Berry Wiggins tank wagon movements

Model and prototype rolling stock, locos, multiple units etc.
Monty
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Berry Wiggins tank wagon movements

Postby Monty » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:49 am

Does anybody have any knowlege regarding the routing & where steam locomotives were exchanged when Berry Wiggins tank wagons were transported from their base in Kent to Gloucestershire/Forest of Dean area? I am assuming there must have been a change from Southern region locos to Western somewhere but which route did the train of tank wagons take? Could Southern locos have worked all the way through to Gloucester where say a Western pannier or Prairie tank have taken over? Any facts would be appreciated.

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Noel
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Re: Berry Wiggins tank wagon movements

Postby Noel » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:07 am

The only photos I have seen of Berry Wiggins tanks in trains were taken in the Forest of Dean in the mid-1960s, which show the tanks [which included non-BW liveried vehicles on occasion] travelled in small(ish) groups, together with 16T minerals in transit to/from Northern United colliery. The locos are 57XX panniers.

The way you have phrased the question seems to me to imply that you are thinking in terms of a block train from Kent to the FoD and back [apologies if I've got that wrong]. Block trains for some oil companies started circa 1961, but I am not sure that BW's traffic would have been sufficient to justify a block train. Tourret, Petroleum Rail Tank Wagons of Britain, refers to BW depots in Somerset and Manchester; it also shows a number of photos of their wagons, the highest fleet number shown being 121. It's not conclusive, but the FoD photos, multiple locations and small wagon fleet [which included class A, class B and bitumen tanks] suggest to me that a block train is not likely.

If there was a block train, I would expect it to have run via Acton, with an engine change there. Otherwise, individual wagons or groups of wagons would have travelled as part of larger freight services. Given the start and end points, I would expect a SR freight from Kent to the London area for remarshalling, an inter-regional transfer to Acton, a further remarshalling and onwards transit by the WR.
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Noel

John Palmer
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Re: Berry Wiggins tank wagon movements

Postby John Palmer » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:50 am

A quick trawl through my collection of wagon photographs taken in the second half of the 1960s has revealed three shots that include Berry Wiggins tanks.
Berry Wiggins 1.jpg
This was taken primarily for the Lowmac in the foreground; the raft of 4 BW tanks behind just happened to be there. I was dreadfully bad at making notes about my pictures but I think this one was taken either at Newton Abbot or Swindon. The former is the more likely.
Berry Wiggins 2.jpg
Again I have no record of the location. I have cropped this photograph so that the pair of FB running lines in the foreground can no longer be seen, but their presence on the original suggests to me that they were the relief lines between London and Didcot. The skyline prompts the thought that the location is Reading West Yard. Interesting for the range of tank sizes/designs; poor quality due to the fact that this was shot from a moving train.
Berry Wiggins 3.jpg
I'm reasonably confident that I recognise the S&T works at Reading in the background to this singleton.

Collectively these three shots seem consistent with a route along the GW main line between Reading and Swindon, whence one would, conventionally, assume a route to Gloucester via Kemble and Standish Jc (which would avoid a reversal at Stoke Gifford/Westerleigh).

Sorry not to be able to offer more, and apologies for the quality of the photography. I don't think my photographic skills were much good, and they weren't helped by the quality of the Kodak cartridge films used in the Instamatic camera that was the only tool in my box. These are shortcomings of which I've become increasingly conscious as the years go by.

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Tim V
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Re: Berry Wiggins tank wagon movements

Postby Tim V » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:58 am

Any picture, of whatever quality, is better than no picture.

As Galen Rowell once famously said "F8 and be there".
Tim V
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Monty
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Re: Berry Wiggins tank wagon movements

Postby Monty » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:17 pm

Thanks all. I was not really thinking in terms of block trains but rather in terms of a few of their wagons put on to a general goods train from Kent with the B.W. wagons 'dropped off' somewhere along the route, just like you suggest Noel. The routing you mention is very logical with the Western taking over the wagons @ Acton or Reading. Do not apologise about the photos John, it is a pleasure to see something & the shot with a B.W. wagon between a mineral & van confirms a mixed goods, perhaps to Gloucester? Regards.

Phil O
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Re: Berry Wiggins tank wagon movements

Postby Phil O » Sun Aug 25, 2019 7:06 am

I think Tonbridge, Reading would be a viable route from Kent to the FoD. A lot of inter railway/region passenger traffic used this route. G(W) worked as far as Redhill and Southern engines regularly worked to Oxford.

