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What is the third vehicle of the train in this picture? The date (1906) seems unarguable as the line and station opened in April that year and are clearly brand new. However, the train includes something which looks like nothing so much as an equally new A9 toplight First, which weren't built until 1908. I can't find anything earlier than that in Russell or Harris which might fit.

Gerrards Cross 1906.png

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This has eight compartments, C25 has ten.

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I agree, A9 would seem the most likely candidate, but they weren't built until November and December of 1908.

I think the date could be wrong.

There is a photo in "The Great Western & Great Central Joint Railway" (Oakwood Press) - the caption states "shortly after opening".

However, the light coloured, tin(?) shed on stilts, next to the main building (prominent in your photo) doesn't appear to be there.

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Nick Gough said:

However, the light coloured, tin(?) shed on stilts, next to the main building (prominent in your photo) doesn't appear to be there.

I, too. have puzzled over that shed in early pictures, but if you go to the sequence of photographs linked below (the OP's picture is the one before the one I have linked to), then the shed is not there in what are obviously later picures (the one showing the carriage in front of the station in what is claimed to be 1914, for example, and the 1910 picture looking across the tracks to the station nameboard, which shows a different embankment arrangement), so my guess is that the shed was built very early on and then demolished.

http://www.gx2006.co.uk/railway_operation/pages/gx2-12-gerrards cross station 1908b.htm

 

I have been trying to work out whether the very substantial shed base can be seen in other pictures, but I am not convinced it can be made out with any certainty.

 

However, even though I think "1906" picture probably predates the "1908" picture, I would be inclined to mistrust the date if the evidence of the carriage points to 1908. Certainly the bare embankments and other evidence of "newness" don't conclusively point to 1906. All of the pre-First World War photographs look "new".

Edited by Jeremy C
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Some interesting points there. In the shed-less "1910" picture of the station nameboard, the platform fencing is incomplete (compare with the picture on page 32 of the Oakwood Press book), suggesting it is very early. On reflection, I'm inclined to agree that the "1906" picture may actually be later (possibly the date was meant to refer to when the station was built), though that doesn't explain the absence of the shed from the "1914" picture. There's a picture on page 92 of "The Final Link" by Edwards & Pigram, showing 1908-built railmotor 98, in red, in the station in what is claimed to be 1912, and the shed is not only present but has acquired a neighbouring corrugated-iron structure, also on stilts.

 

So I'm happy to conclude that the coach is an A9 and the original picture dates from 1909- and the dates of most of the other pictures are wrong too. Thank you all for your help!

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I would be inclined to date the photo even later than 1909. The ballast, particularly through the platform loops, certainly doesn't look new, and the whole point of the corrugated-iron huts was that they were easy to provide and easy to move on in accordance with the needs of the business, something that always takes time to access properly when new infrastructure is provided.

Personally, I have a golden (and valuable) rule which is to never believe a printed caption until it can be independently verified. If it mattered, I would even have checked that the station depicted was Gerrards Cross let alone trying to verify the date!

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The later we go the less likely it is that all the vehicles in the train would still  have been in brown and cream- I think the light roof of the A9 implies that it is fairly new, and the foliage suggests spring, so I'm going to stick with early 1909 as the latest date. The Newton pictures of the building of the new line shown that the ballast was not all as light-coloured as new ballast is these days. 

 

I don't really understand your last point- Gerrards Cross is a very distinctive location, featured in many published works, and even if I hadn't been personally familiar with it for more than forty years I would have immediately recognised it.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, 4069 said:

 

I don't really understand your last point- Gerrards Cross is a very distinctive location, featured in many published works, and even if I hadn't been personally familiar with it for more than forty years I would have immediately recognised it.

Sorry to have mislead you. I was merely trying to make the point that I have learnt (the hard way) to not even believe the attributed location on an unfamiliar photograph until I have checked it out, assuming that it matters of course. A quick check with the Old Maps' website usually suffices to confirm the attributed location, if not, a Google search for images can be quite enlightening too, if only to show why I am a doubter! Just occasionally though, one will hit a real puzzler which can lead to protracted learned dispute, and, as it happens I am currently involved of a three-month long email correspondence of such a case (not GW or GWGCJ) dating from c1880 (and of some importance historically) where I know the location as the result of equipment which is portrayed but which someone else, equally learned in the base subject, has convinced himself that it is elsewhere based on the partly hidden background scenery.

 

On the different matter of the ballast, it isn't so much the basic colour as the difference in colour between the fast lines and the loops (and the entry to the up loop as well as the exit from the down - which, with trains restarting, might be better explicable). Those loops must have seen a good few number of trains for the ballast to get so discoloured.

Edited by bécasse

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The ballast is interesting- looking at http://www.gx2006.co.uk/railway_operation/pages/gx2-13-gerrards cross station c1907.htm , the down loop apparently had darker ballast along a lot of its length than the other three tracks when that picture was taken, which (judging by the the absence of  sheds and the pristine state of the footbridge) may indeed be a couple of years before our mystery train. I suspect that the stone used was not as well graded as it is these days, and probably came from more diverse sources, so it's not too surprising that there are differences in appearance. Looking at the Newton collection, there may have been drainage problems in the cutting at the London end of the station, which may have led to some reballasting in the early years. That's all speculation, alas.

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Another pointer may be the date SRM98 came out of the works in Lake. Lake was only first used in 1912, so not too many vehicles would have been that colour in the first year. According to John Lewis's book Nos. 91-99 were ordered in July 1907, and No. 98 appeared from the works in February 1908. Would it have appeared early enough to be in the two colour livery? And if not could 98 be brown rather than lake in the photo? I am not sure I could tell the difference in a b/w photo. And lastly, if it came out in early 1908 in brown would it have been due for a repaint in early 1912, ? If it is definitely in the lake livery my guess is that the photo is late 1912 or the first eight months of 1913 since John gives a lot of details of the SRMs' lives.

No. 98, after November 1911 when it went into Swindon works until April 1912, was then allocated to Southall until September 1913, then had another spell in works and then in June 1914 went to Stratford on Avon.  That does not tell us anything about the livery (brown/lake) but it does help pin down the period of the photo.

I hope that is not too confusing.

Jonathan

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Sorry, no, I can't say whether it is brown or lake in the picture.  

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Posted (edited)

I doubt SRM98 would have been repainted as early as 1912, but the SRMs were in the works so often anything is possible *. I had assumed it appeared in all-over brown (and as appearing in the Gerrards Cross pic), because contemporary trailers were I think appearing in brown. I'm now not so sure, because that A9 (lot completed Dec 1908) in the OP pic is in brown and cream, so there seems to be a question over when brown started to be applied.

 

* note SRM63 has been repainted after only a few years

 

 

Edited by Miss Prism

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The picture in Pigram & Edwards featuring SRM 98 also appears in cropped form on page 59 of John Lewis' SRM book. He is confident that it is in brown, and is also sure that all the SRMs were originally turned out in brown and cream, with the last appearing in February 1908, and all-over brown starting to be applied between July and September that year.

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