Carriage loading docks

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martin goodall
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Carriage loading docks

Postby martin goodall » Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:46 pm

A Carriage Loading Dock (otherwise known as an End Loading Dock) was a feature of many stations in the past, but I am puzzled by one aspect of their design and use.

My knowledge is confined to the GWR, but I suspect that the practice of other companies was probably very similar. An official drawing of the company’s standard design for these facilities shows that between the leading edge of the loading dock and the rear of the crossbeam of the buffer stop there was a gap of 15 inches. Covered carriage trucks, motor car vans and similar vehicles had a downward hinging door below the main ‘cupboard’ doors, but when opened this lower door would stretch no further than the buffer heads, and so would not have bridged the 15-inch gap between the buffer stop and the edge of the loading dock.

The problem would have been even greater with an open carriage truck, which had no built-in means of bridging the length of the 2-foot buffers, so that the total gap between the headstock and the edge of the loading sock would have been no less than 39 inches.

There must have been some means of bridging that gap, but I have never seen a photo illustrating the use of a portable ramp or planks. Nor can I remember having seen such a ramp or planks lying on or near the loading dock ready for use when required.

So what’s the answer? Can any member shed light on this point?

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BryanJohnson
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby BryanJohnson » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:10 pm

Nothing definitive I'm afraid, but this photo shows the remains of the end loading dock at Thurstaston, my chosen prototype.
Thurstaston 2004 loading dock stop block.jpg

My interpretation is that the bolts near the top of the vertical front would have supported some wooden baulks for the buffer stop.

The metalwork on the top edge looks like it could have supported some form of hinged ramp sections that could be flipped over the buffer stops onto any wagon up against the buffer stop.

The line is LNWR / GWR joint, so this could be appropriate for either company.

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Bryan

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Hardwicke
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby Hardwicke » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:45 pm

Considering that this is a later concrete rebuild, possibly wartime or post WW2 it suggests a military connection or a BR sugarbeet dock. One of these was added at Whitwell, Derbyshire (of Heckmondwike fame), but demolished soon after the station reopened. It had metal posts and chains.
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martin goodall
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby martin goodall » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:54 pm

The example illustrated certainly bears no resemblance to the GWR drawing, and the large expanse of concrete suggests a late modification (possibly during the Second World War to accommodate military vehicles?)

If you build your model to comply with the GWR drawing, as I have done on my 'Burford Branch' layout, there is a very distinct gap behind the buffer stop. There is no doubt about what the drawing shows, and I am confident that I have followed it correctly.

The drawing to which I am referring is reproduced on page 371 of Adrian Vaughan's A Pictorial Record of Great Western Architecture. The drawing is headed "G.W.R. Standard Cattle Pens", but the drawing also shows a Carriage Loading Dock at the end of the same siding, beyond the cattle pen. Both a side elevation and plan are reproduced. The 15-inch gap behind the cross-beam of the buffer stop is clearly shown. So we come back to my original question. What device was adopted to bridge the gap when loading or unloading vehicles?

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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby Bulwell Hall » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:23 am

Martin

I would suggest that loose ramps were used to bridge the gap. If you look at pp66 of my book on The Bridport Branch you will find a photo of the stop block of the loading dock at Maiden Newton. In the background may be seen a couple of ramps - one in timber and leaning against the platform fence and a second lying on the ground which appears to be steel. Road milk tankers were loaded on to GWR six-wheel Rotank wagons here on a very regular basis. Also visible is at last one chock - presumably to restrain the road trailer and the cable used to haul it onto the wagon using the road tractor which brought the trailer from the dairy to the station. I have been unable to find much at all about the milk traffic from Maiden Newton - I believe it ceased around 1960 and during the research for my book over many years I never met any railwaymen who were involved with it. Whilst the loading of road trailers in this way was quite specialised I would suggest that the ramps were quite commonly used elsewhere. Hope this helps.


Gerry

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BryanJohnson
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby BryanJohnson » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:53 am

I'm sorry I haven't answered the original question, but I think I've learnt something from the responses.

