SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

seanmcs
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SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby seanmcs » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:49 am

I ask if there is any online source of pictures of the couplings for the mid 1930s SR conversion to 58' of former LSWR non-corridor coaches (the Hornvy set). And also if the couplings of the forthcoming Bachmann birdcage coaches are the same. I have no SR archive, as overly focussed on GWR 1930s.

I have a Heytesbury (GWR) mid 1930s layout in mind, and have just realised how much interchange of locos and coaches took place SR/GWR in this short line. As there are no top quality RTR GWR coaches of the non-corridor kind, I have zeroed in on the excellent recent Hornby SR version, and await the Bachmann birdcage trio with anticipation, even if they might only occasionally appear West. The Salisbury - Westbury line was considered by GWR as a branch line with short trains, but it also had some Wales - Southhampton fast through traffic and even an intrusion of the Weymouth - Westbury Diesel railcar Nr 11 in mid 1930s.

Any reference much appreciated.

seanmcs

Philip Hall
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby Philip Hall » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:14 pm

The LSWR rebuilds have standard carriage screw couplings as far as I have been able to see, so whatever your preferred brew of these from the many available would be appropriate. I often use a W&T centre section with the odd looking etched tommy bar replaced with a duchesse pin with a blob of epoxy on the end. I put some details in MRJ 251; however I have no access to the photos at the moment so cannot post anything here.

I did reduce the springing of the Hornby buffers by thinning the plastic spring, and arranged the inter-coach couplings in the set to be of a length to bring the buffers into contact. These can be single links, bent around to look like a screw coupling, or normal couplings with the links shortened. Either (with the reduced buffer springing) can cope with 4ft radius (or possibly a bit less) curves, provided the carriages are weighted to about 190 grams or so. Nothing looks worse to me than carriages loose coupled like a goods train, especially in motion.

I imagine the Birdcages are much the same, but I’m all at sea with the Eastern side of the SR so not absolutely sure. Having seen samples, the Bachmann buffers are solid mouldings, so I would want to replace the heads at least for the reasons above, along with some extra weight.

Philip

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Noel
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby Noel » Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:14 pm

seanmcs wrote:I have a Heytesbury (GWR) mid 1930s layout in mind, and have just realised how much interchange of locos and coaches took place SR/GWR in this short line.


I find this rather surprising. Coaches possibly, but I would expect a corridor set on a Cardiff-Portsmouth service, for example, not non-corridors; so far as I know local services between Salisbury and Westbury were solely GWR. SR locomotives at that period would have implied an SR crew, who would not normally be sufficiently familiar with another company's route to be allowed to work it. A special arrangement existed in Devon where some crews worked regularly over the other company's line, with their own locos, so that they were passed to work on it if their own line was blocked [Dawlish storms, etc.], but I am not aware of any reason why such an arrangement would have been in place between Salisbury and Westbury, so SR stock on a through train would have been worked by a GWR loco north of Salisbury.

WW2 caused locos to be loaned to the GWR, from both the LNER and the SR [including the N15X], and after nationalisation the Salisbury to Westbury line was transferred to the Southern Region. However, neither period is a reliable guide to what happened earlier. I would also doubt that Birdcage stock would ever normally have been seen on ex-LSWR lines at any time, as the Western Division had its own non-corridor coaches and the three Divisions of the SR tended to be very parochial about such matters.
Regards
Noel

Brian Pearce
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby Brian Pearce » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:43 pm

I agree with Noel re use of SR stock on this line other than corridor stock on through Cardiff - Portsmouth trains where locos seldom worked right through, being changed at Salisbury. On no occasion did I ever see birdcage stock used on ex LSWR routes as a regular occurence. A nice thought but unlikely historically.

Brian.

Joe Newman
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby Joe Newman » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:57 pm

Sean,

I have found three photos, all taken by H. C. Casserley, of passenger trains between Heytesbury and Westbury which are hauled by SR locos.

The references are as follows.

H. C. Casserley Railway History in Pictures,David & Charles

p.64 - U class 2-6-0 no. 1624 hauling seven corridor coaches, 6 GWR and, I think, one SR. (5/7/1938)

Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith, Country Railway Routes, Salisbury to Westbury, Middeton Press

photo 79 - U class 2-6-0 no. 1625 hauling six GWR corridor coaches (20/7/1937)

photo 83 - U class 2-6-0 no. 1624 hauling a number of GWR corridor coaches (21/9/1936)

If you wish, I can scan them and send them to you - send me a PM.

