Stock used for Sunday Excursions in the 'Fifties

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Stock used for Sunday Excursions in the 'Fifties

Postby Newport_rod » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:51 pm

There is a paucity of photographs of the ROF Glascoed workmen’s trains – I only know of only one view, taken at Pontypool Road, the train hauled by a pannier and 56xx.

But the other day thumbing through a copy of Brian Miller’s book Rickard’s Record I came across some views of Sunday excursion trains (e.g. from Rhymney to Porthcawl). As these trains originated at the places where the Glascoed workmen’s trains terminated it occurred to me that some of the stock that formed the excursion trains may have been that used on the workmen’s trains during the week.

Is there anyway of verifying or discounting this theory?
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Re: Stock used for Sunday Excursions in the 'Fifties

Postby chrisf » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:41 pm

Up to a point, there is. Weekly notices of the period give some clues. I hope that the Notice of Special Traffic Arrangements for 23rd - 29th July 1954 is still in the Archive.

On Sunday 25th July 1954 an excursion was booked to run from Rhymney to Porthcawl and back. It was probably typical that the notice stated: "Station Master, Rhymney, to arrange suitable train (8 coaches) and provide Guard". In those happy days there was plenty of spare coaching stock available, to cover for cleaning requirements and relief trains. I'm guessing that if there were not the makings of a "suitable train" at Rhymney the station master would be on the phone to his opposite numbers elsewhere in the Valleys. On that day Rhymney also had to find engines and stock for regular timetabled trains, of which there were less on a Sunday than on weekdays. As well as the Porthcawl excursion Rhymney also had to resource what was described as an excursion, formed of 7 coaches, to Barry Island and back which was routed via the Walnut Tree Viaduct. In later years this working was shown in the public timetable.

After the timetable revision of September 1953 the formation used for the majority of Valleys passenger workings was what was described as a "standard 5 coach set", comprising brake third, third, composite, third and brake third. Many of these sets were augmented with one or more thirds, especially during the summer. In addition some sets were formed of two or four third class coaches for designated duties. One such was, of course, the Glascoed service. This set - BT, T, T, BT - was augmented with a composite on Saturdays and worked a Rhymney - Bargoed - Dowlais Top - Queen St - Rhymney diagram. It would have been available for work on Sundays. Never say never!

The Rhymney - Porthcawl excursion illustrated in "Rickard's Record" would not have been worked by the Glascoed set at Rhymney because the Glascoed working had ceased the previous October.

I am sorry to have kept you waiting so long for a reply.

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Re: Stock used for Sunday Excursions in the 'Fifties

Postby Sedge » Sun Jun 26, 2016 9:37 am

Slightly off-topic. Was this the train mentioned by Chris?
I recall a Saturday train from Fochriw which was a direct service to Cardiff. The train left Fochriw at about 1pm (I think) and came from Bargoed. It did not proceed to Dowlais Top but terminated at Fochriw and was called "the blocking-up" since it stayed at the UP platform until its departure. The other regular "blocking up" train was at 9pm which again did not proceed to Dowlais Top. The instruction from my father, and from my friends fathers, was that on arrival of the "9 o'clock blocking up" we were to come home to go to bed. Happy days!!!
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Re: Stock used for Sunday Excursions in the 'Fifties

Postby chrisf » Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:42 pm

Hooray, we're off topic! I'm used to this on RMweb and feel at home already ...

Sedge, how long ago were your "blocking-up " trains? I've found something which nearly matches your evening one in the winter 1955-56 timetable. There was an 8.23 pm from Bargoed which was due into Fochriw at 8.42 pm. It was due out again at 8.49 pm and back into Bargoed at 9.0 1/2. These trains were withdrawn in the economy cuts of 30th June 1958, which may not have been terribly well planned as this was three weeks into the summer timetable. I cannot find an exact match for your lunchtime "blocker up" though. The 12.47 pm SO Dowlais Top - Queen Street left Fochriw at 12.55 and there was an SX working at 1.48 pm from Bargoed due into Fochriw at 2.15 pm and out again at 2.39 pm, arriving Bargoed at 2.59 pm. For completeness, the other Fochriw terminator was a rather odd working which left Queen Street at 4.15 am and was unadvertised, being primarily for parcels. This ran as far as Ystrad Mynach, arr 5.0 am, where it became a workmen's passenger leaving at 5.12 am and running unadvertised to Bargoed. There it appeared in the public timetable at last as the 5.38 am to Fochriw, arr 6.9 am. Its return working was the 6.32 am to Penarth.

I do not think that there were significant changes to the passenger service on this section apart from the economy cuts mentioned earlier and the deployment of dmus in 1962. Some may describe that as too little, too late.

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Re: Stock used for Sunday Excursions in the 'Fifties

Postby Noel » Sat Jul 02, 2016 3:36 pm

The 2/11/59 to 12/6/60 public timetable shows the two blocking trains and the SO Dowlais Top-Queen St. as in your post, Chris, with only very minor changes to times.
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Re: Stock used for Sunday Excursions in the 'Fifties

Postby Sedge » Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:18 am

Chris. This was during the 1950's but I think that the "9pm blocking up" service remained until closure in 1962. The scheduling of these services does not make much sense to me, but, no doubt, in the wider requirements of the region they all fitted a required pattern. It would almost seem that the "9pm blocking up" service had to go somewhere so why not terminate it at Fochriw. Your statement "There it appeared in the public timetable at last as the 5.38 am to Fochriw, arr 6.9 am. Its return working was the 6.32 am to Penarth" . Is this in reference to a Saturday service? Otherwise this seems rather odd since, apart from the Newport-Brecon service, all other services were put on for schools and mines. The first train out of Fochriw , which I travelled on to Ogilvie Colliery for four years, was about 05:45 came which came from Dowlais Top having been stabled at Dowlais Central as the previous days last Up train which left Fochriw at about 23:00. So why put on a service that was scheduled at nearly the same time?
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Re: Stock used for Sunday Excursions in the 'Fifties

Postby Noel » Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:54 am

In the timetable I quoted from below, the 5:38 Bargoed-Fochriw is shown as a workmens train, but the 6:35 Fochriw-Penarth is not. The same table shows 5:02 Dowlais Central-Cardiff Queen Street [also a workmens train] leaving Fochriw at 5:33, an hour before the 6:35.

Both trains ran Monday to Saturday inclusive, and doubtless the actual times varied by a few minutes from time to time. The collieries at Fochriw had closed in the 1920s, but the Ogilvie and Bargoed collieries were working into the 1970s; presumably miners could have travelled from Fochriw to Ogilvie or Bargoed for work after the closure of their local pits, hence the otherwise somewhat odd looking pattern of trains, which appears to match a three shift day. If so, most were presumably travelling on Gelligaer buses by the late 1950s.

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Re: Stock used for Sunday Excursions in the 'Fifties

Postby Sedge » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:34 am

Thanks for all the information. It is not surprising how memory fails over the years, but the details provided have raked over the dormant grey cells and brought them back. The collieries served were Ogilvie, Groesfaen and Bargoed. Even when we knew that the railway was in danger of being closed, there were some who would travel to work on the Gelligaer U.D.C. buses because the fare was one penny cheaper. I should imagine that if the line was still open, it would be a very popular tourist attraction. But look at what happened to the Merthyr/Ponsticill line. After closure, Merthyr Council bought a section of track at Cefn Coed and built a block of flats on it, thus frustrating the Brecon Mountain Railway from running a service from Merthyr to Pontsticill and onward, over the two viaducts which would have made a far more scenic route than that provided by the existing.
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Re: Stock used for Sunday Excursions in the 'Fifties

Postby chrisf » Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:11 am

Noel

The thought of a Dowlais Central to Queen Street working struck me, belatedly, as a little odd so I dived for my very battered 1959-60 public timetable. There is indeed an arrival at Queen Street at 7.9 but it is clear from table 131 and not at all clear from table 121 that it is a connection, and not a very good one. Anyone bold enough to make this journey would have had to contemplate Bargoed station from 5.57 am to 6.24 am, when the undoubtedly welcoming 6.4 am Rhymney - Cadoxton would arrive. At least Bargoed station in 1959-60 would have been a sight more interesting than it is now.

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Re: Stock used for Sunday Excursions in the 'Fifties

Postby Noel » Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:34 pm

I hadn't looked that far, Chris, I must admit. I was just responding to the suggestion that there were two trains close together, which was not the case according to the timetable.

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