Offloading Coal Locally

Any aspect related to the structures and equipment on the Caledonian Railway Company.
Post Reply
lindsay_g
Posts: 446
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:43 pm

Offloading Coal Locally

Post by lindsay_g »

Something has intrigued me for a good while, it's about time I got an answer.

Barnton had a coal area as can be seen top right in this image (traced from a drawing in the NRS - supposedly dated 1923 but nothing on the drawing to substantiate that. And please ignore my suppositions and questions added to the drawing!).

Plan - Barnton - 1923.jpg
Plan - Barnton - 1923.jpg (51.13 KiB) Viewed 1279 times
This like many places elsewhere had the open ends of the coal bays road-side for ease of bagging. However, most Scottish wagons had cupboard doors (rather than drop flap which may have bridged the gap to the bays), so the coal load would immediately drop track side when opened and then how was the remaining coal successfully transferred to the bays rather than most dropping beneath the wagon? I can't help thinking that some sort of planking arrangement was involved but haven't seen any evidence in any images (not that there are many images of coal areas!!).

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

Re: Offloading Coal Locally

Post by MIKEWILLIAMS »

The only one I can point you to off the top of my head is on p.319 of the wagon book, Lindsay. At Carnwath the coal just fell on the ground!

Best

Mike
David Blevins
Posts: 230
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Re: Offloading Coal Locally

Post by David Blevins »

Airdrie Station had a very similar set-up with the coal staithes/bays and I too always thought coal was emptied directly from the wagons into the wooden sleepered bays direct. The coal would have been shovelled manually, and it would be possible to throw the coal over the wooden tops of the wooden bays, perhaps there was no standard way of unloading, in fact depending on the Man with the shovel and what ever was the easiest and quickest way to finish, in his eyes!
There are a few photos of coal being loaded directly from wagons into a horse drawn two wheel cart. Was this then carted to the coal bays for unloading, it still had to be bagged and weighed before being transported to peoples homes.
The other suggestion of coal emptied from a wagon directly onto the ground, is very plausible, mounds of coal can be seen in a few photo's, but was it left lying there or moved into the bays by barrow and shovel. Coal left lying about could be disputed over to whom it belonged, and pilfered!
I am concluding with the idea that the Wooden Bays were for storage of coal, building up stock throughout the year for when demand would be greatest in the Winter, and even for different grades of coal, for fires and the Cooking Range at home.
I will leave you with my thoughts, any other suggestions would be of Interest.

David Blevins.
Violets49
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:34 am

Re: Offloading Coal Locally

Post by Violets49 »

This is a bit of a hot tomale. I posted a photo of my wee WIP layout 'Bonkle' on the interweb and put a set of coal 'Staithes' at the front for no other ereason than to justify a couple of mineral waggons lying there. I got my ears fried! The general consensus was that the 'Coal staithes' were a bit of a trope and probably an invention of Cyril Freezer. So, I then spent a couple of days looking through photo albums looking for example. so far I have found not one example of the coal bins being against the waggons and indeed very few photos of the classic 'sleeper built' coal bin. I did find some comments in bill simpson's book on the Newport Pagnell branch about the long running war between the coal merchants and the LNWR/LMS regarding unloading of coal in the yard. From what I can gather, at least in recent times the prefered method was to put a wooden prop beneath the drop door Place the scales on the door and bag the coal right onto the lorry. this avoided uneccesary 'humphing' of bags up and onto the lorry. However, this technique was frowned upon by officialdome on safety grounds. (Health and safety is not new!) What I DID find was 'Coal wharfes' a sort of platform where the coal was offloaded. If my late father was still with us, he may have shone some light on this as the first palce I found these Coal wharfes was on a plan and set of photos of Penygroes on the Bangor Afonwen line in caernarfonshire. The first job my dad had on leaving school was unloading coal waggons there for the local coalman, before he joined the RAF as a boy entrant. This makes more sense than the idea of coal pens (Staithes)

Jane J.
wsaxt04
Posts: 58
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:46 am

Re: Offloading Coal Locally

Post by wsaxt04 »

Coal staithes.

This subject seems to raise its head every few years, although there never seems to be a satisfactory answer/consensus, one way or the other, whether the type of coal staithes suggested by (the late) Cyril Freezer ever existed. These few lines are therefore my own two-pence worth to this debate, however, perhaps a little background information may help explain my views.

I lived in Cathcart, Glasgow, most of my life, roughly equidistant between the local railway station, and Muirend, on the Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway. I can well recall going with my mother to the goods yard at the latter station to pay our coal merchant’s bills, both for our own home and my father’s shop, which was located within Muirend itself.

The coal merchant went by the name of Mr.McNulty and I have certainly no recollection of any coal staithes, as envisaged by C.Freezer within the railway goods yard. I can well recall the end-loading dock, which was evident until circa 1985, when modern housing was built in the site of the former goods yard. I also have a land plan for Muirend dated and this confirms the case – no coal staithes were evident, although, somewhat obviously, they could easily have been built later on. However, I have searched through the O.S. Maps within the ‘RailScot’ web-site for Muirend and they do not show any coal staithes.

‘TTL’, no. 77, page 23, lower photograph by (the late) G.H.Robin and taken in Dec.1960, shows the goods & coal sidings at Patterton, with coal clearly visible for bagging and loading onto flat-bed lorries. No coal staithes are evident, although an interlaced point is clearly visible in the left hand foreground. Likewise, at other stations on the Lanarkshire & Ayrshire Rly, such as Lugton, Auchenmade, Neilston and Burnside, no photographic evidence on the ‘RailScot’ web-site of coal staithes is evident.

