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Cardiff Clarence Road station

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I've sent DM a message about this  through the GOG website as he is our Area rep.

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Only just discovered this topic, but I was sort of bound to eventually.  Clarence Road was the terminus of the GW's Riverside Branch, and interesting apart from for all of the above good reasons for never being worked for passenger traffic by it's owner until the grouping; all the pre 1923 passenger trains were Taff Vale or Barry Railway workings.  Also, there cannot be many termini where there is no water for locomotives.  It makes a very good model, especially if you have the length to include at least the end of the goods loop and the connection to the Canal Railway, which would mean that you could also include the access to Curran's.

 

Curran's employed over 6,000 during WW2 and Renold Chain (who made high spec industrial clutches and who employed me for a few months until they realised their mistake) and the other factories down there accounted for another 4,000.  By the time I was familiar with the area it was in decline, but still busy.  

 

The canal was still in use until 1951, when a sand dredger called the Catherine Ethel failed to avoid hitting the sea lock, destroying it and emptying both the lock and the 'sea pound' that stretched up to the Canal Wharf Bridge carrying the SWML.  It was left derelict until a 'linear park' was created by filling it in between the Butetown estate and Dumball's road.  Dumball's Road preserves the line of the branch's trackbed, and a few of the original buildings are still there, but unrecognisable as they have been 'clad' in various sheet materials to make them look more modern.

 

Loco biodiversity in the 50s was considerable; all the usual South Wales suspects (except the 8-coupled tanks) including, as we've seen, BR 3MT tanks.  82044 was the last of these and had the number painted below the cab windows 2MT standard tank style, not on the bunker like the rest of the class.  64xx, almost always 6438 as in the photo, worked the St Fagan's Pullman from Pontypridd via St Fagan's, and this Abercynon turn, 'Auto JB' filled in with trips to Penarth.  Barry 4575s worked auto services from Cadoxton via Penarth, with the loco at the buffers end.  Barry 56xx, 5101, TVR A, and the BR 3MTs worked a service to Llantwit Major with a peak period return from Bridgend via Vale of Glamorgan line.  Freight would be in the hands of 57xx, 8750, or 94xx.  DMU's replaced the loco hauled passenger trains from 1958, but the autos had a few years left.  

 

The branch was closed to passenger traffic in 1964, having had the buildings replaced in 1962 as part of a general 'improvements' program in the area; Penarth and Cadoxton were done at the same time.  Goods trips continued until 1969, with 08s and a brief interregnum of D95xx as Brian says.  The branch was used during this period and up to about 1972 IIRC to store 'Rugex' stock from 'down line' on rubgy international days.  Both roads were used, and the first train down each road would have the loco of the next coupled to it for return journey; Radyr Quarry reception roads coped with the 'up line' trains in the same way.

 

Freight would be a trip each morning and afternoon in the lulls between the passenger traffic, which was pretty much confined to rush hours and lunch time except for JB's Penarth visits.  The trip ran into the down loop, and exchanged traffic for the Canal Railway as well as servicing Curran's sidings, for which it had to cross to the up side.  Passenger traffic was intense during peak times, and turnarounds, even for loco hauled trains, were very fast; there was little time for anything and none for water even if it had been provided.  

 

An operator trying to run the timetable on a layout of it would have plenty to do to keep up in real time, and appreciate the slack periods when he could play around with goods stock at his leisure.  

 

Locos are all easily obtained RTR, and beyond the lack of a decent GW 5 plank open I can't think of any problems sourcing freight stock.  But passenger stock is another matter, only the A28/30 hybrid and A38 auto trailers are suitable from RTR sources.  Comet kits for A44 trailer and some of the Collett suburban compartment stock are available, but the recent Hornby Collett suburbans are not really suitable for South Wales' 5 coach rakes...

 

The run around loop suffered fire damage from an incendiary dropped out of a passing Heinkel 111 during the period when the Germans were pursuing an aggressively expansive foreign policy, and was replaced with concrete block 'sleepers' and tie bars to hold it to gauge.  In the post war period a collection of 'houseboat's appeared on the canal, old ship's lifeboats converted into (rather basic) living accommodation with battens and plywood sheeting at a time when the bombings had left a housing shortage and single blokes were low on council housing lists.  These were almost always black as a result of being painted all over in tar or creosote to weatherproof them.  This came to an end with the sudden drainage of the sea pound in 1951.  The Catherine Ethel's skipper was a friend of my father's by the name of Atcher Smith, and never lived the event down; he was a lifelong and committed teetotaller despite some of the claims made at the time of the accident!

