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ALCAN traffic from Fort William


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As a Group we are modelling the highlands of Scotland - with considerable licence in that for example Fort William is rather closer to Glasgow than it should be! Nonetheless we are interested in what wagons Alcan used for their Aluminium production in the 60s & 70s. We've found one photo on w4 FORT WILLIAM to MALLAIG

Ernies Scottish Railway Archive @ fotopic.net but are unsure of the date but looks a bit modern. And as a matter of interest what do they use today? We are assuming we will have to modify a RTR model and if anyone has any suggestions on which to base it on we'd be most grateful.

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I actually live on a line which carries mainly Alcan traffic to/from their Lynemouth plant. Nowadays the traffic seems to be mainly PCA wagons, but I remember back in the early 90s there was a mix of PCA and what looked like TTAs but were probably some variation with a different TOPS code (I was quite young at the time), along with trains of bolster wagons although these seem to have largely disappeared now - or pass when I'm not at home. Not sure if these bear any relation to the Fort William traffic but hope it helps.

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As a Group we are modelling the highlands of Scotland - with considerable licence in that for example Fort William is rather closer to Glasgow than it should be! Nonetheless we are interested in what wagons Alcan used for their Aluminium production in the 60s & 70s. We've found one photo on w4 FORT WILLIAM to MALLAIG

Ernies Scottish Railway Archive @ fotopic.net but are unsure of the date but looks a bit modern. And as a matter of interest what do they use today? We are assuming we will have to modify a RTR model and if anyone has any suggestions on which to base it on we'd be most grateful.

Incoming alumina was carried in Presflos and Prestwins- the former now modelled by Bachmann, the latter in a kit by Dapol. There were also some purpose-built ex-LNER Alumina hoppers, which I think used to be available as a kit from Slaters.

Outgoing slab was loaded in 'Tube' wagons, available from Parkside as kits- one destination for these was Hafod goods depot in Swansea.

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As a Group we are modelling the highlands of Scotland - with considerable licence in that for example Fort William is rather closer to Glasgow than it should be! Nonetheless we are interested in what wagons Alcan used for their Aluminium production in the 60s & 70s. We've found one photo on w4 FORT WILLIAM to MALLAIG

Ernies Scottish Railway Archive @ fotopic.net but are unsure of the date but looks a bit modern. And as a matter of interest what do they use today? We are assuming we will have to modify a RTR model and if anyone has any suggestions on which to base it on we'd be most grateful.

Hi,

 

If you mean the wagon photo I think you do:-

 

http://rniescottishailwayrchive.fotopic.net/p32692881.html

 

and as featured in this rake:-

 

http://rniescottishailwayrchive.fotopic.net/p32692883.html

 

It's a PAB.

 

Most ofthe photos in this collection from Ernie appear to be from the early to mid 80's. I'm saying that based on the rolling stock, some of the buildings and personal vistations!

 

For instance - in that 2nd shot some of the sheds had changed by 1985/6 having been replaced by more permanent structures.

 

Some more useful photos on Huw Millington's site:-

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hmillington/sets/72157603195747980/

 

Martn Read's Fotopic site:-

 

http://ukrailrollingstock.fotopic.net/c148784.html

 

An article on modelling them appeared in Railway Modeller March 1993 p126 - p127

 

Please note!

 

These are not easy wagons to model...

 

Across the years I've had 3 goes and given up each time.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Thanks

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Alcan currently use PCA's, of both straight barrel and v tanks, the v tanks don't work the Fort William traffic, just the straight ones for some reason, here's a pic of a refurbished one at Mossend a few years ago.

post-291-12656472459862_thumb.jpg

 

The above wagons have gone through a rebrand recently with the "Rio Tinto Alcan" logo replacing the old Alcan logo.

 

Theres a pic on railscot of Ballachulish yard in 1960 with traffic in the yard for British Aluminum at Kinlochleven

http://www.railbrit.co.uk/imageenlarge/imagecomplete2.php?id=23922

 

Cheers

 

Craig

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http://rniescottishailwayrchive.fotopic.net/p32692883.html

 

It's a PAB.

 

Most ofthe photos in this collection from Ernie appear to be from the early to mid 80's. I'm saying that based on the rolling stock, some of the buildings and personal vistations!

 

For instance - in that 2nd shot some of the sheds had changed by 1985/6 having been replaced by more permanent structures.

