 1936


...which also has close-up photos of the barges taken in the same year, and the information that one of them, Perseverance (not to be confused), was probably operated by James Smart of Chalford:



I've mentioned Spry, and her distinctive arse-end stern, but here is an unknown trow at Stonehouse Wharf c.1900 (served by a siding off the Midland's Nailworth Branch), in the photo which started me down this path:


...showing the more typical massive D transom of the trows. I'm going to aim for the sweet spot between the two, and take as inspiration the lovely little Willie (shh):


...as seen on her launch day. That's a fair way off yet, mind.


Sooo...what I actually turned up for was to stash a couple of useful links for the shopping list.







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16 hours ago, Schooner said:


*For Inglenooking





What you choose to get up to in the privacy of your own home ....

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22 minutes ago, Schooner said:

...and I was so proud of myself for not going with 'Inglenookie'...


See, I never even thought of that ....


Clearly, you've sinned in thought!

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19 hours ago, Schooner said:


...as seen on her launch day. That's a fair way off yet, mind.



Nice find, any idea where it was taken ?



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I'm sure Severn Traders (from whose preview at Lightmoor the image is embedded) has both date and location, along with a bow view and unrelated but closely corresponding drawings. I'm away from my copy for now, perhaps @bgman would be kind enough to supply chapter and verse...

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1 hour ago, Schooner said:

I'm away from my copy for now, perhaps @bgman would be kind enough to supply chapter and verse...


Kind of you to mention me however I am not certain quite what you mean ?


Also, my copy is currently ensconced in a box since moving to a new property so if you're wanting me to comment upon the book I can't do that at the moment.





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11 hours ago, Northroader said:

I would think somewhere along the Gloucester Sharpness canal?


I think that the banks are too high, and the channel too narrow, it looks more river like to me.



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On 11/03/2021 at 21:27, figworthy said:

Nice find, any idea where it was taken ?


It instantly reminded me of an abandoned attempt to chug a narrow boat from Stratford to Gloucester, so I wonder if it is The Avon. The attempt was abandoned because it was turning a holiday into a job of work, so we chugged back to Stratford and moored there for a couple of days relaxation, before chugging back up the canal.

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