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Kensington Olympia - St Austell Motorail 1970's


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Does anyone have any good photo's of the Kensington Olympia - St Austell Motorail service circa 1970-1975.

 

I vaguely remember seeing this going through Taunton.

 

Western haulage I assume, did it ever get Double Warships?

 

What were the car flats like? Are there any reasonable 00 representations of the car flats.

 

I feel it was probably 6-8 MK1 coaches with 6+ car flats.

 

When did it finish (in the open flat wagon form).

 

Regards

 

Eddie

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The daytime Motorails I remember from slightly later (late 70s) were usually all 1st class Mk1s, plus the BR blue B745xxx series carflats with the double arrows and "Motorail" logo on the side. Sorry no pics.

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There is no decent 00 representation of the Carflat. The Hornby one was imagined by a visually-impaired gnome with a crack-pipe, in terms of faithfulness to the prototype.

 

I have a bunch to concoct from a bag of ingredients that wouldn't look out of place on Masterchef, of which the first trial example is scheduled to be on the workbench in a few weeks.

 

 

As a starting-point, I'm using cheap and hackable MkI underframes - in this case from Tri-ang Sleeping cars. I am aiming to rebody using mainly plain and embossed plasticard, plus Plastruct section. Weight when laden won't be a problem, as mine will be used to carry 'new' Fords 'between Ditton and Bathgate.' Or a tiny fragment thereof. In the garage wink.gif

 

Try Paul Bartlett's wagons site for photos of the real thing. I've not seen many at Kenny O, apart from in magazines. There are pics of them in the West Country though, and I'm sure there are people on here with suitable links. Never heard of a Warship on the train, but wait for observations to the contrary biggrin.gif

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Agree with Geoff about the preponderance of Westerns and Brush type 4's - but on old RM Web there was a really perplexing image of a 37 with about three first class Mark 1's and a few motorail carflats on the back - of course, I can't find it now but it must've been post 78.

 

Summer hols in Dawlish from '70 onwards invariably produced a Western on the various Motorail trains.

 

However, there's photographic evidence in the Book of the Warships, which I must admit surprised me, of D806 Cambrian, being taken off the St Austell to Kensington Olympia Motorail (1M 01) at Plymouth North Road to be replaced by Brush 4 1673 Cyclops in May 72, with the caption indicating the loco had earlier worked the train down off Olympia that morning.

 

The same publication shows D823 Hermes, in 1970, waiting to leave Paington with the Paignton to Kensington motorail (1M 61). Nevertheless I reckon they were the exception rather than the rule.

 

I used to love the Motorail trains/(though not as much as the Milks but that'd be going totally off thread) - I used to sit perched in the bay window of the Beach Hotel outside Kennaway tunnel at Dawlish, 1st or 2nd floor, watching the procession of trains, and it still was a procession in the early 70's. I used to be particularly impressed by the fact that the motorail service loaded to 16 bogies, (my memory tells me there were even occaisionally some even longer).

 

If you haven't looked I'd thoroughly recommend Owen the Rails scanned slides in galleries on here for what you could see looking out of the good old Beach Hotel !

 

50's were also used on the motorail trains, both in unnamed and named form.

 

I'm not 100% certain, but I think the combined passenger carflat motorail trains to St Austell lasted till about 1982, after which the passengers travelled by other services and the car flats were trundled down separately.

 

Great seeing these issues being discussed.

 

regards

 

Matt W

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There is no decent 00 representation of the Carflat. The Hornby one was imagined by a visually-impaired gnome with a crack-pipe, in terms of faithfulness to the prototype.

Don't sit on the fence - tell us what you really think!

 

Was the long platform at Paddington also used for Motorail? I've just found some notes from 13 July 1980, with the following rake at Paddington about 8pm:

coaches (mostly 1st class compartments): 4263, 13357, 13350, 13444, 1927, 13354, 21190 and FVV Motorail flats B 745041/40/45/44/49/48/42/47

 

That's 15 vehicles plus loco.

 

Slightly odd that all the carflats were within a few numbers of each other. Earlier that day we saw 745043/46 in Old Oak Common carriage sheds.

 

Bit later than the OP's time period, but maybe that helps fill in the picture.

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Don't sit on the fence - tell us what you really think!

