Coal Wagons

Locomotives, coaches, and wagons

Re: Coal Wagons

Postby BrianW » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:46 am

It's complex. In the early days of railways some companies (like the LNWR) were snooty about carrying coal at all.

I think the chief reason for there being so many PO coal wagons was that most railways would not have been able to invest the enormous amount of capital require to provide all the wagons needed. (Especially as collieries were quite apt to use wagons as coal stores, etc., rather than purely for traffic.) It was also often cheaper to provide your own wagons than hire them from the railway (at least on the face of it) and you could be more in control of wagon availability, not at the whim of the railway company.

If you were a coal merchant you might want to own one or two wagons for you all-year-round traffic but hire in extra (from colliery, railway, whoever) when busy in winter.

Some railways certainly had very few of their own traffic coal wagons. If any. The GW is the outstanding example of this. However, it was not true of all railways. The GC, for example, had large numbers of traffic coal wagons, including many it hired in from people like Charles Roberts. (Technically, PO wagons in GC livery, they carried PO registration plates.) The NER (which was very rich) did its best to carry all coal traffic in NER wagons, and had relatively few PO wagons on its territory.

An interesting GW working was the Dartmouth - Torquay Gasworks coal train. Coal came in by sea, but was carried in a train made up of LNER and LMS coal wagons - which by that time were in Common Use. These wagons were miles from home, but (as I understand it) their use was effectively balanced by GWR wagons running on the LMS and LNE systems, so the accounting worked out. The GW could not use its own coal wagons as (apart from loco coal) it had none!
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Re: Coal Wagons

Postby andrewnummelin » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:03 am

I put a question about coal for the southern railways on the Historical Model Railway Society e-group and this generated a couple of specific responses as well as general observations (such as noting that coal for different purposes may well have had varying supply arrangements). The following are quoted with permission of the authors.

=================================
H Holcroft in "Locomotive Adventure" vol 2 has a few things to say that might explain this:

The LSWR used coal from South Wales, but it was brought to Fremington Quay in North Devon by ship, so their own wagons would not have been seen on the Welsh side of the Bristol Channel.

The LBSCR also used Welsh coal, but he speculates it was shipped to Kingston Wharf (Newhaven), at least until gauge conversion on the GWR made through working of wagons possible.

The SER/SECR obtained its supplies of coal by ship from the North East, although Kent coal became available to supply sheds in East Kent, which could use all the good lump coal produced. Hence the coal from the North East was used in the London area, and an area extending roughly to Reading, Redhill, Tonbridge, Chatham and Hastings.

In a list of 1914 prices quoted to the SECR, the only South Wales pit mentioned is Blaenavon. It is also the most expensive, at £1-1-0 per ton, compared with the cheapest, from Exhall (Warwickshire) at £0-13-0+halfpenny. These are described as net prices so presumably include transport, implying the price for Welsh coal to the LSWR would have been less than to the SECR.

So it looks as if the use of Welsh coal was limited to the Western end of the SR system, and much of it came by sea anyway. If the collieries were contracted to supply coal, would they have used their own wagons rather than the railway sending its loco coal wagons to the colliery?

Regards,
William Barter

=================================================
The M&SWJR often used loco coal from J & W Stone of North Blaina, and J & W Stone wagons often appear in the background of photos taken at Cheltenham shed in the early years of the century.

The M&SWJR did not have any wagons labelled "Coal" until 1913, when 25 existing wagons had the inscription added. By 1919 the toal had risen to 45, only to fall to 39 in 1921. When there were supply difficulties with South Wales / Monmouth coal, there is evidence that the railway sometimes used coal imported to Southampton. If so, these wagons would presumably be used for this traffic.

Best regards,

Mike Barnsley,
M&SWJR steward
=======================================================
Regards,

Andrew Nummelin
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Re: Coal Wagons

Postby Noel » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:40 am

BrianW wrote:An interesting GW working was the Dartmouth - Torquay Gasworks coal train. Coal came in by sea, but was carried in a train made up of LNER and LMS coal wagons - which by that time were in Common Use. These wagons were miles from home, but (as I understand it) their use was effectively balanced by GWR wagons running on the LMS and LNE systems, so the accounting worked out. The GW could not use its own coal wagons as (apart from loco coal) it had none!


The Torquay gas works opened in 1866 on its final site, so there was coal traffic to it pre-grouping, before the common user system came into existence. http://www.dartmouth-history.org.uk/dartmouth/port/pdf/102668_0.pdf indicates that Renwick, Wilton took over supply in 1889, and brought in coal by sea to Kingswear. This caused an increase in coal traffic and necessitated an increase in cranes on the quay, suggesting that previously the coal had not arrived via Kingswear, and therefore had arrived by rail, in PO wagons; RW would presumably have sent some of their wagons to Kingswear for this traffic after taking over the supply.

Kingswear at the time was legally part of the Port of Dartmouth; Dartmouth itself, of course, had a station but no railway...
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