UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Any aspect related to the prototype stock.
Post Reply
emckeng
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:20 am

UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by emckeng »

Somewhere on this Forum, I think, is a photograph of a model, possibly by Jim Watt, of a United Collieries wagon which is lettered United Collieries Ltd, Lanark with the "United" and "Collieries Ltd" spread over two lines. A well known purveyor of PO wagon transfers in North Wales includes a similar livery in his range. I have never seen a photograph of a real United Collieries wagon bearing that lettering and wonder if it is spurious. All of the United wagons that I have seen are simply lettered UNITED and certainly in later days did not seem to include any geographical information. In the 1930s there were some United wagons hired out to the likes of the Coltness Iron Co which did include routing instructions and additional lettering but wagons on purely UCL traffic appear to have retained the original livery comprising only the word UNITED. Can anyone confirm my belief that the "UNITED COLLIEIRES Ltd" livery is spurious? And while we are at it, a recent suggestion made to me is that United wagons were painted brown oxide contrary to my hitherto firm belief that they were black. Any assistance in resolving these conundrums would be much appreciated.

regards,

Ed. McKenna
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 728
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by jimwatt2mm »

emckeng wrote:Somewhere on this Forum, I think, is a photograph of a model, possibly by Jim Watt, of a United Collieries wagon which is lettered United Collieries Ltd, Lanark with the "United" and "Collieries Ltd" spread over two lines.
I do indeed have such a model, though I don't think there is a photo of it on the forum. The details of the livery were taken from a drawing in one of A G Thomas' 'Modeller's Sketchbook of Private Owner Wagons' books. The photocopied sheet I have of it doesn't indicate which book in the series, but it's not No 2, as a second set of photocopies I have are marked as from that book and it's not in it. The drawing is of a 7 plank wagon with 'UNITED' occupying the full depth of the top two planks and 'COLLIERIES LTD' aligned on the bottom of the 4th plank down and almost filling the 3rd and 4th planks. 'LANARK' occupies the full height of the bottom plank at the right, with '1505' similarly sized at the bottom left.

Does this mean that the liveries depicted in these books are unreliable? Book 2 includes a 5 plank 'Alloa Coal company' wagon which it describes as being light yellow and I know there is a serious doubt (at the least!) about this livery.

Jim W
dalziel
Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:28 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by dalziel »

Hi,
'United' livery is from Book 1 of the series and is shown exactly as described. As an aside, in the preface it states that 'about 95% of the liveries shown are from personal observation by the compiler while the remainder were from unimpeachable sources,they may be taken as correct'. Over the three books there are some 22 Scottish liveries illustrated, a mixture of 5 and 7 plank wagons.

Dalziel
charles d
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:30 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by charles d »

The sketch Jim refers to is, as Dalziel mentions, in book 1, published in 1969. I personally have never seen any photographic evidence that this style of wagon painting was in fact used by The United Collieries Ltd, plain UNITED being the norm along with wagon number, tare and load data ( as well as the routing data Ed mentions where appropriate).

In Model Railway News of March 1938 there is an article by Sir Eric Hutchison, Bart. in which United wagons are described, a photo shows the usual livery of UNITED in white and the colour is mentioned as black. He does not mention any other livery style.

The only UNITED photo I have seen with a geographical designation is No 900 inscribed Bredisholm. The paint date appears to be 28/12/98 so may be a repaint following the takeover earlier that year.

When I bought this book, I suppose in 1969, I queried the sketch with a manager at UFP as United had become at Bathville. He did not recognise such a livery but commented "it may be wagons used in the quarries" but was vague as to what quarries.

So Not much in favour - but would A G Thomas invent such a livery?

Charles d
David Blevins
Posts: 211
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by David Blevins »

I am enclosing details from the Order Book of RY Pickering, Wishaw who either Built Wagons of re-painted Wagons for UNITED and I hope it contributes something to the questions asked.

David Blevins.
Attachments
UNITED - PICKERING ORDER BOOK.doc
(35 KiB) Downloaded 339 times
dumb buffer
Posts: 525
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:13 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by dumb buffer »

This is, as always, a very erudite thread. What would be very useful, if it could reasonably easily be managed, would be an idea of the geographical locations where United Collieries were to be found.