I hope this helps

Joe

seanmcs
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby seanmcs » Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:23 am

Thanks to everyone for such helpful observations.

My main single source is a small publication: "Salisbury to Westbury" by V Mitchell and K Smith. It has a couple of Bulldogs pulling respectively LSWR coaches (Heytesbury) and another in 1938 at Codford pulling SR coaches. There's a SR class U Nr 1625 pulling a rig of GWR coaches Portsmouth-Cardiff in 1937. One of the authors mentions his recollections: The mixture of SR and GWR stock on the route made a lasting impression on your scribe (V Mitchell) and many other travellers who enjoyed the line in its heyday.

By personal observation on annual visits and from this little book, many of the stations on this line (now closed) were rather short, so small trains and non-corridor stock. Whereas the through traffic, I believe largely non-stop, would have had corridor coaches in the period of interest: mid 1930s. An interesting mixture which allows the bow-ended Colletts and the 58' SR non-corridoers which definitely ran on this line, but still hoping for some non-corridor GWR RTRs of the same standard.

If anyone could kindly point me to a photo of the SR and birdcage presumably screw couplings, I'd be most grateful.

Thanks again. Sean

seanmcs
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby seanmcs » Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:26 am

Joe:

Sorry, I failed to acknowledge your most helpful contribution.

I'd be most grateful to receive those pictures. How do I get to you my email address. I'm in Sydney, Australia.

Thanks. Sean

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John McAleely
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby John McAleely » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:19 am

seanmcs wrote:How do I get to you my email address. I'm in Sydney, Australia.


There is a small icon next to the word ‘contact’ to the left of every posting. Using the one beneath joe’s name will get a suitable message to him.

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Noel
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby Noel » Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:40 pm

Joe Newman wrote:I have found three photos, all taken by H. C. Casserley, of passenger trains between Heytesbury and Westbury which are hauled by SR locos.


Can't argue with the evidence :). Cardiff - Portsmouth was a jointly operated service, with, apparently, both companies supplying stock, presumably in equal proportions. The RCH would have sorted out the financial aspects, but the thought occurs that Westbury is much nearer the halfway point between the two than Salisbury, so it may have been used for the changeover to minimise the difference in mileage. Clearly the use of SR engines between Westbury and Salisbury was a regular event, so the SR crews must have signed for the line. I have found a photograph from 1938 at Patchway of a Star on a Cardiff-Portsmouth, which has six coaches. The first four are recently ex-works ex-LSWR Ironclads of set 436; the trailing pair are very grubby and not identifiable [by me anyway], but probably SR as well.

seanmcs wrote:If anyone could kindly point me to a photo of the SR and birdcage presumably screw couplings, I'd be most grateful.


http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/birdcage/ particularly the lowest picture. It will resize if clicked on. http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/birdcage/3363_davec2733_13oct11h.jpg for the other side.

seanmcs wrote: An interesting mixture which allows the bow-ended Colletts and the 58' SR non-corridoers which definitely ran on this line, but still hoping for some non-corridor GWR RTRs of the same standard.


The GWR happily used non-corridor sets in areas with extensive short distance local traffic [London, Bristol and Birmingham area suburban, south Wales valleys], but for longer distances tended to use elderly corridor stock on secondary trains; some clerestories survived well into the 1930s for this reason. Given the presence of SR locos on the line for the Cardiff-Portsmouth, it is not impossible [but unlikely?] that their diagrams involved working one way on GWR local trains, but these would be GWR stock. I still can't see any reason why SR non-corridor stock would have appeared on the line in the 1930s, except, just possibly, for excursion specials [but to where?], although I would expect those, for both operational and financial reasons, to use the S&D [joint ownership] or the M&SWJR [running powers]. I would be interested to see the evidence.
Regards
Noel

seanmcs
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby seanmcs » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:12 am

The nearest idea might be a Salisbury and beyond from the East special racegoers going to Wincanton via the Wylye vally to pick up a few more horseboxes. Implausable but not impossible in mid 1930s. Anyway, my likely excuse for a Birdcage incursion.. I suspect these Bachmanns will be rather nice, and easy to re-wheel and re-couple. A delight for the eye.

Best. Sean

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Noel
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby Noel » Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:13 pm

seanmcs wrote:The nearest idea might be a Salisbury and beyond from the East special racegoers going to Wincanton via the Wylye vally to pick up a few more horseboxes.


