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Keith Addenbrooke

GW Branch Line Station Buildings

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Posted (edited)

Hopefully a couple of straightforward questions:

 

1.  I have a small passing station on a compact countryside GW Branch Line Layout I’m starting.  There is a short loading dock siding running (trailing) off one platform road for picking up tail end traffic: I’m thinking mainly milk churn traffic.  I think this platform would be the Up line for trains headed to the junction for connections onwards.

 

Empties returning (Down) go on to another station and wait for an Up train: the passing station isn’t set up for running round shunting moves.
 

Due to a chasm (aka: edge of baseboard), space for any Station building on this platform is limited.  There’s plenty of space on the Down platform for a Station building, but the more I think about it, the less likely it seems to me that principal buildings would be on that side?  I can’t imagine a need for a platform awning, for example, and the pictures I’ve seen of prototypes also tend to have the loading docks on the same side as main platform buildings.  There is a level crossing beyond the platform end giving road access to either side of the station.
 

Am I right to assume principal buildings on this type of station (eg: Witney Passenger, where there was an awning) would be on the Up side?
 

2.  I’ve seen photos of what look like wooden station buildings on GW Branch lines, including lines originally built by independent companies.  I’ve not seen any colour photos, so am not sure how they might be painted: I’d guess doors and window frames might be repainted in the standard No 1 and No 3 Stone colours, but I don’t know?  Would the wooden planking exterior be white in the WW1 period and after?

 

I’m guessing there might be a range of answers?  I’m afraid I’m not yet entirely decided on whether my location is the West Oxfordshire area, near the mid-Welsh border or West Country (my planning is a rather backwards process, sorry).  
 

If however there are a range of answers to both questions, in my strange world that makes it easier - if the “prototype for anything” rule can trump “rule 1” here, then I can keep “rule 1” for some of my other inconsistencies.  
 

I’m not on RMweb every day now, but will have a look for any answers when I can.  Thanks, Keith.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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As you've already realised, many GW branches were built by small independents, largely locally funded and often with an unrealistic expectation of profitability.  When reality struck, usually about half way through construction, they sold out to the GW who agreed to take the line on and run it with their stock.  You could at a push subdivide these independents into 2 distinct types. those who wanted to make an impression to attract investors and those who wanted to build it for as little as they could get away with (these would in later years morph into the light railway promoters).  If the branch was built by the first type, station buildings would be solidly built of local stone, well finished with details, coats of arms, and so forth.  The more realistic (but still usually far too enthusiastic) promoters built cheaply, and wooden framed structures clad in boarding were the norm.  This could extend to large stations as well, of course; Oxford is a good example.

 

The wooden boarded type of station could be found anywhere, and there was a fairly standard style to the structures, whereas the stone builders often had a distinct architectural style only found on that branch, and using local stone where local stone was suitable, but brick once you get south and east of the Cotswolds.  Labour was cheap and plentiful but stone was slow and expensive to transport over all but short distances, more so before the railway had been opened.  Brickworks were widespread and most of London and Birmingham are constructed in this way.

 

To summarise, wooden buildings could and did appear anywhere, but a branch in the Cotswolds would just as likely have buildings made of local limestone, or perhaps red sandstone in South Devon, or slate in North Wales.  I suggest that wooden structures are better for your layout as they tended to be longer and narrower than stone built ones, and easier to fit in as you have space limitations.  Both lasted well; there are half timbered buildings made of wooden frames filled in with lathe and plaster in Shropshire and Northern Herefordshire that are many centuries old, though of course wood is more prone to destruction by fire.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

Am I right to assume principal buildings on this type of station (eg: Whitney Passenger, where there was an awning) would be on the Up side?

 

South Devon - Kingswear line.

 

Torre, Torquay, Churston all have/had station buildings on the down side.

 

I am guessing the location of the station buildings is more influenced by local conditions - where the road connection is, the village is, than on whether it is the up or down side.

 

 

 

Edited by mdvle
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Have a look at Bledlow on the Risborough to Oxford (single) line. Main building on the down side,  only trailing sidings, and level crossing!

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Or Toller - now at Totnes Riverside. Easier to photograph in its old location!

 

Toller 16 January 1975 Zenit 22-001.jpg

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Thank you all - some useful and helpful responses and some places for me to check out.

 

With regards to the Kingswear line, I wonder if the South Devon Railway had an incentive to make good Down platform facilities, to give a sense of “Arrival” to holiday makers, or did that come later (because there was a Railway)?

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The tail traffic is unlikely to be milk churns.   They were taken on milk trains which stopped at passenger platforms on the MSWJR. I believe porters travelled on the milk trains for swift loading and unloading.   Tail traffic would more likely  have been carriages for the Nobility on carriage trucks.  Fulls on the passenger train and empty on  goods.

