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ALCAN traffic from Fort William


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On 08/02/2010 at 14:25, Andy LMRG said:

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.

https://www.burntisland.net/photos/Old photos/Law2 - BA factory and train 1966.htm is the only photo from the 1960s (https://scottishrtt.livejournal.com/18013.html shows some passenger workings on the West Highland Line if you were wanting some information about the line). I found a lot of post-privitsation images of Class 66s hauling Alcan PCAs on Fort William to Blyth turns (as well the photos posted in this thread).

 

Just a note, too, don't worry too much about the location - the sites (Corpach, Kinlochleven and Lochaber) were chosen in the 1890s for cheap hydroelectric power that the Highlands offered rather than access to raw materials. The climate would have also had an impact on the decision - I believe that Fort William is the wettest UK weather station - hardly surprising given its location (a mountainous area by the coast below the jet stream). Kind of surprising, though, for factories to be so footloose (not tied to raw materials) back then. I also know there's a range of hills much closer to Glasgow between Ben Lomand and the outskirts of Milngaive - the name escapes me, but its on the usual first day of the West Highland Way (I know its not the Trossachs as they're on the opposite side of Loch Lomand to Ben Lomand). 

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13 hours ago, 03060 said:

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.

Yes, You're correct, I just looked at my copy of the book. Not sure about the wagons. The next 2 are OBAs.

Edited by Alcanman
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I'm thinking that they may be OCAs with snow built up on the uprights and the 'wooden' effect that I thought that I could see isn't what I thought (afraid that I can only see them on my phone at the moment.) I'm always on the lookout for wagon types seen on the WHL.

 

Returning to Rob's original question regarding earlier types of Alumina wagon to the PAFs (?) I thought (and has already been mentioned) that BR Covhops were the immediate predecessors during the 70's with Presflos and LNER Alumina wagons before these.

 

Regards,

Ian.

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Yes a pair of OCAs with snow on the uprights, followed by a pair of OBA. 

The LNER Alumina were still around in the summer of 1977, although I failed to photograph one. Seen clearly in Inverness

Paul

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  • 2 weeks later...

Whilst looking for something else in my WHL file I've just come across an article on Alumina traffic by David Larkin (BRM Dec 2012) which records the following as having been used on the Fort William traffic.

 

In LNER days a single prototype to Dia.80 was then developed into a batch of 17t all wooden ex-coal hopper wagons fitted with a roof and circular loading hatches, Dia.83, 18 surviving into the early 1960s. These were then followed by a BR batch of 17t all steel covered hoppers to Dia.135 (E229067-90), receiving roller bearings in the 1950s to prolong their usefulness.

 

BR 24t Covhops were used to supplement traffic after the wooden bodied wagons were withdrawn and worked with the LNER all steel wagons.

 

The 22t Presflo wagons were used for Ballachulish bound traffic, this being tripped via Fort William after closure of the branch and these wagons were subsequently replaced by additional Covhops in time.

 

As the vacuum braked Covhops were withdrawn they were replaced by air braked / vacuum piped PAB wagons, hired from Procor and numbered in the PR8000-49 range which he thinks lasted until at least Oct 1988 ....strangely there is no mention of the ex-grain PAF wagons which appear in many photos taken on the WHL in the mid to late 1980s ??

 

These then being replaced by the current Metalair built wagons numbered BAHS55531-573 which have seen both Alcan and Rio-Tinto ownership and liveries.

 

Regards,

Ian.

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In conjunction with my last post I've also found this earlier thread which has drawings for the two LNER wagon types included.

 

Regards,

Ian.

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17 hours ago, 03060 said:

As the vacuum braked Covhops were withdrawn they were replaced by air braked / vacuum piped PAB wagons, hired from Procor and numbered in the PR8000-49 range which he thinks lasted until at least Oct 1988 ....strangely there is no mention of the ex-grain PAF wagons which appear in many photos taken on the WHL in the mid to late 1980s ??

 

 

Paul Bartlett's website states that the grain wagons were built in the 1960's in 4 lots with vacum brakes and UIC suspension. Under TOPS they were allocated the PAV coding which became PAF in the 1980's. During the 1970's many of the wagons had air brakes and pedestal suspension added becoming PAA. Some wagons retained through vacum pipe and became PAB's.

 

Most of the wagons converted to carry bulk alumina on the WHL were PAA/PAB although the odd vacum brake wagon with UIC suspension existed, Bartlett's site shows as built 7624 in aluminum livery. At a guess the arrival of the air braked Procor lime wagons would have replaced the vacum braked wagons so that consists became fully air braked.

 

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