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Hello Marc

 

A lot of the fruit traffic from Wisbech / Ramsey and other yards in the area, as well as along the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway went up to Rowntree's in York.

 

Andrew

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10 hours ago, Furness Wagon said:

Just found a photo of Wisbech east goods yard featuring a train of NER F4 vent vans being loaded with strawberrys. Why would a train of NER vans be loading in a Great eastern rly goods yard?

Marc

 

I suspect you have answered your own question; the export of the strawberry crop!

 

The W&UT was heavily engaged in moving the district's seasonal fruit traffic.

 

Can you post or give a reference for the picture and is it dated?

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It had crossed my mind that fruit vans were like fish trucks and they were move round with the harvesting? I did read something resently about north British and north eastern fish vans moving north and south with the herring. 

I will check the reference on eBay.

Marc

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Trying to drag something from my memory, discussed I think in the Castle Aching thread on here. I discovered some "foreign" vehicles lettered for East Anglian traffic, probably also the fruit traffic.

But in that thread it will take some finding.

Jonathan

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3 hours ago, Furness Wagon said:

It had crossed my mind that fruit vans were like fish trucks and they were move round with the harvesting? I did read something resently about north British and north eastern fish vans moving north and south with the herring. 

I will check the reference on eBay.

Marc

 

That seems likely, given that the human migration of Scottish fish wives saw a lot of passenger coaches from the Scottish companies travel to East Anglia, and trains took cattle south for fattening in Norfolk. 

 

Like the fruit, all examples of seasonal traffic.

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Strawberries were an important crop in the Wisbech area.  See report from the Eastern Evening News of Tuesday 28 June 1910 for example -image.png.1df37ba6fc1ec2efe34d0b1e17d10eda.png
(Apologies, thought I'd posted this yesterday....)

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3 hours ago, Furness Wagon said:

It had crossed my mind that fruit vans were like fish trucks and they were move round with the harvesting? I did read something resently about north British and north eastern fish vans moving north and south with the herring. 

I will check the reference on eBay.

Marc

Well that makes sense. I remember Whitby Harbour being packed with fishing boats in the 1950s. The station was equally packed with fish vans!

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Somewhere in another thread we got deeply into strawberries, and found LNWR NPCS vans deep in Hampshire, being loaded with the days strawberry pickings and labelled ready for dispatch overnight to destinations as far away as Edinburgh.

 

Before cooled transport, it was a crop that had to be got from field to greengrocers’ shops in <24hrs to avoid spoiling, and that applied at least as recently as the 1970s.

 

Perfect excuse for wandering vans!

 

The traditional ‘top up’ pickers were local women and children, and gypsies, again at least as recently as the 1970s, but I think people come all the way from Eastern Europe to do the job these days.

 

Was the other thread CA, or one about pre-grouping wagon loads? Here it is: CA p671 https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/107713-castle-aching/page/671/&tab=comments#comment-3487277

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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There are subtle suggestions in the clothing that it might be post-WW1, but even if it is post-1923, would that really matter?

 

By which I mean that:

 

- soft fruit was often transported long distances from centres of production, to centres of consumption, which means large cities, of which the NE has a few;

 

- there seems to be evidence from other sources that the "receiving" railway often provided vehicles for the traffic, "empty out" and "loaded back" (maybe the fruit wholesalers in the destination cities ordered the vehicles once their agents in the field had decided where to buy. "The Man from Del Monte" effectively);

 

- there seems to be evidence from other sources that locations like the Wisbech which provided very large volumes of perishable F&V over a long season were often "tapped" by daily fast goods trains to the major cities, using fitted goods wagons, whereas locations that provided  small volumes, or a short-duration "flash crop" were "tapped" by using NPCS attached to passenger trains or run as "specials".

 

Even if it is post-1923, and the vans are not going to the NE, but somewhere else, in this instance, IMO that wouldn't preclude the NER having sent its fruit vans to quite distant (from the NE) places pre-1923.

 

Strawberries definitely merited long journeys because (a) the overall British strawberry season was quite short, and (b) the cropping in a particular locality could be very short indeed, a week or two, so that to keep a city supplied for the entire British season could involve bringing fruit from "all over the place".

 

I suppose it depends whether one wants the photo to evidence something narrowly particular, or the general principles of the traffic.

 

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1 hour ago, Regularity said:

Just to state the [email protected]@ding obvious, but are we sure this photo wasn't taken in LNER days? 

 

1 hour ago, Nearholmer said:

There are subtle suggestions in the clothing that it might be post-WW1, but even if it is post-1923, would that really matter?

 

 

 

These would not be pooled or common user wagons, so the practice of sending foreign wagons to the GER need not have changed much.

 

If it helps, wagon 76154 bears pre-1911 NER lettering. 

 

See also ...

 

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450257639_IMG_8661-Copy.JPG.6541974f12c7943b5c23561c85456fd3.JPG

1646667855_IMG_8662-Copy.JPG.13e8a15304ad974819b3d35857e5be6e.JPG

 

 

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2 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

There are subtle suggestions in the clothing that it might be post-WW1, but even if it is post-1923, would that really matter?

