Jump to content

Private locomotives running regularly on BR metals


Recommended Posts

Researching my cameo layout of a distillery I read that Dailuaine Distillery was registered to run their Barclay Pug for half a mile over BR metals from the distillery to the BR sidings.  Here the Pug shunted the distillery wagons for onward delivery on the BR network, and brought wagons back to the distillery.

 

Now my questions are


1    Did the engine crew require a pilot while running on BR metals?


2    It is presumed that the wagons were unfitted - the Pug certainly was - so did it all require a brake van in the event of runaways -which would also require a guard? 


3    How did it all fit into the BR working timetable?


I suspect, somehow, that being located away from BR head office they just got on with the job. 


I would welcome any thoughts.  Thank you in anticipation [Alisdair]
 

Link to post
Share on other sites

As to question 2, a brake van would not be required for a shunting  movement within station limits (basically the area between a signal box’s outermost home and most advanced starter), and hauling or propelling wagons without brake vans on running lines outside station limits into block sections may be permitted in specific locations under specific conditions covered the the relevant Sectional Appendix.  The guard or travelling shunter rides aboard the loco in this case.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Mark and the Johnster for your comments.   I go along with your replies, especially if it was all within station limits.  But a driver,  a fireman and a shunter / guard on a Barclay Pug would leave little space to operate it, methinks!!!  [Alisdair]

 

  

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, The Johnster said:

As to question 2, a brake van would not be required for a shunting  movement within station limits (basically the area between a signal box’s outermost home and most advanced starter), and hauling or propelling wagons without brake vans on running lines outside station limits into block sections may be permitted in specific locations under specific conditions covered the the relevant Sectional Appendix.  The guard or travelling shunter rides aboard the loco in this case.  

If there's no brakevan, and unfitted wagons are being shunted, how was the railway protected from wagons running away? Would catch points be fitted at the outer limits of the controlling signal box's area?

Edited by rodent279
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

It'd be sardine time on an AB 0-4-0 footplate right enough!  Protection from runaways is achieved by point settings in the same way as protection from SPADs, along with trap points. Gradients play a role as well; a movement with the loco at the 'downhill' end of a rake of wagons is inherently safer than one with the loco at the 'uphill' end.  The movement may require wagon brakes to be pinned down, and speeds will be restricted to the maximum 15mph common to all shunting movements.  There will very probably be specified limits to the number and loading of the wagons.  If the movement is allowed in to the section, a lamp must be displayed on the leading or trailing vehicle.

 

At Penarth North Curve Yard, actually nowhere near Penarth but next to Ninian Park station at the back of Canton shed, there were two trip workings that were permitted without brake vans, this on MAS signalling rather than traditional block sections. One was a trip to Ferry Road, including the Esso tank farm and the various businesses along the road where the shopping centre now stands, and one was to Wiggins Teape Ely Paper Mills, where there was a lovely little RSH 0-4-0ST in the early 70s that they used to let me play with sometimes (this was confined to their railway).  This

trip propelled wagons out to the Mill right road, about a mile, accessed by ground frame, so a white lamp had to be hung on the drawhook of the leading wagon and a red displayed to the rear of the 08.  On the return trip, the same lights had to be displayed as the movement was done 'wrong road', so the trailing wagon displayed the white lamp and the loco continued to display a red lamp at what was now it's front. 

 

North Curve Yard was a superb place to learn the fundamentals of railway work, and become diabused of previously held and wrong enthusiast notions. 

  • Informative/Useful 1
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, rodent279 said:

If there's no brakevan, and unfitted wagons are being shunter, how was the railway protected from wagons running away? Would catch points be fitted at the outer limits of the controlling signal box's area?

The point is that such an unorthodox arrangement would have been required to be specifically authorised for that particular location.

 

In modern terms it would have been 'risk assessed' and things like the prevailing gradients, any level crossings, distance over the mainline to be covered without a brakevan all considered.

 

If said assessment was believed to show any risk of a runaway was within acceptable limits (remembering that we are considerably more 'risk averse' these days* than was typical in the 1950s or earlier) then such movements would be authorised by way of signal box instructions and exerts from the sectional appendices.

