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Following on from a post in the questions section, I thought it might be interesting to talk about staff/worker trains. My own experience goes back first to driving an early hours staff train starting from Orpington circa mid 80's , it was our only night turn and may have been partly run for the benefit of ex Sevenoaks staff. Memory of the working are very hazy but I seem to recall a run up to Charing Cross with return working used by Fleet street staff. Following a transfer to Manchester Victoria there were three staff trains in the area, two from Piccadilly running to Hadfield/Glossop with the other a shuttle to Stockport and return both laid on as a result of the closures of first Edgeley and then Guide Bridge. I can't remember whether there were two trains or the one unit covered all the trips as it was a Piccadilly diagramme, I do recall doing the odd trip to Stockport on a DMU to cover for staff shortages at Picc but obviously a Vic driver didn't go upto Glossop. The third staff was actually a coach contract, following the closure of Newton Heath to train crew a night bus was laid on for staff calling hourly at Newton Heath and doing a circular trip dropping of staff in the area. The busy trips were just after chucking out time at the BRSA club at Vic! and around 4.30 for crews upto Newton \heath for the first trains of the day. The contract eventually was cancelled and replaced by a 142 of Newton Heath about 00.30 down to Vic usually with about 7 or 8 drivers on board, the unit then sat in the bays until about 04.30 when it ran back upto the shed again with about a dozen guards and drivers on board. The only worker train I am aware of (other than the Highworth one from the other thread)is the York to Rowntree halt one. 

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The Western Region used to run a light loco for staff transport between Paddington / Old Oak Common usually a Class 47 I seem to remember in the 1980s (after which possibly by a BR minibus?  Or maybe a loco was used when a minibus wasn't available?).   Sorry I can't be more specific about dates etc but I  just remember often seeing a good few footplate staff clambering into both cabs!  Hopefully others could provide more information.

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'Olden days': Brighton to Lancing Works and return, famed for using ancient coaches.

 

TfL runs a significant network of "staff taxis", actually minibuses, to get people to and from depots and stations at close of traffic and start of traffic, filling gaps in the night bus network.

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In the late 1970s/ early 1980s, there was a Derby-Crewe working (leaving Stoke about 07:30) which continued as far as the platform next to Crewe Electric Depot. It wasn't advertised at all, and I only found out more about it from a guard. Apparently, it had originally run to take workers who had been transferred from Stoke works, when it closed at Grouping, to Crewe Works.

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When Cardiff Cathays was converted into a dmu depot circa 1958 and its steam allocation transferred to Radyr, an overnight shuttle service for staff was introduced and worked by an auto train.  IIRC it lasted about three years.

 

Chris 

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Although not a BR staff working there was a weekday service to North Filton Platform. for nearby factories.

One DMU service worked up from south Bristol to North Filton calling at all stations, returning ECS.

In the afternoon another set went up empty before working a service back to Bristol Temple Meads,

then forming an advertised service to Weston. I remember joining that train, and wondering why there were 

already passengers on a train that started at temple Meads.

 

cheers

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A lot of lines were used to get people direct to their places of work, good examples being the various munitions factories during WW1 and WW2 that had passenger trains running direct into them from the nearest big town/city, also there were quite a few halts built specifically to serve factories (Ampress Works Halt springs to mind for no particular reason). 
 

Wasn’t the Sinfin Branch in Derby a late flowering (or a late failure to germinate) of this sort of thing? I remember a big fanfare about it when it opened.

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19 hours ago, cravensdmufan said:

The Western Region used to run a light loco for staff transport between Paddington / Old Oak Common usually a Class 47 I seem to remember in the 1980s (after which possibly by a BR minibus?  Or maybe a loco was used when a minibus wasn't available?).   Sorry I can't be more specific about dates etc but I  just remember often seeing a good few footplate staff clambering into both cabs!  Hopefully others could provide more information.

 

The locos were only used if one of the minibuses (or their drivers) were unavailable, they used to run every half hour in each direction. Many's the time we've had up to nine or ten men in a cab when this was the case. It wasn't just 47s either, we used 08s, 31s and 50s too, whatever was sitting spare at the time.

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3 hours ago, Rugd1022 said:

 

The locos were only used if one of the minibuses (or their drivers) were unavailable, they used to run every half hour in each direction. Many's the time we've had up to nine or ten men in a cab when this was the case. It wasn't just 47s either, we used 08s, 31s and 50s too, whatever was sitting spare at the time.

Or even a Grid...  56048 at platform 1A at Paddington acting as the “staff bus to Old Oak Common” (to quote the announcer) on 23 August 1990.