 

 

 

 

Most of my photos in these collections are from 1981 to 1986, unfortunately I have lost my original note books so dates are a problem.

 

ERNIE

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i have scoured the internet and literature in the past about this subject for my layout based on Fort William.

For the 60/70s presflo wagons seem to have been used. i have read that prestwins were also used but i have seen no photographs.

Many of the pictures of freight on West Highland show CovHop wagons as well. and one early steam era shows sloping sided wooden ex-LNER hoppers.

I will drag out the references for the photographs if anyone is interested.

Just to note the Locaber smelter was owned by the British Alumina Company until 1982. In terms of branding on the wagons i believe some presflo were labelled "Presflo Alumina" (again will hunt out the reference)

 

Toby

 

 

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My own research suggests that most of the alumina to Fort William went in Covhops, at first in the LNER fleet of modified wooden bodied wagons and their purpose built fleet, CZO on TOPS, and then in BR Covhops with some of the LNER steel covhops still in traffic working with them. After the Ballachulish branch closed alumina for the Kinlochleven smelter was railed to FW and roaded from there and, as this needed to be transferred into road vehicles, was still carried in the Presflos that had worked to Ballachulish. Initially the alumina came from Burntisland, later Invergordon and later still North Blyth.

 

The unfitted Alcan PAO wagons mentioned somewhere in this thread did not serve FW.

 

Craig - thanks for the pic at Ballachulish - great find.

 

Hope of some use.

 

David R

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I just checked the photo of the Tube carrying aluminium slab, described in Grant and Taylor's second book as being for traffic from Invergordon. The normal sides, with small central door, have been replaced by 2-piece drop sides, whilst the floor has a number of substantial wooden bolsters with steel stanchions to prevent sideward movement. The wood is quite a bit chunkier than the normal battens used in these wagons.

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And as a matter of interest what do they use today?

 

As per Craig's pic/comments, the modern traffic uses straight barrel PCA's - there are also "Vee" tanks used only to Lynemouth - in model terms the Vee tanks are available RTR from Hornby so if you wanted a stand-in they might be do-able?

 

Pics of both styles including some detail pics are at the following link, from a nice couple of hours at North Blyth a couple of years back - vee tanks are the ALCN112xx series, the straight barrel ones running to FW are the BAHS555xx series ones on the bottom of that page and onto the following one - there are a couple of late 80s pics from Gavin Judd in the collection as well which I believe were in the same train as the PAB shots linked to earlier, implying there was a crossover between the types not a quick switchover? :

http://ukrailrollingstock.fotopic.net/c1262887_121.html

 

Going off at a tangent for a mo, if anyone has decent pics of the "Rio Tinto" rebranded ones, either/both styles, i'm interested in them for the website, i'm unlikely to get that far north for a bit. Ta!

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I had a look at scratch building the Metalair BAHSxxxxx PCA back in October. Just for something different to do. Couldn't figure out what a decent underframe donor would be as this is obviously a different u/f to the standard PCA's. And unless I'm mistaken the article on the PAB's that Phil mentioned is in the files section of the scottish modellers yahoo groups.

 

Rgds

Mark

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I had a look at scratch building the Metalair BAHSxxxxx PCA back in October. Just for something different to do. Couldn't figure out what a decent underframe donor would be as this is obviously a different u/f to the standard PCA's.

 

Stretched Bachy TTA maybe?? Not the same by any means but it would get you a straight tank with leaf spring suspension!

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Stretched Bachy TTA maybe?? Not the same by any means but it would get you a straight tank with leaf spring suspension!

 

Cheers Martyn that sounds like a good starting point, with a straight barrel and TPM walkways and ladders,

 

Found this one in the last page of the PCA section, http://ukrailrollingstock.fotopic.net/p45866005.html BAHS55553 this gives a lot of useful info.

These are the ones I regularly see when I'm out walking using Rannoch station as a base, but somehow they are never in the loop when I'm waiting to go north

 

Rgds

Mark

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Posted (edited)

Resurrecting this ancient thread, I am attempting to create a reference source for the former grain wagons used in the mid 1980's to transport bulk alumina from Blyth to Fort William. My interest is limited to the former grain and lime wagons which were replaced in 1987 by purpose built PCA's. 

