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MEA in Salt use?


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Hi,

 

Does anyone have any information on MEA wagons in use for moving salt?

 

I found a couple of pictures through a Google search from a company called NGS, but no info on where they go from and to.

 

I am also curious as they open wagons, is the type salt being moved not affected by water?  

 

I have read up on the use of the PGA hoppers for moving salt but they where covered.

 

These interest me as I model in 7mm and can obtain a kit for the MEA.

NGS-Global_Salt_By_Train2_1024x1024.jpg

MG_5913-2_1024x1024.jpg

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I note that the NGS website states that they have a dedicated siding at Southampton port and that they deliver to North Wales, Aberdeen and the Scottish Highlands.  However, it also highlights a network of 100 terminals that can be used.  Presumably the salt is imported through Southampton and moved to the parts of the country that consume the most salt (ie the areas with more snow and ice in winter).

 

https://ngs.co.uk/pages/copy-of-supply-by-ships

 

I don't know anything more.

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I wonder if this traffic still runs? I have also heard of a flow carried in open containers from the salt mines near Northwich to various locations in Scotland. The containers were put on rail in Manchester, as the salt loading sidings near Northwich (Over and Wharton?) are no longer in use. Salt is also moved from the mine at Boulby to Middlesboro Goods, where it is stored prior to despatch by road.

 

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Morning,

 

I remember this running in late 2014 from Southampton Western Docks, but for the life of me can't remember where the final destination was.

The salt was loaded on the sidings where the cars are unloaded, the ramps for the cars are off to the right of the MEAs in that first pic.

 

I had the misfortune of leaving the docks with a liner train some hours after one of these salt trains.  Trouble was it had rained!

Being an open wagon, the MEA has small drainage holes in the floor so that rain water can run out and not turn the wagon into a bath.  All open box wagons have this - and it makes sense for obvious reasons.

 

Trouble is, salt can also get through those drainage holes, much easier than it gets out of the clam doors on a hopper wagon!  So, as the salt train made its way it left a trail of salt all over the lines it ran across.  Then it rained.  The salt liquified in the rain water, making it nice and conductive, and running into all the nooks and crannies - low and behold track circuit failures all over the place!

I remember Eastleigh and Basingstoke panels pulling their hair out.  Can't remember exactly how many signals I had to pass at danger that day, but it took forever to get to TVSC, which was using axle counters in places so was not as badly affected.  Not sure if the salt train got to its destination.  Think Network Rail sussed what was going on and put it away enroute somewhere.

 

So, moral of the story, don't take loose salt by rail in open box wagons.  More hassle than it's worth.  Unless you can guarantee it won't rain!

 

Regards,

Paul

Edited by bigP
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Re:  storage uncovered.

Those who go to the coasts in Spain and Portugal will be familiar with the "Salt mountains" as the salt obtained from sea water evaporation is stored outdoors.   It seems to form a crust left this way, so although there may be some loss, it is not great.

During preparation for the table the salt crystals are washed, which sounds strange at first,  but does not last sufficiently long to dissolve much salt.  (the residue is re-evaporated). 

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On 24/11/2020 at 11:09, bigP said:

Morning,

 

I remember this running in late 2014 from Southampton Western Docks, but for the life of me can't remember where the final destination was.

The salt was loaded on the sidings where the cars are unloaded, the ramps for the cars are off to the right of the MEAs in that first pic.

 

I had the misfortune of leaving the docks with a liner train some hours after one of these salt trains.  Trouble was it had rained!

Being an open wagon, the MEA has small drainage holes in the floor so that rain water can run out and not turn the wagon into a bath.  All open box wagons have this - and it makes sense for obvious reasons.

 

Trouble is, salt can also get through those drainage holes, much easier than it gets out of the clam doors on a hopper wagon!  So, as the salt train made its way it left a trail of salt all over the lines it ran across.  Then it rained.  The salt liquified in the rain water, making it nice and conductive, and running into all the nooks and crannies - low and behold track circuit failures all over the place!

I remember Eastleigh and Basingstoke panels pulling their hair out.  Can't remember exactly how many signals I had to pass at danger that day, but it took forever to get to TVSC, which was using axle counters in places so was not as badly affected.  Not sure if the salt train got to its destination.  Think Network Rail sussed what was going on and put it away enroute somewhere.

 

So, moral of the story, don't take loose salt by rail in open box wagons.  More hassle than it's worth.  Unless you can guarantee it won't rain!

 

Regards,

Paul

I seem to recall that in Cheshire, when the branch to Over & Wharton was still open (where the crushed rock salt was loaded) the signalmen were instructed that no salt train was to be dispatched if it was raining heavily. I think the same applied for the returning empty wagons, which were an even a worst offender, as the residue in the wagons could be washed out by a heavy downpour and still cause the same problems. Rock salt was not sheeted, unlike fine white common salt, from the salt works, which was British Salt Ltd works at Middlewich, which sent its small amount of rail born traffic (to Scotland I think) in sheeted hoppers, certainly up to the mid 1990's, and perhaps later.

Edited by Harry Welch
Incorrect works name.
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I seem to recall that the Middlewich - Scotland (if that was indeed the destination) traffic was running around 1988/89 although I could be wrong on the exact year. Looking at my notes, I filmed the working (on 16mm would you believe!) three times. The first shot was on 7/5/92 and the last was 23/7/94. It certainly went north, the salt would have been food grade and I was told that it was destined for a food processing factory in Scotland where road access was poor and the local council had restricted the salt traffic to rail only. Not sure if that was true or not.

Cant remember for how much longer it ran but I'm sure it was for a while after the date above.

 

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On 25/11/2020 at 14:29, Harry Welch said:

I seem to recall that in Cheshire, when the branch to Over & Wharton was still open (where the crushed rock salt was loaded) the signalmen were instructed that no salt train was to be dispatched if it was raining heavily. I think the same applied for the returning empty wagons, which were an even a worst offender, as the residue in the wagons could be washed out by a heavy downpour and still cause the same problems. Rock salt was not sheeted, unlike fine white common salt, from the salt works, which was British Salt Ltd works at Middlewich, which sent its small amount of rail born traffic (to Scotland I think) in sheeted hoppers, certainly up to the mid 1990's, and perhaps later.

 

Rock salt from Winsford to Scotland used to be routed via the S&C in the early 1980s to keep it away from the WCML and thus cause less disruption as a trail of track circuits remained occupied behind the train on a rainy day. It wasn't too bad if if was raining heavily, as it washed away quicker.

A friend of mine was a signalman at Clitheroe and if raining, the barriers wouldn't always clear after the salt train passed over.

He also saw similar ghost occupations when a road gritter went over the crossing and it rained afterwards.

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