Phil

John Palmer
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Re: Berry Wiggins tank wagon movements

Postby John Palmer » Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:56 am

The South Eastern line between Reading and Tonbridge was (is!) very useful and was my route of choice for visits to Scaleforum at Leatherhead. However, having just taken a look at the pictures of BW tanks on Paul Bartlett's website, I am struck by the number of photographs of these tanks that were taken at Feltham. That leads me to think that a more direct route via North Kent Line, Nunhead, Clapham Jc. and Feltham is more likely to have been the one followed, only joining the Reading-Tonbridge route at Wokingham.

Edited to add that Feltham looks like a candidate location for remarshalling into a new train, with possible further remarshalling at Reading, and a Western engine from that point onwards. How many Southern footplatemen would have signed for the GW main line west of Reading?

Further edited to add that John Arkell's 'Private Owner Wagons of the South East' (pub. Lightmoor Press) apparently contains at least a picture of a BW tank which might assist with routing information in that area.

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Noel
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Re: Berry Wiggins tank wagon movements

Postby Noel » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:33 am

The grouped railways exchanged traffic between themselves at a small number of designated locations, and BR on the whole retained this system without major alteration until the end of the steam era. I am inclined to discount Tonbridge - Reading as a normal route for this reason; its use by the GWR and BR WR for passenger traffic need not imply any use for goods traffic as the two were treated quite separately. The obvious (?) place for goods traffic from Kent to arrive in the London area is at Hither Green; I think it is very unlikely that Feltham would be dealing with traffic to/from Kent. Feltham had transfer freights to the WR at Acton, but so did Hither Green, so photographs at Feltham suggest a transfer from Hither Green to Feltham for onward transit to the WR at Reading.

So far as the photo of the tanks and Lowmacs is concerned, John, I would vote for Swindon. The Tourret reference to a depot in Somerset gives no location, and Coppin, "Oil on the Rails" doesn't list it, but Newton Abbot is well into south Devon, so there seems no obvious reason why the tanks would be there. However, if it still existed, and was between Bristol and Taunton then Swindon is a possibility, as it would certainly be for FoD traffic. I lived in Torquay from 1960 to 1968, so the great majority of my trainspotting was done at NA; Hackney Yard wasn't very visible from outside the railway, but I don't remember seeing BW tanks there [for what that is worth after all these years!]
Regards
Noel

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Noel
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Re: Berry Wiggins tank wagon movements

Postby Noel » Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:25 pm

Since writing the foregoing, I have had another look at David Larkin "PO Freight Wagons on BR" and "Non-Pool Freight Stock 1948-1968" Vol 1. Of 12 photographs [one appears in both books], two are 'location unknown'; the others are all at Hoo Junction, with the exception of one at Swindon.
Regards
Noel

John Palmer
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Re: Berry Wiggins tank wagon movements

Postby John Palmer » Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:49 pm

Yes, a route via Hither Green looks eminently feasible; fork left rather than right at Dartford, and the route via Nunhead can be regained at Lewisham.

The only reason I plumped for Newton Abbot rather than Swindon was that the photograph triggered a fading memory of a walk round Hackney Yard in the same overcast weather. I also visited the (?)Transfer Yard at Swindon, where the goods shed was located, but that was in much brighter weather, as confirmed by my snaps from that visit. I think it must have been on another occasion that I toured what must have been the Special Wagons Yard at Swindon, where some Crocodiles were still to be seen as well as a Protrol (rare bird!), but I don't think it was there that I photographed the Lowmac with the BW tanks behind.

These were yard tours for which my grandfather arranged the necessary permissions from BR, whose goods managers must have been utterly bemused by the notion that someone wanted to look at their wagons, for this was a time when Essery, Rowland and Steel's seminal work 'British Goods Wagons' had yet to be published. There must have been any number of fascinating items of wagon stock that I failed to notice or photograph, but none of the reference works on the subject we now take for granted were available, so I had little other than personal observation to expand my knowledge.

No surprise to find shots of these tanks at Hoo Jc, as they must have come through there on their way to and from the BW depot at Kingsnorth.

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Noel
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Re: Berry Wiggins tank wagon movements

Postby Noel » Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:50 pm

I wasn't much interested in wagons then... I did get to go round both NA and Laira sheds in the mid-1960s [with my father to supervise] thanks to the husband of a cousin who lived in Newton Abbot and had a son my age. He worked in Bristol Divisional offices, so had contacts...

John Palmer wrote:No surprise to find shots of these tanks at Hoo Jc, as they must have come through there on their way to and from the BW depot at Kingsnorth.


Indeed. It was the one exception, at Swindon, that got my attention. Here's one somewhere different https://www.flickr.com/photos/blue-diesels/26842881233/in/photolist-GU1Mp8.
Regards
Noel

Monty
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Re: Berry Wiggins tank wagon movements

Postby Monty » Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:03 pm

Thanks to all for the very interesting replies. In hindsight Noel!


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