The waiting room is for people waiting for trains, as is the awning.  so often found on the up side even at terminus stations many of which were not intended to be the end of the line but rather where money ran out.

Generally which side of the road the station  was did not bother railway companies, why the locals were lucky to have a station anywhere near their town, even if it was half a mile away and two hundred feet higher. (Okehampton!  Kirkby Stephen?)

Passengers didn't normally hang around at the station after the train arrived and most travelled towards the Junction and London, or Derby if you weren't Londoncentric.   It was very unusual to find a station without either a road crossing the line within a couple of hundred yards of the station or crossing behind the buffer stops at a terminus, Ashburton. Princetown, Tetbury, Oxenhope etc.  

Generally good access to the goods yard was essential, passengers were less important and before 1914 the disabled were not catered for, that doesn't mean to say since 1914 they have been catered for, except on preserved railways. 

The goods facilities at my local Station Chedworth te goods siding was the wrong side of the station and access was up a 1 in 8 hill over the bridge and down another 1 in 8.  I didn't work and was soon removed.

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Milk could be tail traffic. @Western Star posted a couple of photos of branch passenger trains with a milk van attached, on the Severn & Wye. In this case, though the passenger stock was Great Western, the milk van was Midland, which is a little unusual, as a consequence of the jointness of this line:

 

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10 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

... I’m afraid I’m not yet entirely decided on whether my location is the West Oxfordshire area, near the mid-Welsh border or West Country...

 

Given your locational possibilities, why not go for a William Clarke design? I can't link to suitable references right now, but Dymock, Knighton, West Bay, Gara Bridge (?), Abbotsbury would all be good

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

With regards to the Kingswear line, I wonder if the South Devon Railway had an incentive to make good Down platform facilities, to give a sense of “Arrival” to holiday makers, or did that come later (because there was a Railway)?

The Kingswear situation is a little unusual as the terminus is to all intents and purposes Dartmouth, reached by the connecting railway owned ferry.  The ferry terminal and booking office at Dartmouth is still in existence as a cafe, and is very much an obvious railway building, though there are no railway lines.  The purpose was originally to cater to traffic for the Naval College as well as the local traffic; holidaymakers in significant numbers are very much a 20th century addition, with rail traffic peaking in the late 50s.  

 

Kingswear was designed to get naval cadets off the train and on to the ferry as quickly as possible to keep them out of mischief.

Edited by The Johnster
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

With regards to the Kingswear line, I wonder if the South Devon Railway had an incentive to make good Down platform facilities, to give a sense of “Arrival” to holiday makers, or did that come later (because there was a Railway)?

 

Torre - station is on the town side of the line

Torquay - stone buildings both sides of the line, but ticket office is on the town side of the line, the up side has a roadway and then a reasonably steep hillside.

Churston - originaly for Brixham, station is on the Brixham side.

 

In most cases the station wasn't for the trains as such, but rather for the selling of tickets and providing information to prospective passengers - thus location in terms of up/down doesn't matter as much as being convenient for the population being catered to.

Edited by mdvle
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Thank you all - some more useful examples.  I’d not thought of looking for photos of Forest of Dean stations.  As I understand it, one reason for ‘tail end‘ traffic was so as not interfere with train heating connections between carriages and the locomotive.  My guess is that wasn’t a consideration with the older trains in the linked photos? (I believe horses were an exception and had to go at the front of trains - if correct, I’m not sure why).
 

7 hours ago, mdvle said:

In most cases the station wasn't for the trains as such, but rather for the selling of tickets and providing information to prospective passengers - thus location in terms of up/down doesn't matter as much as being convenient for the population being catered to.


A good point.
 

7 hours ago, The Johnster said:

 The ferry terminal and booking office at Dartmouth is still in existence as a cafe, and is very much an obvious railway building, though there are no railway lines.


As demonstrated.


Presumably at this point we’re separating (to some degree) some of the functions of a Station Building - Waiting Rooms (and platform awnings?) might be larger on the Up side, but need not be on the same side as the main Ticket Office (Booking Hall seems rather a grand term for the kind of smaller Station I have in mind).  In practice, the functions might all be in one combined building, but there is flexibility.

 

I like the suggestion made by @The Johnster in the first reply that wooden buildings might fit my layout style, so wonder if there are any pointers on colour schemes? The photo posted by @Tim V of Toller suggests a predominantly white colour, but the colour of the doors looks darker - is it paint or varnish?  From what I can find,  it is a good example of a station built cheaply by an independent company.

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52 minutes ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

I believe horses were an exception and had to go at the front of trains - if correct, I’m not sure why

 

Smoother ride, less danger of injury to the horse(s). A horsebox at the rear of a train must be empty.

 

Also, as a horsebox was likely to be attached or detached at a wayside station en route, rather than travelling for the whole journey, it would have been easier for shunting, unless the horse dock was on the other side of the line.

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1 hour ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

...Toller suggests a predominantly white colour, but the colour of the doors looks darker - is it paint or varnish?  From what I can find,  it is a good example of a station built cheaply by an independent company.

 

Toller station building in fact dates from 1905 and was built by the GWR a couple of years after they acquired the line. Colours would probably have been a combination of GWR light and dark 'stone' shades. I don't think it ever got repainted by BR.

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There are many cases where a station has been much altered over the years. Sometimes a former terminus has become a through station. In other instances an increase in traffic has led to the provision of a passing loop at certain stations, sometimes the new platform being built with differing materials.

If you have a back story for your branch line there will be a good reason why the main station building is located on that platform. 

 

cheers

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1 hour ago, Rivercider said:

There are many cases where a station has been much altered over the years. Sometimes a former terminus has become a through station. In other instances an increase in traffic has led to the provision of a passing loop at certain stations, sometimes the new platform being built with differing materials.

If you have a back story for your branch line there will be a good reason why the main station building is located on that platform. 

 

cheers


Thank you - good point; although this layout isn’t based on a particular prototype, I’d still like to settle on an area for a back story, with buildings and settings I can relate to other lines in that locale I might ‘quote’ from: this is a good example of where that can be particularly helpful.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:


Thank you - good point; although this layout isn’t based on a particular prototype, I’d still like to settle on an area for a back story, with buildings and settings I can relate to other lines in that locale I might ‘quote’ from: this is a good example of where that can be particularly helpful.

Although the main station buildings can be located on either the up or down side of the line I agree it seems unusual for goods facilities to be located on the opposite side of the line to the main buildings.

One example that differs is Cadeleigh on the Exe Valley line, here the station building is on the down platform while the goods shed and cattle dock are on a loop behind the up platform, Thorverton is another example on the same line,

 

cheers   

Edited by Rivercider
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12 minutes ago, Rivercider said:

Although the main station buildings can be located on either the up or down side of the line I agree it seems unusual for goods facilities to be located on the opposite side of the line to the main buildings.


Agreed.  As you say, there are examples, but it looks / feels odd, and would need justifying.  Thanks, Keith.

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If you are looking for a West Oxon example, the Fairford Branch is a useful example.  Built by two companies (Witney Railway and East Gloucestershire Railway) later taken over by the GWR.  Buildings of wood in the Witney section, brick, stone and corrugated iron in the East Glous section (which included the new Witney passenger station).  Apart from Witney, the original station buildings did not have awnings (Cassington and Carterton which were later additions, did).  Station buildings seem to have been on the side nearest to the population center* they were meant to serve and goods yards likewise (so were on same side as main buildings).  Witney goods yard was separate from the passenger station, being the old Witney Railway station, which might be a useful feature if space is limited.

* often several miles away, as far as the East Glous was concerned.

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21 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

Milk could be tail traffic. @Western Star posted a couple of photos of branch passenger trains with a milk van attached, on the Severn & Wye. In this case, though the passenger stock was Great Western, the milk van was Midland, which is a little unusual, as a consequence of the jointness of this line:

 

Agree, and milk in churns loaded to Siphons was definitely tail traffic at Savernake to name one example (ok so it's main line but the same point holds).   Tail traffic simply reflected what went on in the area the station served and which needed time to be loaded or was loaded over a period before a train arrived or was more convenient to detach on arrival instead of delaying the train to unload.

 

Incidentally having gone through all the relevant Instructions for the GWR/WR from 1920 through to 1972 I can't find any mention at all of a requirement to marshal loaded horse boxes iimmediately behnid the eginre on passenger trains.  In fact one Instruction, dated 1960, effectively says the opposite by stating that the minimum amount of shunting should be involved when moving loaded horse boxes (i.e. it in some respects repeats Rule 171 in the 1930s RCH Rule Book and Rule 171 in the 1950 BR Rule Book).  If someone has the reference for an instruction stipulating that loaded horse boxes should be marshalled immediately behind the engine I'd be delighted to learn where it is  because having looked in what I think are the right places I can't find it:unsure:

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1 hour ago, The Stationmaster said:

Incidentally having gone through all the relevant Instructions for the GWR/WR from 1920 through to 1972 I can't find any mention at all of a requirement to marshal loaded horse boxes iimmediately behnid the eginre on passenger trains.  In fact one Instruction, dated 1960, effectively says the opposite by stating that the minimum amount of shunting should be involved when moving loaded horse boxes (i.e. it in some respects repeats Rule 171 in the 1930s RCH Rule Book and Rule 171 in the 1950 BR Rule Book).  If someone has the reference for an instruction stipulating that loaded horse boxes should be marshalled immediately behind the engine I'd be delighted to learn where it is  because having looked in what I think are the right places I can't find it:unsure:

 

Interesting. Many (pre-Grouping period) photographs of passenger trains show horse boxes at the front but, on the other hand, very few photos clearly show the rear of a passenger train...

