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Westbury freight flows Speedlink era


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Some great photos (and memories) on this thread. I spent a lot of time at Westbury in the late 80s/early 90s and am now trying to recreate it in OO. I seem to remember an occasional freightliner passing through. Assume it was a diverted Southampton working. Anyone got any info or evidence from their notepad or camera?

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In the Freight Only Volume 2 book, published in 1988 by Michael Rhodes & Paul Shannon, it states that Speedlink feeder services from Didcot (Speedlink Coal), Exeter, Eastleigh, Southampton, Gloucester & East Usk serve Westbury, plus trunk service 6E01 to London.

Local trip workings to  terminal in Frome, Radstock, Warminster & Melksham.

Incoming Speedlink traffic includes UKF fertiliser, Norsk Hydro Fertilizer, Bitumen, Cement, Coal (both domestic and to Cement works).

In the book "Speedlink" by Paul Shannon, it says that Speedlink in the Westbury area was withdrawn in 1989.

 

Hope that helps and might aid searching for photos.

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1 hour ago, Clink junction said:

Some great photos (and memories) on this thread. I spent a lot of time at Westbury in the late 80s/early 90s and am now trying to recreate it in OO. I seem to remember an occasional freightliner passing through. Assume it was a diverted Southampton working. Anyone got any info or evidence from their notepad or camera?

I don't remember seeing Freightliner trains through Westbury when I worked there, but would agree there might have been some trains from Southampton diverted that way at times due to engineering work,

 

cheers

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Thanks Stu. Got both those books, but have to admit I’m guilty of just reading the captions under the photos and haven’t read them cover to cover.

Thanks rivercider. I was a young spotty teen so my memory might be wrong, but got a clear memory of it going round the back of platform 1 then holding for a while before taking the bank towards Warminster. Have searched the internet and Flickr, only photos I can find of freightliners through Westbury are more modern 66s and green freightliner 47s but nothing from this era (guess it would have been a blue or rail freight distribution 47). Will have to use a dose of rule 1! Plenty of pictures of freightliners around Oxford in the 80s/90s to get the right container liverys for what ‘probably’ happened.

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On 08/01/2014 at 12:41, The Stationmaster said:

 

The Frome and Cranmore traffic originated at Thamesside/Ripple Lane and was tripped forward from Westbury with a drop at Frome enroute to Witham whence the Cranmore traffic was worked up the branch.  The reason for working forward from Witham was the need to split the train depending on whatever loco was used as both the Class 25s and Class 31s that got involved after the Hymeks had gone were relatively gutless machines which couldn't manage more than a (small) handful of tanks on the gradient up from Merehead Quarry Jcn,  Things worked far better when a Type 4 diesel was used although some of the curvature at Cranmore was rather unsuited to a Class45/46 and in any case it was an awkward place to shunt with tendency for tank cars to get derailed or even - on one occasion - finish up so far from the route one had supposed to take through the pointwork as to make it impossible to work out how it had got there.

Class 37's were also used, There is a picture of one at Cranmore in "The 37s" Rail Portfolio series of books

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Frome bitumen was nearly always a 37 in late 80s and early 90s from my memory. Photos stolen from Flickr below to prove my memory right on this occasion. Credits to Nic Joynson and Stephen Stubbs for these.

94099ACF-2466-431E-A22D-F6216F34B862.png

732C52BC-AB49-4D1D-9D8D-1D6B245987FE.png

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27 minutes ago, Clink junction said:

Thanks Stu. Got both those books, but have to admit I’m guilty of just reading the captions under the photos and haven’t read them cover to cover.

Thanks rivercider. I was a young spotty teen so my memory might be wrong, but got a clear memory of it going round the back of platform 1 then holding for a while before taking the bank towards Warminster. Have searched the internet and Flickr, only photos I can find of freightliners through Westbury are more modern 66s and green freightliner 47s but nothing from this era (guess it would have been a blue or rail freight distribution 47). Will have to use a dose of rule 1! Plenty of pictures of freightliners around Oxford in the 80s/90s to get the right container liverys for what ‘probably’ happened.

The train you saw was on the down reception line then. I had a quick look on Flickr, but the search term 'Freightliner' of course now includes all the modern workings, and nothing I can see from back then. I have a freight train loads book from 1987 but no obvious workings via Westbury.

I think that most of the Freightliner diversions due to planned engineering works would be evening/night workings which would explain the lack of photos.

