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Loading Gauges


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On ‎05‎/‎04‎/‎2021 at 19:47, ikcdab said:

So why did some of them have the "drop down" ears at each side?

I understand this was so the shunting engine crew didn't end up decapitating themselves when shunting. The gauge would be lowered and the ears folded down to check a particular load, then raised after.

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6 minutes ago, H2O said:

I understand this was so the shunting engine crew didn't end up decapitating themselves when shunting. The gauge would be lowered and the ears folded down to check a particular load, then raised after.

 

I struggle with that. Most locomotive cabs - certainly of shunting engines - were quite narrow compared to the loading gauge limit. The crew would have to try quite hard to get out of gauge - standing on the coal in the tender or bunker, maybe. 

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17 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Would it be correct to say that the use of loading gauges ceased at the same time as mileage traffic, which could be loaded on to open wagons or flats by non-railway personnel, did?

Not really.  There were still yards handling mileage traffic long after loading gauges had started to vanish - I had yards on my patch (various) in the mid -late 1970s handling mileage traffic and they didn't have loading gauges and hadn't had them for a good few years.

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Last time I went to Totton near Southampton, the loading gauge was still in place along with a redundant signal for the lifted Totton Wharf Branch. I di take some pics but Ill be lowed if I can find them.

 

It can be seen to the right of the pic in this link.

 

2-from-the-footbridge-west-of-totton-station-we-are-looking-at-what-was-the-start-of-the-eling-wharf-branch-line-the-building-behind-the-trees-is-the-play-away-day-nursery-the-line-curves_2_orig.jpg (799×599) (cornwallrailwaysociety.org.uk)

 

CheersTrailrage

Edited by TRAILRAGE
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4 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

Not really.  There were still yards handling mileage traffic long after loading gauges had started to vanish - I had yards on my patch (various) in the mid -late 1970s handling mileage traffic and they didn't have loading gauges and hadn't had them for a good few years.

I had thought mileage traffic as such had ceased when mileage rates were abolished with the common carrier obligation (1962 Transport Bill?).  Traffic of that sort was still apparent in the 70s; the London Brick operation at Canton Sidings comes to mind, as does the road salt at Pontypridd, but this was contract traffic and the contractors unloading or loading staff trained (I assume, and theoretically) in correct loading/unloading procedures.  The bricks, like most stuff by then, were palletised and loaded by fork lift to a standard loading pattern, so a loading gauge would not be needed so long as the pattern was adhered to.  You got to the maximum load long before gauge issues came into play; the load did not protrude above the sides of the dropside 'pipe' opens. 

 

Where loads went into vans, of course, the issue was pre-determined, but I would have thought that open or flat ISO containers might have posed a risk, loaded by untrained staff at sites remote from the depot.  My only direct connection in the sense of a job in my link was an evening general merchandise class 6 from Swansea High Street Goods to Long Dyke, which included opens loaded with disparate items, sometimes but not always under tarps.  These were loaded by NCL staff, many of whom were ex-railwaymen who knew what they were doing and trained incomers.  There was a loading gauge, and IIRC one at the 'top yard', Hafod, as well, where 'mileage type' traffic was handled,  Llanelli had such sidings as well, the goods shed being used for locomotives, and I think I remember such at Llantrisant, but my memory fails me about the loading gauge, likewise the end loading and cattle docks at Severn Tunnel Jc.

 

The presence of a loading gauge at that time did not necessarily mean that it was used, of course; many had simply been left in situ to rot.  For modelling purposes, I would suggest that a loading gauge needs to be provided wherever open or flat wagons are loaded, between the point of loading and the running lines, for pre 1980 layouts as a very rough and general guidance. 

 

Nearholmer's photo of Longdon Road shows that this is not an absolute rule; Longdon Road seems to have been a minimalist provision of a full passenger and general merchandise goods service on a single platform, the goods being handled on the platform rather like parcels traffic. and needing the gauge to be on the running line.  I wonder what the line speed was; probably not high.  The sight of trains passing under the gauge at 70+ would have been interesting.  It is not an excuse for main line modellers to put loading gauges on fast trunk routes!

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8 minutes ago, The Johnster said:

I wonder what the line speed was; probably not high.

 

Pedestrian, I think, given the curves and everything else about the line.

 

I made a diversion to go and look at the site when I was driving back from a meeting over that way about two years ago, and its still a pretty quiet place even now.

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5 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

Not really.  There were still yards handling mileage traffic long after loading gauges had started to vanish - I had yards on my patch (various) in the mid -late 1970s handling mileage traffic and they didn't have loading gauges and hadn't had them for a good few years.

I thought mileage traffic as such had ceased when mileage rates were abolished with the common carrier obligation (1962 Transport Bill?).  Traffic of that sort was still apparent in the 70s; the London Brick operation at Canton Sidings comes to mind, as does the road salt at Pontypridd, but this was contract traffic and the contractors unloading or loading staff trained (I assume, and theoretically) in correct loading/unloading procedures.  The bricks, like most stuff by then, were palletised and loaded by fork lift to a standard loading pattern, so a loading gauge would not be needed so long as the pattern was adhered to.  You got to the maximum load long before gauge issues came into play; the load did not protrude above the sides of the 'pipe' opens. 

