Workmen's Trains

Timetables, traffic, industries served, operational issues

Workmen's Trains

Postby RichardHC » Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:01 am

Workmen’s Trains
Up until the mid-1960’s the Western Region timetable marked several trains on lines in some of the the South Wales valleys with the letter ‘w’ for “workmen’s train”. What was a “workmen’s train”? They appear in the public timetable so are clearly different from the unadvertised workers’ trains that served places such as Glascoed and Tremains.
I suggest that special worker’s fares were available by these trains (and these trains only) or perhaps it indicates that somewhat antiquated rolling stock was used. Another possibility is that the trains might be withdrawn at short notice for such things a miner’s holiday weeks. Also who could use the trains? Would ladies or schoolchildren be turned away? Would I be turned away if I was wearing my two piece office suit?
Another noticeable feature is that many of these workmen’s trains seem to be operating in the area around Dowlais. Is there a reason for this? Trains in other parts of South Wales don’t seem to be designated as “workmen’s trains”. I don’t access to timetables for other regions but did “workmen’s trains” (so designated in the timetable) operate elsewhere or was this a unique feature of the South Wales scene?
Any thoughts?
RichardHC
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:09 pm

Re: Workmen's Trains

Postby Noel » Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:06 pm

If they appeared in the public timetable they were available to anyone who wanted to use them, and would be run every day the timetable indicated, subject only to strikes, accidents, impossible weather conditions, etc. For the fares see http://blog.nrm.org.uk/fares-fare/, although they omit to point out that there were specific return trains as well, usually in the evenings or early afternoon on Saturdays. Trains that appeared in the public timetable used normal stock, so far as I know. "Private" trains for workers at specific employers (including railway works) might use stock dedicated to that service, which might be elderly therefore, but photographs show that many, such as those to RoFs, or the Highworth branch trains to Swindon Works, used ordinary stock, although often non-corridor.

This discussion on RM web http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/68877-gwr-workmens-trains/ may be of interest, although it conflates different types of workmen's trains without explaining the differences.

The winter 1955-56 timetable only shows, so far as can see, workmen's trains to/from Dowlais, including trains to/from Cardiff and Newport, apart from a few to/from New Tredegar, Caerphilly and Fochriw.
Noel
User avatar
Noel
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:52 am

Re: Workmen's Trains

Postby Sedge » Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:30 am

In the Fochriw area, workmans trains were initially supplied in the 1860's by the Dowlais Iron Company to transport the workforce to and from their collieries at Fochriw, Cwmbargoed, South Tunnel and quite e few other coal mines which were on route, the routes being mainly from Dowlais, Cae Harris and over another private line that went from Dowlais to the mines at Pantywaun and onto Fochriw. The "carriages", which were called CWBS, were no more than goods wagons probably fitted with a few wooden seats as can be seen from the photograph on the following link to my website http://www.fochriwhistory.co.uk/page166.htm. I should think that the mainline workmans trains initially comprised similar basic transport since it was not until the 1950's that pithead baths were provided and the workforce had to travel in the condition that they found themselves following a shift say, at the coal face. However, I can recall football matches held a Fochriw on Saturdays, which could not start until the arrival at approx. 1pm, of the "workmans" train from Bargoed to Dowlais Top, which conveyed a few members of the Fochriw team from Bargoed, Groesfaen and Ogilvie collieries. It was normal to see a few black faces on the pitch. They must have taken it easy at work in order to play football for over an hour.
Having said that, I cannot recall the carriages comprising the workmans trains being any different in shape and size to that of the then currrent rolling stock..
It is interesting to note that facilities for the general public were only added to the Bargoed-Dowlais Top service during 1934, as the following newspaper cutting from the Merthyr Express advises.

1 December 1934 Train Facilities The public of Fochriw will be pleased to know of the additional train facilities commencing forthwith. Accommodation for the general public will be provided in the workmen’s trains between Bargoed and Dowlais Top. This will be a great convenience, a good service of trains being available.
Sedge
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:08 pm

Re: Workmen's Trains

Postby Noel » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:22 am

GKN was formed in 1902, and became Guest, Keen, Baldwin in 1930 as a result of an amalgamation, which helps date the photograph on the Fochriw site. Similar services continued in use until the 1960s or 1970s, but only on private [NCB by then] railways, using ex-BR goods vans, usually lacking vacuum brake. The van in the photo seems to be dual through piped, at least, but the grease boxes would, I think, have probably led to it being unwelcome on passenger trains on the GWR and LMSR by the 1930s, if not before. I can't tell if it has full brake systems, but the use of vehicles in passenger traffic on public railways, except those fitted with an operating continuous brake, would presumably have been illegal under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 in any event.

Mention of the Dowlais Iron Co. suggests a possible explanation for the restricted area of use of workman's trains in the 1950s, since they seem to relate to the area where trains would have operated for the DIC. The successors to the DIC were Richard Thomas and Baldwin, nationalised in 1949 and never de-nationalised, unlike other steel firms, and the NCB. Could the workmen's trains be the last remnants of contractual arrangements which dated back to the DIC?