 

cheers

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That makes sense. Dad used to take me to Westbury after work (lived in Frome) or at weekends. It was daylight so probably weekend engineering work. Also remember pairs of railfreight 37s (st blazey?) on speedlink about 8/9 at night. Again can’t find photos as it was dark but remember vans (vda/vca?), China clay in tigers/PAAs, plus TAAs and HEAs, pretty sure there were carticks sometimes too but may be wrong. No idea what the working was. Again any detail/evidence would be much appreciated.

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On 08/01/2014 at 10:04, Fat Controller said:

There were bitumen terminals at both Cranmore and Frome. Cranmore was Anglo-American Asphalt (lasting until at least 1984), whilst Frome was Mobil.

Cranmore https://paulbartlett.zenfolio.com/esr

Frome    https://paulbartlett.zenfolio.com/?q=frome   

Mobil https://paulbartlett.zenfolio.com/brtmobilbitumenvb   https://paulbartlett.zenfolio.com/mobilbitumentua

 

Paul

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Thanks Paul. I made 18 of these LPG TTAs after studying photos on your website. Regulars passing through Westbury between Furzebrook and Avonmouth. Your website is brilliant for piecing together what I ‘thought’ I saw, to what I ‘actually’ saw!

AA988ED7-F76F-455E-99E5-52B964F1DA38.jpeg

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46 minutes ago, Clink junction said:

Thanks Paul. I made 18 of these LPG TTAs after studying photos on your website. Regulars passing through Westbury between Furzebrook and Avonmouth. Your website is brilliant for piecing together what I ‘thought’ I saw, to what I ‘actually’ saw!

AA988ED7-F76F-455E-99E5-52B964F1DA38.jpeg

I like that.

I worked in an office in the ground floor of that building in 1991/92. The top floor housed Westbury TOPS and the yard supervisor at that time. I think the building was the former coal office?

 

cheers 

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Really Rivercider? You might have a gem of info i’m after.... Don’t suppose you can remember the interior? Was it open plan or divided into offices? I want to put some lights in it but means making an interior.

BD592567-5FFC-4CEF-B00B-B09EA6AAA53A.png

Edited by Clink junction
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2 hours ago, Clink junction said:

Really Rivercider? You might have a gem of info i’m after.... Don’t suppose you can remember the interior? Was it open plan or divided into offices? I want to put some lights in it but means making an interior.

BD592567-5FFC-4CEF-B00B-B09EA6AAA53A.png

When I worked a Westbury it was just after the introduction of Trainload Freight. Westbury was a Trainload Construction depot. I would say 2, or perhaps 3 rooms upstairs, with at least 3 rooms downstairs. 

In late 1991 my office was downstairs at the left hand end as you show it here, it was newly decorated and carpeted. The two yellow doors opened into our office, but were very seldom used. I think they were rarely ever opened by then, perhaps only in hot weather to let air in, we had an internal door into our room, turn left off the downstairs lobby. There were probably two other rooms downstairs, there was an outside door halfway along the far side of the building I believe. I think the shunters or carriage and wagon examiner used one of the rooms. Our office (there were 3 of us in there) was decorated the same as the White House building next to the station. The walls were painted in a flecked pale grey paint, I can't remember the carpet, but it might have been grey also, but quite 'modern'.

Upstairs was divided into 2 or 3 rooms. I think was a large room at the right hand end for the TOPS Office, taking up perhaps 2 thirds of the first floor, and there was a kitchen/mess room for them at the left hand end (the two small windows ?). I am not sure if the yard supervisor had a desk in the corner of the main TOPS room, or had a separate room of his own. There must have been a toilet upstairs also, and perhaps one downstairs, though I never used it. 

 

cheers

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On 05/03/2021 at 12:00, Rivercider said:

I don't remember seeing Freightliner trains through Westbury when I worked there, but would agree there might have been some trains from Southampton diverted that way at times due to engineering work,

 

cheers

It was an official diversionary route for Freightliner trains out of Southampton at one time but I don't think it was by any means the preferred and I've an idea that the bigger (higher) boxes weren't permitted.  It was basically overtaken by the reinstatement of  Laverstock chord at Salsbury which allowed trains to get round towards Basingstoke and the diversionary route beyond Reading is via Acton Wells to reach the WCML. (something which Crossrail didn't seem to be too happy with ;) ).

 

18 hours ago, Rivercider said:

I like that.

