Jump to content

S&DJR connections with the GWR


Recommended Posts

21 minutes ago, Karhedron said:

 

Usually this happened at Templecombe. The SR ran milk trains from a couple of starting points including Torrington and Yeovil, both of which normally stopped at Templecombe to pick up tanks. In times of peak production, extra tanks would sometimes be attached to the following service from Sidmouth Junction. Milk handling on the Southern is a bit of a complex subject as the SR was particularly fond of attaching milk tanks to the rear of passenger services where possible. This meant that tanks would often only be formed into dedicated trains at Templecombe, Yeovil or even Salisbury for the final run into London. The SR seemed to prefer efficiency over simplicity and it was not uncommon for tanks to be attached to multiple trains as they made their way towards London.

 

All this started to change when the WR took over the S&D as well as the SR lines west of Exeter.

 

So a link up with the Southern but not GW?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good points raised; the S & DJ was the perfect hate object for the GW.  As has been said, the original intention was to provide a link between the English and Bristol Channels to route South Wales coal that way, and to follow the local and well established routes within Somerset and Dorset which were not part of either the GW or the LSW's grand plans any more than the current M5 and A303 are...

 

It then went and clotted it's botty book with the GW by abandoning the broad gauge and throwing in it's lot with the LSW and the Midland, the GW's most prominent peripheral rivals being allowed access to the very heart of what the GW considered it's own exclusive territory.  Bad enough for the Bristol and Gloucester to go narrow gauge and Midland orientated; this was the writing on the wall for the GW's beloved broad gauge.  The treachery was never forgiven.  

 

At Gloucester in the 70s near Horton Road depot just over the crossing turn left was a pub, the Windmill, used by traincrews and known from Exeter to Derby, and Swansea to Old Oak.  The bar was painted green at one end and red at the other, and the first time I ever went in there I went to the red end, to be told in a Derby accent 'oi, Canton, fook off up yor own end'!  Railway memories are long...

 

From a GW perspective, the S & DJ was superflous as well as treacherous.  Thinking in through route main line terms they could see better alternative routes, which they happened to own.  There really weren't any major through freight flows using the route, it went via Westbury or the B & E, and the Pines, quoted as a main reason for retaining the line in the early 60s, was re-routed more sensibly via Reading (personally I think it should have run via Bristol, Bath, and Westbury once the S & DJ was closed).  

 

We had an ex S & DJ driver at Canton in my time, Danny Levi, who was a lovely bloke and a pleasure to work with, and full of yarns about the line.  It was, he said, a different world, one where everybody knew everybody else by first name and the job ran itself, a frequent comment when management don't pay close attention.  He conceded that it was doomed from about 1959, by which time most of it's local clientele had bought cars and when local bus routes expanded, and did not, as many S &DJ men and many enthusiasts, blame the WR for the line's ultimate failure; the only heavily patronised service at the end was the Pines, and that was seasonal.  General merchandise goods had more or less dried up except for the shoes on the Highbridge branch and the pits were closing.  He reckoned the Western's interest in the PInes kept it going for the final 3 years, but by that time he'd abandoned ship and applied for a transfer to Canton, having met a Cardiff girl and married her.  His ultimate decision was predicated on council housing being available immediately in Cardiff while there was a waiting list in Bath.

 

Much was made in 1966 of the WR's 'deliberate mistiming of connections to run the line down'.  This may have been true of it's own branches, but the S & DJ didn't connect with the GW anywhere except Highbridge, hardly a major traffic generator.  If you were going to Bath or Bristol from Glastonbury or Street, you went on the bus anyway and had done for years.

  • Like 3
  • Informative/Useful 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

  

6 minutes ago, mikesndbs said:

 

So a link up with the Southern but not GW?

 

There was a link with GWR at Highbridge. Milk from Bason Bridge was worked onto the WR and thence via Taunton using this link between the withdrawal of passenger services in 1966 until the siding serving the creamery was finally closed in 1972.

