Not a Christmas quiz

The day to day working of the Caledonian Railway Company, including its constituents and successors.
Post Reply
WCML55.68
Posts: 274
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 4:37 pm

Not a Christmas quiz

Post by WCML55.68 »

Because I cant provide an answer, yet.

From mid 1965 when I acquired my first pushbike until the end of steam in Scotland, mid 67? I used to cycle down to Carluke station after tea to observe workings. Heading back to Glasgow was a return ECS DMU working from Lanark, boy did they swing as they rocketed through the station at max 75mph. It must have been going home time. But main reason for this post is this.
Heading south at 18.50 was a TPO of 4 vehicles and always hauled by a BRCW Type 2, Class 26/27.
Ive never found anything in print or on net about the TPO workings and timetable in general, is there one?, it would make a great article. I suspect this was either the Glasgow portion or perhaps the Aberdeen portion, through Stirling and join the WCML near Motherwell???
One summer evening, so either 1965 or 1966, long shot 1967, Im a little late and from about ¼-mile distant, saw the TPO go through. There was an A4 on the front. It was BR green. Was faaar too green and shy to knock on the Signal Box door and ask if he recorded the number in his log, and have never found out either what it was or the reason why. I can only think of a diesel non-availability or breakdown, or perhaps the A4 was a positioning move for a Railtour working, there was a couple in England around this time.
Anybody shed any light?

P.
Last edited by WCML55.68 on Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
caleyJim
Posts: 99
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by caleyJim »

Only book I know on the subject is 'The British Travelling Post Office' by Peter Johnson (Ian Allan, Shepperton 1985. ISBN 0 7110 1459 0). Gives a decent overview if not details on timings etc.

Jim
WCML55.68
Posts: 274
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by WCML55.68 »

Thanks Jim, will have a look for a copy.
dumb buffer
Posts: 536
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:13 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by dumb buffer »

I don't have the details, but I know that the West Coast Postal left Aberdeen about 1530 and had a "head of passenger coaches as well as the mail vans. The passenger coaches came off at Perth, and the Mail train continued to Carstairs, where it was combined with Glasgow and Edinburgh portions to make the UP POSTAL for London. The loco was usually an A4, and it returned from Carstairs with the Aberdeen portion of the DOWN POSTAL. At Stirling this was united with the parcels and newspapers which had left Glasgow Central at 0400. There was a good deal of remarshalling took place there, with vans, for example, from Glasgow to Oban, and the main train eventually arrived in Aberdeen about 0815. The train stopped, if I recall, only at Perth and Forfar, and the timings were comparable to the then current "three hour expresses". It was the practise to exchange mailbags at an apparatus at Cupar Angus, the only time I ever saw this done.
On occasion, if the train from the South was delayed, the service was taken forward from Stirling by a "Black Five", which comfortably maintained A4 timings albeit with a light load of about three passenger coaches, plus a few vans.
I travelled a number of times on the 0400 from Glasgow and very occasionally on the 1530 from Aberdeen. The problem was I had to walk into Glasgow in the morning, and then I was liable to fall asleep on the train.
I wouldnt rely on the accuracy of timings etc -- it was over 50 years ago!

Allan F
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 764
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by jimwatt2mm »

Back in the late '50's/early '60's we lived near Greenfoot level crossing. The postal came through there around 18:30 and I recall it being often an A2 in charge. It was either preceded, or followed (old brain can't remember which :( ) by 'the fish' which was almost invariably hauled by a V2.

Jim W
WCML55.68
Posts: 274
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by WCML55.68 »

Allan and Jim,

Thanks for the very informative replies.

It sounds like the 4-coach TPO I saw at 18.50 is likely to be the same one seen at 18.30 Greenfoot Level Crossing, 20 minutes seems about right. Do we know when the change was made to diesel haulage or if there was a even distinct cut-off point?

