Targets - when were they introduced?

Timetables, traffic, industries served, operational issues

Targets - when were they introduced?

Postby Penrhos1920 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:11 pm

When were targets introduced in the valleys?

Generally I've not seen them on pre 1950 photos, but I've searched through my photo collection and found the following early photos:

GWR loco 197 target C42 photo date 1923
GWR loco 706 triangular target 6 - Cathays 1926
GWR loco 44 and an ex Barry B1 with target Y29 at Radyr ca 1930
GWR loco 56 with diamond target CD7
GWR loco 68 with triangular C21 ca 1934
GWR loco 631 with diamond target CD8 at Cardiff dock in 1924
RR loco 30 with square target C34 & mixed goods train at Heath in 1919
RR loco 69 with square target C29 & passenger train ca 1914
RR loco 78 with square target SP10 & mixed goods train ca 1920
RR loco 88 with square target C14 shunting a mixed goods train at a station

So I conclude that the Rhymney railway used targets. Which other companies used them and when were they introduced?
Modelling the Alexandra (Newport & South Wales) Docks & Railway, Barry Railway and Rhymney Railway at Penrhos Junctions in SF4.
GWR short (4 & 6) coaches.

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Re: Targets - when were they introduced?

Postby chrisf » Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:08 pm

It is no surprise that targets had their origins in pre-grouping times. In 'Trains Illustrated' for March 1954 R C Riley asserts that their use was a GWR innovation. Clearly this is only partially correct. Given the assumed purpose of targets, ie to help signallers identify trains and route them correctly, it would be a surprise if the Barry and Taff Vale had not adopted something similar to help in handling their intensive traffic. Although details of freight targets were listed in working timetables I have never found a comparable listing of passenger targets so what little I know about them has been gleaned from photographs, not all accurately captioned, and the catalogue of Sid Rickard's images issued by Keith Jones.

The system put in place by the GWR, whatever its origins, lasted with very little modification until the end of the 1959-60 winter timetable, although its use on passenger trains had begun to die out as dmus were introduced. With the summer 1960 timetable came a recast of the system so as to be compatible with the new four character reporting numbers. This development has not always been spotted by those tasked with captioning photographs!

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