Pre grouping (1890s) wagons, how far did they roam?

sammakins

Pre grouping (1890s) wagons, how far did they roam?

Postby sammakins » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:57 pm

Hi all,
I've decided to try and set my models in roughly 1893 on the Shrewsbury and Hereford line (Joint GWR-LNWR). My first attempt at a layout is a fairly modest rail served sawmill on a 6' x 2' board.
I was wondering to what extent I can use other company wagons and vans, and how far afield they could have come from? Also how far afield would private owner wagons have roamed?
I'm a strong believer in modelling the norm not the exception so presumably the answer to the how far question is not very!
Finally can anyone point me in the direction of an online rail map of Britain from my period so i can see which areas of the country were linked more directly to the S&H line?
Many thanks
Sam

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Noel
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Re: Pre grouping (1890s) wagons, how far did they roam?

Postby Noel » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:04 pm

Your timeframe is well before wagons became common user, so it will depend on where your sawmill is getting its supplies of uncut timber from. If they are fairly local, then the local company's [local to the source, which might be on the GW, the LNW or the joint line, or perhaps the Midland] wagons would be used. If they also sourced timber from elsewhere in the country, then the wagons of the company or companies serving that source area would also appear. Any such 'foreign' wagons would be returned empty asap; any outbound traffic would use GW/LNW vehicles. If they import timber, cut or uncut, then wagons of a company [most probably only one company, I think, unless more than one docks was involved] serving the docks through which the import arrived are also a possibility; which company will depend on what they are importing and where from. The most likely, probably, would be rough cut Scandinavian timber via an east coast port or London.

Vans would have been relatively uncommon in that era; I can't think of a traffic which would have brought one to a sawmill. [Someone will probably prove me wrong...] If relevant, the very few chemical preservatives in use at that time would probably have arrived in carboys in sheeted opens, or, if in bulk [unlikely for a small sawmill, I think], in a tank wagon.

The great majority of PO wagons were in the coal trade. Retail coal merchants' wagons ran between mines and the owners' premises, as did those belonging to industrial users. Mine owners' wagons ran between their mines and their customers' premises [and customers could change suppliers]. Wholesale coal traders' wagons could turn up anywhere in the area in which they operated, and at collieries. Again it depends where the sawmill is getting its coal from [assuming it is not self-sufficient in fuel, with all the wood offcuts], and how. So far as I know [my primary period of interest is BR] the timber trade did not go in for other PO wagons, although there may have been a few exceptions.

Noel
Regards
Noel

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Guy Rixon
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Re: Pre grouping (1890s) wagons, how far did they roam?

Postby Guy Rixon » Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:52 pm

If the mill is sending timber to a station on another railway, then the wagons of that railway could be back-loaded with the timber, but only if they happened to arrive on site loaded; I think it would go against the RCH agreements to send the other company's wagons empty to the mill from another station. So you need to find out the other traffics going to the yard where the mill is connected. I'd expect that they only rarely got a "foreign" wagon they could back-load, and that there would be a big flow of empty LNWR/GWR wagons to the mill.

For a joint line, it's plausible (to me, at least, not actually knowing the regulations for this detail) that wagons of the parent companies were effectively pooled for traffic between stations on said line.

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Mark Tatlow
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Re: Pre grouping (1890s) wagons, how far did they roam?

Postby Mark Tatlow » Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:40 pm

Prior to the introduction of the common user agreement (which as Noel said was 1919); a company's wagons would have been loaded at the station on that same company's system and then go to wherever the goods were required in that wagon - whether that be beyond the company's system or not. The inefficiency of the approach was that if the wagon went off the parent company's system, it could not be loaded and sent back by a different company as the wagon did not belong to them. As such, the wagon would come back empty, even if there might of been other goods that could readily have used the same wagon in a return flow (I am simplifying, see below).

Clearly this was very inefficient and many wagons were being hauled around empty and thus local arrangements were made such that individual companies came to agreements that they could send goods in the other's vehicles if they were working back to the parent company. However, this depended upon the two companies having arrived at an agreement and did not generally permit a wagon going on a triangular journey via a third, fourth or whatever journey. The common user agreement made this harmonious across all companies and as such wagons really did go everywhere and would only always work back to the parent company for maintenance.

Therefore, depending where your raw materials (ie timber) comes from it will come in a company's wagons appropriate for that journey - ie the forest they were felled (however see the "but" below). The finished goods would typically go off in the station parent company's wagons as far as the goods might need to be delivered.

There is a "but" to this - to today's mind, we are used to seeing goods transported the length and breadth of the country to get to their destination and a concrete block used in Glasgow could as easily be made in Taunton as in Hartlepool or Motherwell. Whilst the principal that it could be delivered anywhere in the country applied in the Victorian era, the practise was not nearly so common because the cost of transport was so much more expensive than it is now. Thus, for fairly commonplace materials - such as chopped down trees and sawn timber - the materials may well not have travelled that far as a more local producer would be selected to save on the transport costs.

Thus, my rather long winded answer would say the home companies of the joint line and any neighbouring companies would be the right answer. However, if they had a new saw delivered or other bit of specialist machinary, this might well be delivered on a very foreign company's vehicle as this was a specialist good and not likely to be available so locally.

Hope this helps. It is well worth reading one or more of Essery's books/articles on this topic; although he does really deal with timeframes after yours.
Mark Tatlow

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Flymo748
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Re: Pre grouping (1890s) wagons, how far did they roam?

Postby Flymo748 » Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:57 pm

sammakins wrote:Hi all,
I've decided to try and set my models in roughly 1893 on the Shrewsbury and Hereford line (Joint GWR-LNWR).

Hi Sam,

This may seem like a "suck eggs" comment, but there's no harm is stating the obvious.

You do have a copy of "The railway photographs of PW Pilcher", published by the LNWR Society?

Pilcher moved to Shrewsbury in 1892 and took a significant number of photographs in the local area up the the Great War. Whilst only a couple of ones in the book feature goods trains, they are relatively detailed and show a variety of types of stock. The book is particularly good in showing the locomotives and infrastructure present in the area at the time.

I was persuaded (not that I took much persuasion) by a certain Jol of this parish to acquire a copy a couple of years ago, and it has been a book that I keep returning to for a further dose of "atmosphere".

All the best with the layout - it sounds fascinating.

Cheers
Flymo
Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!
www.5522models.co.uk

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Noel
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Re: Pre grouping (1890s) wagons, how far did they roam?

Postby Noel » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:57 am

I don't basically disagree with what Mark has said, but would observe that UK growing timber stocks were very low by the end of the 19th century, which is why timber supplies were such an issue in the first world war, when our imports were limited. This is why the Forestry Commission was set up in 1919 to improve stocks.

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/cmon-4uum6r

Some of the wartime demand was for military reasons, but photographs of Newport docks in the early 20th century show considerable amounts of timber being imported even before the war.

Noel
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Noel

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Russ Elliott
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Re: Pre grouping (1890s) wagons, how far did they roam?

Postby Russ Elliott » Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:35 am

Sam - I suspect your modest rail-served sawmill was dealing with locally-sourced timber and was delivering its product locally, so would have few 'foreigner' wagons.

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Ian Everett
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Re: Pre grouping (1890s) wagons, how far did they roam?

Postby Ian Everett » Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:01 am

I agree with Russ.

I work as a volunteer at a local water-powered sawmill - see http://www.gaylemill.org.uk/ - and it certainly always obtained its timber from local sources and its output was for the local community only. One fascinating resource we have is a map showing where they delivered the tractor-drawn trailers they made from the 1940s onward and they almost all went to farms in Wensleydale, with just a few going further afield, such as Swaledale and Wharfedale.

However there was a large flow through Hull of timber pit props imported from Scandinavia, carried as a return traffic in wagons which had carried coal for export.

Ian Allan's "Pre-Grouping Atlas" is the best set of maps I know of the railways around your period.

Ian

sammakins

Re: Pre grouping (1890s) wagons, how far did they roam?

Postby sammakins » Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:22 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone, much as I thought. At least I get to have red GWR wagons to add a bit of variation to it all. I might also have to apply a bit of modellers license so I can have a couple of Cambrian opens as I have a soft spot for them.
I'm thinking of making part of the mill a furniture and or joinery factory to allow me to have a couple of vans aswell.
Sam


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