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Karhedron

Keynsham rail-served chocolate factory

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I am looking for information on Fry's chocolate factory at Somerdale near Keynsham. I know that the factory was rail served up until about 1980 and used to dispatch a lot of products by rail.

 

Can anyone tell me if they also used to receive ingredients by rail as well and if so, what things?

 

I am interested in the period from 1940 through to 1965 but particularly any details of the 2 terriers (no5 and No6) which the GWR inherited worked the factory.

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In the words of Black Eyed Peas 'I gotta feelin' ... that we discussed this in the Cadbury vs Kraft thread a few months ago, might be worth a search on Kraft - which I'm about to do....

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Thanks for the thread. More on the chocloate that the railway but still interesting background.

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Only just stumbled across the thread. Used to be chocolate out (in vac braked railway owned box vans). the same vans were used to bring cocoa in - certainly in the 70s the cocoa came through Avonmouth Docks.

 

Also coming in was coal for the power plant - latterly in HTV or HTO coal hopper wagons. Rather unusual was the 2 foot gauge lister loco within the works - with a seperate 2 foot gauge track - the lister would draw coal wagons along for discharge.

 

As a school boy in the 70s I saw the Hudswell Clarke diesel loco and box vans - never saw the 2 foot gauge line or the coal traffic - only photos in a bradford Barton book on Industrial Narrow Gauge diesel locos. Hope this helps. Devonbelle

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Karhedron,

 

The book you are probably after is The Somerdale Story 1921 to 2009 by Eric Miles.

I believe that this is a private limited publication by Eric Miles, to raise funds for the restoration of Frys 4 wheel Sentinel steam engine.

I cannot find a publisher or ISBN number. I purchased my copy at the shop on the Avon Valley Railway, Bitton Station for £15.00 (0117 9325538).

Locos photographed and listed as Frys loco's are:

Sentinel 4 wheel 7492 purchased 1928.

Hunslet 040 works D1009 purchased 1956

Lister 4 wheel for 1ft 11".75

There is no mention or pictures of the Terriers. There is a couple of pictures of GWR Panniers on or leaving the site.

The only Terriers that the GWR had that I am aware of were from the Weston Clevedon & Portishead Railway.

 

Gordon A

Bristol

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Hi,

 

There is also 'Railways of Keynsham', Russell Leitch, RCTS, 1997, ISBN090 1115 827. Contains info re Fry's, The Show Train & Frys Workers Trains.

 

Can't find any reference to Terriers although there is a picture of a Dean Goods on site.

 

There is also some interesting stuff on the other industrial sidings in Keynsham

 

Regards

 

Paul B

Bristol

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According to Russell Leitch's book, Terrier no 6 was used on trains to Fry's at Keynsham.

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GWR Terriers number 5 & 6 came from the WC&P when it closed in 1940. IIRC they were the only WC&P stock not to be scrapped.

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There's some interesting pictures on the Bristol Railways archive.

 

They include pictures of a class 22, 03 and one of Cadbury's own shunters at work.

Thanks for the link, those are some nice shots there. I particularly like the one of the 08 taken from the top of the wall.

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Thanks for the link, those are some nice shots there. I particularly like the one of the 08 taken from the top of the wall.

 

....and what a curvature on the line! I'm amazed that a Hymek & class 22 could get around there....:blink:

Thanks Jenny Emily for the link, I always like seeing situations where trains have to be flagged across a main road! That gateway looks like a perfect scenic break too....;)

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....and what a curvature on the line! I'm amazed that a Hymek & class 22 could get around there....:blink:

Thanks Jenny Emily for the link, I always like seeing situations where trains have to be flagged across a main road! That gateway looks like a perfect scenic break too....;)

 

Me too, what a great set of photos.

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On Google maps it looks like the rails are still there under the tarmac on the road - you can see the shadow of them. The gates are certainly still there. I'm struggling to find any pictures of what was past the gates though. From Google Earth, there must have been a very short branch and - judging by the way some locos entered the branch - somewhere to run around. Aside from that I've found nothing.

 

It would make a very interesting micro layout.

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The Miles and Leitch volumes both include some details of the internal layout. Switch to the aerial view in your google link then you can follow the tree-lined cutting as it curves around to be parallel to the road. There was a loop in the cutting. The line then went alongside the loading area under the large pinkish awning on the right side of the factory.

 

The internal line branched off this line at the end of the cutting and before the loading area and continued along the right (east) side of the tarmac area. It then followed the road marked on the google map overlay. There was a shed for the internal engine alongside this line. At the end of the road you can see a tree lined embankment curving round and extending towards the north-west. This was a long headshunt. Now, follow this back towards the factory and you may be able to make out two curving paths through the undergrowth. These come out either side of the, now demolished, pinkish area. These were two of the lines going in to parts of the factory.

 

Yes, it could make an interesting layout but would need some compression for a micro. There were 21/2 miles of track.

 

Nick

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There were 21/2 miles of track.

Some of which ended up at Bitton in the early 1970s when the BSRS started up.

 

As regards the scenic break element of the gates at Keynsham, something similar is planned on Callow Lane, where the private siding to the Cuthbertsons Chocolate Works goes off stage...

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My thoughts for a micro layout were more about the stretch from the gates to the end of the platforms at Keynsham station. It would provide opportunity for a variety of traffic and shunting, as well as occasional passing mainline trains.

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I can remember the crossing in use - it was, at one time, on one of the routes I used to commute to work. A very good friend of mine whom I haven't seen for some time used to work there in the 1970's.

 

There was, for a while, in the 1940's, rather different rail traffic - steel inwards and Merlin engines outwards ...

 

Incidentally the Somerdale factory is on the site of a Roman villa.

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The Villa was moved a to a location next to the road crossed by the railway in the corner made by the road and railway overlooking the cutting at the south east of the Cadbury's site. I was there about 2 weeks ago when they held an excellent exhibition of the history of the site and Fry's in Bristol. The book mentioned above - The Somerdale Story 1921 to 2009 by Eric Miles - has lots of detail and photos of the internal railway.

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The crossing, horsebox siding and a bit of the main line could indeed make a nice micro layout, and I'm sure there are several other possibilities in the factory area. The gate and tree-lined cutting would certainly make a good scenic break, and it's good to hear that those well known chocolatiers 'Cuthbertsons' are continuing the local industry :rolleyes:

...There was, for a while, in the 1940's, rather different rail traffic - steel inwards and Merlin engines outwards ...

Presumably some aluminium inwards as well :rolleyes: Maybe this was the era when the Terrier was used.

 

Incidentally the Somerdale factory is on the site of a Roman villa.

The remains were relaid near the factory gatehouse and can be seen in the aerial version of Jenny's google link, just north-west of the rail crossing.

 

Nick

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There were images on Fotopic (I think) of class 22s joining the mainline at Keynsham from the Somerdale branch (although the search facility is currently broke), and thanks Jenny for that link to the Bristol Rail archive - I must keep reminding myself to browse that website routinely as those photos are relatively recent arrivals.

 

A good friend used to work there for 20+ years, the Fry's club at Somerdale was where I had my wedding reception, plus great fishing around the factory outfalls along the banks of the river Avon, but then I digress.

 

Neil

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As regards the scenic break element of the gates at Keynsham, something similar is planned on Callow Lane, where the private siding to the Cuthbertsons Chocolate Works goes off stage...

 

So, did Cuthbertson start making chocolate before or after his run-in with the Royal Padstow Lancers? :P

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