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Go Back   Railway Forum > General Railway Discussion > Freight Operations and Observations

Loose coupled freight.

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  #11  
Old 11th March 2011, 19:31
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Coming down the Lickey was always a nightmare. We would stop at the top and the guard would walk up the train to speak to the brakesman who was stationed in his cabin at the top of the bank.As he walked along the train he would drop all the brake handles ready to be pinned down. The brakesman would normally say "every 3rd wagon",and with that we would pull away as slowly as possible. The guard and brakesman would then pin down as hard as possible every 3rd wagon brake. This involved holding the brake arm down as hard as he could,whilst putting the holding pin in place. Together the two men would do the whole train - whilst we on the front kept the speed down as best we could - on a falling gradient of 1 in 37,with possibly over 1000 tons of train pushing us !!
When the guard reached the rear of the train he would jump on the brake van (handbrake screwed on as hard as possible),give us a signal (flag or handlamp) and we would fight the train for the next two miles downhill. 9 times out of 10 the signalman would put you into the down goods loop at Bromsgrove,where you would stop (if possible) and the guard would walk along the train picking up the brakes.
Quite often this was done during the hours of darkness,in pouring rain,fog,snow - whatever.
Imagine Health and Safety getting involved with that !!

By the way,if I remember correctly,the speed into the goods loop at the bottom of the Lickey was 25 m.p.h. I can testify that it could handle speeds a little higher than that.

No doubt a few of the ex Saltley men on here have a few tales to tell.


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  #12  
Old 11th March 2011, 20:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveJ View Post
Coming down the Lickey was always a nightmare. We would stop at the top and the guard would walk up the train to speak to the brakesman who was stationed in his cabin at the top of the bank.As he walked along the train he would drop all the brake handles ready to be pinned down. The brakesman would normally say "every 3rd wagon",and with that we would pull away as slowly as possible. The guard and brakesman would then pin down as hard as possible every 3rd wagon brake. This involved holding the brake arm down as hard as he could,whilst putting the holding pin in place. Together the two men would do the whole train - whilst we on the front kept the speed down as best we could - on a falling gradient of 1 in 37,with possibly over 1000 tons of train pushing us !!
When the guard reached the rear of the train he would jump on the brake van (handbrake screwed on as hard as possible),give us a signal (flag or handlamp) and we would fight the train for the next two miles downhill. 9 times out of 10 the signalman would put you into the down goods loop at Bromsgrove,where you would stop (if possible) and the guard would walk along the train picking up the brakes.
Quite often this was done during the hours of darkness,in pouring rain,fog,snow - whatever.
Imagine Health and Safety getting involved with that !!

By the way,if I remember correctly,the speed into the goods loop at the bottom of the Lickey was 25 m.p.h. I can testify that it could handle speeds a little higher than that.

No doubt a few of the ex Saltley men on here have a few tales to tell.
If I remember correctly the speed onto the "Down Goods Line" at Bromsgrove Station was 15mph,and the maximum speed for a freight train descending the "Lickey" from Blackwell to Bromsgrove was shown in the sectional appendix as 12mph,which was virtually impossible to keep to even with every other wagon brake applied.
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  #13  
Old 11th March 2011, 20:04
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Just the same in Devon and Cornwall with their steep banks quite scary today but back then you just did it as part of your job.

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  #14  
Old 11th March 2011, 21:09
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Yes,now that you mention it 15 m.p.h. does ring a bell. Thanks.