Allan F
emckeng
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:20 am

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by emckeng »

I knew it would be right to raise my question on this Forum and the replies received to date confirm that. Thank you all for your helpful comments. To respond to the question from Alan F. regarding the locations of the United Collieries Ltd pits these were all in Lanarkshire, West Lothian, Stirlingshire and Dumbartonshire with a single outpost, quickly abandoned, in Ayrshire.. The company never had any pits in Lothians or Fife despite what A.G.Thomas' sketch in his Book 3 suggests. The 1902 expansion of the original UCL was widely regarded as a rip-off by the American financier J. Pierpoint Morgan in an attempt to gain control of the Scottish steel industry. Many of the collieries acquired in 1902 were disposed of in 1908 some being re-acquired by their original owners.

With regard to the accuracy of the the sketches in the 3 books by A. G. Thomas let me just say that I "hae ma' doots". There are sufficient anomalies to raise questions about the overall accuracy of these sketches. I am convinced that at least one, and probably more, of the 26 Scottish wagons in these books is spurious. There are niggling errors in some of the sketches which cast a shadow over all the rest. For example many wagons described as "5 plank" are marked for 12 ton load. Such wagons were not unknown but they were hardly common and certainly not as frequently found as Thomas suggests. In Book 1 his sketches of wagons for Edinburgh Collieries Co Ltd., Glasgow Iron & Steel Co Ltd, and United Collieries Ltd are all suspect in various minor aspects. In Book 2 the Alloa Coal Co. wagon No 1142 was lettered Bannockburn not Alloa according to the Pickering Order Book; there is a sketch of Balgonie wagon No 1402 although Balgonie's highest fleet No was 505. Need I go on?

I don't want to give the impression that I am drawing a line under this topic and would be pleased to read further comments by anyone. It's all grist to the mill.

regards to all.

Ed. McKenna
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 728
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by jimwatt2mm »

charles d wrote: In Model Railway News of March 1938 there is an article by Sir Eric Hutchison, Bart. in which United wagons are described, a photo shows the usual livery of UNITED in white and the colour is mentioned as black. He does not mention any other livery style.
The Pickering orders which David supplied all seem to state 'painted Brown Oxide', which would seem to throw doubt on the black.

[/quote]The only UNITED photo I have seen with a geographical designation is No 900 inscribed Bredisholm. The paint date appears to be 28/12/98 so may be a repaint following the takeover earlier that year.[/quote]

In 'Lanarkshire's Mining Legacy' (Stenlake ISBN 1 84033 015 5) on p18 there is this photo of Bredisholm Colliery in which there are 2 United wagons, both of which appear to have been recently painted.

'Bredisholm' would fit the geographical designation on both, but the numbers are illegible. On the original, the nearest wagon appears to be a lighter colour than black, but not as light as the adjacent Bredisholm lettered wagons. It is impossible to distinguish any lettering on the very pale (unpainted?) wagon in the foreground.

Jim W
Attachments
Bredisholm Colliery (web).jpg
Bredisholm Colliery (web).jpg (61.95 KiB) Viewed 11581 times
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 728
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by jimwatt2mm »

Just found another photo in the same book, this time of Quarter Colliery, with a long line of United wagons. All appear to carry a designation in the lower right corner, but the view is too oblique to be able to make it out. 'Quarter' would be the obvious! ;)

Jim W
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 728
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by jimwatt2mm »

Back again!!
Found another photo, in the same book, of Tarbrax Oil Works with a line of United wagons in the distance which seems to include an old centre door 'bogie' in United livery, lettered U/N/IT/E/D between the outside framing.