Certainly, within the Cathcart Circle there were small mineral depots at Pollokshaws East, Maxwell Park and Mount Florida Stations, whilst Cathcart boasted a moderately sized goods yard, but at none of these sites, using the ‘RailScot’ web-site, were coal staithes evident.

Checking other stations on the line to East Kilbride, although goods and mineral facilities were clearly evident at stations en route: Crossmyloof, Pollokshaws (West), Thornliebank (just along from the station), Giffnock, Clarkston,Busby, Thorntonhall and then East Kilbride, coal staithes à la Freezer do not seem to have been built.

What do other members think?

Arnold T.
Violets49
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:34 am

Re: Offloading Coal Locally

Post by Violets49 »

The only thing remotely equating to 'Coal staiths' I have ever found in photographs or in the flesh were temporary pens made from various things, including bagged coal. Several photos of Pinxton Mineral yard seem to show what looks like old oil drums being used to form pens Presumably they were filled with something (coal?) In no way do these pens resemble the common model railway trope, most being a bit away from the actual track.(See photo 297 of George C. O'Hara's book 'Scottish Urban and Rural Branch Lines.)The ammount of coal seen in these photos is well beyond what may be termed 'Local Delivery'.

Jane J.
Violets49
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:34 am

Re: Offloading Coal Locally

Post by Violets49 »

P.S. By the way, to be fair, I think the notion of the trackside 'Coal Staithes' pre-dates Cyril Freezer as they appear on model railway track plans from the 20's

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

Re: Offloading Coal Locally

Post by jimwatt2mm »

Just out of curiosity to see whether perhaps trackside coal bays were an English thing I started trawling randomly through 25" maps of a variety of areas. While cattle pens were clearly marked I could find nothing to indicate the presence of coal bays other than at this coal yard at Lower Alstone on the outskirts of Cheltenham.
coal yard.png
coal yard.png (177.95 KiB) Viewed 774 times
Where they are against the boundary wall as in Lindsay's original sketch of Barnton.

Jim
David Blevins
Posts: 230
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Re: Offloading Coal Locally

Post by David Blevins »

Enclosed are Photo's of Airdrie Station, a 1912 Map, aerial photo from 1940 and a later one from 1960. The Coal staithes appear to be in front of the second Goods Shed (to the right or East). The Map shows an oblong shape next (or left) to the line leading into the Right Goods Shed. The other two photographs show the coal staithes in a similar position.
Interesting discussion, I had always taken it for granted that all Goods sidings at Stations would have had Wooden storage units for Coal, but can not find any photographic proof, so it does look unlikely that it was universal on the Caledonian Railway.

David Blevins.
Attachments
Airdrie 59 - Copy.png
Airdrie 59 - Copy.png (364.47 KiB) Viewed 756 times
Airdrie 57 - Copy.png
Airdrie 57 - Copy.png (525.13 KiB) Viewed 756 times
Airdrie 56D - Copy.png
Airdrie 56D - Copy.png (506.19 KiB) Viewed 756 times
David Blevins
Posts: 230
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Re: Offloading Coal Locally

Post by David Blevins »

I have found another photo of the Caledonian Railway Station at Airdrie, with a clearer view I hope of the Coal Staithes.
Looking South this time with the wooden Goods Shed to the Left.
David Blevins.
Attachments
Airdrie 54 - Copy 2.png
Airdrie 54 - Copy 2.png (292.56 KiB) Viewed 752 times
Last edited by David Blevins on Mon Aug 09, 2021 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
lindsay_g
Posts: 446
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:43 pm

Re: Offloading Coal Locally

Post by lindsay_g »

By coincidence just yesterday I decided to go searching for aerial photographs of Barnton and D’mains available on line but without subscribing I couldn’t zoom in. However the images seemed to date from around 1940 so no telling whether things changed after grouping.

Lindsay
David Blevins
Posts: 230
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Re: Offloading Coal Locally

Post by David Blevins »

I have come across a limited number of photo's of Coal Staithes, for Colinton, Coupar Angus, Blackford, and Calder Goods Shed (Whifflet area) where Coal is stored against the Goods Shed (no Staithes) in 1971.
While giving it some thought a distant memory re-awoke in this old befuddled head.
In the late 1980's I was covering the Corkerhill Depot Cleaning Supervisor, when a Cleaner asked if he could purchase Old wooden Sleepers for a base for a Greenhouse at his Home, we had a number lying about the Yard, but rather than "Helping himself" he wanted it to go through official channels - Legit in other words. So I rang Buchanan House (HQ) and explained the situation, the answer was "...don't bother with the rotten one's at Corkerhill, how many doe's he want and we will deliver them to his House..." and at a very reasonable price, which of course I knew nothing about.
A Long Story but getting to the point did the Local Coal Merchant approach the Station Master, and he Authorised the Building of Coal Staithes in his Station Yard, and the Coal Merchant erecting the Staithes. A possible explanation to why they are so few about, and not built to any Standard Design other than they appear to be built of Old Sleepers.
Perhaps a "Bag of Coal" was delivered regularly and gratefully received by the Station Master's Wife, again " I know Nothing ".

David Blevins.
Attachments
Calder goods shed - Copy.jpg
Calder goods shed - Copy.jpg (21.31 KiB) Viewed 740 times
Colinton - Copy.png
Colinton - Copy.png (157.86 KiB) Viewed 740 times
Coupar Angus - Copy.jpg
Coupar Angus - Copy.jpg (28.22 KiB) Viewed 740 times
Blackford - Copy.jpg
Blackford - Copy.jpg (27.96 KiB) Viewed 740 times
Post Reply