NPCS Vehicles by Goods Train

The day to day working of the Caledonian Railway Company, including its constituents and successors.
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tony brenchley
Posts: 329
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:36 am

NPCS Vehicles by Goods Train

Post by tony brenchley »

Jim Page sent me this lovely photo of a goods train at Friarton south of Perth. The photographer is unknown and it was probably taken in the late 1930s. It does pose a number of questions in my mind.

The train is a mixed goods train as evidenced by the NPCS vehicles behind the engine. The first van is an ex-WCJS fish van, the next two are ex-WCJS bogie luggage vans. I am not sure about the third but the last two I think are ex-Midland vehicles. The rest of the train is composed of unidentifiable goods wagons.

LMS 17572 started life as CR 837 and was a member of a batch of 20 class 812 engines built by Neilson Reid in 1900. It was always steam braked and is not fitted with Westinghouse or vacuum brakes at the time of the photo. NPCS vehicles were normally rostered behind the engine of a mixed train for the driver to benefit from the additional braking power. In this case the vehicles could not have been connected as there was nothing to connect them to.

Would the NPCS vehicles have been 'loose coupled' as ordinary goods wagons? If this was the case how were the brakes set to allow this? Was it normal practice to include a significant number of NPCS vehicles in a goods train? In Caley days regular and special trains were run to adjust inbalances in NPCS working particularly for Anglo-Scottish traffic. It would appear that these vehicles are all heading back to England. Did this practice disappear in LMS days?

Any advice, information or opinions would be helpful and interesting.

Tony B
LMS 17572 with goods train at Friarton reduced.jpg
LMS 17572 with goods train at Friarton reduced.jpg (244.92 KiB) Viewed 10549 times
Angus McIntosh
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Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:44 pm

Re: NPCS Vehicles by Goods Train

Post by Angus McIntosh »

NPCS vehicles would run as normal un-fitted rolling stock with any brake air pressure (or vacuum) destroyed by use of the Brake Release Valve as fitted to all stock. The attached pages from "Locomotive Management" hopefully help explain the workings of the brake cylinder and brake release valve.

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dumb buffer
Posts: 518
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:13 pm

Re: NPCS Vehicles by Goods Train

Post by dumb buffer »

A lovely picture, Tony, and very evocative. Who ever said our models were too clean!

I can recall occasionally seeing coaching stock marshalled in an unfitted goods train, but six coaching vehicles seems a bit excessive. However, perfectly legitimate. I note the loco carries a target "M70". Does this mean that it was a Motherwell working? In the 1904 Mineral Time Table M70 is a train from Mossend to Kinning Park and back, but that might well have changed by the date of the photograph.

Also it looks like the signalman has replaced the signal to danger well before the rear of the train has passed the signal -- or is this an optical illusion?

Allan F
Jim Summers
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Re: NPCS Vehicles by Goods Train

Post by Jim Summers »

Moving swiftly from NPCCS to signals . . . . a Signalman was not supposed to return a Home signal until the whole train had passed beyond any points or crossings which it needed to use. He wasn't supposed to return it as soon as the front of the train had passed it, because that would have destroyed the interlocking for those afore-mentioned points and crossings. On the other hand, he wasn't supposed to delay returning it - an offence I noticed at Aviemore the other morning and felt compelled to draw to someone's attention as possibly a Wrong Side Failure.

It was important to put a Distant back as soon as possible, again because you didn't want the next Driver "reading through".

I think/hope the board has just gone back in the picture, though from the angle - maybe an illusion at that - the signal might just control exit from the yard/harbour. But really it is unnecessarily tall for that, so is probably the main line, and Allan is right to question things.

Jim S
dumb buffer
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Re: NPCS Vehicles by Goods Train

Post by dumb buffer »

Thank you, Jim. Am I right in thinking that the guard also had a responsibility to see the signal clear?

Allan F
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:15 pm

Re: NPCS Vehicles by Goods Train

Post by JimG »

I note that the signal on the other running line is a three post bracket so it looks as though there would have been a junction around about the rear of the goods train, so could the visible signal have been on a branch road? Otherwise I would agree that if the signal is controllign the line the goods train is on, then it has returned to danger.

[Edit] Could be. :) Just dug up a 25 inch OS map on the NLS site which shows a junction to the east which joins the main line at the signal box. ... &layers=BT

...and a signal post is shown just to the north of the box which could be the one in question .

Dave Lochrie
Posts: 449
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:38 pm

Re: NPCS Vehicles by Goods Train

Post by Dave Lochrie »

Filling the gaps, I think the 4th vehicle in the photo is a Caledonian later 50" PBV to Diag 98A in LMS livery and so now devoid of faux panelling. The Junction beyond the signal box is the Perth Harbour Branch, which as Jim G states goes off to the north-east passing alongside the walls of the prison to the banks of the Tay where a loop and siding allowed the trains to reverse before travelling south to access the various sidings and yards and the quayside itself.
As this would be going off at a tangent (well a junction actually), if anyone is interested I can start a separate topic on the Perth Harbour Branch. Insparation for those who like goods shunting layouts, but no facility for unloading the Drummond 28" Prison Van which was apparently worked to a bay in the passanger station.

Dave L
Last edited by Dave Lochrie on Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NPCS Vehicles by Goods Train

Post by bdrummond »

This photo did appear several years ago in TTL and attracted comments which I can't at present find. However, the Sept 1929 FWTT shows M70 as an 'except Monday' working from Dundee West (dep 3.10pm) to Ross, calling at Perth South (arr 3.55 and dep 4.42). It is further described as 'table 5 to Stirling, table 6 to Mossend, and through mineral from Mossend to Ross.' There was a balancing overnight northbound M70 working from Ross to Dundee.

Bob Drummond
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