UK Screenshots for Pre BR Blue. High resolution warning.

It might not be heading to just Durham.
Yesterday, when looking through the Disused Stations website a shot of ferryhill was of a DMU calling at Ferryhill before contiunuing on to Leeds City station.
Morning at a major junction station in Sussex - Circa 1955



Also during the morning, but circa 1921 and a lot further north than Sussex.
On the Swinton & Knottingley NE-MR Joint Line an NER T2 Class 0-8-0 is hauling coal.
There is a newcomer in the ranks though.
The second wagon behind the locomotive is classified Diagram P4, has six side planks and is rated at 10 1/2 Tons, but it is newly built by the private contractor Birmingham Carriage & Wagon.
However, the curved ends are not present in this version of the Diagram P4 and it is a lot younger than most of the other Diagram P4 hoppers in the train.
The single photo of this variant came with builder and date of build, late 1920, no information about how many BC&W built or even why the company was building 10 1/2 Ton hoppers in 1920.
Almost two decades had passed since Gibb, as NER General Manager, had gone to the USA on a visit and came back determined to improve the company's efficiency.

At that time British Railway companies in India were the only ones who recorded ton-mile data but Gibb, despite the derision of other companies began to record that data as part of his reforms.
Other reforms were the introduction of larger capacity wagons drawn by larger locomotives, though the company's first T Class by Wilson Worsdell actually pre-dated Gibb's first ton-mile reports.

The NER had built 15 Ton, 20 Ton, 32 Ton and even 40 Ton bogie hoppers in the wake of Gibb's visit, though the company settled on 20 Tons as the company standard for a two-axle wagon after the British Government Board of Trade Railway Inspectorate approved the 10 tons per axle loading.
That was in the early years of the 20th century, so technically speaking, the 10 1/2, 11, 12, 15 and even 17 Ton examples were obsolete.
So why were "a number" of 10 1/2 Ton hoppers given to BC&W to build in 1920?

I don't know and the following is just my opinion.
First off, some background.
In 1920 the government still controlled the railways throught the Railway Executive Committee, a WWI body.
The railways would not become independent again until 1921, to be almost immediately presented with the passing of the Railways Act, which would force the grouping in to the Big Four in 1923.
However, at least two companies would be "grouped" before then, the Lancashire & Yorkshire being taken over by the LNWR and the Hull & Barnsley being taken over by the NER, both in 1922.

By 1920, a post-war slump in industrial demand was evident, dropping from the furious demands made by global warfare. There was also industrial unrest, with miners striking in protest at condition and wages follwing the return of the coal mines to private control. The 1926 General Strike is famous but there had been trouble for six years prior. I believe that the Railway Executive Committe may well have had a hand in producing a contract for P4 hoppers for BC&W in the interests of keeping the company going. The wagon stock had been used hard during WWI and replacements were likely required.

Why the 10 1/2 Ton P4 though? Again. my opinion. This size was within the capability and capacity of the company to produce without having to invest in new equipment or techniques.

Unfortunately, I believe that, unlike the wagon builder Roberts of Wakefield, BC&W records have been lost. My opinion is that it is unlikely the contract was for less than ten wagons and more likely that it was for at least a hundred of them. The wagon in the maker's works shot is of No. 53193, probably the first of the contract to be built. It is also marked SD for the NER's Southern Division, which essentially was, Yorkshire. Even in 1920, a 10 1/2 Ton wagon would not have been at all unusual at a colliery in Yorkshire, even the largest of them.

Alternatively, No. 53193 was a single sample example built by BC&W to offer to the NER and they replied "A 10 tonner? Why would we want that? Thanks but no thanks!" We, or rather I just don't know the full story.

If you know better, then I'd like to hear about it and please quote your sources as I'd like to read them.
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The T2 arrives at Pontefract Baghill, where it will join this half-load on to a previously deposted half-load waiting in siding off the south of the station goods yard.
The joined traiload will then head off to Milford yard or even Hull docks.

Tatlow also has a shot of a P17 12 Ton 5-plank NER Hopper numbered 53883, which the caption says was built at Shildon during 1917.
However Tatlow does not list 53883 in the P17 build sample numbers, nor does he list 1917 as a build year for P17s.
The reason for the P17 was evident from its end brake levers, the restricted screen widths on former Central Division (former Stockton & Darlington Railway) necessitated end brake levers.
Even some 20 Ton P7 hoppers were built with end levers in order to be used in SW Durham.

However, in Yorkshire it may have been screen height which was the limiting factor.

The BC&W wagon carries 53193, which in the generally ascending numbers allocated to mineral wagons both under 20T and over 20T, would possibly place it pre-1917, which it isn't, unless either a block of numbers went unused for some reason, or 53193 was a replacement for a lost, or scrapped wagon in order to re-use the number.

