Mineral Wagon Rakes

How to do it, advice sought and offered.
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theparley
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Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by theparley » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:50 pm

From Mike Williams’ Caley Wagons Book, we know that in 1900 there were some 36 Caley Mineral Wagons for every 24 Private Owner and Other Wagons. Armed with this information, how would you:
Proportion a 16- wagon model railway rake between Caley wagons and the Others ?
Additionally,
1) Would you group all the Caley Wagons together ?
2) Would the others be predominantly from one colliery ?
3) If the wagons were loaded would that make any difference ?

jimwatt2mm
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by jimwatt2mm » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:25 pm

As far as 1) is concerned, it would depend on the destination of the wagons. They would be arranged in the order which made them easiest to drop off. Regarding 2), then if the train was coming from a colliery, then the only colliery wagons would be those from that company, but it might have merchants or traders wagons too. If it was on a branch line, then only wagons owned by traders on the branch would be in it, but there could be colliery or coal factors wagons as well.

Loaded wagons might be coming from a colliery to a central yard (such as Ross yard) or they could be being distributed from there. Empties might be going in the opposite direction.

I think there are too many factors like these involved to say what would be a 'typical' train and how the wagons in it would be arranged.

Jim W

John Duffy
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by John Duffy » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:42 pm

In addition to the points that Jim makes, it would also depend on where you are modelling. I am sure that on some lines on the west the proportion of minerals would be even higher, whilst on the east coast considerably lower.

John

theparley
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by theparley » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:12 pm

Thank you for the the replies.

The situation I am seeking to model is coal wagons (and nothing else) coming directly from a colliery to either a distribution point or a major customer, e.g a shipping line or an industrial user.

On the basis of what you have said, Jim, I can have a rake, consisting almost entirely of the colliery’s own wagons, supplemented by a few trader’s wagons drawing coal from the same source. That’s fine. Could the supplementary wagons be Caley branded wagons ?

Was ever likely that all (or most) of the wagons in a coal rake were Caley mineral wagons ?

From the distribution yards, would coal distribution be in mixed rakes as part of the general operation of the railway ?

Your point, John, is that the preponderance of heavy industry in the West of Scotland would be reflected in a higher percentage of mineral wagons in rakes than in the East and I appreciate that logic. Thank you.

It would be helpful if anyone else reading this post has coal wagons on their layout in rakes of any size, could tell me their composition.

I would be interested in learning more about the Scottish coal trade, including the contractual arrangements vis-à-vis the railways, both in Caley and LMS days. Is there a suitable publication?

jimwatt2mm
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by jimwatt2mm » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:56 pm

theparley wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:12 pm

On the basis of what you have said, Jim, I can have a rake, consisting almost entirely of the colliery’s own wagons, supplemented by a few trader’s wagons drawing coal from the same source. That’s fine. Could the supplementary wagons be Caley branded wagons ?

Was ever likely that all (or most) of the wagons in a coal rake were Caley mineral wagons ?

From the distribution yards, would coal distribution be in mixed rakes as part of the general operation of the railway ?
I think the answer to all your questions is 'It depends on the circumstances'. Having a quick look at photos in the Stenlake book 'Lanarkshire's Mining Legacy' (ISBN 1 84033 015 5) there are three photos of wagons at pits in pre-grouping days. and all show mainly colliery company wagons, but with some CR wagons also. That of Bredisholm colliery shows wagons branded for both 'Bredisholm' and 'United', the company having become part of the United Collieries group. There are also photos of rakes of entirely CR wagons, e.g. p260 of Mike Williams' wagon book, though this would appear to be loco coal.

On my own layout, Kirkallanmuir, I have rakes of c13 wagons, all of which are a mixture of traders wagons and CR ones, including loco coal wagons and I'm currently in the process of building a number of wagons lettered for Dixon, my premise being that that company owned the colliery. An example can be seen here https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index ... nt=3615661. I also have one rake of empties which has a number of CR wagons loaded with pit props and includes a gunpowder van.

All of this is based on conjecture and educated guesswork, which I hope has some logic to it. I am open to correction!

Jim

theparley
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by theparley » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:30 pm

Jim,

Thank you for your helpful reply.

Whilst I was aware of page 260 in the Wagon Book, the very existence of the publication entitled, "Lanarkshire's Mining History" was unknown. Book Depository are sending me a new copy for £13.82, post free. I am sure there will be much interest for me beyond the three photographs of wagons at pits.

I liked the photographs from your layout. I do wish more modellers would post picture on the forum.