Horse boxes didn't travel by the same trains as racegoers' specials because the horses had to be there earlier than the customers, and would probably leave later. The station for Wincanton races was Wincanton on the S&DJR; any train for Wincanton from Salisbury would go via Templecombe. If it goes to Westbury there is nothing for it to do but turn round and go back to Salisbury as there is no useful method of return to the S&DJR from there, except via Yeovil, which involves a long and improbable trip via the GWR and an awful lot of faffing about as the connections at Yeovil would mean a double reversal. In practice, anyone travelling from the Wylie valley in the 1930s would either use regular trains via Salisbury or the bus [or their own car if they owned one].

Wincanton in the 1930s was a small provincial course with a limited market. Apart from the locals, racegoers generally were prosperous people, who would be very upset by being in a train with no toilets for the several hours it would take to travel from the nearest locations where SECR stock might be expected. The GWR, for instance, kept sets of all First class corridor trains for race specials from London to Newbury races, which were used for nothing else. In reality, the numbers of long distance travellers to Wincanton races were probably small enough for them to use regular services.

If you want to run Birdcage stock, that's up to you. To quote the current S4News editor "whose train set is it, anyway?" However, I do think your suggested rationale rather lacks credibility, I'm afraid :).
Regards
Noel

seanmcs
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby seanmcs » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:21 am

Noel:

Well, I think your argument about the racing outing pretty much sinks the proposition of the roundabout route to Wincanton! Pity as I am trying to amass as many interesting horse boxes as possible.

But, looking at the pictures so far available on the three Bachmann Birdcages, two out of three have a lav. Though, until I can find out more about these coaches, for the life of me I don't see how you would get to said lav. One site showed a coach dismantled and no evident corridor, but maybe that is the non-lav one?

Meanwhile I am thinking about the Bath Show as a pretext. Nowadays it seems to roam about Somerset; not sure about mid 1930s, but surely there would be a nearby GWR station. Anyway, that's what I'm thinking. Just looking at the pictures of those Birdcages... the Hornby 58 footers are lookers too.

Best. Sean

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Will L
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby Will L » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:06 am

seanmcs wrote:... looking at the pictures so far available on the three Bachmann Birdcages, two out of three have a lav. Though, until I can find out more about these coaches, for the life of me I don't see how you would get to said lav. One site showed a coach dismantled and no evident corridor, but maybe that is the non-lav one?


I don't know anything specific about coaches from south of the river, but I do know that lavatories arrived before corridors and so loos were only accessible from adjacent compartments.

John Palmer
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby John Palmer » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:51 am

I believe the School of Infantry moved to Warminster in 1937, marking the start of that town's continuing association with the Army. This might offer a pretext for military traffic that includes troop trains composed of stock from all sorts of exotic places.

It appears that a few SECR coaches did find employment in SR Western Division sets, in a number of cases by incorporation into push-pull 2-sets (e.g. 3 such sets formed c. March 1937, in which SECR Thirds were paired with Driving Brake Composite coaches rebuilt from LSW bodies mounted on Ironclad underframes). The Bachmann coaches look very nice, but it's a pity they did not round out the range with a versatile 60' 'long ten' Third class coach. I get the impression that some of these were treated as loose stock that might have wandered quite far afield.

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Noel
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby Noel » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:06 pm

seanmcs wrote:Meanwhile I am thinking about the Bath Show as a pretext. Nowadays it seems to roam about Somerset; not sure about mid 1930s, but surely there would be a nearby GWR station.


Just for the record, it's been at Shepton Mallet since 1965; it was peripatetic before then.

So far as horse boxes are concerned, a race special may not be the best answer. Horses sent to race, or to a show, would return in the same box, but a lot of valuable horses were moved in smaller numbers for other reasons which involved a temporary or permanent stay at the destination, with the box being returned empty. Hunting was more common, and more acceptable, than now, army officers often had their own horses [even in the mechanised army as it was by then], and horses, then as now, travelled for breeding purposes, while any sale might well result in a change of location for the horse.

Horse boxes were never common user; even in BR days many were still branded to be returned to the station where they were allocated. The horse box used would belong to the company where the traffic originated, unless a stable had a box on permanent hire. Also, it would need quite a lot of horses being moved to the same place at the same time to necessitate a special. Most horse boxes would probably travel attached to passenger trains, or in parcels trains when empty. Photographs exist of trains on the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton, for example, of local passenger trains with three or four horseboxes attached, possibly, in that case, to/from Newbury races. The same applies, incidentally, to the Prize/Special Cattle Vans used for valuable cattle.

seanmcs wrote:Though, until I can find out more about these coaches, for the life of me I don't see how you would get to said lav. One site showed a coach dismantled and no evident corridor, but maybe that is the non-lav one?