 

* For example it is mandatory that ALL vehicles running on the national rail network are equipped with a functional automatic braking system and the rescue of rolling stock without functioning brakes is considerably more onerous than used to be the case a mere 25 years ago.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite.  The Ely Paper Mill trip I referred to was dead level, propelled out and hauled back; an uphill gradient starts just beyond the ground frame and the loco was at the Yard end, so any  wagons that got away had a very limited scope to cause any problems and could easily enough be rescued.  The Ferry Road trip was propelled out and hauled back as well, and involved gradients that downhill were at the loose coupled end of the train, but not on running lines.  The branch was treated as a long siding accessed by ground frame at Grangetown, and the loco could run around away from running lines to provide access to  the low level sidings.  But you had to be on top of what you were doing; proper railway work, manned adequately with a guard, travelling shunter, and often a trainee like me sent over to learn whatever I could pick up while waiting for the guard's induction training course.  It was also the new guard's turn for a few weeks until road learning started.

 

You could learn more about the down and dirty practicalities railway work in a few hours there than the rest of your life put together.  It was also, obviously, huge fun!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Dailuaine was connected to the LNER/BR line by a tablet operated ground frame, although how exactly the tablet would be acquired to release it is a good question - quite possibly by walking to Carron box to collect it if it was only half a mile !

 

http://gnsra.org.uk/index_htm_files/Abs 21 Signalling May 2014.pdf - page 15 refers.

 

Local instructions would have set out exactly how things were carried out but good luck finding a copy of those ! Normal practice elsewhere on BR where unfitted trains were permitted to run over passenger lines without brakevans (there were a few, as late as the 1980s) would be for the last vehicle to carry a tail lamp on the draw hook, that's why the handle of a BR oil tail lamp is such an odd shape. It doesn't stop anything running away but it does give you an indication on arrival at Carron that you've left a bit behind somewhere. 

 

As it was regular movement the distillery crew would have been passed out on the rules which applied to them as mentioned earlier. Elsewhere, where mainline movements were less frequent then a BR crew would be provided to conduct, an example of this would be NCB locos moving between collieries or between colliery and central workshops for overhaul. 

 

 

Edited by Wheatley
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Wheatley for the detailed description.  I agree that it would have involved the walk to collect the tablet.  I presume it would have been in the form of an Annett's Key to unlock the frame.

It never fails to astound me the knowledge out there on RMweb. (Alisdair)

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, ardbealach said:

Thank you Mark and the Johnster for your comments.   I go along with your replies, especially if it was all within station limits.  But a driver,  a fireman and a shunter / guard on a Barclay Pug would leave little space to operate it, methinks!!!  [Alisdair]

 

  

 

If you look at most heritage railways the crew normally consists of a driver and fireman. But you often get a trainee or junior fireman as well. And often someone else if needs be.

 

Plenty of room on a Barclay or other small locomotive for four in my experience.

 

Jason

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Fat Controller said:

I believe privately-owned locomotives had to be registered with the British Transport Commission, if there was a likelihood of them crossing, or travelling on, the tracks of the main-line railway.

 

Yes, and they carried a plate with a registration number I'm fairly certain - issued/withdrawn following examination for fitness to run over BR metals. I think that one or two preserved locos still carry a plate from their industrial service days.

Edited by Nearholmer
  • Agree 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all for the enlightening explanations. Presumably, shunting unfitted wagons in, on and around running lines would have been part of daily life at many stations in the steam era, when most non-passenger trains were unfitted.

  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

And would the non-BR crews need to be aware of the local WTT?  They just couldn't travel over BR track without due authority.  Or were they given authority between certain pre-arranged times?  And what if BR were running extras or BR trains were late or out of timetable sequence? (Alisdair)

Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems not to apply in this case but there were numerous places where the WTT and/or appendix specified that shunting must be done with the loco at the downhill end of the train. You can imagine that this was quite common in the Welsh valleys.

Jonathan

Link to post
Share on other sites

Officially, any loco working regularly onto BR metals, and certain pre-nationalisation company's lines needed to be 'registered'.

.

This required the loco to be inspected regularly, and where necessary the crew tested for their knowledge of railway procedures that effected their duties when on BR lines.

.

Locos authorised to operate on BR metals were fitted with plates, indicating they were so authorised.

.

In theory, they were only authorised to run on certain BR lines, sidings etc and not given carte-blanche to go wherever the crew felt.

