queries on old photos

Locomotives, coaches, and wagons

Re: queries on old photos

Postby 0062 » Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:17 am

Regarding the second photo (at Ebbw Vale Low Level) I suggest that these carriages may well be ex-Monmouthshire Railway & Canal Co vehicles. Unfortunately details of carriages from this company are very scant. Any thoughts from anyone else? [Alastair Warrington]
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Re: queries on old photos

Postby Rhobat Bryn » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:58 pm

I'd like to refer back to the third photo of the viaduct included in Andrew's posting coming from the Gerald Davies collection.

It shows the guard's van as being immediately behind the engine which may solve a problem I've been mulling over regarding the pick-up goods on the Barry Main Line.

The Barry Pick-up would have left Barry Goods Shed and proceeded directed to Pwllgwaun Yard in Pontypridd with the brake van at the end of the train. The problem I have had is how did they succeed in repositioning the van at the other end of the train for the down journey given the somewhat restrictive layout at Pwllgwaun? The other part of the equation is that all the yards south of Pwllgwaun were designed for down workings. So let me posit this. If the brake van were positioned immediately behind the loco then there would be no need to reposition it for the down journey. The loco would simply have to be positioned at the brake van end of the train before proceeding. This would be possible using the runround facility on the main line adjacent to Pwllgwaun. It would also mean that as the pick-up made its down to Barry, it would simply have to reverse into the yard, drop off vans for that station, collect any new vans and attach to the tail of the train. Again decoupling the brake van would not be necessary. So that's the theory. Now I don't know whether this was permitted under regulations but it does offer a workable explanation of how the pick-up goods could have worked. It's also worth bearing in mind that, with the exception of Pontypridd, none of the stations served had large population centres. In addition, Trefforest did not have a goods yard so would probably have been served from Pwllgwaun. Therefore, compared to the coal trains where holding back the weight of the wagons on their downward journey would have been essential, would it have been so necessary to have the brake van at the tail of a pick-up goods which would probably have comprised about ten vans at the most?

I would be grateful to hear your thoughts on the matter.
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Re: queries on old photos

Postby Noel » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:54 pm

Rhobat Bryn wrote:So let me posit this. If the brake van were positioned immediately behind the loco then there would be no need to reposition it for the down journey. The loco would simply have to be positioned at the brake van end of the train before proceeding.


The problem with this is that a breakaway behind the van on the up journey might result in a collection of wagons arriving at some speed where it wasn't wanted because there was no means of stopping them - I.e. an accident waiting to happen. The TV was fond of working coal trains without brake vans apparently, and the BoT was concerned [to put it mildly] about this, but in that case at least there was the loco at the downhill end, so it wasn't inherently unsafe. Your proposed method would be, and would invite trouble with the BoT if anything went wrong. D. S. M. Barrie, incidentally, refers specifically to coal trains, not others, and states that the TV did eventually use brake vans on all trains, but gives no date for the change.

As I commented in the thread on Pick-Up Goods Trains http://wrrc.org.uk/phpbb/posting.php?mode=quote&f=13&p=4180
Noel wrote:There was a loop on the headshunt at Pwllgwaun, which would permit reversal of the train, plus a trailing crossover by means of a single slip on the yard access, so the train could be propelled out onto the wrong line for departure and cross to the right line by means of the slip [layout from R A Cooke section 46B].
My solution would be:
1) The train arrives at Pwllgwaun with the brake van at the rear and propels into the yard.
2) The initial shunt puts the van at the other end, next to the loco, which can be done in more than one way.
3) Arriving traffic is placed and outbound traffic, including that for yards serviced on the return journey, collected. This leaves the train with the van at the correct end for the return journey, but the loco at the wrong end.
4) The loop on the headshunt is used to run round the train, the train is propelled out onto the up line and uses the trailing slip in the yard access to depart right line.

It may not have happened exactly like that, but the unusual presence of a loop on the headshunt suggests to me that the TV intended it to be used in the fashion described. It is very difficult to visualise any other reason for them to have gone to the trouble and expense to put it there and maintain it.