Non corridor lavatory coaches varied in style. Some late LNER ones were effectively corridor coaches apart from the lack of end gangways. To expand on Will's comment, the most common arrangement though was to have a pair of lavatories side by side, lengthwise. The single compartments either side each had access to one of the lavatories. This was achieved by truncating the seat on the lavatory side and inserting a door in the vacant space. The two compartments were identical in layout, but rotated 180 degrees; no other compartments had access to a lavatory. I don't know about these coaches, but suspect the latter arrangement, which would explain the lack of a visible corridor. You had to know which compartments to get into...

John Palmer has commented below about push-pull sets; these would have been specially equipped with the necessary equipment for such working [the SR used an air-pressure control system] and would usually only have been found in such sets once converted. As such, I don't think they would have appeared on the GWR [and yes I do know about Yeovil Town, which was effectively a joint station].
Regards
Noel

allanferguson
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby allanferguson » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:31 pm

A thought arising from this very interesting discussion. I have seen many photographs of horseboxes in passenger trains, and always attached between the loco and the train. Was this a matter of operational convenience or was it, for example, o smoother ride for the horse?

Allan F

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Noel
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby Noel » Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:32 pm

allanferguson wrote:A thought arising from this very interesting discussion. I have seen many photographs of horseboxes in passenger trains, and always attached between the loco and the train. Was this a matter of operational convenience or was it, for example, o smoother ride for the horse?


Normally operational convenience, so far as I know. With the screw couplings done up properly there shouldn't be much difference for the horse(s). There were rules about which passenger trains could convey such additional vehicles, and how many. The photo taken on the DN&S I referred to had the horse boxes on the back.
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Noel

seanmcs
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby seanmcs » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:29 am

Greatly appreciated again. For the Bath Show I was toying with the idea of the Friends of the Canterbury Cathedral Choir and Families, but I think the Warminster Military Special Train is more attractive. For example, those two cars' lav compartments could be dedicated to Officers. All the rest to Men. Maybe a couple of relief stops on the way. Any idea of a suitable Kentish/Sussex feed station, please?

If the Warminster centre was set up in 1937, presumably there would have been earlier work parties setting it up; thereby to fall in mid 1930s

All falling into place.

Sean

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Guy Rixon
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby Guy Rixon » Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:11 am

seanmcs wrote:But, looking at the pictures so far available on the three Bachmann Birdcages, two out of three have a lav. Though, until I can find out more about these coaches, for the life of me I don't see how you would get to said lav. One site showed a coach dismantled and no evident corridor, but maybe that is the non-lav one?


Looking at the drawings in Coutanche, there were two designs of composite centre-coach for the Trio-C sets (which is what I believe the Bachmann models represent) and each had lavatories accessed from two individual compartments, as noted by Noel. The brake thirds had no lavatories. There was also a brake composite with internal corridors but no gangways.

Up to WW1, the only gangwayed coaches that the SECR had (excepting mail coaches and the royal train) were a few brake tricomposites built as through coaches. Few SECR coaches were made with internal corridors because the narrow overall-width meant that too many seats were lost.

John Palmer
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby John Palmer » Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:51 am

The School of Infantry moved to Warminster from Hythe in Kent, but the School of Musketry remained at Hythe until 1969 when it too re-located to Warminster. At the same time the Army tumbled to the fact that muskets were a bit passé and renamed the establishment. The continued military presence at Hythe might provide a pretext for a special from there, although the question that then arises is whether a unit's movement would justify a dedicated train. I suspect that movements on that scale were fairly uncommon.

I think that a bigger problem may lie in justifying employment of a SECR Trio set for such a special. I assume that most if not all such sets were allocated to diagrams for regular services, implying that troop specials would have to be formed from the pool of special traffic sets, or, failing that, ad hoc assemblies of loose vehicles. I can't speak as to the proportions of 1st to 3rd class accommodation in such trains during the 'thirties, but the dominance of 3rd class after nationalisation is noticeable. On the Southern's Western Division, for example, there were a number of eight car special traffic sets, mainly composed of Ironclads and having a composition of two brake thirds and five full thirds against a single first class vehicle (which might itself be treated as downgraded to a third). Another reason it would be nice for manufacturers to include a full third any any range of coaches they produce.

