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I've been looking into the freight services on the Barnstaple line in the mid 1980s, with a view to starting a model "inspired by" (but definitely not an accurate model of) the line in the mid 1980s. I know about the following flows:

Fertilizers to Lapford - UKF private owner PWA pallet vans

Timber from Lapford - OTAs

Cement to Barnstaple - PCAs

Resin to Barnstaple - Ciba-Geigy private TTA tanks

And some loco hauled passenger trains and parcels traffic too, besides DMUs. smile.gif

There was also the ball clay trains from Meeth which finished in 1982, also milk tanks from Torrington which finished in 1978 and fertilizer to Torrington if I stretched the timescale somewhat.

- which all seem eminently modelable and (dare I say it ) more varied than the china clay traffic I originally set myself on to!wink.gif

 

These websites have given some useful info

Cyberheritage (Steve Johnson) Really Good Trains (Andrew Bartlett) - I'm also hoping Ken Baker's Fotopic site might be resurrected at some stage dry.gif

Some images of Barnstaple yard on the Cyberheritage site have really got my interest though - Grainflow Polybulks plus what seems to be a ferry van. Another Polybulk - nice short train. And some OCAs possibly loaded with big fertilizer bags (but why wouldn't this have been dropped off at Lapford?)

Now the questions!

1. Can anyone cast any light on the Polybulks - I seem to remember a vague mention of grain traffic somewhere?

2. Also, does anyone know of any pictures of Lapford sidings in the 1980s - I've only seen images of the actual station. I know the former dairy building was used as the fertilizer warehouse, but I'd like to see where & how the timber was handled. I know traffic picked up from Lapford had to run on to Barnstaple as the signalling at Lapford didn't allow for a runround in the loop there.

All help gratefully received. I can't guarantee any immediate progress to show for this research, but it all adds to my knowledge base....

Oh and if anyone knows of any Lima or Hornby UKF livery PWAs being available I would like to know!

Edited by Ramblin Rich
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There was steel plate for Appledore shipyard, carried in SPAs, I recollect. Not sure which way the cereal traffic was going, but I would have thought it would have come via Lapford. The OCAs are strange- I wonder if they were sent to Lapford in error, or if it was stock that had been recalled. There've been a couple of models based on Lapford in the past- I think George Woodcock might have been responsible. Stuart Davies' identity on here (Lapford 34102) suggests he might have something of interest.

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Rich,

not a direct answer but may be of interest, nice little set of notes below the TT.

 

http://ndrailusers.w...aces.com/TT1980

Was going to mention the steel plate for Appledore but F.C's hot on the case as I type B) Tho I recall there's a pic on cyber heritage of it in a train leaving Riverside. (might be the one with OCA's in IIRC, in which case you've seen it!)

Most of your questions are the ones I still have after a year I'm afraid.

 

As regards the UKFs, ok, if any left once I get there ;)

Edited by slow8dirty
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There were Vanfits running to Torrington until 1982 if you want to stretch the timeline.

 

Come to think of it, there were ex-GWR Fruit Ds on the Barnstsple mixed until 1981.

 

Cheers

David

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I can't help with your questions Rich I am afraid, but good to see you taking this project to the next level...

 

Watching with great interest...even though you deserted suspended the china clay only layout :P

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I spent a lot of time along the North Devon line in the 1980's, so will go though my photos and see what I have of Lapford and Barnstaple yards.Currently working on my latest model Bullied Pacific 'Lapford' as it happens.

 

Ian

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I look forward to seeing those pics Ian, i worked with view of line at Tawstock in 1986 and only ever saw the already mentioned wagons (pca, ota combo usually) tho also saw 31s on weed killing train a few times, i will watch thread with intrest. owen.

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Thanks for the replies everyone, very prompt & informative.

@ Brian - the steel plate traffic, there's a pic on Cyberheritage of a trestle bogie which I presume is carrying that traffic, so that's another to add to the mix! I do remember a layout "Falworth" based on Lapford which I think was George Woodcock's, plus also Ken Gibbons EM versions.

@ Matt - that TT is a great find & the notes on parcels & mixed trains very useful. I do like the Speedlink era featured in the Cyberheritage images, but maybe 1980 would be a good option too ( I remember you were basing your Fremington Pill layout sequence on this).

@ David - the Torrington vanfits I assume were for the ICI fertilizer traffic, which the TT Matt linked to does mention in the notes (and the Fruit Ds too).

@ Pete - sorry to disappoint you in "deserting" china clay, I just feel now that North Devon gives more variety - and I'm being loyal to my new home county too! At least I could stil run the Clayhoods if I keep to pre 1982....

@ Ian - if you can find some yard pictures that would be fantastic!