I also liked your current "Dixon" project. I have a Peco Dixon body in my cupboard and a number of the similarly lettered card sides as well. However, the world has moved on since they came into my possession and with the help of a suitable body, HMRS transfers and a large "X", a better end product should emerge. You say you are "building" your Dixon wagons. "Building" takes three forms:

1) Building; as in scratch building - but not for me.
2) Building; as in kit building - TLM, D&S and 51L - I am a keen TLM supporter.
3) Building : as in conversion and/or improvement - e.g. Oxford Rail 4-Plank Jubilees - for my money, they serve a good purpose. However, it's a pity that Oxford Rail didn't know that Wilsons and Clyde only acquired a pit at Netherburn in 1935. A bit of plagiarism gone wrong I think.

I suspect you are in category (1). So, well done.

I did come across a table on the internet of mining information which transfers neatly over to wagon lettering. It is from the Peak District Mines Historical Society Ltd which give (part of) "Lanarkshire's Mining History in 1896 - a List of Coal Mines". If anyone reading this post hasn't seen it, it is worth a look. Google will find it.

Douglas Teenan

jimwatt2mm
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by jimwatt2mm » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:58 pm

Douglas,

My Dixon wagons fall into your category 2), being etched kits of my own design for CR Dia 22 mineral wagons, both dumb and spindle buffered versions. Admittedly the only drawing I have of a Dixon wagon has drop doors, but until someone can prove to me that Dixon didn't have any wagons of Dia 22 type, I'm happy with them! Rule 1 applies!! :)

Jim

theparley
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by theparley » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:48 pm

Well, Jim Watt, I thought you were a clever fellow - and I was right. No need to ask you where you get your Caley guard's vans.
Douglas

theparley
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by theparley » Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:17 am

On page 36 of "the True Line" Journal No. 146, there is an interesting post-grouping photograph showing two mineral wagon rakes, one containing mostly LMS liveried wagons and the other mainly Caley branded wagons. My questions are:

1) Can anyone identify the wagon types behind 17992 ?
2) The wagons in both rakes seem to be all Company wagons, with no Private Owner apparently present. What delivery (or return) duty are they performing on behalf of the LMS ?

I would like to know more about how the coal trade in Scotland was organised; contracts, methods of communication, order placement, marshalling yards, lead times and payments etc. Is there a suitable publication I could consult ?

Finally, if I may, is there a published layout of any Scottish distribution / marshalling yard, such as Ross ?

Douglas

MIKEWILLIAMS
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by MIKEWILLIAMS » Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:09 pm

Hello Douglas
As far as I can tell the wagons are either Diagram 46 or Diagram 22 after modification with sprung buffers

Don't know the answer to your next question.

I don't know of any book covering all the info you want, but some is in True Line 72 which is a reproduction of an article from a 1922 issue oif the Railway Gazette.
I used some of it in the wagon book - see pages 27 and 30.

Best

Mike

MIKEWILLIAMS
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by MIKEWILLIAMS » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:24 pm

As a PS to my last post, Jim Summers also uses the Railway Gazette material to greater effect than I in Operating the Caledonian part 1. I'm posting this because Jim seems to be too modest to mention it himself.

Best

Mike

theparley
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by theparley » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:32 am

Mike,
Thank you for your two replies.
1. I had forgotten Strathaven was in your book. Sorry. Why was Strathaven chosen as a marshalling yard site ?
2. I thought Jim's book might help me understand the organisation of the coal trade in Scotland. You have confirmed it. Thank you.
3. I caught the back end of a Chanel 5 programme on the large and magificent building in Cardiff which housed the trading floor of the coal exporting trade. I must find time to watch it all. The Caley and the NB too, must have had something, maybe not quite so splendid, to handle the domestic and export markets. In the early days, at least, all transactions must have been face-to-face.
Douglas

Jim Summers
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by Jim Summers » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:40 pm

Since my name has come up, Volume Two of "Operating the Caledonian Railway" was intended to have a decent section on mineral traffic.

The text for Volume Two is about to go to the publisher and it has had to be brought down to a sensible size. As a result the section on mineral traffic is smaller than I originally wished and will not give you the detailed answers to the Mineral Wagon Rakes. That said, what people have been saying so far all sounds reasonable to me.

Incidentally, the Stenlake book on Lanarkshire collieries has been mentioned, but be aware that they do a series. There is a very good one on Stirlingshire mining, for example.

My intention had been to visit the Mining Museum at Newtongrange and really study a sample colliery or two. There is a good archive there and a bookshop, and the place is worth visiting anyway. I have not so far managed to do that bit of research. There seems a need for a book devoted to the coal industry and the railways.

JimS

Jim Summers
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by Jim Summers » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:32 pm

Douglas,
Looking again at the material I have been accumulating, I had forgotten that the make-up of four trains, showing the CR and the traders' wagons by name, is included in Arnold Tortorella's article "Appendix to Mineral Train Control" in "The Caledonian Journal" of August 1986.

That should be easily retrievable if you have the CD of the archive of The True Line.