It wasn't my intention to give the impression that SECR coaches were common on the Western Division. The fact that I could only identify some push-pull sets as including such vehicles testifies to their rarity in the west. However, it is my understanding that during Southern Railway days the use of SECR sets was extended significantly into former LBSCR territory, so that to some extent the continued self-containment of the Southern's three principal constituents was diluted in this respect. Perhaps someone with more detailed knowledge of these matters could comment?

dal-t
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby dal-t » Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:01 pm

Just to make sure we are getting it all right - and to do the British Army justice, whether it deserves it or not - the School at Hythe actually adopted the title 'Small Arms' in 1929, and even when it was the School of Musketry, its badge was actually crossed rifles!
Last edited by grovenor-2685 on Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: spelling changed from Hyde
David L-T

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Noel
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby Noel » Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:03 pm

seanmcs wrote:For example, those two cars' lav compartments could be dedicated to Officers. All the rest to Men. Maybe a couple of relief stops on the way.


Sorry to rain on your parade again ;), but special trains for the military would have been arranged by HQ, owing to the need to provide locos and their crews, guards and a path for the train, and then notify everyone, including the signalmen en-route, of the existence of the special. They would have been able to arrange to use a corridor set, possibly one made up specially for the occasion. The thought of officers travelling third class, even with lavatories - shock, horror :D. Depending on the arm of service, a regular British army battalion/regiment of the era would be around 500 to 1,000 men, plus a lot of personal baggage. Other baggage and heavy equipment, e.g. armoured vehicles or transport, would travel separately. I don't know about officers' personal impedimenta, such as horses or motor vehicles, but suspect that as they were personal property, not the army's, officers would need to make their own arrangements. A few units, such as Guards regiments, might have 'official' horses still, but not many by the 1930s, and they would probably stay at home if the unit moved elsewhere temporarily for exercises or whatever. The whole evolution, although familiar enough to the railways and the army, would take a lot of organising.
Regards
Noel

John Palmer
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby John Palmer » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:06 pm

dal-t wrote:Just to make sure we are getting it all right - and to do the British Army justice, whether it deserves it or not - the School at Hythe actually adopted the title 'Small Arms' in 1929, and even when it was the School of Musketry, its badge was actually crossed rifles!

Apologies, can't think where I got the idea that the name change was as late as 1969. The name change sequence seems to be: 1919 - Small Arms School; 1929 - Small Arms School Corps (at which time a Vickers machine gun was incorporated into the badge).

seanmcs
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby seanmcs » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:42 am

The Hythe - Warminster military link is too good to lose. I can imagine that over the course of the years, the School of Infantry would have amassed a portfolio of local contractors around Hythe. Trusting in their known reliability they might have dispatched a large contingent of said contractors to Warminster to begin the set-up of this important facility, with the workers billeted in a military camp. The train could contain as many goods vans as these experts would need. Given the likelihood of impending war, time was of the essence to be in a less vulnerable location, so the added cost of billeting men and paying hardship allowances for away from home for a few months would be acceptable. In the event that the School employed other ranks to do such work internally, a similar workforce would be deployed. For Managers/Officers - if any - maybe a small first class coach. Nice train formation. This would be an inexpensive train (hire?/charter?) I imagine.

Anyway, this is possibly enough imagination, and here in Sydney, it probably could be sustained, even if anyone asked!

Thanks for the good humoured and insightful commentaries!

Sean

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jon price
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Re: SR Couplings for non-corridor coaches

Postby jon price » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:29 am

In 1934 the Army had very few armoured vehicles, and at the start of WW2 the typical infantry unit only had 13 carriers. Until 1937 there would have been none in a regiment (which in the British Army is actually a battalion). From then to 1939/40 they would have been Bren carriers (not Universal carriers, which is the vehicle you will find as a model kit which only began to be inroduced at that point). Although by 1939 all British infantry was technically mechanised (in that motor vehicles were provided for transport) these were a seperate unit, so in the UK the kind of troop movements you are considering would be purely foot soldiers, and their transport would be old stock of the excursion variety. A battalion had very few officers. Paper strength was 35 officers and 1000 men, but any training movement, even if it involved the whole regiment, would leave a group back at their home base, so all the officers would fit in a four or six wheel carriage. Remember also that the incoming train would be made up of stock provided by the railway company which served the originating depot.


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