Jim W
Attachments
Tarbrax oil works.jpg
Tarbrax oil works.jpg (89.38 KiB) Viewed 11578 times
emckeng
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:20 am

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by emckeng »

Jim,

You are obviously on a roll so don't let me stop you. Bredisholm Collieries Ltd was incorporated in January 1897 to take over from the Glasgow Iron & Steel Co Ltd. the Bredisholm pits near Baillieston. It was one of a number of newly incorporated companies which were taken over by the newly incorporated United Collieries Ltd in January 1898 leading one ( well me at least) to suspect that there was some grand plan afoot. Bredisholm Collieries ordered 200 8T wagons , 100 each from Pickering and Hurst Nelson in October 1897 and the paint could hardly have been dry on them when ownership transferred to UCL hence the mixture of Bredisholm and United branding on the wagons in the photograph.

David Blevins' extracts from the RYP Order Book show that the early UCL wagons were painted brown oxide while the reference to the black livery comes from an article written in the 1930s. Plenty of time for a change to have been made. So the next question should be obvious - when was the change made? UCL started out branding its wagons for particular collieries but after its contraction in 1908 wagons were branded for "districts" while in later years there was no geographic information on the wagons at all. By that time UCL operations were confined to a few pits in West Lothian so there was probably no need for it.

regards,

Ed. McKenna
Dave Lochrie
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:38 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by Dave Lochrie »

These 2 pictures will be well-known to Ed (the first having appeared in his ground-laying Railway Archive article). A close-up of a United liveried bogie is from the period when red-oxide was the confirmed colour but note also that the large letters were shaded. The colliery designation is along the top of the framing, though I'm not sure where else it would go.
United Bogie note shading.jpg
United Bogie note shading.jpg (213.63 KiB) Viewed 11556 times
The second picture, from what may be the black era, is from the foreground of a 1935 photo showing the new pit baths at United's Foulsheil Colliery, near Addiewell, which had become part of United (formerly Loganlea) in 1902. The significasnt aspect of this picture re-emphasises a point made in an series of articles (in the Railway Modeller of all places) analising the age of wagons in use in 1939 which made clear (largely from an English perspective) that the proportion of wagons built to the latest 1923 RCH specifications was in a minority compared with those to earlier specs, in contradiction to most model PO wagons on models. The wagons are from various sources, though I recall that when this photo was described in print, in one of the PO Wagon Books (sorry for the English term) there were several errors in identification.
United Collieries, Foulsheils, 1935.jpg
United Collieries, Foulsheils, 1935.jpg (152.93 KiB) Viewed 11556 times
By 1923 United had pared down to 23 pits, (the exact number was always tricky as, for example, Bredisholm No 2 counted as one pit but so did Bredisholm Nos 3 & 4) but were still employing over 7,000 men above and below ground.
It would, oviously be useful from a modelling perspective to establish when/ if the body colour was changed, I won't be attempting to letter a bogie with the lettering over the framing.

Dave L
charles d
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:30 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by charles d »

The Foulshiels photo appears in Bill Hudsons P O Waggons Vol 4 (and also on the cover). The wagons are gone into in some detail and the livery is confirmed as black overall with unshaded white lettering. Bill confirms the 1935 date quoted. For what it's worth the sketch in Vol 3 of A G Thomas also quotes the colour as black.

I wonder how long the geographic branding lasted, certainly none present in the 1935 Foulshiels photo.There is some white wording on the top plank of wagon 519 (middle of the three Uniteds) but Bill points out that this reads "not empty!"

Another factor MAY be advertising. Archibald Russell had wagons lettered for specific collieries (from Hamilton all the way to Polmaise etc) but the empties could (before pooling) turn up at any pit.

Regards

Charles d
charles d
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:30 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by charles d »

Sorry -forgot to mention - the Durham Mining Museum web site contains an outline of Directors/Officers and collieries (with manpower and locations) for United Collieries. information is given for various dates up to vesting day. No mention of wagons, nor of the extensive workshops, brickworks and pipeworks located at Bathville, Armadale.

Charles d
emckeng
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:20 am

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by emckeng »

There was a more practical reason than advertising for painting a colliery name on a wagon. The rate for haulage of a loaded wagon included the cost, to the railway company, of returning the empty wagon to the place from which it was consigned loaded so it was important that the wagon's originating colliery be easily identified. Painting the colliery name on the wagon was clearly a more durable method than relying on chalked writing or paper tickets. In later years the use of individual colliery names appears to have become less common and "district" names probably meaning a particular junction or yard were used. The Fife Coal Co Ltd dropped the use of colliery names on wagons sometime in the 1920s and the only geographic information given was "Leven" which was the location of the company's registered office.