Edited by Karhedron
  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Karhedron said:

There was a link with GWR at Highbridge. Milk from Bason Bridge was worked onto the WR and thence via Taunton using this link between the withdrawal of passenger services in 1966 until the siding serving the creamery was finally closed in 1972.

 

Good news so a S&D 7F with tanks on the GW was possible then?

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, mikesndbs said:

 

Good news so a S&D 7F with tanks on the GW was possible then?

 

In the real world, sadly not. The 7Fs were withdrawn by 1964. Bason Bridge milk only started running via the WR in 1966 and was in the hands of diesels (normally Hymeks but other classes did turn up).

 

However if you are running your own "what if" scenario, maybe you could say that milk from Bason Bridge started running via the WR after nationalisation. The Wellington milk train ran via Taunton and Puxton until the early 60s and could have picked up tanks from such a flow. All Rule 1 of course but it might be plausible with a bit of a leap of imagination. :)

  • Like 2
  • Friendly/supportive 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • RMweb Gold
Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, The Johnster said:

........

 

Much was made in 1966 of the WR's 'deliberate mistiming of connections to run the line down'.  This may have been true of it's own branches, but the S & DJ didn't connect with the GW anywhere except Highbridge, hardly a major traffic generator.  If you were going to Bath or Bristol from Glastonbury or Street, you went on the bus anyway and had done for years.

Same with so many branches, Beeching blamed for cutting services that had no traffic left to justify them being kept open. That era made mistakes but not as many as In public perception given the times in which the decisions were made. The Portland branch down here is often locally argued should never have closed but, as in your example, the bus did it better from the 1950s onwards and picks/up drops off at both ends closer to where people either live or would be visiting. That was the case then and still is.

Edited by john new
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, The Johnster said:

  Bad enough for the Bristol and Gloucester to go narrow gauge and Midland orientated; this was the writing on the wall for the GW's beloved broad gauge.  The treachery was never forgiven.  

 

Pedantically the Bristol & Gloucester as a company was always broad gauge.

It opened in 1844, the Midland got ownership (with some dodgy financial shenanigans according to some) in 1845, the Midland converted it to standard in 1854.

The Midland was a proud(?) owner of a small BG fleet for around 9 years.

  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Portishead branch, closed 1964, line kept open for power station, station completely rebuilt 1962, claimed to be unable to meet operating costs.  Portishead-Bristol currently one of worst commutes in UK, along with Clevedon.  
 

The real culprit here, though, is the Ashton  Estate, power and privilege in everyone’s way in a 21st century ‘democracy’.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • RMweb Gold
7 hours ago, PenrithBeacon said:

https://maps.nls.uk/view/106020887

I believe the connection to the GWR was under the road bridge on the map. IIRC a single slip onto the GWR up mainline.

Cheers

EDIT: I can't see a connection between the two railways on this map although they were very close

https://maps.nls.uk/view/106021952

Wasn't the S&D Jnt line to Wells taken out in the early fifties?

IIRC the animosity between the two railways started when the S&D converted to standard gauge and the two railways became fierce competitors. That was before the line was joint MR/LSW.

I'm sure it's all in Robin Atthill's book.

The connection at Highbrige linked into the S&DJt crossing over the GWR - which was more or less under the road bridge.  There was a connection from the S&DJt which trailed into the GWR Down Main.  Readily seen in the photos on this page -

 

http://www.photobydjnorton.com/Stations/Highbridge.html

 

I don't think there was a connection of any sort between the two Companies at Bridgwater

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Portishead branch, closed 1964, line kept open for power station, station completely rebuilt 1962, claimed to be unable to meet operating costs.  Portishead-Bristol currently one of worst commutes in UK, along with Clevedon.  
 

The real culprit here, though, is the Ashton  Estate, power and privilege in everyone’s way in a 21st century ‘democracy’.

Was this posted in the wrong topic?  The Portishead branch has nothing to do with the S&D. (Edit: I think Portland got misread as Portishead).