I only ever saw one LNE loco on it, always a 26 or 27, maybe I was just unlucky but this is suggesting that the A4 was a replacement for whatever reason on the Aberdeen portion, breakdown or working south for a railtour. I will have a look through the excellent Six Bells Junction see what I can find.
I only ever saw one TPO per evening . Surely the Glasgow portion would run WCML to Carstairs or Crewe, but what time? I never saw any fish trains though as far as I know. Im sure the smell would have been unmissable. There was quite a sprinkling of mixed freights though, always Stanier Black 5 hauled bar once when I saw 70033 Charles Dickens which generated much excitement. That has already been created! Nothing V2 or LNE at all.

Thanks, P.
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 764
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by jimwatt2mm »

Apologies for the poor quality, (photo was home developed and printed) but I found this photo I took in the early '60's of the Aberdeen portion between Greenfoot and Garnqueen North Junction with an A2 in charge. Unfortunately, as a teenager, I didn't keep records of dates or loco.
WCP near Greenfoot.jpg
WCP near Greenfoot.jpg (49.23 KiB) Viewed 3944 times
Jim
WCML55.68
Posts: 274
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by WCML55.68 »

Wow, that must be such a treasured possession Jim. Lovely shot, thanks for posting.
I never had a camera until late teens and like many others never realised the importance of recording details of early photos along with sightings of everything seen.
Ive tried editing this as best possible but canny identify loco, but it retains electric lighting, AWS fitted and appears to be single chimney and theres no raised casing behind. Does she retain namepletes? Also the hinges of the smokebox door straps look like they might have been highlighted at some time and the front number is on the top strap, were they all moved? But there are 2 striking features, the top of the nearside (for want of a better word) smoke deflector appears to slope upwards towards the back, the short handrail under cab window appears to slope down. Bit of detective work required, might help ID. And there appears to be a mixed rake of 4 TPOs behind.

I think my time at Carluke must have after the heyday of these fine locos.

I cant see any splashers and the front frames seem to be A2. There was only 15 A2s, and 8 were withdrawn in 1962 so with all these clues plus can you pinpoint when you got your camera?? it might just be possible to ID this for you.

Theres a couple on nice shots in Steam in Scotland Vol1,WJVA and DC, 60535 at Carstairs, wrongly captioned I think, but this was shedded at Polmadie if the date is correct and a cracking broadside of 60014 on the TPO near Gleneagles. Theres another shot of the 60535 on the TPO but at Dumfries, might have answered my own question here, did the Glasgow portion come down the GSWR?
A book worth every penny, it was my first, helped instil the interest and indeed, Beattock from the Back was instrumental in my choice of Harthope.

P.
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 764
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by jimwatt2mm »

I can't read the number off the print, but it does still have its nameplates. It would be before 1963 as that is when we moved from Annathill. Given that it almost certainly has a single blastpipe and, consulting my much thumbed Ian Allan ABC Combined Volume (1960/61 edition), the qualifying A2's I had 'copped' would be 60525/7/8/31/5/6/7 as these are all ones I recall seeing on a regular basis, either at Greenfoot or at a bridge on the E&G line we used to frequent near Twecher.

Edit to add that establishing which of these were allocated to Ferryhill might narrow it down further.

Jim W
WCML55.68
Posts: 274
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by WCML55.68 »

Yes I think single chimney too, and it doesnt have the raised casing behind. All those in your list are single chimneys, so that doesnt narrow things down. A quick look at BRD suggests probably 4 candidates, 60525, 60527, 60528, and 60531. All spent time allocated around the time to Ferryhill and Dundee.
I will try and have a look at books and see if we can match that peculiar smoke deflector. It may be sloping, bent, or perhaps splayed outwards.

P.
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 764
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by jimwatt2mm »

These four are all ones whose names I particularly remember, but I wouldn't like to say which that was.

Jim W
WCML55.68
Posts: 274
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by WCML55.68 »

Jim,

The nameplate in your own shot seems to have a space in front and stretch right to, or almost, the back of the deflector, which seems to slope up or splay out at the top. Many deflectors seem to do this a little, wind pressure maybe? but yours is quite marked. It has the low front numberplate and a single handrail above. I think the numbers were moved down to make way for a lowered front lamp bracket, headboards probably, some had the handrails split for this purpose. The handrail under the cab windows seems to slope a little.