Only in the sense that if post 1st January 1923, then the owning company would be the LNER and there is then no mystery about NE vehicles on the GER.

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I have in mind doing something sort of W&UT 1915-23 and im about to build some NER F4 vans for a client and I currently don't have one for myself. It would be something different in a fruit train. And if I can use a NER one what about other companies vans?

Marc

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Regularity

 

I got that, but the thing is, I didn't really regard it as mysterious even if it was pre-1923 ...... it struck me as ordinary that some NER wagons would be sent to fetch succulent delicacies for those Geordies that could afford them.

 

Kevin

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I was to understand the "normal" procedure was that goods were loaded at their point of origin into wagons/vans owned by the originator company. It was the dispatched to it's destination where it was unload and sent back to the original company empty. Hence the need for general goods vehicles to be pooled in 1917.

The F4 has a pre-1910 livery is small NER on the left side of the van. While this wouldn't disclued a post 1923 date it would make it less probable.

Marc

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17 minutes ago, Furness Wagon said:

I was to understand the "normal" procedure was that goods were loaded at their point of origin into wagons/vans owned by the originator company. It was the dispatched to it's destination where it was unload and sent back to the original company empty.

 

Yes, I'd understood that too, but these strawberry trains do seem to buck that norm, if norm it was, and my surmise (= guess) is as above, that wholesalers in destination cities were commissioning the traffic from their "home" stations.

 

A factor that might have played into it may have been that the companies with heavy seasonal F&V crops in their territories simply couldn't justify owning enough specialist wagons to service all the destination cities, because the loaded ton.miles on their own metals would have been too small to pay for them.

 

I don't know enough about how a 'sending' company was paid for use of wagons. If the SECR was asked to consign a wagon-load of gooseberries from Goudhurst to Grimsby (highly unlikely!), how was the money that it collected divided-up between it and the GNR? If simply on a ton.mile basis, then the SECR would have done badly out of it, losing a wagon for ages, and incurring wear and tear out of all proportion to income.

 

Its something that deserves to be researched in more depth and published, in the same way that the workings of another interesting perishable traffic, milk, were studied by an academic.

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I wonder if the NER vans are the tip of an iceberg and any fruit van could be found in any fruit and veg growing area. I'm building some fitted GER vans for this job as that was the only stock I has seen. But if the photo was being taken by the GER then they wouldn't have anyone else's stock on their photos. I built a Midland one many years ago and I have one in a box waiting to be built. Not sure that I have seen any others on the market but I have all the part to make a GWR fitted Iron mink. 

This could be come quite expensive and make a layout look quite interesting. W&UT rule say that fitted vans were allowed to be attached to passenger trams at either Wisbech or Upwell as long as they were working to either end of the line. These vans had to be sent be "normal" goods trams to and from all other stations.

 

Marc

 

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Looked to see if there are any details in "The Railway Clearing House in the British Economy 1842-1922" by Philip Bagwell (published 1968) which I happen to have on my shelves though I've never read it from cover to cover.  It would seem that the RCH employed wagon number takers at junctions between different companies.  Division of freight receipts between companies isn't described in detail in the book, but it appears there was a terminal element, a mileage element and a charge (per mile) for the use of loaded wagons - this was a farthing a mile in the 1840s.  Empty wagons were supposed to be returned to their owning company as quickly as practicable, encouraged by demurrage charges for wagons detained beyond the day of arrival and the day of departure.  There were no mileage charges on empty wagons, and there was sometimes a tendency for wagons to be returned by a less direct route, if it was less congested than the usual route.

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3 minutes ago, Tom Burnham said:

a charge (per mile) for the use of loaded wagons


That makes sense, and would overcome the concern that i was raising. 
 

I bet there were a lot of arguments about what the figure should be!

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If you're the Great eastern, a particularly brassic railway company, how many fruit vans can you afford to build and keep idle for much of the year?

 

Yes, you could use some for other purposes, and, yes, you can adapt old coaches to carry your region's precious strawberry's, but is it possible that you do not have, and cannot justify retaining, rolling stock sufficient to meet this annual need? 

 

Add to that the fact that, the further away you send your stock, the longer before you see it again.  That would reduce your capacity over a short season.

 

In these circumstances, might you not want the burghers of York, Durham or Newcastle to have their strawberries delivered by their native vans?  

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There was an article on strawberry traffic on the South-Western in an Edwardian Rly Mag, which made the point that the baskets of strawberries had to be handled very carefully and were placed on (folding) shelves in the vans.  So a fruit van suitable for strawberry traffic wasn't just any old van, and as you say a company that only needed them occasionally might well hire from elsewhere.

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If you follow the links within the Cadtle Aching thread, you get to see the whole process of loading, and it was indeed very carefully done.

 

Fruit/Milk vans had shelves that flapped down for fruit carriage, and were very, very well ventilated, so, as you say, not “any old van”, wherein the lack of ventilation alone would kill the fruit ....... strawberries absolutely love to grow hairy mould really quickly!

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