The writer may wish to know that the Ashton Court Estate was purchased by Bristol City Council in 1959 so unsure of the background for the 'power and privilege in everyone’s way in the 21st century' comment.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashton_Court

Edited by H2O
correct quote, see also inline comment
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

 

 

I don't think there was a connection of any sort between the two Companies at Bridgwater

 

 

Not until BR days when a chord line was built between the GWR Bridgwater Docks Branch and the S&DJR line to the River Parrett wharf in 1954.

  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, melmerby said:

Not until BR days when a chord line was built between the GWR Bridgwater Docks Branch and the S&DJR line to the River Parrett wharf in 1954.

There is a photo of 1338 on the link on the photo-sharing site I use - ipernity . The photographer requires his permission to link, but if you search for ipernity and then Bridgwater Dock it is there

  • Thanks 1
  • Informative/Useful 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 29/07/2020 at 20:17, Andy Kirkham said:

I found this interesting snippet here https://capturehighbridge.wordpress.com/industry/somerset-and-dorset-railway/

 

Regular milk traffic from the Wilts United Milk Factory at Bason Bridge was one of the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railways best customers.  The factory had two connections to the main line, one where the milk tanks were loaded or emptied, the other ran the full length of the factory and was used for incoming coal, sugar and tinplate (for making the tins); outgoing loads were boxes of condensed milk.  The factory had three goods trains and one milk train each day, the service commenced in 1909 and was terminated in about 1970.

 

It doesn't state whether the milk factory traffic was worked via Templecombe or via Highbridge. Of course after 1966 Highbridge was the only option, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Western Region hadn't switched from Templecombe to Highbridge at an earlier date.

 

By the mid 1950s traffic to and from Bason-Bridge was definitely being worked via Highbridge. I know, because my ex LNWR and LMS grandfather was one of the signalmen at Highbridge (which by then was WR) and just before he retired he arranged for me to ride on the footplate to Bason Bridge and back- I was only four at the time but I think we were taking milk tankers there and bringing back the empties. I'm also pretty sure the loco was a tank.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

It was the opening of the S&D's Bath extension, providing a standard gauge route between the north and Exeter via the LSWR, that forced the Bristol & Exeter (1) to lay a third rail for standard gauge traffic and then (2) to amalgamate with the Great Western. (The Midland was sniffing around...)

 

Until the very end, I think it's best to ignore the Great Western from an S&D perspective, and vice versa. As to the milk traffic, I understand the flow was to Waterloo via Templecombe.

 

The Midland Railway Study Centre has a collection of late 19th/early 20th century wagon labels for loads consigned to Bere Alston (a LSWR station of course) from Mapperley Colliery and other consignees in the West Midlands, all routed via Bath and Templecombe. I suppose that the Great Western's goods agents would have made sure that goods consigned from the West Midlands to Great Western stations were routed via the Great Western all the way, or at least by the LNWR/GWR route via the Severn Tunnel (before the opening of the Honeybourne line).  

  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

It was the opening of the S&D's Bath extension, providing a standard gauge route between the north and Exeter via the LSWR, that forced the Bristol & Exeter (1) to lay a third rail for standard gauge traffic and then (2) to amalgamate with the Great Western. (The Midland was sniffing around...)

 

The Midland snatched the Bristol & Gloucester from the jaws of the BG alliance, likewise the LSWR got the Exeter & Crediton, both should have become part of the GWR empire (possibly via the B&E)

The Somerset Central could also have easily become part of the main BG group until it merged with the Dorset Central, so the railway map could have been somewhat different.

With the Birmingham & Gloucester employing Brunel to survey a route, (which they rejected for the route over the Lickey) there was a possiblity of a far greater GWR network than that which evolved.

  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Andy Kirkham said:

I believe it was also on the cards that the Midland might have absorbed the Bristol & Exeter, which I suppose would have rendered the S&D's Bath extension redundant.

And hastened the end of the BG

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • RMweb Gold
8 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

It was the opening of the S&D's Bath extension, providing a standard gauge route between the north and Exeter via the LSWR, that forced the Bristol & Exeter (1) to lay a third rail for standard gauge traffic and then (2) to amalgamate with the Great Western. (The Midland was sniffing around...)

 

Until the very end, I think it's best to ignore the Great Western from an S&D perspective, and vice versa. As to the milk traffic, I understand the flow was to Waterloo via Templecombe.