So far, from information and photos.

60525. Low number from new. No AWS fitted in 04.61 but retained single handrail. Withdrawn in 03.63. Was AWS ever fitted?? Very long nameplate.

60527. Number moved low, split handrails above and AWS by summer 61. Gap in front of nameplate, stretches nearly to back of deflectors. Look at deflector, nameplate and cab handrails in these shots.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rgadsdon/ ... aLq-bBtJW8

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ... Hvj-bHCn9i

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ... Gyd-owA8af

60528. Number moved low and single handrail in 1962. Split handrails by 63?? Pipework in front of cab not straight. Very long nameplate.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ... PZS-dkzLdc

60531. Low number and single handrail in 1961. Very short nameplate.

My leaning would be towards 60527, could the photo be taken before summer 1961? She was shedded Dundee, briefly Perth, then Ferryhill 05.60-09.63

A2 ON TPO.jpg
A2 ON TPO.jpg (67.11 KiB) Viewed 3911 times
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 764
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by jimwatt2mm »

60527 Barnham was certainly one I saw a lot, so there is a high probability that it is the one. Just about to go on a Zoom meeting with some 2mm friends, so will look at the links later.

Jim W
MIKEWILLIAMS
Posts: 518
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:12 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by MIKEWILLIAMS »

60527 was Sun Chariot, Jim

Best

Mike
Orraman
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:51 am

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by Orraman »

With regard to "the fish" mentioned below, I can remember that in the late 50's early 60's the fish went flying through Larbert Station at around 18.00 which would fit with the times described. As far as I recollect it was only fish vans frequently hauled by a "namer" as we called them. Everything had to be on time at Larbert because there seemed to be two passenger trains arriving around then both of which were split and then rejoined, presumably one for Glasgow and one for Edinburgh.
Orraman
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:51 am

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by Orraman »

With regard to "the fish" mentioned below, I can remember that in the late 50's early 60's the fish went flying through Larbert Station at around 18.00 which would fit with the times described. As far as I recollect it was only fish vans frequently hauled by a "namer" as we called them. Everything had to be on time at Larbert because there seemed to be two passenger trains arriving around then both of which were split and then rejoined, presumably one for Glasgow and one for Edinburgh.
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 764
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by jimwatt2mm »

MIKEWILLIAMS wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 11:59 am 60527 was Sun Chariot, Jim

Best

Mike
Sorry, misread my ABC. That one was a common sight too.

Jim W
WCML55.68
Posts: 274
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by WCML55.68 »

Orraman wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:14 pm With regard to "the fish" mentioned below, I can remember that in the late 50's early 60's the fish went flying through Larbert Station at around 18.00 which would fit with the times described. As far as I recollect it was only fish vans frequently hauled by a "namer" as we called them. Everything had to be on time at Larbert because there seemed to be two passenger trains arriving around then both of which were split and then rejoined, presumably one for Glasgow and one for Edinburgh.
Thanks for that. I canny recall seeing any fish through Carluke at all. Perhaps rerouted or terminated by my time. Did they use normal boxvans or the long wheelbase fish vans for this traffic? The only freight I recall in the evenings didnt particularly leave impression, Im sure the fish would have done.
WCML55.68
Posts: 274
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by WCML55.68 »

jimwatt2mm wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 10:26 pm
MIKEWILLIAMS wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 11:59 am 60527 was Sun Chariot, Jim

Best

Mike
Sorry, misread my ABC. That one was a common sight too.