In the case of the passenger train in the photo, if it was unfitted, then it would be normal practice to have a brake at each end so that there was a brake at the rear whichever direction the stock was being worked in, because of the risk of a breakaway. The photo was not clear enough for me to be sure there was one at the rear, but I would be very surprised if there was not. Even in the 1870s, a loss of life in an accident because there was no brake van at the rear of the train would have had major repercussions.
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Re: queries on old photos - Pwllgwaun Yard

Postby andrewnummelin » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:06 pm

I agree with Noel.
I would add two extra possibilities (depending on gradients in the area that would determine where one could leave parts of a train standing on the main line)
- run on to the exchange sidings, run round and return on the down line (I assume there were crossovers at both ends)
- run round using the crossover to the south of Pwllgwaun yard (shown on the 1919 OS map https://www.old-maps.co.uk/#/Map/306816 ... /12/101077 )
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Re: queries on old photos

Postby Noel » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:33 pm

andrewnummelin wrote: run on to the exchange sidings, run round and return on the down line (I assume there were crossovers at both ends)


R A Cooke 46B shows the layout at 1898, at which time there were indeed crossovers at both ends, but worked from different boxes, Hafod North and Hafod South [renamed Trehafod N & S from 1905]. Using this method would most conveniently mean leaving the train on the up line outside the South box, leaving after the run-round via the trailing crossover there. [I am assuming that use of one of the up exchange sidings is unlikely, given that one would have to be kept clear of all vehicles to permit this; use of the down exchange sidings looks very inconvenient.] This would therefore block both sections, although traffic into the exchange sidings from the Barry Junction end could possibly still be accepted. Running round could also be achieved further north, as there is another crossover on the Barry side of Barry Junction box, but this would involve the TV signalman, which seems improbable. Either option involves additional mileage, and a longer potential interruption to traffic than one of the Pwllgwaun options, particularly in view of the need to change the brake van to the other end of the train.

andrewnummelin wrote:run round using the crossover to the south of Pwllgwaun yard (shown on the 1919 OS map


More likely, I would think. It would block the section both ways, particularly the up line, but that would also happen if there was a need to shunt the Victoria Brickworks siding on the other side of the line [done while the rest of the train is still in Pwllgwaun yard?] It leaves the question of why the loop in Pwllgwaun yard existed; my assumption is that it is there to minimise the duration of periods during which the main line was blocked, so as to keep interference with the coal traffic to the docks and the return empties to a minimum, although it is possible that it was there purely to assist in shunting the yard. I think that this is probably unresolvable unless the contemporary local instructions are available.

Some work would be avoided, and time saved, if there was a van at each end [the guard just changes ends, from one van to the other, as necessary], but it isn't essential.
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Re: queries on old photos

Postby Rhobat Bryn » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:29 pm

My solution would be:
1) The train arrives at Pwllgwaun with the brake van at the rear and propels into the yard.
2) The initial shunt puts the van at the other end, next to the loco, which can be done in more than one way.
3) Arriving traffic is placed and outbound traffic, including that for yards serviced on the return journey, collected. This leaves the train with the van at the correct end for the return journey, but the loco at the wrong end.
4) The loop on the headshunt is used to run round the train, the train is propelled out onto the up line and uses the trailing slip in the yard access to depart right line.


I'd like to break these movements down if I may. I'm also looking at Cooke's Section 46B (1908) as well as the 25 inch OS map (1915). In terms of propelling the pick-up goods into the yard, there were two choices, the longer siding to the west of and just behind the goods shed and the shorter siding to the east and on the road loading side of the shed.

Sied Pwllgwaun ochr y rheilffordd.png
Sied Pwllgwaun ochr y rheilffordd.png (709.47 KiB) Viewed 120 times


The picture above shows, I believe, Pwllgwaun good shed from the railway side with the longer siding in view. It's somewhat blurred by virtue of being a close-up but I think it's possible to make out a canopy which would suggest a platform underneath. There are also shadows under the canopy which may be doors or possibly windows.