 

Was the long platform at Paddington also used for Motorail? I've just found some notes from 13 July 1980, with the following rake at Paddington about 8pm:

coaches (mostly 1st class compartments): 4263, 13357, 13350, 13444, 1927, 13354, 21190 and FVV Motorail flats B 745041/40/45/44/49/48/42/47

 

That's 15 vehicles plus loco.

 

Slightly odd that all the carflats were within a few numbers of each other. Earlier that day we saw 745043/46 in Old Oak Common carriage sheds.

 

Bit later than the OP's time period, but maybe that helps fill in the picture.

 

I haven't got any Paddington stuff for that year but it could possibly be the Up working of the St Austell motorail or the stock off it (it was booked into 1A in the 1982 TT) however in that year it was not shown to convey passenger carrying vehicles.

 

I presume by the 'long platform' you mean Platform 1A, the one between the main station and Ranelagh Bridge? It was used for car loading and unloading around that period. However it was not normally used for passengers

 

There were no booked carflat workings at Paddington in the 1970TT.

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I presume by the 'long platform' you mean Platform 1A, the one between the main station and Ranelagh Bridge? It was used for car loading and unloading around that period. However it was not normally used for passengers

Yes, I couldn't quite remember if it was one long platform extending from platform 1 or a secondary one stepped back with its own buffers at the country end of the station.

I'm not sure of the exact location of that rake I noted: I could have got the numbers down via binocs from the end of the middle platforms if it was in 1A.

 

Also, classic traction in yellowvanman's photo - I mean the one on the carflat of course.

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Was the long platform at Paddington also used for Motorail? I've just found some notes from 13 July 1980, with the following rake at Paddington about 8pm:

coaches (mostly 1st class compartments): 4263, 13357, 13350, 13444, 1927, 13354, 21190 and FVV Motorail flats B 745041/40/45/44/49/48/42/47

 

That's 15 vehicles plus loco.

 

Slightly odd that all the carflats were within a few numbers of each other. Earlier that day we saw 745043/46 in Old Oak Common carriage sheds.

 

Bit later than the OP's time period, but maybe that helps fill in the picture.

 

Saturdays Only 24/5/80 - 13/9/80

 

14.20 Fishguard-Paddington due 19.21 Plfm 3. Carflats detached and shunted to No.2 for unloading. Coaches from 19.21 arrival to be shunted and attached front of empty carflats on Plfm 2 to form 19.57 Padd-OOC.

 

Booked formation Mk1 steam heated stock - BCK, FK, FK, RUB, FK, FK and 9 carflats.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Commoner

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Thanks for all the info and piccy's.

 

18 vehcles may be a challenge on my layout. Maybe 4 MK1's + 3 carflats will give an impression.

 

Never new they loaded at Paddington. Always thought they were from KO only.

 

 

Not that the UK motor rails operated this way but Im remember seeing a Dirk Bogarde biography showing him an Tony Formann riding in the open top car on top of car flats travelling through alpine tunnels. Sounds a great way to travel.

 

Eddie

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Thanks for all the info and piccy's.

 

18 vehcles may be a challenge on my layout. Maybe 4 MK1's + 3 carflats will give an impression.

 

Never new they loaded at Paddington. Always thought they were from KO only.

 

 

Not that the UK motor rails operated this way but Im remember seeing a Dirk Bogarde biography showing him an Tony Formann riding in the open top car on top of car flats travelling through alpine tunnels. Sounds a great way to travel.

 

Eddie

I'd tend to go for more Carflats than coaches- a TSO or FK would have 48 seats, equivalent to more than than the passengers from one loaded Carflat.

 

I've used the BLS route in Switzerland with a car- you drive on to what is effectively a Carflat with a vestigal roof, and sit in your car whilst you go through a double-track tunnel at 100 kph. As someone who's been involved with the Channel Tunnel for almost twenty years, this came as a bit of a surprise....

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October 1974 ABC Rail Guide lists these Motorail services :

 

1) Overnight:

 

KX-Aberdeen

Padd-Carmarthen

KX-Edinburgh

Padd-Exeter

KX-Newcastle

Padd-Penzance

KX-Perth

Kensington Olympia-Perth

Paddington-Plymouth

Euston-Stirling

Crewe-Inverness

Newton Abbot + Bristol - Stirling

York + Newcastle - Inverness

 

2) Daytime:

Newcastle-Bristol

Stirling + Perth - Inverness

 

They list some as "winter service" as if the summer one was different.