Tatlow's sample numbers list does throw up several single example numbers "out of sequence" and they stand out in the list where build ranges are more common, some of which are very large in the 20T listings.

It will come as no surprise to people who know my screenshots that Paul Mace built this BC&W Diagram P4 for me. I have Paul working on grease axle boxed 15 Ton Diagram P6s, which were built between 1902 and 1906. It turns out that I missed the fact that the oil lubricated axlebox versions from 1907 were uprated to 17 Tons and in the December 1922 census accounted for around one-third of the Diagram P6s in company stock.

I recently bought an old copy of Model Railway Journal No. 131 from 2001. It has an extensive article on scratch building 7mm scale P4 hoppers with some good plan shots of the interior construction. A very useful article, but more "homework" for Paul.
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"More Homework For Paul" :ROFLMAO: I can't tell you how much that made me chuckle Frank. The poor man is working himself ragged on things for our "projects". We'd definitely be lost without him.

Speaking of those Diagram P4 Wagons, would you be able to tell me what kinds of coal and mineral wagons would have been used around the Blyth Area during that time? I'm attempting to do my own independent research on the matter, but given as how the NER is way out of my field of depth I figured I would ask you as you are quite literally our chief authority on the NER (much like Annie is on the GER) and I'd probably find a much more conclusive answer from you and your wisdom than if I wander around blindly as I am now.
Hello Alex,

Blyth would have seen, "back in the day" (up to about the 1890s) the chaldron wagon, but gradually the NER introduced larger hopper wagons, with much of the traffic being to the staithes at Blyth for shipping out to markets, foreign and domestic. However, some coal traffic from Ashington and Blyth was going south to Newcastle and beyond, since coal from the Northumberland coalfield was suitable for furnaces and domestic use, whereas coal from the Durham coalfield was ideal for coal gas generation and making in to coking coal ("coke"), which was required mostly for a voracious steel industry.

By about 1900 the 10 1/2 Ton Diagram P4 was around in large numbers, but change was coming.
Late in 1901, following General Manager George Stegmann Gibb's visit to the USA, a 40 Ton bogie Steel Hopper prototype was trialled, from which an order for two batches of 50 was supplied, to Diagram P14 and P15. They were used on the Ashington to North Blyth staithes between 1901 and WWII. At first they had vacuum automatic train brake but somewhere between the wars it was removed. In 1927 all 100 were still in use but by the start of WWII only 29 P14 and 44 P15 remained. All were sold out to collieries by 1944.
There were also 13 bogie steel hoppers of 32 Ton capacity built at the same time as experiments and I think these Diagram P13 coal hoppers also went to Ashington for the same traffic. Only 4 were still in LNER stock at the start of WWII and, like the 40 Tonners were sold out by 1944.
If you want to run North Blyth in NER days between 1901-23 and LNER days between 1923 and 1939 then you can't ignore the bogie hoppers.

There were two other steel body prototypes, U11 and U13, which were single examples, built in steel and of which the U11 has strong hints of what was to come in the late 1930s when the LNER began to build steel hoppers. Both were used in Northumberland, with both being lettered "For traffic between Cowpen Isabella colliery and Blyth only". The census has an anomaly, with 1 U13 being built but 2 being in stock in 1922! However none were in stock in 1927. There were also three examples of experimental steel built hoppers to diagram U15, which lasted until WWII but I have no photo, no drawing and no information as to where they were used. I speculate that they ran with the U11 and U13.

Betwen 1902 and 1938 I doubt that huge numbers of the 20T two-axle diagram P8/P7 wooden coal hoppers were challenged for supremacy. There likely were some 15 Ton and 17 Ton Diagram P6 hoppers but they seem to be about as about one-seventh of the numbers of the P8/7. The NER built over 17,000 of the Diagram P7/P8 and over 13,000 were still in company stock at the start of WWII in 1939. They were seen in numbers right through WWII and beyond, even as the LNER built steel 20T and 21T hopper to replace them. The LNER even built some more of them during WWII due to steel shortages. The P8 was the original build, with anti-friction gear, and rated at 23 Tons, but by the grouping this had all been removed and the wagons all designated as P7, with 20 ton capacity.

The "classic" Ashington and North Blyth shot though is of BR days post-1948, with most photography being 1960s and later, by which time steel built hoppers were dominant. They were unbraked and several different types were around. The diagram 100 was first, though built by eight different contractors and they each had design differences. I had Paul build me the ones built by Metropolitan-Cammell and Hurst-Nelson since they were the ones with the most differences and were each built in large numbers from 1935. In 1935/1936 Head Wrightson and Birmingham Carriage & Wagon Company built 500 Diagram 100s each, just as many as Met-cam and H-N did, so they could be potential future builds and those 2,000 were the first ones. Tatlow has a summary of the construction differences.