Noel
Noel
User avatar
Noel
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:52 am

Re: Workmen's Trains

Postby Sedge » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:31 pm

The following reports from the Merthyr Express deals with the legalities of the provision of workmens trains.
18 May 1907


Workmen's Trains: Are The Company Liable for Accidents? Is a Company liable under the Act if a man meets with an accident whilst travelling on a workmen's train? Thomas Lewis, a collier at No. 2 Pit, Fochriw, who resides at Caeharris, Dowlais, claimed compensation from Messrs. Guest, Keen, and Nettlefolds, Ltd, in respect of an accident. Mr. Hill Kelly was for the applicant; Mr. Ivor Bowen for the respondents. Mr Kelly said that on the 1st January, Lewis was carried to Fochriw in the collier's train. There was no platform on which to alight; Lewis slipped on the step of the train, and injured his leg, and was away from work for seven weeks. He understood found that the defence raised was that the accident did not arise "out of and in the course of his employment." Mr. Ivor Bowen said Lewis did not pay for the use of the train; he lived at Caeharris, which was four miles away from the pit, and he was not under contract with his employers to travel by that train.


Thomas Lewis, the applicant told His Honour that the workmen's train took the men to the pits in the morning and brought them back at night; the respondents supplied the coaches and the Rhymney Railway Company supplied the engine. The colliers train had run to his knowledge ever since he was a boy, and years before that. Only workmen were allowed to travel on those trains, and so far as he knew they paid nothing.
Mr. Ivor Bowen to Thomas Lewis: Is there any kind of agreement at all between you and the Company that they should provide this train for you except for the purpose of convenience? Witness: I don't know of any agreement myself, unless our fathers had it. He added that a similar train runs from Pantywaun, and also from Cwm Bargoed. Mr. Kelly said that the men were under an agreement which was common throughout the coalfield. Mr. Bowen re-asserted that Lewis had said that there was no agreement between himself and the Company to carry him; in other words, he was not bound to go by train, and the Company was not bound to carry him. It would, no doubt, lead to trouble in the pit if the men were not taken to the colliery, but there was no legal obligation or duty to carry them.
His Honour thought there was an implied agreement on the part of the company. The question was, was it understood by both parties that the train was to be supplied? I am of the opinion that there is an obligation where the thing has been done for all those years - that there is an implied obligation.
After further argument, His Honour said he would look through the cases quoted by counsel, and give judgement on Friday.

18 May 1907
Workmen's Trains: Are The Company Liable for Accidents? Is a Company liable under the Act if a man meets with an accident whilst travelling on a workmen's train? Thomas Lewis, a collier at No. 2 Pit, Fochriw, who resides at Caeharris, Dowlais, claimed compensation from Messrs. Guest, Keen, and Nettlefolds, Ltd, in respect of an accident. Mr. Hill Kelly was for the applicant; Mr. Ivor Bowen for the respondents. Mr Kelly said that on the 1st January, Lewis was carried to Fochriw in the collier's train. There was no platform on which to alight; Lewis slipped on the step of the train, and injured his leg, and was away from work for seven weeks. He understood found that the defence raised was that the accident did not arise "out of and in the course of his employment." Mr. Ivor Bowen said Lewis did not pay for the use of the train; he lived at Caeharris, which was four miles away from the pit, and he was not under contract with his employers to travel by that train.
Thomas Lewis, the applicant told His Honour that the workmen's train took the men to the pits in the morning and brought them back at night; the respondents supplied the coaches and the Rhymney Railway Company supplied the engine. The colliers train had run to his knowledge ever since he was a boy, and years before that. Only workmen were allowed to travel on those trains, and so far as he knew they paid nothing.
Mr. Ivor Bowen to Thomas Lewis: Is there any kind of agreement at all between you and the Company that they should provide this train for you except for the purpose of convenience? Witness: I don't know of any agreement myself, unless our fathers had it. He added that a similar train runs from Pantywaun, and also from Cwm Bargoed. Mr. Kelly said that the men were under an agreement which was common throughout the coalfield. Mr. Bowen re-asserted that Lewis had said that there was no agreement between himself and the Company to carry him; in other words, he was not bound to go by train, and the Company was not bound to carry him. It would, no doubt, lead to trouble in the pit if the men were not taken to the colliery, but there was no legal obligation or duty to carry them.
His Honour thought there was an implied agreement on the part of the company. The question was, was it understood by both parties that the train was to be supplied? I am of the opinion that there is an obligation where the thing has been done for all those years - that there is an implied obligation.
After further argument, His Honour said he would look through the cases quoted by counsel, and give judgement on Friday.
Sedge
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:08 pm

Re: Workmen's Trains

Postby Sedge » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:35 pm

Ooops two copies of the same report. Second report is below.