 

The first year that the former grain hoppers ran on the WHL as a separate train in their own right was 1984; how did the alumina get to Fort William before this? In all of the 1980's pictures I have seen pre-dating 1984 there are no hoppers in the Glasgow to Fort William/Corpach freights. 

 

I am in the process of updating my 30 year old resprayed and re-wheeled Lima grain wagons which I believe are PAB's to Bachmann's 33-133 grain wagon which is, I believe, a PAV. Other differences between the 2 wagons are modest, the main visual difference being the Lima PAB's have 5 bodyside ribs and the Bachmann PAV have 8 ribs. My research indicates that there were 4 lots of PA wagons built where it appears the last lot had their ribs reduced to 5. 

 

I am also interested by the make up of the consist seen below in 1984. The first 6 wagons look like PAV's but the next 3 are clearly not. What are these? does anyone make a model of one?    

 

EMPTY ALCANS

 

Edited by young37215
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I believe various types of wagon were used; Presflos, Prestwins and Covhops certainly, and the LNER Alumina covhops. BR 'Grain' vans may also have been used. 

Regarding the trio of round hoppers, I had a trawl through 'Private Owner Wagons in Colour' by David Ratcliffe. On Page 27 is a photo of a covered hopper, number series PR 8000-49, built to carry lime to Scunthorpe. A note says that, when these wagons were made redundant from lime traffic, twenty-five were given new loading hatches and allocated to alumina traffic, initially from Burntisland, then from Blyth, to Fort William. TOPS code was PAB, indicating air-brakes and through vac-pipe.

There is no model available, I'm afraid.

 

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Interesting, upon looking further it seems as if prior to the dedicated alumina service starting in 1984, alumina traffic was mixed in with other consists as evidenced by the 1983 pictures below which show a mix of alumina and other wagons. 

 

Fort William - Mossend freight

 

 

37192 Fort William

 

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5 hours ago, Fat Controller said:

 

Regarding the trio of round hoppers, I had a trawl through 'Private Owner Wagons in Colour' by David Ratcliffe. On Page 27 is a photo of a covered hopper, number series PR 8000-49, built to carry lime to Scunthorpe. A note says that, when these wagons were made redundant from lime traffic, twenty-five were given new loading hatches and allocated to alumina traffic, initially from Burntisland, then from Blyth, to Fort William. TOPS code was PAB, indicating air-brakes and through vac-pipe.

There is no model available, I'm afraid.

 

https://PaulBartlett.zenfolio.com/prpaa

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8 hours ago, young37215 said:

Resurrecting this ancient thread, I am attempting to create a reference source for the former grain wagons used in the mid 1980's to transport bulk alumina from Blyth to Fort William. My interest is limited to the former grain wagons which were replaced in 1987 by purpose built PCA's. 

 

The first year that the former grain hoppers ran on the WHL as a separate train in their own right was 1984; how did the alumina get to Fort William before this? In all of the 1980's pictures I have seen pre-dating 1984 there are no hoppers in the Glasgow to Fort William/Corpach freights. 

 

I am in the process of updating my 30 year old resprayed and re-wheeled Lima grain wagons which I believe are PAB's to Bachmann's 33-133 grain wagon which is, I believe, a PAV. Other differences between the 2 wagons are modest, the main visual difference being the Lima PAB's have 5 bodyside ribs and the Bachmann PAV have 8 ribs. My research indicates that there were 4 lots of PA wagons built where it appears the last lot had their ribs reduced to 5. 

 

I am also interested by the make up of the consist seen below in 1984. The first 6 wagons look like PAV's but the next 3 are clearly not. What are these? does anyone make a model of one?    

 

EMPTY ALCANS

I seem to remember this pic in one my books   and it said these were oil tanks ,but they may not be .

 

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Pretty sure that there is a drawing for these (PABs) in Santona's Modelling the BR Era book, afraid that I'm on my jollies on the I.O.W so can't double check.

 

Just as a matter of interest can anyone confirm what the first two wagons are after the two 37s taken in the winter, please, wooden bodied Tubes maybe ?

 

Regards,

Ian.

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18 minutes ago, 03060 said:

Pretty sure that there is a drawing for these in Santona's Modelling the BR Era book, afraid that I'm on my jollies on the I.O.W so can't double check.

 

Just as a matter of interest can anyone confirm what the first two wagons are after the two 37s taken in the winter, please, wooden bodied Tubes maybe ?

 

Regards,

Ian.

OBAs, I believe.

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