The 12 m.p.h. was probably established many many years before the heavier trains of the 1970s/80s. I really don't think too many drivers managed to run at that speed all the way down to Bromsgrove.
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  #15  
Old 11th March 2011, 23:12
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The enclosed pictures are of a loose coupled train from HM to Park Mill Pit.
This train originated at Healey Mills to Huddersfield then Sprinwood Jct upto Clayton West Jct, on the single line down to Clayton West.
The line to CW was single, and was subject to a Tylers Tablet obtained from Clayton West Junction Box.
The maximum load was 28 loaded wagons, which went to Elland Power Station.
This branch line was 1/50 going down to the pit.
On arrival at CW Station the whole train went down the Station loop, then RR through a GF on the Sation Platform. The light engine ran upto a sub on the Wakefield Road Railway Bridge, then came back on the loop road to attach onto the BV.
You can see on the BV that it was made on the Southern region in 1926.
In the pics you see Danny Danniels who is the guard waving from the BV, and a pic where he is talking to the shunter/number taker a Mr Stangroom who had a BR honda 50 for this job.
The whole load of ETY wagons was drawn up onto the bank, behind a sub to propel the train onto the pit sidings.
All these wagons were swingers, with just the engine/ BVs brake and some trucks with pinned down brakes.
The ETY wagons were put in the next road to the full trucks.
Once the empties were stood, the train was secured with hand brakes, the guard then shunted the loaded trucks from the next road, on to the BV.
He prepared the loaded and coupled the BV onto the loaded ready for departure.
28 wagons was the maximum load for a Class37. The driver would be given the single line token, and off they went up the 1/50 bank back to the Mill
The empty wagons were then shunted internally with a small Diesel Shunter.
The description I have given you is taken from the actual method of working for this branch. The pics were taken one summer Saturday in 1978.
I learned this road in 1981, and it shut in January 1983, and the track was taken up in 1984. If it was wet the whole of the area could hear the engine slipping and sliding on its way back to HM.
This has been written from memory.

http://www.imagebam.com/image/aa77d4123146384

Last edited by HM181; 12th March 2011 at 21:41.
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  #16  
Old 16th March 2011, 03:40
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Interesting read there guys.......
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  #17  
Old 16th March 2011, 15:54
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Originally Posted by saxokid View Post
Interesting read there guys.......
http://www.imagebam.com/image/5a47de123789464

Pic. 1.
Class 9 shunting on the Wakefield Road bridge at Clayton West.
The class 47 is pulling out the empty coal trucks to go behind a sub on the grey bridge to propel them into the screens.
The guard will be stood by the sub signal to call the train back into the pit sidings.
This is where both driver and guard need a clear understanding of what they are doing, otherwise chaos would be imminent.
This pic was taken in March 1980.

PIC2.
This shows the last passenger train to leave Clayton West, bound for Huddersfield.
As you can see from the pic the date is Saturday 22nd of January 1983.
The Staff are from Left to right;
Mark Helliwell the train guard.

John Mitchell, Huddersfield driver, of the last train.

Steve Johnson, Huddersfield Guard, out for the occasion.

(Smoothy) John Wright, Guard, out for the occasion,

PIC3.

Mark with his trusty Almex Ticket Machine, with the pay train fivers in his hand.

I recall the train left at 18:40 hrs back to Huddersfield..
This line was closed for passengers.
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  #18  
Old 26th March 2011, 04:33
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Good stuff....
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  #19  
Old 18th June 2011, 16:41
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Recall about 1980 the booking clerk at Harlseden had to call for assistance as a delivery of a wired bale of new shunting poles for Willesden Brent had obstructed the booking office door such that he could not move them to clear the doorway against which they had been left - no-one's going to have that problem again!

In 1979-80 remember a string of unfitted and part-fitted freights each night for such destinations as Mold Junction, Dewsnap, Northampton, Bescot. The fitted sand train from Redhill to St Helens was still a problem to regulate as it was only 35mph max. Trips from Sudbury yard to Neasden had to propel all the way round to Acton canal Wharf, mainly hauled by the ubiquitous class 25's. What a hive of activity from evening through to the early hours, a short lull and then all the southbound arrivals at Sudbury receptions and frantic activity over the hump at Sudbury middle to make up the morning southbound departures. Dizzy days!
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  #20  
Old 9th August 2012, 11:56
brianrob1961 brianrob1961 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HM181 View Post
I have been over that railway many times with the Ellesmere Port Gas Tanks in both directions.
We came through Vic, over the Moss and made a left turn through Newton Le Willows Station down past the Vulcan foundry, as I recall there was a signal near the foundry that protected the WCML.
One of the HM Drivers had a SPAD going in the direction of Warrington.
The Gas Train was 12x101T Air Braked Tankers run at Class 6.
By the way did you know David Dean, he is the Branch Sec. of the Wigan RMT.
Bloody Healey Mills men would go anywhere and often did!
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