"Merthyr Express" 2 September 1876 Colliers Wives Evading The Payment Of Their Rail Fare Marian Jones, Mary Ann Evans and Eleanor Evans, married women, residing in Vochrhiw, were summoned for having travelled from Vochrhiw to Dowlais without previously paying their rail fare and with intent to avoid the payment thereof. The case was a somewhat peculiar one. It appeared from the evidence of Inspector Richard Matthews, of the Rhymney Railway, who prosecuted, that the Taff Bargoed Line was opened on the 1st of February last. The joint owners (the Rhymney and the Great Western Companies) entered into an agreement with the Dowlais Company to carry their colliers to and from Bedlinog, Vochrhiw and Dowlais at a special rate. Subsequently, the colliers themselves made application to the joint companies to allow their wives to travel the same route at reduced fares on market days. The concession was granted them, the fare being reduced to about one-half. Not satisfied with this, a great many women - as much as forty or fifty at a time - made it a practice of gathering into the carriages which conveyed the colliers in order to escape altogether. On the 19th., Inspectors Matthews, Mends and Pegg went on special duty at Dowlais Station and caught the three defendants. There were several other women in the train, but they escaped. These facts were fully proved, and there was practically no defence to the case. The defendants were each ordered to pay a fine, which with costs, amounted to 15 shillings.
Sedge
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:08 pm

Re: Workmen's Trains

Postby Noel » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:49 am

A couple of interesting reports.

The 1907 report is clearly about a GKN train, with the motive power provided by the Rhymney Railway, presumably under contract to GKN. There is no suggestion in the report that the RR was believed to have any legal responsibility for the accident. The report refers to a lack of platform for alighting; the implication would seem to be that this was not at Fochriw station therefore. Presumably the train was being worked over GKN lines at the time. The other interesting item is the reference to coaches rather than wagons or vans. Not conclusive, given the generally level of accuracy of newspapers, but the 1902 goods WTT at the back of the revised edition of Oakwood Press' "The Brecon and Merthyr Railway" also refers to coaches in the context of McLaren and Powell Duffryn colliers' trains.

The 1876 report concerns cheap travel by colliers on Joint Line trains, in view of the application to the joint companies to allow cheap travel for the wives. Possibly the DIC were subsidising the fares for their employees? The train in question was presumably operated by the RR, since the prosecution was brought by one of their inspectors. The reference to "gathering into the carriages which conveyed the colliers" may mean that special coaches for the colliers were attached to a public service train, but, if so, there is no indication that these were other than RR vehicles. However, the reference to the captures being made at Dowlais station does suggest that a public service train was involved.

Noel
Noel
User avatar
Noel
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:52 am

Re: Workmen's Trains

Postby RichardHC » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:51 am

Thanks to Noel and Sedge for providing such detailed responses to my original query.

I have just got out my copy of the Western Region timetable for 9th September 1963 to 14th June 1964. This still shows "Workmen's Trains" in Table 139 (Nelson and Llancaiach to Dowlais). There was one early morning return working on Mondays to Saturdays (which actually went to Hengoed High Level) and an early/mid afternoon working which just went as far as Nelson & Llancaiach (Saturdays excepted). The last trains ran on Saturday, 13th June 1964 so perhaps these were the last "Workmen's Trains" marked as such in the public timetable anywhere in the country.

Finally, I have just been looking at "The Rhymney Railway" by R W Kidner (Oakwood Press, 1995) and this gives the date of closure of stations on the Dowlais (Cae Harris) as 19th June 1964 (a Friday). Presumably this is a typo - or does anyone know of any reason why the closure might have been delayed by a few days?
RichardHC
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:09 pm

Re: Workmen's Trains

Postby Noel » Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:39 am

It isn't just the joint line. Page 131 refers in the text to the joint line losing its passenger service 15 June 1964, "on the same date as Senghenydd". However, Appendix 3 shows Senghenydd and Abertridwr stations as being closed 2 July 1962...
Noel
User avatar
Noel
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:52 am

Re: Workmen's Trains

Postby Sedge » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:09 pm

To add some clarification to the 1907 report.
The line over which the train operated was, without doubt, that part of the joint GWR/RR line from Dowlais Caeharris to Cwm Bargoed, whence it continued over the private GKN line from the Fochriw Colliery Junction at Cwm Bargoed to South Tunnel colliery and onto Fochriw Colliery, about a mile or so to the south. Part of the track-bed is still used as far as the current coal prep plant which is used to process the opencast coal. From the 1950's, I can recall there being a platform at the colliery but this was not as long as I would expect it to have been if it were for use with workmen's trains, which would have been made up of numerous "CWBS" to cater for the movement of hundreds of miners. Also, the height of the platform was lower than that of the one at Fochriw station which could indicate that it could have been used for CWBS which had lower running boards than "standard" carriages.
Sedge
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:08 pm

Next

Return to Railway Operation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest