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Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 10:39 am
by Warehouseworker
Hello, I am lookingfor some information about the relative numbers of LMS, LNER, GWR and SR wagons of all types in the wagon fleet just prior to nationalisation. I have vague memory of a series of articles in the now defunct Model Railway Costructor and I think R J Essery was on of the authors but I cannot remember what year they were published. Any information gartefully received.

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 2:02 pm
by Tim V
Was it 'Keeping the balance', by Don Rowland July to December 1974 Model Railways?

Where you needed 430(?) mineral wagons for every 4F?

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 6:10 pm
by philip-griffiths
Well said Tim. In fact I would suggest that revisiting Don Rowland's articles would be useful for the current generation of modellers who never saw the original articles. I had the benefit of being handed a load of Model Railway 1970s back-issues 25yrs ago and those particular articles put me on the road towards fine scale modelling.

It would be an interesting exercise also to think about whether or not the numbers Don Rowland quotes changed by the mid/late 60s, for example, neglecting the fact that British Railways had a variety of different locos, as a result of the modernisation plan across the power classifications, look at the number of Deltics which were said to be required to replace the Pacifics on the East Coast Main Line. Also how different would the figures be for today's railway scene?

regards

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Tue May 14, 2019 6:29 pm
by garethashenden
Would someone be able scan the article(s)? It sounds interesting but I don’t think I’d have much luck tracking down a 45 year old magazine from the other side of the Atlantic...

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 9:34 am
by Noel
I wonder if EditorTim could get permission from the copyright holder to do a reprint in the S4News?

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 10:43 am
by Noel
philip-griffiths wrote:It would be an interesting exercise also to think about whether or not the numbers Don Rowland quotes changed by the mid/late 60s, for example, neglecting the fact that British Railways had a variety of different locos, as a result of the modernisation plan across the power classifications, look at the number of Deltics which were said to be required to replace the Pacifics on the East Coast Main Line. Also how different would the figures be for today's railway scene?


According to Rowlands "British Railway Wagons" BR started with 1,223,634 traffic vehicles [i.e. excluding service vehicles but including the vast number of PO and MoWT minerals] and ended 1967 with 466,623 [of which 275,770 still lacked power brakes]. By the end of 1980 the total was down to 119,501, by which time wagons without power brakes would have been uncommon, and the conversion to air brakes would have started. The subsequent abolition of Wagonload traffic and Speedfreight, and privatisation, have changed the railway so much that comparisons cease to have much meaning after that.

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 10:57 am
by Noel
Warehouseworker wrote:Hello, I am lookingfor some information about the relative numbers of LMS, LNER, GWR and SR wagons of all types in the wagon fleet just prior to nationalisation.


Peter Tatlow's "LNER Wagons" vol. 4B gives the total LNER wagon stock at the end of 1947 [i.e. the day before nationalisation] as 241,565 excluding service stock. I don't have comparable figures for the other three, though.

The figures for VB wagons at point 2 of http://www.lmssociety.org.uk/topics/freightWorking.shtml will show the relative proportions of VB vehicles for the 'big 4', and can reasonably be extrapolated to give overall totals, I think. They will only be approximate, and you will need to deduct the requisitioned PO vehicle estimate given at point 3 [requisitioned vehicles were inherited by BR, non-requisitioned ones were not, more or less] from the total before making the calculation.

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 2:16 pm
by philip-griffiths
Noel wrote:I wonder if EditorTim could get permission from the copyright holder to do a reprint in the S4News?


I think that is an excellent suggestion.

regards

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 2:19 pm
by philip-griffiths
Noel wrote:
philip-griffiths wrote:It would be an interesting exercise also to think about whether or not the numbers Don Rowland quotes changed by the mid/late 60s, for example, neglecting the fact that British Railways had a variety of different locos, as a result of the modernisation plan across the power classifications, look at the number of Deltics which were said to be required to replace the Pacifics on the East Coast Main Line. Also how different would the figures be for today's railway scene?


According to Rowlands "British Railway Wagons" BR started with 1,223,634 traffic vehicles [i.e. excluding service vehicles but including the vast number of PO and MoWT minerals] and ended 1967 with 466,623 [of which 275,770 still lacked power brakes]. By the end of 1980 the total was down to 119,501, by which time wagons without power brakes would have been uncommon, and the conversion to air brakes would have started. The subsequent abolition of Wagonload traffic and Speedfreight, and privatisation, have changed the railway so much that comparisons cease to have much meaning after that.


Totally accepted, but there are still wagons, even though they tend to run in blocks, and there are far fewer locomotives and we tend to have fixed units for passenger trains. It may be that the people who would most benefit from reading such articles would be those who are currently buying rtr for whom such an article would get them thinking differently.

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Thu May 16, 2019 2:23 pm
by Tim V
philip-griffiths wrote:
Noel wrote:I wonder if EditorTim could get permission from the copyright holder to do a reprint in the S4News?


I think that is an excellent suggestion.

regards

It was an excellent series of articles from one of my favourite periods of Model Railways.

I would be up for that - does anyone know Don? Is he still a member?

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Thu May 16, 2019 2:38 pm
by Noel
A wander around Google has produced https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/70924-world-of-wagons-by-don-rowland-model-railway-news-1967-1968/ and https://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?146240-Keeping-The-Balance-1974-Articles-by-D-Rowland, so two [different] series, not just one.

Warehouseworker, you may be particularly interested in post #7 of the second link.

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 8:09 am
by Warehouseworker
Thank you to everyone who has replied to my question. Your help is much appreciated.

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Sun May 19, 2019 8:37 pm
by martin goodall
I was always a little sceptical of Don Rowlands' article in Model Railways. There was no such thing as a 'typical' line on which the proportions of wagons from each of the Big Four would have been exactly (or possibly even approximately) equal to the figures shown in the article. Local conditions, specifically local traffic flows, etc., are bound to have had an effect on the proportions of wagons seen.

In the case of those wagons covered by the RCH common user arrangements, the distribution of wagons around the railway system could have been completely random, which on any day in any one place might have borne no relation to the proportions mentioned in Don's article.

Period is another factor to take into account. Although common user arrangements were in place by the end of WW1, photographic evidence shows clearly that in the early 1920s (about the time of the Grouping) the wagons of the 'home' company were still far more numerous than those of other companies (although this may have been less pronounced in central parts of the country, where there may have been more scope for wagon fleets to become mixed under the common user arrangements).

Rather than relying on a statistical approach, I suggest that it would be more reliable to analyse available photographic evidence from the line or area in question.

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Sun May 19, 2019 9:49 pm
by philip-griffiths
Martin.

Your comments are valid and it is what I did for my own planned layouts. In fact Don’s findings and suggestions would not match my findings but it did make me think about all aspects of rolling stock including the need for many more basic opens than other wagons.

However I can see why Don wrote it when looking at the magazines of the time and the layouts predicted.

Regards.

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 5:28 pm
by Tim V
Unfortunately looking at the composition of freight trains on a lot of layouts, the message Don was trying to say does not appear to have been heard.

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 9:50 pm
by philip-griffiths
Tim V wrote:Unfortunately looking at the composition of freight trains on a lot of layouts, the message Don was trying to say does not appear to have been heard.


Tim. His comments on freight was I think the most pertinent, followed by carriages. There is still a tendency to ignore common user principles by some and passenger trains seem to be made up of composites and brake thirds.

Regards.

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Fri May 24, 2019 8:13 pm
by Noel
philip-griffiths wrote: including the need for many more basic opens than other wagons


This does depend on the period. Definitely true for pre-grouping, less so thereafter, and not true for 1950s onward BR, with vans more common. Similar comments can be made about vacuum fitted vehicles: rare pre-grouping, with more appearing during the 1920s and 1930s as train categories started to include through goods with fitted heads, or even a few fully fitted, both of which categories increased further under BR.

Basically, as Martin has already pointed out, this is a bit "lies, damn lies, and statistics". As a generalisation, it is correct, but in reality, if the traffic wasn't there, the [specialist] wagons weren't either [which Don Rowland knew]. But then, the proportion of specialist wagons also increased over time, as the amount of traffic which wouldn't fit into a basic open or van also increased with advances in technology.

The railways were large, active, highly commercial organisations, and evolved over time. As Martin observed, the more photos you can find of your chosen location, or area, and period, the more likely you will be able to understand what was in use at that time and place.

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 7:01 pm
by martin goodall
Noel has picked up on a point that I didn't mention, but which I seem to recall was covered in Don Rowlands' article.

In the pre-grouping era, and on into the inter-war period, goods were far more likely to be carried in an open wagon (protected if necessary by a wagon sheet) than in a covered goods van. Likewise, except on express goods services on main lines, the vast majority of wagons would have been hand-braked only, although the gradual increase in the number of vacuum-braked wagons led to others being fitted with through pipes, so as to aid marshaling of the vacuum-fitted head of through goods trains.

These factors would undoubtedly affect the mix of wagons that would be seen, especially on branch lines in the earlier inter-war period, in which case Opens would have outnumbered Vans by a significant margin, and vacuum-braked wagons would have been very much in the minority. We do perhaps need to curb our enthusiasm for more specialist wagons, and concentrate on the mundane everyday wagons that are more likely to have been seen in the local pick-up goods train.

But of course some of us will still be tempted to exercise modeller's licence to justify an unlikely choice of vehicles. I have both a Fruit A and a Fruit C on the Burford Branch, but I can more or less guarantee that in reality neither of these would ever have been seen on such a line.

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 8:02 pm
by Noel
martin goodall wrote:But of course some of us will still be tempted to exercise modeller's licence to justify an unlikely choice of vehicles. I have both a Fruit A and a Fruit C on the Burford Branch, but I can more or less guarantee that in reality neither of these would ever have been seen on such a line.


I'm not sure it's quite as black and white as that, Martin. For the BR period, for example: in the 1950s Cornwall saw train loads of empty Oxfits [VB cattle wagons] arriving for the broccoli and then the early potato seasons; Worcestershire saw train loads of empty fruit vans for dealing with the apple crop; and, when not required for their specialist traffic, fruit vans might be used as ordinary vans. There may be a tendency for modellers to think along the lines of 'it's a specialist vehicle, it's only used for that particular traffic', but this was not always true. How about two Minis loaded on a Plate, or a Plate VB full of loco shed ash? So, even if you rule out inbound traffic, is occasional outbound traffic of some sort of perishable agricultural produce possible; vegetables, perhaps? It doesn't have to be fruit or veg, Cornwall in the spring also forwarded a lot of passenger rated flowers, for example, which also needed ventilation.

Re: Wagon fleet compostion

Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 5:54 pm
by martin goodall
I am well aware of FRUIT Ds being used as parcels vans, but I am not so sure that FRUIT Cs would ever have been used in this way (but if anyone knows better then please let us know - I would welcome this excuse to justify my FRUIT C.)

However, it seems to me very unlikely that a FRUIT A would have been used for other purposes.

Just to compound the problem on my layout, the FRUIT A is clearly labelled "Return to Weymouth" for the Channel Island tomato traffic, and the FRUIT C is labelled "Empty to Pershore".