Let me know if you have problems getting the article.

Incidentally, the Mineral Train Control which Arnold was referring to, will be covered in Volume Two of my book. In fact, there is an extensive section on Controls generally (and I have a wider talk on the shelf about the evolution of railway Control offices, which some of our members have heard, but others might be interested in).

Jim

theparley
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by theparley » Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:47 pm

Jim,
Thank you for your two posts ; much appreciated.
Points arising:
1) I have just received the Caledonian DVD, so, the pleasure awaits.
2) If Volume 11 of your "Operating the Caledonian Railway " is to be brought down to size", I am tempted to ask - in fact I will ask - what is to become of the cut-out text ? Will it be shared with the members in the TLM Journal,or will it be retained for inclusion in a subsequent volume ? I like your thought that we need a book devoted to the coal industry and the railways. Are you volunteering ? I am sure there would be a lot of interest generated from both sides of that equation.
3) The Newtongrange Mining Museum is a fascinating place to visit. I went there a year or so ago with two friends. However, they didn't have the same enthusiasm for the subject as I did, so the archives and bookshop were not given sufficient time. The moral is that when going to a museum, go on your own. I will go back. You must go too.
Our guide on the day was an ex-miner with a detailed knowledge of mining and an entertaining way of imparting it. I met a young Australian mining engineer there who was fascinated and appalled at the terrible conditions our miners had to endure extracting coal from our very thin coal seams. In Australia, much of their coal comes from opencast, but even underground, seams are 8 to 10 feet thick, with not a pick in sight and no ponies but a lot of computer controlled machines. Australia exports some 200 million tons of coal every year with 20% or so going to China. The tonnages of their other exported minerals such as gold and iron ore are also enormous. From Western Australia, they export millions of cubic feet of natural gas and their neighbour, New Zealand, is a huge exporter of milk products, to Japan in particular. As exporting countries, they must be particularly vulnerable to a slowdown in global growth. However that subject is a long way from "mineral wagon rakes", so enough of that.
4) The Gasworks Museum at Biggar is also worth a visit but check the opening days and the steaming days before you go. I have yet to visit the well-regarded Biggar Museum itself (Closed on Mondays). With a modicum of planning both can be seen on the same day, along with the sites of the former stations at Symington and Thankerton. Biggar is also a nice little town. As they say, "London's big but Biggar's bigger".
Douglas

jimwatt2mm
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by jimwatt2mm » Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:57 pm

theparley wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:47 pm
..... Biggar is also a nice little town. As they say, "London's big but Biggar's bigger".
Douglas, as a resident of the town can I correct you on that. 'London's big, but Biggar is Biggar', or, as the museum has it on some of their merchandise, 'Londinium magnum est sed Biggar Biggar est'!

The station building and signal box at Biggar are still extant, the former occupied by a contractor and the latter by, I believe, an architect.

Apologies for an OT post.

Jim W

theparley
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by theparley » Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:47 pm

Jim,
Thank you for your post
1) I have no way of knowing whether it was my typing or an un-noticed auto correction, but you are correct: Biggar is indeed Biggar.
2) You do live in a lovely little town.
3) There are a number of meanings for "OT" , but I assume here it is, "off topic". No apology is necessary.
4) They say that here's no such thing as bad publicity - and my post was good, in that it praised Biggar. So if my post (and yours) has encouraged just one new visitor to come to your home town then some good has come of it
Douglas

jimwatt2mm
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by jimwatt2mm » Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:52 pm

Hi Douglas.

I didn't mean to cause any offence, just the pedant in me coming to the fore! I wouldn't want people to think that we in Biggar considered the town to be larger than the UK capital! :) And by 'OT' I did indeed mean 'Off Topic' (oops, here I go again! :oops: )

Anyone visiting Biggar can be assured of a warm welcome at any time.

Jim W

Jim Summers
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by Jim Summers » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:16 pm

A quick answer to Douglas's points to me:

I certainly hope the 'out-takes' will be made available to members, most likely through TTL.

Funnily enough, I find I am giving a talk in Biggar soon, which a certain J. Watt has had something to do with!

JimS

theparley
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by theparley » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:50 pm

Jim,

I am delighted that your "out-takes" will find their way to the members. Can I please ask if a target date has been set for the publication of the book itself ?

Also, can you share with us what the subject will be for your talk in Biggar ?

Douglas

jimwatt2mm
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by jimwatt2mm » Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:24 pm

Jim will be talking to the Biggar Probus Club in March next year, his title being 'Burntisland 1883'.
I have not enlightened my fellow members as to what exactly that involves! :D

Jim W

Jim Summers
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Re: Mineral Wagon Rakes

Post by Jim Summers » Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:59 pm

And the book is intended to be launched at the Glasgow Show 2020 - scarily close.

Jim

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