Ed. McKenna
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 728
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by jimwatt2mm »

Interesting variety in the wagons in the Foulshiels photo. The one in the left background has cupboard doors and would appear to have an outside framed end door at the far end (similar to a Dia 22). The middle one of the three has cupboard doors, but a lighter end door, as has the one in the left foreground, while the right hand of the three has a drop side door and a light end door.

Comparison with the lettering on the Bredisholm photo shows the 'United' to be slightly shallower as it doesn't go on to the top plank. This again may be a change over time.

Jim W
Dave Lochrie
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:38 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by Dave Lochrie »

Someone (Mike) will probably be able to accurately date this shot from the selection of Caledonian wagons present, but I'd plump for circa 1905. The 2 United wagons are clearly not long in service, but even allowing for this I am pretty convinced that 2858 and companion are much darker (well black probably) than the CR wagons in front and behind. I can't see a builders plate to trace the order date, and again only a small colliery/district designation on the left hand side. What do you think?
United on Quayside.jpg
United on Quayside.jpg (181.08 KiB) Viewed 11524 times
Dave L
MIKEWILLIAMS
Posts: 498
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:12 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by MIKEWILLIAMS »

Seeing as you asked, Dave.... The 6-ton CR 'bogies' were taken out of revenue service in 1906 and the 7-tonners in March 1907. By doing so their value was released to a suspense account to help finance the wagon replacement programme.

Best

Mike
Dave Lochrie
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:38 pm

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by Dave Lochrie »

Thanks Mike and the CR wagon 3rd from the left, looks like a Diag 52 14 Ton Mineral, introduced from 1900 to 1903. The highest United running number in David B's list was No 2200 in 1898 (although the numbering sequences were fairly eratic presumably for accountancy reasons). We can get the photo date to somewhere between 1901 and 1906, if in fact they are black then we are looking at a changeover between 1900 and 1906.

Dave L
emckeng
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:20 am

Re: UNITED COLLIERIES WAGON LIVERY

Post by emckeng »

The photograph of United Collieries Wagons at Princes Dock does indeed suggest that they had been recently repainted in black livery. The fact that one of the wagons is No 2858 suggests that the photograph post-dates June 1902 when the company was greatly expanded for the original company had only 2154 wagons. With the 1902 expansion the company acquired a further 5833 wagons giving a total fleet of 8691 wagons. Wagon No 2858 does not appear in the NB Register which makes it impossible to identify its original owner. However, if 2858 was one of the wagons acquired in 1902 then repainting in a new livery some time after 1902 would have the result shown in the photograph. The fact that No 2858 appears to be lettered "xxxxxx District" also suggests that the photograph is post the 1902 amalgamations. If one were to guess, and in the absence of firm evidence there is not much more one can do, it would appear that UCL probably adopted the black livery from June 1902.

Regarding Dave L's comment on the erratic nature of the numbering sequences given in David Blevin's notes it should be remembered that we are reading only part of the story; who knows what might have been found in the records of other builders had they survived. Having said that, while UCL had a total fleet, apparently, of only 8691 the highest fleet No used was 10920 which suggests that the numbering sequence was not continuous. UCL disposed of a number of wagons along with some of its collieries in 1908 although in 1910 it claimed to have 8686 wagons of its own together with 1241 wagons thirled by the NBR. I find the figure of 8686 impossible to reconcile with the record of acquisitions and disposals pre-1910 although I suspect that instead of selling wagons UCL hired them out which could make the 8686 figure correct as to "wagons owned".

The 1902 amalgamations gave UCL a large stock of relatively new wagons and such evidence as is available suggests that the company built no new wagons until 1933/34. With regard to RCH 1923 wagons these were a very rare species in Scotland pre-1940.

This thread has proved even more informative than I had hoped and I am grateful to all those who have contributed so far. Let's hope that there is more to come - even if it is just to shoot down some of my wilder speculations.

Ed. McKenna
Post Reply