 

Where loads went into vans, of course, the issue was pre-determined, but I would have thought that open or flat ISO containers might have posed a risk, loaded by untrained staff at sites remote from the depot.  My only direct connection in the sense of a job in my link was an evening general merchandise class 6 from Swansea High Street Goods to Long Dyke, which included opens loaded with disparate items, sometimes but not always under tarps.  These were loaded by NCL staff, many of whom were ex-railwaymen who knew what they were doing and trained incomers.  There was a loading gauge, and IIRC one at the 'top yard', Hafod, as well, where 'mileage type' traffic was handled,  Llanelli had such sidings as well, the goods shed being used for locomotives, and I think I remember such at Llantrisant, but my memory fails me about the loading gauge, likewise the end loading and cattle docks at Severn Tunnel Jc.

 

The presence of a loading gauge at that time did not necessarily mean that it was used, of course; many had simply been left in situ to rot.  For modelling purposes, I would suggest that a loading gauge needs to be provided wherever open or flat wagons are loaded, between the point of loading and the running lines, for pre 1980 layouts as a very rough and general guidance. 

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19 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

 

Pedestrian, I think, given the curves and everything else about the line.

 

I made a diversion to go and look at the site when I was driving back from a meeting over that way about two years ago, and its still a pretty quiet place even now.

Sounds as if it was something of a railhead for a largish area in which there was on other provision.  The 'Road' element of a station name always conjours up a mental image that includes tumbleweed for me...

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The peculiarity with this one is that there isn’t even a “Longdon” from which it is an annoyingly long walk, because the village was abandoned, and disappeared without much trace, about four centuries before the tramway/railway was built.

 

A bit OT really, but it’s one of my favourite “odd” stations.

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3 hours ago, The Johnster said:

 

Where loads went into vans, of course, the issue was pre-determined, but I would have thought that open or flat ISO containers might have posed a risk, loaded by untrained staff at sites remote from the depot.

 

At the few container terminals I had dealings with, there were overheight detectors on the exit line, these shone an infra-red beam across the track, set at the appropriate height for containers loaded on standard flats, an alarm would be triggered if the beam was broken.

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21 hours ago, Trog said:

 

That makes me wonder as I can remember as a humble Area Civil Engineers STO (Senior Technical Officer, basically one of the local Area Civil Engineers minions) climbing all over a rather large 360' excavator we wanted to use on relaying sites , that was sat on a bogie flatrol with a tape measure to determine if it was within gauge. More immense care than knowledge as I was signing the wagon labels, sometimes referred to as, 'Get into goal free cards' myself. 

Interesting, I guess that within the civil engineers organisation assistance could be obtained from their own gauging section staff if necessary although our Traffic Dept inspectors certainly got involved with the more unusual movements involving bridge sections and the like.  P Way depots would certainly have had staff competent in loading and securing the various types of excavators and bulldozers that appeared on ballast trains in the past, and presumably also at relaying sites when the machines were reloaded after use.

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The loading gauge in Lawrence Hill Yard Bristol was still there in 1980.

 

 scan0014.jpg.7ac22db5a89c418ef816735537552e70.jpg

37071 waits to work the afternoon service to Severn Tunnel Junction, the yard pilot is 03382. 6/5/80.

 

On the subject of load examination, my dad was the WR civil engineers wagon supervisor. Although all his previous career had been office based when the method of supplying concrete sleepers to PADs was changed he got trained up to load examine concrete sleepers loaded on salmon/gane/sturgeon wagons, this was to remove the reliance on the WR loads inspectors, who were often busy elsewhere.

 

cheers  

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Which tallies with the way the part of our CM&EE team that dealt with delivering/collecting heavy electrical kit worked c1980. One member of the team had been trained to measure and pass loads, and did so for the vast majority of our work. He also used to advise us on what maximum dimensions etc to specify and include in factory inspections when ordering equipment from suppliers, taking account of the wagons allocated for our use. However, if the load was particularly "ticklish", and/or had to pass particular "pinch points" en-route, he would call in the "regional" load inspector to double-check things.

 

We dealt with a lot of very large drums of high voltage cable, and they not only had to be routed to site respecting loading gauge, which sometimes meant very convoluted trips, but had to arrive at site the right way round, so that the pull/lay off the drum was in the correct orientation.

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3 hours ago, SED Freightman said:

Interesting, I guess that within the civil engineers organisation assistance could be obtained from their own gauging section staff if necessary although our Traffic Dept inspectors certainly got involved with the more unusual movements involving bridge sections and the like.  P Way depots would certainly have had staff competent in loading and securing the various types of excavators and bulldozers that appeared on ballast trains in the past, and presumably also at relaying sites when the machines were reloaded after use.

 

I had to go up to the local Central Materials depot several times to sign off loads when their supervisors certification ran out, which was usually loads of track or rails. Excavators to and from site were usually loaded in the local yards in which the engineering trains were out stabled ready for the weekend and the labels signed by either a member of the PW technical staff, a PW Supervisor or someone like the Senior Relaying Supervisors timekeeper. I don't think as an Area Office it would have ever occurred to us to request assistance from the Regional Civil Engineers Office, as the less they knew about what we were doing the better we liked it. 