 

 

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May I clarify Johnster's comments on the autos.  The Barry turns were BA and BG and were among the first to be dieselised in 1958.  Until the economy cuts of 30th June 1958 BA included a working at 9.30 am from Cadoxton to Creigiau which formed the 9.55 am Creigiau to Clarence Road.   This had the effect of turning the set round by traversing three sides of a triangle so that the loco which started off at the Barry end ended up at the Cardiff end and vice versa.  Accordingly BA was a two day working with the loco at the Barry end and Cardiff end on alternate days.  In addition I think you will find that some loco hauled workings continued until 1961.

 

Chris

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As the Johnston says about Renold Chains, which is where my Dad worked from 1948-1980. I used to go transpotting on the then Cardiff General and meet him after work and get a lift home (in school holidays of course). There was so much industry then, but Riverside platforms were then just for parcels (c1969-72). I lived overlooking Pontypridd station, which had  load of different passenger workings in the 1960s, and kept most of its 7 platforms busy, as well as a continuous stream of coal trains, and the occasional parcel and engineer's trains.

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The Riverside platforms, 8 and 9 at the General, went out of regular passenger use when the branch closed in '65 but were used for Rugex for a good while afterwards.  They were still being used for parcels traffic until they were demolished along with the old parcels depot in more recent times the late 90s IIRC, but the 'Riverside' entrance to the station is still there at the end of the subway.  Past the plywood partition wall that blocked it off after closure, the subway branched into two stairwells that accessed 8 and 9, an island platform curving away towards the branch, and this whole area was stuck in a 1965 time warp right to the end, with WR brown sans serif signage and Blue Pullman adverts.  The ceramic GWR signs in the subway, overlaid by corporate identity until the station was refurbished, survived in this Riverside end of the subway out of public view.

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At the 1985 Cardiff Canton open day they were running a shuttle service from Riverside platforms in to the shed using the new Class 150 sprinter.

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Which, IIRC, squealed like a li’l piggy, boy, on the check rails.  A ‘Valleys Sprinter’ ticket was offered which gave full coverage of the Valley Lines to familiarise the locals with the wonderful new trains.  They’ve done well; 34 years in service and only the 116s have lasted longer in the Valleys. These were well past their ‘best by’ on withdrawal, but the 152s can still cut the mustard.  

 

Don’t get me started on 142/3, ridiculous little toy trains...

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2 hours ago, The Johnster said:

 

 

Don’t get me started on 142/3, ridiculous little toy trains...

Spoken like a true enthusiast, not like a commuter.

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Most of whom don't know a 150/2 from a 153, from a 142 from a 143.

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All they know, is it's a train.

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All they want......is a train, to turn up on time and get them where they want to go, on time and in a clean environment.......and hopefully with the added luxury of a seat.

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Did you know that in a (not recent) survey, ATW punters told the company they liked (what turned out to be Pacers) the trains where the seats lined up with the windows, the windows they could see out of !

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The only time the Valleys punter hears about Pacers is when he/she reads another dose of poorly researchec journalistic 'pap' on WalesOnline or in The Echo.

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Our views, are in reality, an irrelevance, it's the views of the commuters and season ticket holders who pay for the 'privilige' to travel on Pacers that count.

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Roll on the New Year !

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On 24/05/2019 at 17:27, chrisf said:

May I clarify Johnster's comments on the autos.  The Barry turns were BA and BG and were among the first to be dieselised in 1958.  Until the economy cuts of 30th June 1958 BA included a working at 9.30 am from Cadoxton to Creigiau which formed the 9.55 am Creigiau to Clarence Road.   This had the effect of turning the set round by traversing three sides of a triangle so that the loco which started off at the Barry end ended up at the Cardiff end and vice versa.  Accordingly BA was a two day working with the loco at the Barry end and Cardiff end on alternate days.  In addition I think you will find that some loco hauled workings continued until 1961.

 

Chris

One presumes that the passengers who were doing the full journey would have had to have been asked to detrain whilst the train was crossed from up to down lines as the trailing crossover was not protected with facing point locks, and I doubt whether the signalman would want to get out of his warm box to clamp the respective switch rails. Unofficially I suspect they all stayed on the train.

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21 minutes ago, br2975 said:

All they want......is a train, to turn up on time and get them where they want to go, on time and in a clean environment.......and hopefully with the added luxury of a seat.

.

Did you know that in a (not recent) survey, ATW punters told the company they liked (what turned out to be Pacers) the trains where the seats lined up with the windows, the windows they could see out of !

.

The only time the Valleys punter hears about Pacers is when he/she reads another dose of poorly researchec journalistic 'pap' on WalesOnline or in The Echo..