.

Often, the authorised loco would move on, to pastures new, and more often than not, the plates went with the loco.............but, other plates would move to the succeeding loco, especially when diesel supplanted steam at the relevant industry.

.

Some authorisations were simply to cross a BR line from one part of an industrial complex to another as at Llanbradach Colliery in the Rhymney Valley.

.

Other, more complex duties would include instructions to BR staff, published in the local Sectional Appendix.

.

In Newport Docks, during the period 1963-1965 John Cashmores famous scrapyard used a former GWR 1361 saddle tank to shunt  their yard, albeit the loco having been bought for scrap was not 'registered' to run on the BR lines outside the yard, albeit it may have....

.

Cashmores also used a steam crane to shunt their yard, and to move wagons and dead locos in and out of the yard.

.

The attached extract covering the use of Cashmores crane on BR metals shows how detailed some local instructions were. 

.

I've also attached the somewhat shorter instructions relating to the Northern Aluminium Company's 'engine' working into Rogerstone Yard in the Western Valley.

 

Scan-yard working-2.jpg

Scan-yard working-7.jpg

  • Like 2
  • Informative/Useful 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if colliery branch lines are in the scope of this topic. During the 1970s NCB locos from Wheldale colliery were permitted to use the BR stump of the Garforth branch running to Allerton Bywater and Bowers Row. This allowed them to cross the river Aire and access tipping grounds on the north bank. The Hudson type side tippers were definitely not certified for main line use nor was a guard van used. I can only assume this was a local agreement with Castleford East box who fitted such journeys in between the scheduled coal train workings.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Although probably not running over the main line the British Gypsum mines at Mountfield used to have its own Diesel shunting Locos (steam prior to that). They would work the empty and loaded wagons from the sidings up to the mines. The sidings had a gate across the track at Mountfield Ground Frame, and the sidings were all under BR ownership. The Loco crews employed by British Gypsum were all supplied with a BR Rule Book and associated publications. Even the weekly notices would be supplied. (I can remember taking them up there to be delivered). They were also given an Annual 'Rules Exam' by a BR Inspector even though they didn't travel over the main line as such.

  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • RMweb Gold
23 hours ago, rodent279 said:

If there's no brakevan, and unfitted wagons are being shunted, how was the railway protected from wagons running away? Would catch points be fitted at the outer limits of the controlling signal box's area?

No different from any other shunting movement in Station Limits (assuming it did only take place within Station Limits).  What could be done in Station Limits would be restricted by a Sectional appendix Instruction if there were any physical conditions which required such a restriction - the most common one was gradients.  Similarly there was basically no difference between a BR engine crewed by BR staff and an authorised PO engine crewed by BR qualified footplemen - they both worked to precisely the same Instructions and authorities.

 

I very much doubt if (officially) a private Shunter would be allowed to proceed any further than, or get involved in anything more complicated than, a very simple exchange siding  arrangement so a BR Shunter would be in charge.  To be honest I can't see a private company being prepared to pay for their shunting staff to be examined when there were BR staff on the spot doing the work.  Using PO engine to shunt is one thing, taking on the rest of the work was quite another and possibly the Fireman would do any hooking on or off of wagons if the exchange work was that simple.

  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have certainly enjoyed all the responses on this topic I started, and I now have bit more understanding about the running my Hatton's Barclay on my layout with a couple of wagons and no brake van.    I am one of those pedants who enjoys following proper operating practices on my layout.  [Alisdair]  

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the connection with the main line between Carron and Dailuaine halt, I believe that is Carron's distant signal.

 

https://flic.kr/p/WpKq1f

 

There are some stunning photos of the pugs working at Dailuaine and Balmenach distilleries in that album too. The juxtoposition between the gorgeous Barclay pug and the monstrous 7 storey asbestos granary at the latter is just crying out to be modelled !

Edited by Wheatley
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • RMweb Gold
13 hours ago, 62613 said:

How are Earle's Sidings, on the Hope Valley line, worked?

Now there's a question, AFAIK and I've been into the yard during cab rides etc from the cement works it's operated by the cement company and NR locos come in to do their work - ie collect and deposit trains... All overseen by the NR Signalbox I think the branch radios for permission to enter the yard, guess NR is similar? 

 

 

Ralf

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.