 

The question is, what next? It seems like something based on Lapford would give a good mix of traffic in, out & through, but I have my bare bones "Tresarrick" layout in store which I might be able to adapt to be a nondescript location. I'll have to negotiate for time & space with "t'other 'arf". As I said, please don't expect anything very soon....;)

 

 

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As you're "inspired by" then there's no need to keep to a 1982 deadline with clay traffic - post 1982 just transfer it to clay tigers (upcoming Kernow) and Polybulks (upcoming Bachmann) and carry on. B)

 

I was planning a layout at one stage based on Barnstaple still being a junction station circa 2006 under Wessex Trains, with it being a bit of a mini wagonload hub for the majority of the traffics mentioned.

 

 

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I wonder why the Fruit Ds lingered on so long on the parcels traffic between Exeter and Barnstaple? They were there on my only visit to the line, which would have been 1975- at that time, there was still banana traffic to Barnstaple.

 

Presumably because the speed imposition of attaching them to a passenger train wasn't a problem on the Barnstaple branch and they still had some mileage in them (and no doubt - as always seemed to be the case - there was a shortage of 8 wheel vans).

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As you're "inspired by" then there's no need to keep to a 1982 deadline with clay traffic - post 1982 just transfer it to clay tigers (upcoming Kernow) and Polybulks (upcoming Bachmann) and carry on. B)

 

 

A cunning plan!

That's another question I've been puzzled by - the Meeth traffic was lost supposedly because the track needed upgrading to accomodate modern wagons. I've never worked out what modern wagons would actually have been used for ball clay BUT a Clay Tiger gross weight is 57 tons - less than a class 25 and 31 - so no worse axle load than the locomotives using the line. I think it's more likely that there wasn't sufficient traffic to justify retaining the track - sadly. :(

In my continuing musings another scenario is a re-invented North Devon & Cornwall Junction Railway, re-routed to Okehampton instead of Halwill & retained with a rump passenger DMU & freight service. Milk, clay & fertilizer traffic via Okehampton to Exeter insead of the long way via Barnstaple and an alternate route if the Tarka line gets flooded. Invent a town somewhere around Hatherleigh called "Okeford", imagine some timber traffic there & the need to marshall / propel clay traffic to / from Meeth - maybe that's a better scheme to re-use "Tresarrick" while I work towards a Tarka Line location....

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In the real world of course I suspect Meldon viaduct would have been the issue - but I think if you were to assume there was no problem there (lets say it had been rebuilt already before BR looked at running down the services so wasn't a good excuse for closing the line, or that BR had designated the route via Tavistock an important diversionary route and committed to keeping it maintained) then there might be some logic in shutting the rather long and windy line from Barnstaple and serving it from the south end? I suspect it would have been a good deal shorter to go that way!

 

Meldon was an important traffic source so it was always going to be safe as far as that...would have thought that the agricultural-based traffic would be potentially as applicable, but not as sure about the timber?

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Hi Martyn - in fact, I was imagining a line going from Meeth to Okehampton direct, rather than over Meldon - possibly up the Okement valley & then to the east up the Hole Brook, joining the main line somewhere near Sampford Courtney station. Maybe a triangular junction, freight can go straight east to Exeter, passenger trains to serve Okehmpton with a reversal. It would need a crossing over the Torridge valley south of Meeth (no worse than the Tamar crossing at Calstock?) and some interesting gradients - but that might make for more, shorter freight trains anyway ;) . My imaginary "Okeford" would be somewhere near Hatherleigh & Monkokehampton, on the confluence of the Okement & Torridge rivers.

I throw the timber traffic in as I like the idea of something in the yard being loaded, and would suit a later Tarka line scenario - but perhaps you're right & I should stick with the clay, milk & fertilizers. I do like daydreaming sometimes....

 

 

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Rich,

 

Will this layout be ready for Taunton this year / next year ?:rolleyes:

 

Stu

 

1. Which layout? Tarka line - unlikely. Reworked "Okeford" - hmmm...

2. This year - Har har - don't be silly :P

3. Next year - who knows?

As I said, progress will be slow :lol: but my enthusiasm is up, lighter evenings give me chance to work in the conservatory while S is doing her OU stuff & hopefully lil'uns will sleep ok....dry.gif

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Good to see your musings (prevarications) again. I maybe wrong but I thought the clay Tigers could take a load of 80tons, which maybe why they were too heavy for the Meeth line. There were some clay hoods marked with a yellow stripe which were used for traffic to Fowey (after they stopped using Fremmington Quay) so these could be used up till 1987. Looking at pics of Heathfield (which is also ball clay) CDAs, Tigers and cargowagons have been used, an interesting variety. Although the line closed in 1982 the Meeth clayworks only closed a couple of years ago. I've heard it said that if the line had stayed open passenger traffic may have been reinstated to Bideford or even Torrington, an interesting idea for a 'what if' scenario.

