Routes of coal wagons to London

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Routes of coal wagons to London

Postby Tim Birch » Sun May 20, 2018 7:58 am

On 4th January 1878 a Great Northern goods train (8.30pm Luton to London) was derailed just north of Hatfield station and was the cause of two subsequent collisions. Colonel Yolland's report for the Board of Trade lists the rolling stock involved. As well as two wagons of hats and bonnets from Luton, there were some coal wagons destined for London. Some were from Staffordshire but five were from south Wales; four from Powell and Duffryn's Forchaman colliery near Aberdare destined for King's Cross, and one from Stevenson and Clark's colliery at Aberdare destined for Edgeware.

What route would they have taken to reach Luton on their way to London?
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Re: Routes of coal wagons to London

Postby Noel » Fri May 25, 2018 9:16 pm

A bit of pure speculation:

Assuming that:
1) the south Wales traffic did not originate on the GWR, as they would have sent it to London for transmission to the GNR via the Metropolitan, and there is no obvious way, or reason why, it would have got to Luton.
2) as the line from Luton only reaches the GNR man line at Hatfield, the only way the wagons from south Wales could have arrived at Luton is by the LNWR handing them over to the GNR there. [The LNWR had the right to use the Dunstable - Luton section under the Act by which the GNR took over the Dunstable - Hatfield line, apparently http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/l/leighton_buzzard/]

then, if these assumptions are correct, the traffic originated on the Taff Vale, who handed it over to the LNWR at Merthyr. It would then travel via Shrewsbury and Crewe. The Staffordshire wagons would have been picked up somewhere after that, either as originating traffic on the LNWR or transferred from the North Staffordshire Railway.

Edited 26/5/2018 to include the note about LNWR rights on the Dunstable - Luton section and correct a bit of grammar
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Re: Routes of coal wagons to London

Postby Tim Birch » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:42 am

Noel,
Thank you for your reply and for putting together a plausible route. I have another option. Forchamman colliery was on the Cwm Amman branch from Gelly Tarw junction and so was on the GWR. From LNWR records, I believe that Wolvercote junction at Oxford was an exchange point between the GWR and LNWR. So my suggestion is that they would travel via Newport, Gloucester and Stow on the GW and be handed over at Oxford for forwarding via Bletchley and Leighton before continuing as you suggest. I suppose it depends on what the rates were that were offered by the different companies, and this option does avoid inner London.
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Re: Routes of coal wagons to London

Postby Noel » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:51 pm

Tim Birch wrote: Forchamman colliery was on the Cwm Amman branch from Gelly Tarw junction and so was on the GWR.


Sorry, I missed the reference to the name of the colliery in your original post :oops:. My route possibly wouldn't work anyway, I've realised, since, although the LNWR bought a half share in the B&M branch to Merthyr in 1875, the connection between Morlais Junction and Penywern Junction wasn't completed until 1879. Did the B&M transfer LNWR traffic to Lloyd Street, or did they just have to wait four years to use their purchase I wonder?

Tim Birch wrote:I believe that Wolvercote junction at Oxford was an exchange point between the GWR and LNWR


Banbury might also be a possibility, perhaps? Otherwise, I am inclined to agree with you, as, on further consideration, the cross-London connection is not particularly convenient, although the GWR would get a greater mileage that way, I think. I doubt that the customer got much say in the route used, somehow!
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Re: Routes of coal wagons to London

Postby Wagonworks_andy » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:17 pm

I have a number of wagon labels for coal going from South Wales to the GER.
Cann & Glass, Swansea sending coal via Llandovery LNWR to Brimsdown GER.
Associated coal consumers sending coal via Hereford and Peterborough to Brimsdown GER.
Most do appear to go via Acton and Hackney Wick to get GER.
It must of depended which company was giving the best rates.
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Re: Routes of coal wagons to London

Postby Tim Birch » Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:24 am

Thank you Noel and Andy for your replies. I suppose that as the GWR would have to hand the traffic over somewhere so that it could get to the GNR, they would try to ensure maximum mileage on their own metals. It would be interesting to know how long the journey took. I think I will keep trawling BoT accident reports to discover some more details of traffic movements. Some reports are very terse, but others contain information on the make-up of trains and individual wagon and coach details.
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Re: Routes of coal wagons to London

Postby cambrian51 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:01 pm

I happened to come across a similar case that has been written up in the Archive Vol.5 No.3 of May 2011.
Coal traffic from Blaenmawr Colliery, on the Whitworth branch from Tonmawr, to Somers Town (MR) was routed via Port Talbot, Cardiff, Severn Tunnel Junction, Gloucester, Birmingham, Wigston, Leicester, Wellingborough, Bedford, and Luton. This was in 1923.
It is all explained in an article by Richard Evans on page 66.
Somers Town lay alongside St. Pancras.
Regards,
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