I worked in an office in the ground floor of that building in 1991/92. The top floor housed Westbury TOPS and the yard supervisor at that time. I think the building was the former coal office?

 

cheers 

The building was definitely a coal merchant's office although i can't remember their name.

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First post on RM Web for many months.

 

I was browsing thorough and saw this thread and  post a poor quality photo (by Kodak Instamatic if I remember) I took at Westbury in spring 1983 on one of my occasional trips up from Weymouth whilst on holiday.

 

Hope it gives some impression of the traffic around them. Somewhere I also have a picture of Westbury North Signal Box and signalling at that end of the station.

 

All that wagonload freight - where did it all go?. Such is progress.  

westburyApril83.jpg

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14 hours ago, Metro457 said:

First post on RM Web for many months.

 

I was browsing thorough and saw this thread and  post a poor quality photo (by Kodak Instamatic if I remember) I took at Westbury in spring 1983 on one of my occasional trips up from Weymouth whilst on holiday.

 

Hope it gives some impression of the traffic around them. Somewhere I also have a picture of Westbury North Signal Box and signalling at that end of the station.

 

All that wagonload freight - where did it all go?. Such is progress.  

westburyApril83.jpg

Where did it all go ?

When BR shut speed link , I think the reasoning was , not a single flow made money !

Issue of marshalling yards , trip  workings and three manned trains ...

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3 hours ago, rob D2 said:

Where did it all go ?

When BR shut speed link , I think the reasoning was , not a single flow made money !

Issue of marshalling yards , trip  workings and three manned trains ...

Not exactly.  The Treasury altered the rate of return it required on BR investment which led to a lot of freight business being shed and which in fact added  various oil sector flows to the Speedlink network.  But in any case Speedlink was losing money due to the fairly significant operating costs you identified and extra traffic didn't help so it was decided to close the network.  However a number of traffic flows were retained by various means such as the Tiger Rail train out of the West of England.

 

The Speedlink closure consultation meeting on the Western was held at Newport and was generally not too bad a thing for such a significant closure although we did get some rather odd questions from the staff side of which the weirdest was 'What about the Newlyn trawler fuel?'  I then had to leave the meeting to make enquiries as I had never heard of such a traffic and the chap I spoke to in the petroleum sector couldn't remember it either - in fact it had ceased years earlier and had never passed on Speedlink services :scratchhead:  We had a daft question about shunting Taunton Cider which I could explain as I knew the site pretty well (I think the people who asked the question knew that as I'd been their boss 11 years earlier) so I gave a detailed answer which brought the house down fo r some reason, especially after the staff side Chairman said - 'well Mike's answered it, now get out of that'.  Overall a sad day but not the saddest or worst of consultation meetings I was ever involved with.

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On 07/03/2021 at 08:02, rob D2 said:

Where did it all go ?

When BR shut speed link , I think the reasoning was , not a single flow made money !

Issue of marshalling yards , trip  workings and three manned trains ...

A few years later I did some project work for one of the former Speedlink managers,

and when talking about the demise of Speedlink he observed that BR had managed

to get rid of most of the traffic, but not most of the costs.

 

cheers

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On 07/03/2021 at 08:02, rob D2 said:

Where did it all go ?

When BR shut speed link , I think the reasoning was , not a single flow made money !

Issue of marshalling yards , trip  workings and three manned trains ...

In an effort to attribute and control costs some of the traffic was split off onto what became the Speedlink Coal Network, which to my mind simply seemed to split traffic into two, and then run duplicate trains over some routes. The initial proposals showed a SX service to depots, some on the South Coast only received 5-10 wagons per week!

 

cheers

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On 05/03/2021 at 13:04, Clink junction said:

That makes sense. Dad used to take me to Westbury after work (lived in Frome) or at weekends. It was daylight so probably weekend engineering work. Also remember pairs of railfreight 37s (st blazey?) on speedlink about 8/9 at night. Again can’t find photos as it was dark but remember vans (vda/vca?), China clay in tigers/PAAs, plus TAAs and HEAs, pretty sure there were carticks sometimes too but may be wrong. No idea what the working was. Again any detail/evidence would be much appreciated.

Found a couple photos on Flickr, looks like there were regular speedlink trains from Devon and Cornwall hauled by pairs of 37s. Anyone got any more photos or consist/destination details? 

D05364DB-0680-4273-BA7A-483BB9C19B76.jpeg

52859AE0-5EC5-4FCD-8B48-D5D388F4F6C2.jpeg

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