In WW2, an anti-aircraft battery operated next to the station, so this may explain the concrete as a wartime upgrade. Unfortunately, the bay and battery were on opposite sides of the railway, so there would have been a steep climb over the road bridge for any items being transferred.

Bryan

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Noel
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby Noel » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:17 pm

Martin, I don't have a copy of the drawing you refer to, so I'm guessing about what follows to some extent. This link shows an end loading dock at Shirley: https://www.warwickshirerailways.com/gwr/gwrsh1117a.htm. It's unfortunately not from the best angle, but it appears to show that the buffer stop has been encased in the brickwork of the end load platform [the brickwork suggests that the side load bank is later, I think], leaving no gap between the platform behind the buffer beam and the beam. A non-GWR example of what I mean is shown here, part way down the page: http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/s/south_willingham_and_hainton/. The metal plates in the latter are to cover the gap over the vehicle buffers, and were used by several lines, including the LNWR, but not generally by the GWR, so far as I know, which is presumably where Gerry's ramps come in.

The existence of a 15 inch gap between the dock surface and the buffer beam seems to me to be a serious, and quite unnecessary, safety hazard, so I do wonder whether your drawing shows an end loading facility designed as such or just a high level access to the cattle dock, or even to an adjacent side loading dock or passenger platform?
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Noel

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Jol Wilkinson
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:41 pm

The LNWR 45' bogie Scenery Trucks had plates that extended partway over the buffers to provide "runners" and presumably supports for planks.

45ft truck 3.JPG


I have seen a photo (! can't recall where), with a flat D14 Deal Wagon (normally used for carrying timber) employed as a loading vehicle between the end of the loading dock and the Scenery truck, although it isn't clear why.

martin goodall
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby martin goodall » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:09 pm

I am very grateful for these responses. I think Gerry has the correct answer – the use of ramps (see below). [By the way, MRJ 268 is a really interesting issue, with some very useful ideas contributed by Gerry himself. I am still reading my way enthusiastically through the magazine.]

In the meantime, having drawn a blank looking at official instructions (General Appendix, etc.), I think I have found an answer, which confirms Gerry’s suggestion that loose ramps were used to bridge the gap. I found this in a photo on pages 2-3 of GWR Goods Services, Part 2A by Tony Atkins. This is a view of the goods yard taken over the carriage loading dock at Hullavington, GWR. The gap between the dock and crossbeam of the buffer-stop appears to have been filled in with a timber baulk in this case. But two steel plates can be seen lying on the dock (partly hidden by a luggage trolley). They are clearly there for use as ramps for loading or unloading vehicles. (At the time the photo was taken, the dock was occupied by a horse box.)

This doesn’t entirely answer why it seems to have been standard practice on the GWR to leave a gap between the buffer stop and the loading dock (although this gap was then filled in with a timber baulk in some cases). I shall reproduce a couple of steel plates, and place them randomly on the end loading dock at Burford, in the same way as the two plates seen at Hullavington.

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Hardwicke
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby Hardwicke » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:52 pm

Just a thought. The buffer stop would provide a support to any planks, metal or wood between the dock and wagon, acting as a fulcrum.
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martin goodall
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby martin goodall » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:30 pm

Hardwicke wrote:Just a thought. The buffer stop would provide a support to any planks, metal or wood between the dock and wagon, acting as a fulcrum.


The height of the dock was so arranged that it was higher than the cross-beam of the buffer-beam, so the steel plate ramps would bridge direct between the dock and the wagon, without 'pivoting' on the cross-beam of the buffer-stop.

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Hardwicke
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby Hardwicke » Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:14 am

GWR Architecture OPC
20190123_201230.jpg
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martin goodall
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby martin goodall » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:10 am

Thanks to Hardwick for posting a copy of the drawing to which I referred. I simply didn't have time to scan it myself.

On the same drawing there is also a side elevation, which shows that the carriage loading dock is at least as high as, or slightly higher than, the top of the buffer stop. The level of this dock is slightly higher than the height of the adjoining cattle dock, and there is a slight ramp up to the level of the end dock, as shown on the drawing.