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1 hour ago, The Stationmaster said:

Agree, and milk in churns loaded to Siphons was definitely tail traffic at Savernake to name one example (ok so it's main line but the same point holds).   Tail traffic simply reflected what went on in the area the station served and which needed time to be loaded or was loaded over a period before a train arrived or was more convenient to detach on arrival instead of delaying the train to unload.

 

Incidentally having gone through all the relevant Instructions for the GWR/WR from 1920 through to 1972 I can't find any mention at all of a requirement to marshal loaded horse boxes iimmediately behnid the eginre on passenger trains.  In fact one Instruction, dated 1960, effectively says the opposite by stating that the minimum amount of shunting should be involved when moving loaded horse boxes (i.e. it in some respects repeats Rule 171 in the 1930s RCH Rule Book and Rule 171 in the 1950 BR Rule Book).  If someone has the reference for an instruction stipulating that loaded horse boxes should be marshalled immediately behind the engine I'd be delighted to learn where it is  because having looked in what I think are the right places I can't find it:unsure:


Thank you - I’m not sure where I picked up the idea from with regards to horse boxes at the front of trains, sorry, (it was probably somewhere on RMweb, but could have been anywhere). It may or may not have been a GW example.

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17 minutes ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:


Thank you - I’m not sure where I picked up the idea from with regards to horse boxes at the front of trains, sorry, (it was probably somewhere on RMweb, but could have been anywhere). It may or may not have been a GW example.

Could it have been a bit of confusion with the instruction that loaded cattle wagons had to be immediately behind the loco? Presumably this would also apply if a laden horsebox were to be included in a loose coupled goods train, which I assume could happen, and being probably power braked it would be attached directly to the loco to increase the fitted head.

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11 hours ago, Nick Holliday said:

Could it have been a bit of confusion with the instruction that loaded cattle wagons had to be immediately behind the loco? Presumably this would also apply if a laden horsebox were to be included in a loose coupled goods train, which I assume could happen, and being probably power braked it would be attached directly to the loco to increase the fitted head.


I’ve had a quick search to see if I can find the reference I was quoting (while it may seem bit away from the main thrust of this topic, one of the ‘questions behind my question’ is about how branch stations work, so it all adds to my understanding, and The Stationmaster has taken the trouble to check the regulations for us, which is appreciated).
 

All I could find were other conversations that seem to draw the same basic conclusion: it appears it was often customary for horse boxes to be marshalled at the head end of a passenger train, but does not appear to be a regulatory requirement.

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Trying to draw together various comments - without repeating them -  several points have emerged -

1, Horseboxes, which were generally used for valuable horses, had to go next to the engine if conveyed on a freight train in order to ensure they could be continuously braked.

2.  Cattle wagons in a freight train had to go either behind the engine or immediately in front of the brakevan although the former seems to have been preferred.  Cattle wagons could of course have been conveying less valuable horses or donkeys. (in fact the last use of cattle wagons on the Western was to convey donkeys - imported from Ireland via Fishguard to Reading).

3. Special/prize cattle wagons were passenger rated vehicles and could be marshalled as horseboxes.

 

Note that things varied between Companies, for example on the North Eastern Railway although there is no mention of horseboxes being marshalled in a particular way there was considerable variety between different section of route in the way cattle wagons including those conveying horses should be positioned in a train and the number permitted in that position but it clearly related more to brake power and gradients rather than anything else.  This changed in LNER days

 

There is in incidentally a picture of a horsebox in a short dock - as proposed by Keith and it had either been detached from or was about to be attached to a passenger train - in the rear.   Don't forget that many passenger trains conveying horseboxes were relatively short and in any cases couplings were screwed up tight so the position of the horsebox didn't really matter.  In alonger distance, and longer train I would expect it more likely that a horsed box would be marshalled next to the engine  but there were no GWR Instructions that I can find to that effect.

 

Logically one also needs to think about how the horsebox was attached to/detached from a passenger train and that in turn depended on the places betweenwhich it was moving and the facilities for loaing/unloading at those places plus the availability of engine etc power to shunt the horsebox.

 

But it does seem that horseboes being shunted had to be marshalled immediately behind the motive power - enjoy

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ9DrerydpM

 

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