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On 07/04/2021 at 16:02, The Johnster said:

Where loads went into vans, of course, the issue was pre-determined, but I would have thought that open or flat ISO containers might have posed a risk, loaded by untrained staff at sites remote from the depot.

 

 

21 hours ago, SED Freightman said:

At the few container terminals I had dealings with, there were overheight detectors on the exit line, these shone an infra-red beam across the track, set at the appropriate height for containers loaded on standard flats, an alarm would be triggered if the beam was broken.

 

Not just open or flat containers that posed a risk.

 

At the time I was involved with freightliner workings, pre-sectorisation, with the original freightliner flats 8'6" high containers were treated as out of gauge loads with various routing restrictions.

One such working was the Darlington / Glasgow service which, prior to Penmanshiel, had to be routed by the Newcastle - Carlisle line, and even then had several overbridges which were restricted to 5 / 10 mph to pass through. We did the Darlington / Kingmoor section of these workings.

 

IIRC 9' high containers were also starting to appear at the time, which were barred.

So the gauging was necessary to check that high containers didnt get on the wrong trains

Edited by Ken.W
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I was aware of several arched bridges that had one to two inch deep notches worn into the brickwork of the underside of the arch where the upper cess side corner of passing containers was rubbing on the bridge. One particularly stands out in my mind as the sleepers under the bridge which was then subject to a 5MPH CoT (Condition of track) speed due to a slip lifting the track just beyond the bridge had been marked out by the local maintenance gang for lifting and packing.

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16 hours ago, Trog said:

I was aware of several arched bridges that had one to two inch deep notches worn into the brickwork of the underside of the arch where the upper cess side corner of passing containers was rubbing on the bridge. One particularly stands out in my mind as the sleepers under the bridge which was then subject to a 5MPH CoT (Condition of track) speed due to a slip lifting the track just beyond the bridge had been marked out by the local maintenance gang for lifting and packing.

In the early 1980's similar notching was found in the tunnels between Charlton and Woolwich Arsenal, thought to have been possibly caused by the raves of MGR wagons on diverted Northfleet services.  This was around the time that the standard freight loading gauge had been increased from W5A to W6, net result was a general ban on W6 gauge wagons between Angerstein Jn and the north end of Plumstead Station with the exception of those specifically authorised in the Sectional Appendix, primarily aggregate wagons passing to / from Angerstein Wharf.

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On 08/04/2021 at 16:39, Ken.W said:

 

 

Not just open or flat containers that posed a risk.

 

At the time I was involved with freightliner workings, pre-sectorisation, with the original freightliner flats 8'6" high containers were treated as out of gauge loads with various routing restrictions.

One such working was the Darlington / Glasgow service which, prior to Penmanshiel, had to be routed by the Newcastle - Carlisle line, and even then had several overbridges which were restricted to 5 / 10 mph to pass through. We did the Darlington / Kingmoor section of these workings.

 

IIRC 9' high containers were also starting to appear at the time, which were barred.

So the gauging was necessary to check that high containers didnt get on the wrong trains

Should have been covered on a 29973 form which ought to have been gauging assessed before being authorised.  However I know that on the WR we had lots of problems with 8'6" containers loaded on trains to/frm Southampton Maritme not being advised so even after it had been noticed that they were gouging overbridges and a 29973 had been prepared there were still instances of bridge gouging occurring.  In the end the affected bridges were mostly rebuilt although i think that track lowering occurred in seom places.rebuilt.

 

Incidentally as far as Mileage Rates are concerned they had nothing at all to do with Common Carrier status - the main thing which it affected were traffic classifications which had to embrace just about everything, and probably more, than you could think of.  Zonal rates applied to a lot of Goods Smalls prior to the 1962 Act as did AFRs (Agreed Flat Rates) and certain 'returned empty' rates.  Mileage rates for some full loads traffic lasted for a good few years after 1962 particularly coal traffic flows to small stations although by the early 1970s market pricing was being applied to a large percentage of freight traffics.

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Military traffic was also problematic, especially when moving tanks, armoured cars or other suchlike. During the Falklands War, we had quite a few "bent" ones returning via Ridham Dock, for onward transport by rail. There was, on average, two trains a week of this stuff, plus expended ammo and other expired stores, which lasted several months. Our gauging inspector(s) was/were all over them, there being no loading gauge down there by then. Several had to be re-loaded.

 

I gathered from chatting with one inspector, that they had trouble with similar military trains elsewhere, but that is beyond my ken.

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Thanks to one and all for some exceedingly interesting stuff.

 

Some time ago I saw a short film on (I think) Talking Pictures....they show shorts quite often and some are very good....note: Berth 24 about the docks at Hull. This particular film, possibly BTF, or BFI, was about the movement of a transformer from A to B. There was no 'loading gauge' as such but the whole length of the route had been assessed for the transformer overhang and at each point en route where the t/f could have hit something, they jacked it over until it was deemed to be safe.......later on a different part of the track, they would jack it back again.

 

Fascinating.

 

Dave

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