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Hardwicke
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby Hardwicke » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:42 pm

This one?
20190123_203821.jpg
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Hardwicke
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby Hardwicke » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:54 pm

20190123_203839.jpg
20190123_203808.jpg
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Noel
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby Noel » Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:15 pm

I would be interested to know the date of the drawing, and the location it was done for, if it is shown. The reason for asking is that it shows cast concrete for the wall behind the buffer stop, where I would expect masonry or brick, which, to me suggests that it shows an alteration to an existing facility, possibly in wartime. The use of oak edging is unusual also, I think; old rail, stone slabs or chequered brick seem more common, not that loading docks appear in photos very much [surprise!]

The thought has also occurred, somewhat belatedly, to ask which railway built Burford? If it was a local set-up, later taken over by the GWR, like the East Gloucestershire, or built by the OWWR, was the carriage loading dock original or a later GW alteration? Any thoughts, Martin?
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martin goodall
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby martin goodall » Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:56 pm

Unfortunately the date of the drawing is not shown in Adrian Vaughan's book, but it is entitled "G.W.R. STANDARD CATTLE PENS" which would seem to indicate that this was not a drawing for any particular cattle dock and carriage loading dock.

In Part 2B of Tony Atkins' book on GWR Goods Services, on page 323, there is an official photo of the newly refurbished goods yard at Knowle and Dorridge in May 1934 showing a dock which has almost certainly been built to this drawing. So that perhaps suggests an early 1930s date for the drawing.

So far as the Burford Branch is concerned, this was built by the Gloucester, Cheltenham & Oxford Direct Railway. The history of this project is complicated, and I won't bore everyone with the details, but the station at Burford was designed by E F Murray, who had been Brunel's assistant on the Wycombe Railway, and then (after Brunel's death) became the engineer of its extension to Thame. (Burford was never intended to be a terminus, but the line from Witney never reached any further than Burford.)

The end loading dock at Burford was clearly a later alteration, provided by the GWR a good many years after they took over the line.

I am currently contemplating reinforcing and extending the edge of the dock behind the buffer stops, as I am not convinced that, as built, the diamond-faced edging bricks would have been sufficiently robust to take the weight of heavy vehicles being driven on and off railway wagons.

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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby grovenor-2685 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:13 pm

The drawing Michael has provided shows an 8ft x 2ft piece of 3/4" plate spanning the gap betwen dock edge and buffer beam. Hence the drop ends usual on carriage trucks should be enough to cover the length of the buffers.
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martin goodall
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby martin goodall » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:33 pm

Aha! I hadn't spotted the difference. The steel plate certainly isn't there in the drawing in the Adrian Vaughan book. I also note that this drawing shows a substantial structure of cast concrete, which was not a feature of the previous design. That earlier design (as I observed) appears to date from the early 1930s (or possibly the late 1920s). This later drawing presumably dates from the late 1930s, or possibly the 1940s.

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Noel
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby Noel » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:20 pm

Horse drawn vehicles and 1920s cars, unladen apart from some fuel in the cars, < 1 ton, 1930s cars probably little more in most cases. Pre-WW2 lorries up to 3 to 5 tons at most generally, although some fairground vehicles might be a little more; WW2 military lorries up to 11.5 tons. Traction engines, showman's engines and steam rollers 5 to 20 tons, ploughing engines up to 25 tons. WW1 army tanks 27-30 tons, 1930s tanks 11-15 tons, WW2 tanks 27-30 tons rising to a little in excess of 40 tons.

Some vehicles wouldn't travel in carriage trucks, open or closed, but would need (please excuse the BR codes) Lowmacs, Hymacs, Rectanks, Warwells or Warflats [the last two being available from WW2 onwards only]. Unless Martin knows better, I assume no military traffic at Burford, but steam powered vehicles still present quite heavy loads, which would be difficult to deal with without end loading.

Possibly the concrete represents an upgrade to cater for heavier vehicles rather than a brand-new facility?
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Noel

martin goodall
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby martin goodall » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:41 pm

One of the vehicles I intend to place for unloading at the end loading dock is a Fowler ploughing engine, and it was this 25-ton monster I had in mind.