 

I like the variety of freight and loco hauled passenger traffic on the Tarka line but have decided I'll move it West (to the ex GWR) to somewhere similar to Barnstaple on the North Cornwall Coast. I think that's slightly more plausible than changing the whole geology and moving the china clay east!

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Hello Tom - maybe I've mistaken the Clay Tiger's load for the gross weight - even so, a class 25 is around 77-80 tons so not much difference there?

Slightly off topic but within my pondering area - I've always been confused about the Heathfield traffic - never seen pictures of CDAs there & I thought they were only for china clay, not ball clay. I have a feeling the Bovey clay deposits are variable, so maybe china clay was loaded there as well? Or maybe the traffic was the other way, bringing in china clay from Cornwall to Heathfield as there's a big tile factory there? It would be nice if someone could confirm what went where....

T'other problem with Tigers, Polybulks, Cargowagons - they're so bloomin' LONG.....

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Clay Tigers have/had a capacity of 57 tonnes, with a tare in the region of 23 tonnes, giving a laden weight of 80 tonnes. Is it possible that the reason they didn't make it to the Torrington dries is that the fleet was initially exclusively for the use of ECC, and that the North Devon dries belonged to someone else?

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Hi Rich. I've never seen pics of CDAs at Heathfield but have seen trains of CDAs in Devon from Heathfield to Fowey. Not sure about the geology whether it was china or ball clay.

One idea I've had (and feel free to borrow, I'll never get round to it) is Torrington on the mid 80s. Passengers terminate here with DMU or occassionally a 31/33 with a few coaches from further afield. Freight would be fertilizer (and milk depending on period) loaded there, you could always add some timber. Clay traffic in a variety of wagons continues to the works but maybe because of shunting/gradients etc trains are split at Torrington. Something to think about.

 

Mind you I've got far too many ideas. Latest is Bodmin in the 80s with passengers continuing to Wadebridge or even Padstow and clay to Wenford

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A bit earlier, around 1975, I saw about 20(!) TRESTROLs in Barnstaple yard (steel for Appledore shipyard), which shows that some country branchlines could see some interesting special traffic wagons.

 

Bill

That must have been almost the entire fleet! Didn't Appledore have a big contract to build minesweepers around that time?

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These websites have given some useful info

Cyberheritage (Steve Johnson) Really Good Trains (Andrew Bartlett) - I'm also hoping Ken Baker's Fotopic site might be resurrected at some stage dry.gif

Some images of Barnstaple yard on the Cyberheritage site have really got my interest though - Grainflow Polybulks plus what seems to be a ferry van. Another Polybulk - nice short train. And some OCAs possibly loaded with big fertilizer bags (but why wouldn't this have been dropped off at Lapford?)

 

The ferry van in the polybulk photograph is Belgian - see http://paulbartlett.zenfolio.com/belgian4whvan The one with the frame door.

The Ciba geigy tanks are interesting, I had not realised they worked over to Barnstaple http://paulbartlett.zenfolio.com/p353481470 (the only time I went near the area in the 1970s I saw one clayhood at Barnstaple and couldn't be bothered to try and photograph it)

The XXAs are nice, not something I ever saw in Exeter Riverside on my occasional visits.

 

Regards

Paul Bartlett

Those OCAs are loaded with big bag fertiliser. It looks as if the Fertiliser traffic was worked to the end of the line and then worked back to Lapford - but a look at some maps suggests that doesn't work.

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T'other problem with Tigers, Polybulks, Cargowagons - they're so bloomin' LONG.....

 

The other side of that is you need less of them to carry the same traffic - one or two in speedlink days would work. (Clay) polybulks are a fair bit shorter size-wise than Tigers if it gets to be a problem...

 

Is it possible that the reason they didn't make it to the Torrington dries is that the fleet was initially exclusively for the use of ECC, and that the North Devon dries belonged to someone else?

 

That's an interesting theory - it's noticeable it did cease at the time they were actively discontinuing the vacuum braked wagonload fleet, so maybe somebody from BR's marketing dept suggested they'd like to buy their own fleet of shiny new wagons and was told where he could shunt em? :P

 

One of the tigers (TRL11600) apparently was leased to a different clay company (although it still said ECC on it!) for service from Carbis Wharf, so there is a precedent for one to be used elsewhere even if it isn't ECC.

 

Those OCAs are loaded with big bag fertiliser. It looks as if the Fertiliser traffic was worked to the end of the line and then worked back to Lapford - but a look at some maps suggests that doesn't work.

 

I *think* you could only serve Lapford headed towards Barnstaple, so that would imply there was fertiliser traffic to Barnstaple as well....or maybe something went wrong that day!

 

Another thought for potential traffic for the Barnstaple end of thinks at that kind of time - roadstone for building the North Devon Link road (opened 1988)

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