They also list prices for the above, plus more destinations, presumably summer-only ones. Many daytime fares offered as "1st class compartment provided per car party".

Most expensive fare I can see is 1st class £63 return for car + driver London-Aberdeen, with additional adults at £28.30. That compares to the normal 1st class return London-Aberdeen in the same guide of £32.72. (2nd class = £21.07).

London-St Austell daytime fare was £22 return car + driver, "one class only"

 

For comparison, today's 1st anytime London-Aberdeen is £418, 2nd/standard anytime £317, or 2nd off-peak on most trains for £214.70/£123.50 depending on the state of the tide or something.

So if you take the motorail fare as roughly 1st class x2, today's car+driver motorail London to Aberdeen return would be just over £800. TransportDirect gives you motoring costs of £314 one way, including running costs etc. So assuming inflation was about equal for the two modes of transport, it wasn't a completely unreasonable price. (I know there's a lot of assumptions and simplifications in there, but probably here isn't the place for exploring them)

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  • 1 year later...

I used the Crewe/St Austell Motorail for about 3 years around 1980. I seem to recall that these were very long trains. A couple of Sleepers, buffet, and about 4 FKs, plus up to 12 carflats(to Newton Abbot where I think a couple came off. This is all from memory, so I could be wrong with some of this. I think 47s were the motive power.

 

I remember on one occasion the loco failed a few miles into Cornwall, and a pleasant hour was spent looking at the scenery on a lovely Saturday morning. A rescuing loco arrived and we flew through to St Austell - as much as you can in Cornwall - but my abiding memory was of being pushed against the side of the coach as we went around the bends!

 

Colin

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I think the MK1's + flats finished around 1982 and it was flats only (with passengers on a scheduled HST) until around 1985. When it was MK1's and flats a 37 would arrive from St Blazey to release the flats off the MK1's and propel them into the motorail siding along the back of the up platform. The train loco would then reverse the MK1's out to the goods yard to run around (this being the only loop in St Austell post 1980). I can't remember if the flats were shunted to the up line by the 37 and the MK1's propelled on to them by the train loco or if it was done in the sidngs.

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Slightly before your 1970's time period, but a few observations from August 1968 at Exeter,

 

10/8/68 D1044 1A78 7 coaches plus 10 carflats

 

11/8/68 D1940 1V36 7 coaches plus 7 carflats

 

and then returned on 1M30 with the same formation

 

17/8/68 D7008 + D1059 1C28 8 coaches plus 9 carflats

 

23/8/68 D1646 1C28 7 coaches plus 7 carflats

 

 

That is all I have I'm afraid, although I am sure that I saw Falcon on a motorail service at Dawlish the following summer in 1969, but I don't trust my memory any more.

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All shunting St.Austell at was done by the Class 08 Pilot on arrival of the down trains prior to the discontinuation of the Mk1s

 

My post was slightly off topic in that it related to the early 80's when there was no longer a resident class 08 at St Austell due to the reduction in traffic to the goods yard. The motorail flats were shunted by a class 37 (or class 25 when they were there) from St Blazey.

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I passed through St Austel recently and the sidings are still there albeit only stubs at each end of the station ,shame thris not the freight that used to be here.

 

The former motorail siding along the back of the up platform has been backfilled and is now part of the car park. The 2 sidings along the Palace Road retaining wall have been lifted and are also part of the car park. The stubs of these sidings remain. The up loop remains as a long siding with buffer stops where the goods yard entrance was. The goods yard has been developed as housing etc.

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Yes, a very sad sight now - I worked both the box, and the present ground frame there when I was a signalman and relief signalman in Cornwall in the 70s, 80s and 90s

 

The signal box is still there 32 years after closing. It was used as a Pway mess until about 10 years ago. The latest I heard was that a local model railway group were hoping to secure it for their model of ......St Austell!

 

I have located John Vaughan's "Diesels in the Duchy" which shows a 37 on the back of the flats on the down line ready for the shunt move into the sidings. The MK1's are completely off the down platform, the whole train having been drawn ahead. It is dated 1980, just after the box closed and the new up signal and ground frame is shown. Also around this time the black workmens carriages were located in the up sidings previously used by the motorail MK1's, hence the need to back them right out to the goods yard to run around and service.

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Was there also a service from Worcester at some stage? Seem to remember going to Cornwall once when very small by motorrail

Can remember the covering dad had to put over the car windscreen after driving onto the flat wagon!

 

keith

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