 

The Midland Railway Study Centre has a collection of late 19th/early 20th century wagon labels for loads consigned to Bere Alston (a LSWR station of course) from Mapperley Colliery and other consignees in the West Midlands, all routed via Bath and Templecombe. I suppose that the Great Western's goods agents would have made sure that goods consigned from the West Midlands to Great Western stations were routed via the Great Western all the way, or at least by the LNWR/GWR route via the Severn Tunnel (before the opening of the Honeybourne line).  

 

4 hours ago, melmerby said:

And hastened the end of the BG

The GWR didn't extend mixed gauge from Taunton to Exeter until 1876, two years after the  S&DJt had reached Bath.  And that was where it ended with no opportunity to run narrow gauge vehicles further westwards on their own wheels until 1892 and the final gauge conversion weekend.     The three Companies (B&ER, SDR, & CR) which would give the GWR ownership of the route through to Plymouth and Penzance all joined the GWR in January and February 1876. 

 

However in reality as already noted there was little in the way of competition between the GWR and S&DJt - they really only competed for traffic in the vicinity of Wells, Radstock. Highbridge, and Bridgwater; and perhaps to a limited extent for freight traffic around Bath.  But generally their routes were not in competition with each other.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, The Stationmaster said:

 

The GWR didn't extend mixed gauge from Taunton to Exeter until 1876, two years after the  S&DJt had reached Bath.  And that was where it ended with no opportunity to run narrow gauge vehicles further westwards on their own wheels until 1892 and the final gauge conversion weekend.     The three Companies (B&ER, SDR, & CR) which would give the GWR ownership of the route through to Plymouth and Penzance all joined the GWR in January and February 1876. 

 

However in reality as already noted there was little in the way of competition between the GWR and S&DJt - they really only competed for traffic in the vicinity of Wells, Radstock. Highbridge, and Bridgwater; and perhaps to a limited extent for freight traffic around Bath.  But generally their routes were not in competition with each other.

 

Not competing at a local level maybe but certainly in terms of the grand game of 19th Century railway geopolitics. The S&DJR / LSWR provided the Midland with a tentacle deep into Great Western territory - there was even an attempt at a Bradford (?) - Plymouth through carriage via Templecombe though it didn't stick. Remember that with the opening of the Severn Tunnel, the Midland's virtual monoploy on traffic between Bristol (and points west) and the Midlands and North was under attack.

 

The Midland was very good at extending its territorial reach through proxy companies, avoiding too much financial exposure on the more unremunerative lines - in addition to the S&DJR one could mention the M&SWJR (for Southampton), M&GNR (for the Norfolk Coast resorts), CLC (for Manchester and Liverpool - hardly unremunerative), H&BR (for Hull), and even dare I say it the G&SWR (for Glasgow and Ulster) and NBR (for Edinburgh and beyond)!  This led to some disputes over outstanding loans when the H&BR was absorbed by the NER in 1922 and the M&SWJR by the GWR in 1923.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it just me, or is the possibility of a Midland takeover of the B&E a fascinating might have been? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, PatB said:

Is it just me, or is the possibility of a Midland takeover of the B&E a fascinating might have been? 

It certainly is fascinating to me. There is a temptation to  assume that it was the manifest destiny of the Great Western to dominate the South-West and that the swallowing up of the other broad gauge companies was just a formality. Yet if they had lost the B&E they would probably have been excluded from Devon and Cornwall for ever.

Edited by Andy Kirkham
Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Andy Kirkham said:

It certainly is fascinating to me. There is a temptation to  assume that it was the manifest destiny of the Great Western to dominate the South-West and that the swallowing up of the other broad gauge companies was just a formality. Yet if they had lost the B&E they would probably have been excluded from Devon and Cornwall for ever.

I have a mental picture of Stanier Pacifics working the alternative reality equivalent of the Cornish Riviera Express, alongside a more bucolic one of the Culm Valley line being worked by a variety of superannuated 1P tanks, and stock in faded Crimson Lake :D

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.