 

It's one of the reasons I prefer Pacers to Sprinters - you can see out of them properly. (Even worse when the 150/1s had all facing seats with the window pillars just where you wanted to look out).

 

Believe me, if the alternative is a 153, Pacers seem quite attractive to passengers.

 

Unlike in the North of England, Pacers don't seem to have been used particularly as a political football in South Wales.

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I agree about the windows, and if you're on a peak service to or from anywhere within a 10 mile radius you'd be unaware of how good or bad the seats are because you've never sat in one, but the ride of 142/3 compared to 152s or any bogie stock, even 153s, is appalling and there is little leg room.  I'll agree they've served the Valleys well enough in their way, but even when they were new they were thought of as a stop gap.  There is an awareness in South Wales that we have to put up with trains that would never have been acceptable in London or the South East, but this may be more of a political issue in the Grim Up North.  The new franchise had to promise new trains before getting the job...

 

The original 'Pacers', before they were even given the name as running mates for Sprinters, were first used in the North of England, the Leeds area IIRC, and have been plying their uncomfortable trade there ever since; maybe this explains their political significance up there.  153s are main line stock not really designed for high density suburban work, so get rammed very quickly and are a pain to get out of when they are crowded when they are used on the likes of the Coryton shuttle.  A 'Pacer', with wide vestibules and less length of narrow aisle between the seats, has an advantage here!  I worked a Gloucester 119 on the Coryton one day back in the 70s; it was not liked on the crowded peak train into town, but loved on the less heavily populated runs up to Coryton!

 

When I were a lad, and you could have a night on the town for a ha'penny, tell kids terday that they don't berlieve yer, don't know they're born some of 'em, a seat on a train was always next to a window.  The last stock built to this specification was the mk2s, and mk3s came on the scene with the same bodyshell shared between first and second class but the seating bays only aligned to the windows in first.  I sort of get why this happened, but regard it as a retrograde step.  I don't like seats all facing the same way either, although there was a time when this was thought to be cool because it emulated airline practice; the longer Inter City routes saw themselves as in competition with the airlines. What it actually emulates is bus practice and IMHO one of the main advantages of a train is that it isn't a bus.  142/3s try their best to be buses.

 

Mind, this isn't new.  Some of the early steam railmotors and auto trailers tried their best to be what they were competing with, trams, even down to the walkover seats.  For all my moaning about silly little 4 wheel toy trains, the 142/3s at least have upholstery, unlike some of the wooden slatted horrors the lower orders had to put up with a century ago....

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On 29/05/2019 at 16:37, Happy Hippo said:

One presumes that the passengers who were doing the full journey would have had to have been asked to detrain whilst the train was crossed from up to down lines as the trailing crossover was not protected with facing point locks, and I doubt whether the signalman would want to get out of his warm box to clamp the respective switch rails. Unofficially I suspect they all stayed on the train.

Passengers wouldn't have been doing the 'full journey' in that sense; it makes no sense to travel to Clarence Road from Cadoxton via Creigiau when it is quicker to get a direct train to Cardiff General.  There is an 09.30 Cadoxton-Creigiau, which terminates and detrains all passengers ('all change', doubt if there were many!).  The empty stock then crosses over to the down line via the trailing crossover to access the down platform, where it forms the 09.55 Creigiau-Clarence Road. Nobody needs to exit their warm signalbox to clamp anything, and no passengers remain on the train to be asked to detrain or stay on it unofficially, as this is an ecs shunting movement.  

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5 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Passengers wouldn't have been doing the 'full journey' in that sense; it makes no sense to travel to Clarence Road from Cadoxton via Creigiau when it is quicker to get a direct train to Cardiff General.  There is an 09.30 Cadoxton-Creigiau, which terminates and detrains all passengers ('all change', doubt if there were many!).  The empty stock then crosses over to the down line via the trailing crossover to access the down platform, where it forms the 09.55 Creigiau-Clarence Road. Nobody needs to exit their warm signalbox to clamp anything, and no passengers remain on the train to be asked to detrain or stay on it unofficially, as this is an ecs shunting movement.  

That's the theory, but what about practice?

 

  You have to remember that there have always been railway enthusiasts who seek out the most convoluted routes to travel between x and y.

 

Some time back there were pictures in a WRRC newletter accompanying an article on the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth line and this showed the train, complete with coaches on the goods only loop coupling up to the milk tankers.

 

It doesn't seen that the pax were required to de-train, so I presume the signalman either clamped the point without the FPL or they just carried on regardless

 

 

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