 

908223776_R-BR-792_BR56048Paddington23-8-90.jpg.d8d06e5e47d836b563248f305a426083.jpg

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12 hours ago, Rivercider said:

Although not a BR staff working there was a weekday service to North Filton Platform. for nearby factories.

One DMU service worked up from south Bristol to North Filton calling at all stations, returning ECS.

In the afternoon another set went up empty before working a service back to Bristol Temple Meads,

then forming an advertised service to Weston. I remember joining that train, and wondering why there were 

already passengers on a train that started at temple Meads.

 

cheers

 

In the Mid 80's I noticed a service in the timetable from TM to Avonmouth that then 'disappeared' 

 

Drawing the obvious conclusionI boarded it one day and asked a surprised Guard for a ticket to Filton.

 

The response was that I had to make sure that the signalman at Hallen Marsh Junction didnt see me & was welcomed aboard for an interesting trip via Henbury & an invitation to come again of I fancied another ride

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9 hours ago, Nearholmer said:
 

Wasn’t the Sinfin Branch in Derby a late flowering (or a late failure to germinate) of this sort of thing? I remember a big fanfare about it when it opened.


It was, but the downside was when the factories / industries changed and no longer had mass shift changeovers, patronage plummeted. This in turn meant there no business case to modify the platforms to a accommodate the new Sprinter trains so the train service got replaced by a taxi until it was put out of its misery and the stations formerly closed in the run up to privatisation.

 

Some two decades later the same was repeated with the station called I.B.M. in Scotland which was finally shut last year, its reason for being built in the 1980s (the adjacent IBM factory) having closed a decade earlier. The main difference with Shiffin is of course that IBM was sited on an very well used branch to the Weymiss Bay and not a dead end branch with no other traffic generators.
 

 

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An earlier example was the 'Singer Workers Platforms' in Clydebank.

The station, Kilbowie Road (Old), grew as the Works did, until in 1907 the through line was moved (due to the expansion of the Works) and the station expanded to 6 bay platforms. This was due to there not being any appreciable local housing, so most workers had to commute from the Glasgow area e.g. from Springburn, Bridgeton etc.

The new through line gained a normal station called just 'Singer' on the NBR line to Helensburgh, to the north of the works. This still exists.

Services ended c.1963/4

https://www.railscot.co.uk/locations/S/Singer_Workers_Platforms/

 

Edited by keefer
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Another example from Scotland which I saw regularly in the evening  (the morning train would be too early for me I only saw the return) was "The dockyard"  This took civilian workers from  East Fife to Rosyth dockyard. It was the only train I know of that stopped at Donibristle Halt as it also carried workers for the RNAS repair facility at Donibristle aerodrome. I think there may have been other trains to the dockyard from other lines. There were a couple of terminal platforms in Rosyth but the only time I remember them in use by "civilians" was for special trains on "Navy Days" . At one of these aged about 10  I got a trip around the bay on an MTB and the chance to pedal a bofors gun. Great days! After the introduction of DMUs on local services this was the only non corridor stock train regularly through Kirkcaldy. Latterly pulled by a BR standard 2-6-0.

 

best wishes,

 

Ian

Edited by Ian Kirk
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On 09/10/2020 at 20:46, w124bob said:

Following on from a post in the questions section, I thought it might be interesting to talk about staff/worker trains. My own experience goes back first to driving an early hours staff train starting from Orpington circa mid 80's , it was our only night turn and may have been partly run for the benefit of ex Sevenoaks staff. Memory of the working are very hazy but I seem to recall a run up to Charing Cross with return working used by Fleet street staff. Following a transfer to Manchester Victoria there were three staff trains in the area, two from Piccadilly running to Hadfield/Glossop with the other a shuttle to Stockport and return both laid on as a result of the closures of first Edgeley and then Guide Bridge. I can't remember whether there were two trains or the one unit covered all the trips as it was a Piccadilly diagramme, I do recall doing the odd trip to Stockport on a DMU to cover for staff shortages at Picc but obviously a Vic driver didn't go upto Glossop. The third staff was actually a coach contract, following the closure of Newton Heath to train crew a night bus was laid on for staff calling hourly at Newton Heath and doing a circular trip dropping of staff in the area. The busy trips were just after chucking out time at the BRSA club at Vic! and around 4.30 for crews upto Newton \heath for the first trains of the day. The contract eventually was cancelled and replaced by a 142 of Newton Heath about 00.30 down to Vic usually with about 7 or 8 drivers on board, the unit then sat in the bays until about 04.30 when it ran back upto the shed again with about a dozen guards and drivers on board. The only worker train I am aware of (other than the Highworth one from the other thread)is the York to Rowntree halt one. 