A separate problem is what wagon could carry this machine. It has a very wide wheelbase - 8' 6", and assuming these wheels could not be allowed to overhang the sides of the well wagon, that rules out almost everything except possibly a well wagon from one of the LNER's pre-grouping constituents. Even when loaded on a well wagon, the ploughing engine would have to have its chimney removed to fit within the loading gauge.

(And now someone will tell me that the limestone soil of the Cotswolds was light enough not to require steam ploughing!)

martin goodall
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby martin goodall » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:14 pm

I forgot to answer Noel's question about military traffic on the Burford Branch. In the late 1930s an RAF aerodrome was opened at Little Rissington. This later became the RAF's Central Flying School. Other training aerodromes were established in the area during World War Two (including RAF Windrush).

I am proposing to invoke modeller's licence by assuming that at least one of these RAF stations was opened 20 years earlier, shortly after the First World War. This is my excuse for a planned aircraft wagon (Gadfly) carrying the fuselage of a Sopwith Camel. This would be a fairly light load, and well within the capacity of the 6-ton crane on the goods dock next to the Goods Shed.

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Noel
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby Noel » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:42 pm

Churchill AVREs were over 10ft wide, but could travel on Warflats, albeit as special loads. Its tracks overhung the sides of the wagon. At 8ft 6in your ploughing engine is within the loading gauge, even at platform level. Most Loriots seem to have had side raves, so an overhang would not be permitted, but in any event, the only ones with the necessary capacity rating are G39 of 1937-9 and G42 of 1943-45. A C21 Rectank of 1921/2 [conversions of WW1 vehicles] looks like the most likely candidate, I think, with its 35/38 ton load and absence of side raves, assuming the height of the load is acceptable or can be made so. Other railways also bought Rectanks after the war, including, I think, the Midland.

I'm afraid though, that the Camel was obsolescent by 1918, and being replaced by the Sopwith Dolphin and Sopwith Snipe. According to Wikipedia the last Camels were struck off in January 1920. If you are looking at Airfix kits, the Bristol F2B "Bristol Fighter" is a better bet, as that lasted with the RAF until 1930.
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Noel

martin goodall
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby martin goodall » Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:08 pm

Somewhere along the way, I also acquired an Airfix kit for an Airco DH4 (dating from 1918). But I prefer the Sopwith Camel.

Since the Burford Branch exists in a parellel universe, it doesn't take too great a leap of fantasy to imagine that some Sopwith Camels were retained for flying training into the early 1920s.

I suppose we must set some limit to the fictions that we invent for our layouts, but I don't think I have reached that limit yet on the Burford Branch. (Well that's my excuse, at least.)

martin goodall
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Re: Carriage loading docks

Postby martin goodall » Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:34 am

I was just looking through Volume 1 of Peter Tatlow’s work on LNER Wagons this morning, when I came across a photo on page 64 showing an ELD somewhere on the LNER, where hinged steel ramps were installed. Their length can be guesstimated by reference to the 16-ft long ex-GNR 9-ton light machinery wagon standing against the dock, which makes them 3 feet long. In the photo, these ramps have been thrown back on their hinges, and are leaning back at an angle of about 45°.

The presence of the machinery wagon makes it impossible to see the precise arrangement at the leading edge of the ELD, but it would appear to be flush with the face of the dock. A set of wooden stairs gives access from the dock down to track level.

Reverting to the discussion on vehicles requiring loading or unloading at an ELD, my original intention had been to mount the ploughing engine on a Rectank, as Noel suggested. (I have had an ABS kit waiting to be built for about 40 years!) But this ploughing engine is such a massive machine that, even with its chimney removed, it would be too high for the 13’ 6” loading gauge, and so it would have to be carried on some type of well wagon (e.g. Loriot or Mac).

The photo I had actually been looking for in Peter Tatlow’s book is on page 62. This shows a Fowler ploughing engine (minus chimney, and sheeted over) loaded on a GNR 15-ton Machinery Wagon, and very thoroughly roped down. This machine doesn’t seem to be as large as the model I was proposing to use, and it makes me wonder whether the Oxford Diecast model I have may be over-scale, although it is definitely labelled as 1:76 scale. I am coming to the conclusion that this model is just too darned big to be used as a wagon load.


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