I am assuming that this was the siding which was used to load or unload goods into the shed with the road loading on the other side of the building. Therefore in order to move the wagons into that siding without the brake van, the train would have had to be propelled into the east siding, the brake van uncoupled, the rest of the train shunted into the headshunt to the north of the goods shed and then reversed back into goods platform line. The question therefore is where were the wagons for collection kept in the yard.
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Re: queries on old photos

Postby Rhobat Bryn » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:36 pm

Here is a slightly clearer picture from a similar point of view.

Sied Pwllgwaun (2).png
Sied Pwllgwaun (2).png (701.13 KiB) Viewed 120 times
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Re: queries on old photos

Postby Noel » Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:42 pm

Rhobat Bryn wrote:I am assuming that this was the siding which was used to load or unload goods into the shed with the road loading on the other side of the building.


This would be consistent with the road access shown in the photos, and the map. The photos, incidentally, show the same vehicles present, and, as you say, are from similar viewpoints, which have to be aerial, so are probably successive frames, I think.

Rhobat Bryn wrote:Therefore in order to move the wagons into that siding without the brake van, the train would have had to be propelled into the east siding, the brake van uncoupled, the rest of the train shunted into the headshunt to the north of the goods shed and then reversed back into goods platform line. The question therefore is where were the wagons for collection kept in the yard.


The brake van having been uncoupled the van can be collected by the loco and put on the other end of the train before shunting takes place [other options are possible, of course]. I am puzzled by your question about where wagons for collection were kept. On arrival they would have been put into the yard and left where ever was convenient for loading or unloading. They would have stayed in the same place until loaded or unloaded, unless there was a need to move and replace them to permit other wagons to be put further down the siding. For example, a vehicle at the goods shed might have to be moved temporarily to place a vehicle beyond it. Once loaded or unloaded vehicles would be removed by the next train; if there were too many for that train to take, then the excess empties would be left in the yard at any convenient point for later collection.

The photos show a group of 5 wagons in the nearer siding, plus one in the other siding; in both cases they are at the inner end of the siding concerned, possibly to make loading or unloading as convenient as possible for the consigner or consignee. However, the upper photo shows a long string of vehicles at the end of the yard, where there is no road access. There is no obvious reason for these vehicles to be there, so has the photographer caught the goods shunting? Or are these empties waiting for the next train because the previous one would have been overloaded? Given the likely level of traffic here, I would be inclined to suspect the former.
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Re: queries on old photos

Postby philp » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:56 am

Couple of points:
1. My compliments to all who have contributed to the discussions - I don't know how you have all gained such a detailed knowledge but most interesting, Thank You.
2. My WRRC interest is tracing family members who worked the TVR set-up at Cardiff and Porth, drivers Henry and Harry Phillips, my GF(ather) and his son, I have details of duties, but only one picture of GF after he retired, by 1938. If any of the collection(s) now held have named and/or dated pics of loco staff that include them I would be most interested to see (at Rhyderin/e-mail);
3. I'm based 15 mins from the Gwilli railway who are restoring a TVR engine, if anyone more distant needs pics I'm happy to get them - define what you need as I am not a rail geek just love the memories and pleasure they invoke. Philp.
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Re: queries on old photos

Postby Angus » Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:30 pm

The brakevan looks similar to a B&M one (e.g. Pl 47 in"Six Railways"). There seems to be a two letter company initial on it, two faint white blurs any way. They are unreadable but would just about fit "B M". They definitely aren't "T V", but that's as far as I'd be prepared to go.
What intrigues me is the loco. because it's a tender engine. OK, it's early - no roof over the crew - but when did the B&M drop the use of tender locos? I find the combination of a very early locomotive and a photograph of a moving train very curious - I wouldn't have thought that early photographic emulsions would have been fast enough for the photographer to even attempt such a shot.
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