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Strange loads at Warminster 1937


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Whilst browsing through Britain From Above, fortunately back on line, I came across a series of views of Warminster station, and noticed two rather strange loads in the goods yard, and wondered what they might be.  I have searched the forum for "Warminster" and nothing has come up, so I am hoping it hasn't been discussed before.863232068_gwrwarminster1937load.png.8eef45b78572ec64abe8525a86dc0d95.png542609662_gwrwarminster1937load3.png.bc2dbed32d04d9304f80a38341568a81.png1765738090_gwrwarminster1937load4.png.37b808ec5fcc8f6789758a59f3dda499.png

gwr warminster 1937 load 2.png

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2 sections of some larger construction perhaps, each being rivetted/bolted sheet with a flange at one end could be part of a bridge or maybe a pedestrian tunnel? or as Northroader says part of some industrial structure?

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1 hour ago, KeithMacdonald said:

...... perhaps they are warwell bogie wagons with covers on them? .....

Not Warwells but 'Crocodiles' of some sort  ........................ I reckon the loads are hoods for Top Secret motive power which was delayed by the upcoming war and eventually appeared as the English Electric Type 1* ! :rolleyes:

 

 

 

 

* known as 'Class 20' in some quarters

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2 hours ago, rodent279 said:

I wonder if they are air raid shelters?

To me, they look a lot like Anderson Shelters, which were intended to be buried as deep as possible, then covered with sandbags. The only doubt I have is that the one in our old garden had been delivered in a semi-dismantled state, which was, I was told by some one who had been involved in constructing it, the normal way of delivering them. The individual sections were a sort of 'J' / Hockey stick shape.

Edited by Fat Controller
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44 minutes ago, Fat Controller said:

To me, they look a lot like Anderson Shelters, which were intended to be buried as deep as possible, then covered with sandbags. The only doubt I have is that the one in our old garden had been delivered in a semi-dismantled state, which was, I was told by some one who had been involved in constructing it, the normal way of delivering them. The individual sections were a sort of 'J' / Hockey stick shape.

If the date on the photo is correct it is a couple of years too early for them to be a form of Anderson shelter. 

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Anderson shelters weren't invented until 1938. Given the location at Warminster I'd be tempted to consider something for the military. Both have a flange at one end which suggested either

 

A) They were designed to be connected together by bolting the flanged end together

B) They were expected to be buried with the flanged end being the opening and used to hold back the earth from falling into the tunnel entrance.

 

Given the shape of them I'd expect that they were to be buried in some form. Given what we know about the wagons can we estimate size?

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13 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

Impregnating chambers for creosoting timber?

There is a timber works that does creosoting reasonably close by. The site for this does show on Google Earth in their 1945 images. However there is a chance that this was a wartime construction.

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The “things” appear to be open at the bottom, in which case they are a bad shape to be buried, unless there are bracing bars, or they are to be cast into a concrete floor, because they would deform inwards under the load of soil.

 

And, although I suggested impregnating chambers, they are usually circular in section, to resist pressure from inside, rather than out.

 

Was there any place nearby that used long ovens or steaming chambers? Autoclaves, I think they are called. Some brick/block making processes used them, silica bricks I think, and some explosives making processes.

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The crocodiles have presumably been chosen for their length rather than their well-i-ness. There are a pair of large-section transverse baulks on each wagon, supporting the load. But the question in my mind is, how are these objects going to be unloaded and transported to their final destination? Also, what's in the opens? Bricks? Are these perhaps part of the same consignment?

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And, we can’t be sure that they are the right way up. They may be long troughs, loaded upside down, or even some sort of vertical structure.

 

Its like looking at two bits of Meccano!

 

Oh, and they may be leaving, rather than arriving.

 

Was there a decent-sized agricultural equipment maker or foundry in the town?

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
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I've done a bit of manipulation and guesstimation and come up with the following dimensions.

Partly based on the adjacent Open A(?) and the fact that the GWR seemed to standardise on having the end platforms on their Crocodiles around 9' 6", the overall length of the Crocodile scales at around 53', which suggests they are Crocodile F's, of some variety or other.  The loads appear to be around 48 feet long, 6' 6" wide and around 8' 6" high, possibly less given the timber baulks underneath.

If they are intended for military use, I would suggest that they might have been involved in the infra-structure works in preparation for the main building of the MOD site, perhaps tanks, culverts, underpasses or shelters, although, as @Nearholmer has pointed out, they don't appear to be particularly robust to be simply buried.  If they are more military orientated, it seems unlikely they would have been delivered before the MOD sidings were in use, and simply parked in the nearby goods yard.

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16 hours ago, Jonboy said:

Apparently 1937 is the year the military arrived in Warminster.

No.  The army established a presence at Warminster during the Great War when areas nearby was used for tented accommodation for troops from Australia and Canada and part of the Plain was used for training purposes.  However the major army activity was the establishment of a large depot for the collection, assessment, and distribution of horses which, like the troops, were brought in and sent out by rail.  One of my Signalmen back in the 1970s had started his railway service as a Lad Porter at Warminster and his father had moved there from South Wales, on promotion, during the Great War to be the GWR Foreman dealing with the horse traffic - which was apparently considerable   The land that depot occupied was the site of later military establishments so may well have remained in War Office ownership after the War;  Cooke shows 1939 for the depot sidings and no indication of anything earlier but according to what I was told there some siding provision was made 'somewhere' for the horse traffic.

 

All of which, alas, adds nothing to the debate about the mystery wagons.

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