Jump to content

LNER Banana Van announced!!


Garethp8873
 Share

Recommended Posts

5 hours ago, BMacdermott said:

Hello everyone

 

Readers might like to be aware that Trains Illustrated June 1954 carries an article entitled Bananas Galore - which gives an outline of how banana transit was arranged at that time. There are no photos nor mention of specific vans, though

 

At that time, four to six banana boats were coming in every week - roughly one to each of Avonmouth, Garston, Liverpool, London (PLA), Preston and Southampton. The article states that the biggest of these ships required 700 vans to accommodate the cargo.

 

Brian

 

That is a LOT of bananas. Starts frying my brain when I start thinking about how many banana plants (trees?) That required and the land space for them and the amount of workers require to pick them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

With regards to banana van working D W Winkworth has a section on banana trains in Southern Special Traffic.  He gives an example of a block train from Avonmouth up the GW main line to Reading then via the Southern to Redhill where the train was broken up and individual vans were forwarded to various destinations by ordinary train.

  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Peter Paye in his book The Bishop's Stortford, Dunmow & Braintree Branch states that Geest took over the stores at Easton Lodge for a banana ripening factory which opened March 1962 and closed when freight services were withdrawn on 17th February 1972.

Edited by PaulG
  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

If people want justification for running banana vans in small numbers, when I was train spotting at Cambridge in the late 1960s we used to see 2 or 3 banana vans turn up every so often and be shunted into Pordage's fruit & vegetable warehouse on the corner of Hills Road and Brooklands Avenue (which had been the LMS goods depot).  By then they were BR standard Banana Vans though of course.

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Informative/Useful 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

On 31/01/2021 at 21:05, The Johnster said:

No, they are not quite the same as fruit vans.  Banana vans have steam heating and no ventilation, as the bendy things were cropped green and ripened aboard the ships and on the trains to be palatable at sale, whereas fruit is usually picked ripe and needs to be kept cool and unheated, but well ventilated, to stop it going overripe in transit.  Both had internal drop down shelves that boxes could be put on. 

 

One, not the only but one, of the reasons for the building of the GW's Badminton cut off was to access the then new port of Avonmouth for fast banana traffic.

 

I have no knowledge of the GER's banana traffic, but would be surprised if some of it didn't come in via London or Tilbury; Tilbury is more LT&S I know.

Didn't GWR and LMS banana vans have adjustable ventilators on the ends?

Best regards,

Martin

Link to post
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, scottishsteam said:

Does anyone know how far north these vans would have gotten - I.e. north of Hadrian’s wall?

Certainly there were banana ripening facilities in Scotland - Geest used to have one at Plains which was rail served.  My guess (it is no more than that) would be that the vans worked north in ordinary express goods trains rather than unit trains.  I'd also assume that by BR days the different types of banana van were so mixed that any type could show up.

Edited by 64F
typo
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, scottishsteam said:

Does anyone know how far north these vans would have gotten - I.e. north of Hadrian’s wall?

How could you deep fry them if there wasn't a way of getting them to Glasgow? :scratchhead:

 

Bananas were incredibly important as fruit (well before mango and kiwi were dreamt of us). Look at the fuss in war starved UK when, there was film of a ship launch (from USA IIRC) that used bananas as lubricant. They had, of course, lost their European market. As has been explained fruit finishing sheds were to be found in many smaller yards all over the country. Admittedly world production was only 21 million tons in 1961 (its 115 million around now). Each plant produces only a single hand of bananas and then dies, a new plant breaks from the root stock and a new one grows, taking 2 but usually 3 years to fruit again. Most of the commercial production in the world is a single cultivar called Cavendish (those large bananas) so a disease epidemic is spreading internationally.

 

Paul

  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

On 02/02/2021 at 10:54, scottishsteam said:

Does anyone know how far north these vans would have gotten - I.e. north of Hadrian’s wall?

 

On 02/02/2021 at 13:18, 64F said:

Certainly there were banana ripening facilities in Scotland - Geest used to have one at Plains which was rail served.  My guess (it is no more than that) would be that the vans worked north in ordinary express goods trains rather than unit trains.  I'd also assume that by BR days the different types of banana van were so mixed that any type could show up.

 

Further Googling reveals that bananas were being imported at Greenock (where there was a "banana discharge plant" at James Watt Dock until September 1964, seeing a brief final use during 1965 when Avonmouth dockers were on strike) and the rmweb topic "Banana/Fruit Traffic 40's/50's/60's" mentions Glasgow as one of the ports handling bananas, so maybe the Scottish banana traffic was more local in nature.  The Geest ripery at Plains was served by the LNER so I imagine that the GER style vans would have been used.  In addition to Geest, Fyffes had a big ripery at Garrion Bridge which opened c.1960s (not rail served, but presumably it replaced somewhere else that was).

Edited by 64F
  • Like 2
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

On 02/02/2021 at 14:27, hmrspaul said:

Bananas were incredibly important as fruit (well before mango and kiwi were dreamt of us). Look at the fuss in war starved UK when, there was film of a ship launch (from USA IIRC) that used bananas as lubricant. They had, of course, lost their European market. As has been explained fruit finishing sheds were to be found in many smaller yards all over the country. Admittedly world production was only 21 million tons in 1961 (its 115 million around now). Each plant produces only a single hand of bananas and then dies, a new plant breaks from the root stock and a new one grows, taking 2 but usually 3 years to fruit again. Most of the commercial production in the world is a single cultivar called Cavendish (those large bananas) so a disease epidemic is spreading internationally.

 

Paul

 

Fascinating stuff Paul.

We like to go to the west side of Cyprus for holidays around Coral Bay, which is quite a banana growing area. The times we have been have seen the fruit hanging down below the leaves, mostly wrapped in blue bags.   Presume they are to protect the fruit from damage. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Covkid said:

 

Fascinating stuff Paul.

We like to go to the west side of Cyprus for holidays around Coral Bay, which is quite a banana growing area. The times we have been have seen the fruit hanging down below the leaves, mostly wrapped in blue bags.   Presume they are to protect the fruit from damage. 

Yes Bananas are cutomarily bagged during growth in many countries to counter both fungal diseases and insects. 

 

Paul

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
On 10/02/2021 at 10:19, Wickham Green too said:

The Southern ones I saw in your neck of the woods ( Barry Scrapyard ) had a foot or so of concrete on the floor.

The TADPOLE I photographed in Woodhams doesn't appear to have had the tare uprated. As there is damage to two lower planks it doesn't appear to have concrete on the floor. 

https://PaulBartlett.zenfolio.com/srvan/e80cd3bd

 

Paul

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Premium
On 11/04/2021 at 22:36, D9001 said:

Okay, genuine question; were tarantulas unwelcome but common “cargo” in the banana bunches in these vans? 

 

Would they survive the voyage refrigerated? [But see later posts - what was then described as "refrigeration" was what we would call "temperature controlled"]

 

Hum... See: 

https://www.derryjournal.com/news/environment/tarantula-found-bunch-bananas-donegal-3023147

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/terrifying-4inch-tarantula-found-in-bunch-of-bananas-at-camden-hospital-a3407926.html

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2335950/Tarantula-bananas-sir-Shopper-reveals-terrifying-moment-discovered-spider-hanging-bunch-fruit-picked-supermarket.html

 

Evidently sufficiently unusual to be newsworthy?

 

Edited by Compound2632
Correction re. refrigeration.
Link to post
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, D9001 said:

Okay, genuine question; were tarantulas unwelcome but common “cargo” in the banana bunches in these vans? 

 

Probably would have died en route if any did manage to get on board.

 

Never heard any tales of big spiders from any relatives working on the ships or docks. And most of those relatives were the type to scare the living daylights out of any kids.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...