Jim W
Hello Jim,
Been right through the A2s and I think Sun Chariot is the only contender, length and position of the nameplate seems the crucial point along with the top of the deflector, and your photo would have to be have taken before the top lamp bracket was lowered and the handrail split in two. Dont have a date for this but done by summer 61.
A2 ON TPO DETAIL 2.jpg
A2 ON TPO DETAIL 2.jpg (30.49 KiB) Viewed 3652 times
A2 ON TPO DETAIL 1.jpg
A2 ON TPO DETAIL 1.jpg (23.63 KiB) Viewed 3652 times
bdrummond
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:24 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by bdrummond »

I see the question asked earlier in this thread about the reason for the postal vehicles on the 06.50 parcels of July 31st 1964 from Carlisle to Glasgow which was photographed at Dumfries by Deek Cross and featured on page 59 of Steam in Scotland Volume 1 has gone unanswered. The regular northbound postal vehicles on this route would have passed Dumfries about three hours earlier and chief amongst them would have been the Carlisle-Ayr Sorting Carriage.

I've checked what the vehicles on the later 06.50 were with a friend who has recently put together a useful and authoritative summary of TPO activities from 1946 to their final demise and the story goes as follows. The postal carriages on the 06.50 turn out to be the emptIes of what was the North Western TPO Night Down which left Euston a few hours behind the Down Special to terminate the next morning at Carlisle. Its vehicles had originally sat all day at Carlisle until being attached there to that evening's Up Special by which they returned to Euston. At some point, however, the manner of their return to Euston changed following the Great Train Robbery in 1963 when it was deemed less of a security risk for them to head empty from Carlisle to Glasgow to rest over there with the Glasgow portion of the Special. The 06.50 would have been the most practical way of getting the empty vehicles to Glasgow at the time Derek Cross took his photo.

Bob Drummond
WCML55.68
Posts: 274
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by WCML55.68 »

Hello Bob,

Thanks for this. Very very interesting, an article about the TPOs would really be fascinating. And Gerry Fiennes books recall some hilarious input to the aftermath of the Great Train Robbery.

Steam in Scotland was my first ever book purchase, a treasure I pour over regularly, and of course the photo on page 7, Beattock from the back, was instrumental in the current layout.....

The shot on page 59 is of course heading north to Glasgow, presumably the southbound Glasgow TPO would follow the same route? So I would think the one I saw southbound at 18-50 evenings through Carluke would be the Aberdeen portion? Strangely theres another shot of 60535 on P28 at Carstairs but wrongly captioned as its heading south. I wonder if its also on a TPO although it couldnt be the Glasgow portion if GSWR routed?

We still havent discovered the ID of the A4 though.

P.
bdrummond
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:24 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by bdrummond »

Hi.

I'm not sure my explanation of the pedigree of the Royal Mail vehicles at Dumfries in July 1964 has clarified the fact that the Up and Down Specials (TPOs Glasgow to Euston and vice versa) did not use the GSWR route. Apart from the possibility of diversions for reasons of weather or track maintenance the Specials were always routed by way of Carstairs where the Aberdeen and Glasgow portions were combined (or split for the down workings). At Carstairs a portion from or to Edinburgh was also dealt with. Your train at Carluke sounds like the Aberdeen portion but the Glasgow portion ought to have been only twenty minutes behind.

The Up Special would have passed Harthope cottages shortly after 8PM and its northbound counterpart about 4.15AM.

Bob Drummond
WCML55.68
Posts: 274
Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 4:37 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by WCML55.68 »

Morning Bob,

Thanks for the clarification.

The mystery deepens for me as I only ever remember seeing one TPO each evening and the timekeeping was always impeccable, 18,50. Its possible I would return home after seeing this, its so long a ago now memory fails. No internet in those days and I wasnt a member of any clubs then so my grapevine was non-existent and probably didnt realise there was two.

More fuel for the need for an article on the TPO network and timetable/workings, Ive never seen one anywhere, only on the vehicles themselves!
If the Carluke one was indeed the Aberdeen portion, always 4 vehicles in the consist, it could explain an A4 standing in for a failed BRCW type 2 or possibly working south for one of the handful of specials, bearing in mind 1965/66. We will probably never know.

Paul.
bdrummond
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:24 pm

Re: Not a Christmas quiz

Post by bdrummond »

Happy to help.

Bob
Post Reply