The stockport staff ran monday saturday half hourly Picc -Stockport -Guidebridge -Stockport-Picc calling at longsite halt and local stations in between on a request basis (show a bardic ) bloody thing was a total pain if you were on duty at Heaton Norris or Stockport2 as you were dealing with the damn thing approx every 15mins all bloody night ! was usualy whatever set had been on the stockport -stalybridge dodger all day .

Edited by peanuts
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1 hour ago, Ian Kirk said:

Another example from Scotland which I saw regularly in the evening  (the morning train would be too early for me I only saw the return) was "The dockyard"  This took civilian workers from  East Fife to Rosyth dockyard. It was the only train I know of that stopped at Donibristle Halt as it also carried workers for the RNAS repair facility at Donibristle aerodrome. I think there may have been other trains to the dockyard from other lines. There were a couple of terminal platforms in Rosyth but the only time I remember them in use by "civilians" was for special trains on "Navy Days" . At one of these aged about 10  I got a trip around the bay on an MTB and the chance to pedal a bofors gun. Great days! After the introduction of DMUs on local services this was the only non corridor stock train regularly through Kirkcaldy. Latterly pulled by a BR standard 2-6-0.

 

best wishes,

 

Ian

Did any services run from the south e.g. Edinburgh/Lothians? Presumably they would have to reverse at Inverkeithing to gain the South Jcn. Unless the workers just changed trains on to one coming from the North or West

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Colin Maggs' 'Highbridge in its heyday' shows the three coach workmen's train, that conveyed workers from Burnham to Highbridge Station. They then had to walk from there to the S&DJR loco & carriage works. On the return trip they could board at the works. There are no dates quoted but the works opened in 1862 and closed in 1930.The coaches were old four-wheelers with rectangular panelling.

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Saltley would send locos up to New Street as taxis quite frequently when the depot bus was not available. 

Before the rebuilding of New Street there were quite a lot of parcels and ECS moves during the night then as traffic declined I remember  an unadvertised DMU which did a circuit during the early hours taking in places like Duddeston, Bescot and Soho Depot.

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The first local AC Up train into Euston on the WCML on a Sunday morning back in the 310 slam door stock days used to run normally all stations until it got to Wembley Central then it would diverge left and run through the Willesden yards regaining the slows at Harlesden.

 

During the trip through the yards it stopped in two or three places and various people would get up open a door and jump out into the darkness. There were usually also a few ordinary passengers young families presumably on their way to the airport for their holidays were the most amusing. The children would be all agog at the way their fellow passengers were just standing up and bailing out of the coach, perhaps looking forward to their turn. Mum would be giving Dad a hard stare, that said who's bright idea was it to catch the staff train, and if I have to jump out of this thing without benefit of a platform you are in big trouble.

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1 hour ago, TheSignalEngineer said:

Saltley would send locos up to New Street as taxis quite frequently when the depot bus was not available. 

Before the rebuilding of New Street there were quite a lot of parcels and ECS moves during the night then as traffic declined I remember  an unadvertised DMU which did a circuit during the early hours taking in places like Duddeston, Bescot and Soho Depot.

I seem to recall one or two hairy moments in that Sherpa bus down to New Street! 

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1 hour ago, Trog said:

The first local AC Up train into Euston on the WCML on a Sunday morning back in the 310 slam door stock days used to run normally all stations until it got to Wembley Central then it would diverge left and run through the Willesden yards regaining the slows at Harlesden.

Was that the one which ran during DC Lines possessions? During the week there was an unadvertised Up train on the DC Lines before the normal service started. 

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1 hour ago, TheSignalEngineer said:

Was that the one which ran during DC Lines possessions? During the week there was an unadvertised Up train on the DC Lines before the normal service started. 

 

It is possible that it only did this when the DC was blocked for weekend renewals work, as I did not catch it very often, as I normally worked Saturday night / Sunday shifts.

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During the 1970s there was a regular staff train at the southern end of the WCML, that was usually a Cravens 105 DMU, 0100 Watford Junction to Euston, and the 0149 Euston to Watford Junction. (This unit worked the St. Albans Branch during the day). At this time it was the only scheduled service to call at the Main Line platforms at Queens Park. If the DMU wasn't available the train would often be formed of a 501 via the DC Lines. The early hours of Sunday morning could produce an assortment of 'unusual' DMU workings to and from Bletchley, apart from the regular Cravens 105 I have noted a Marylebone 115 and the occasional 116.

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And during WW2 and ?? after there were regular trains from Fishguard to RNAD Trecwn, where there were four platform faces, still existing, long unused, in the 80s.   Other Ordnance Depots had services bringing in workers during WW2  eg  a wide circuit round the various areas of Boston Spa depot, now the location for the British Library's  reserve collection.

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