There was also the Diagram 167, a 21T hopper built on the underframes of wagons which were built during 1939/40 in anticipation of the British Expeditionary Force in France needing large numbers of wagons, just as they did during WWI. Of course the evacuation of Dunkirk put paid to those ideas, the steel could not be wasted and in any event the need for wagons to carry ironstone from UK mines/quarries escalated. 3,500 were built for the Ministry of Transport for iron Ore traffic and the LNER oversaw this in return for being allowed to take them in to company stock, with 2.500 in stock by 1941, all in the ironstone pool. However, by late 1945 transfers out began, with about 1,000 being in the coal traffic pool at nationalisation.

After nationalisation, British Railways built 21 Ton hoppers to various diagrams and batch numbers in large numbers right up to the early 1960s. They also repaired and rebodied a large number of earlier diagram 100s.
A 2+2 car DMU passes Offerton crossing heading for Durham. There was a PDS (Public Delivery Siding) until about 1952 serving Offerton village higher up on the hillside. The signalbox closed in about 1923 but survived until the 1960s though I've never located any photos except one showing the roof in the distance.

DMU At Offerton 10.6.24 by A1 Northeastern, on Flickr

I've also just discovered these excellent photos of the coal depot at Penshaw North Junction showing how it appears to have been raised at some time by adding brick piers on top of the stone. The cream coloured bricks used were a typical feature of Lambton Hetton & Joicey Railway structures and the crossing cottage at Offerton was built from them.

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A theoretical set of hoppers for 1946.
From left to right, two 20T Diagam P7 wooden bodied hoppers, three 20T Diagram 100 steel bodied hoppers, two 21T hoppers to Diagram 167.
Thank you, Frank. This is exactly what I was looking for. Your knowledge of the North Eastern is without an equal. :)

I already have the J77 in LNER/BR Black so I will put in a couple orders for these three different types of wagons and use them for reference as I feel out the rest of the territory. I've already checked the shed allocation records and it seems like the locomotive classes assigned to Blyth didn't change much from LNER to BR. Lots of J72s and J77s for shunting and short coal trains, J21s and J27s for light coal trains/local goods, and Q6s for the heaviest mineral trains in and out of the area for other LNER Network locations. It also seems that unlike the Freight Focused Northern Shed, the Southern Shed at Blyth (Blyth South) harbored an absurd amount of LNER G5 Class 0-4-4Ts for what I assume to be regional passenger work - a last bastion for the Worsdell Tanks before they were banished from the realm perhaps? Most likely these findings will require a bit more research. Luckily, Paul seems to have covered all of these locos on his website, so I don't think I'll have too much trouble completing the roster - something for which I believe I have you to thank ;)
It might not be heading to just Durham.
Yesterday, when looking through the Disused Stations website a shot of ferryhill was of a DMU calling at Ferryhill before contiunuing on to Leeds City station.
Passenger Services between Leamside and Ferryhill ceased from 28.7.1941 so it's more likely the DMU was running Newcastle - Ferryhill - Northallerton - Ripon - Harrogate - Leeds or could have been a diverted ECML service.
Some rather bland screenshots from me I'm afraid, but they nevertheless show just some of the many interesting aspects that the S&D included.

First off, 4MT 75073 on an up goods from Poole to Templecombe. The loco has just burst out from under Stourpaine bridge though it is more akin to a short tunnel. The road crossed on a steep gradient and at an angle and as a result the massive retaining wall seen on the left dominated the scene, making the bridge look like a mouse hole in a wall of bricks. This still exists today as part of the North Dorset Trailway and although the remainder of the cutting has been filled in, the bridge was kept clear so can be traversed albeit now with steep gradients either side of it.


Next up we have Hodmoor Bridge, just East of the above and about halfway between Shillingstone and Blandford Forum. Although this section of the S&D was single line, the bridge was widened to accommodate a second track, though the flood arches either side along with the embankment remained as single track as the double track never materialised. As a result, this - along with Fiddleford Bridge - stuck out rather randomly from the rest of the line and showed a 'what might have been' had the line been doubled.


Finally we have a shot of the train entering Shillingstone station. The locomotive has just traversed the partial crossover - the down platform was accessed by the line at bottom left which then joined the main running line. The siding was a rather long one and (in true Midland policy) had no facing points, this instead being accessed from the up line. The result was this rather interesting pointwork.


Hopefully I'll have something a little more exciting to show you soon but work is still going on in the background! The more I build the more research I carry out and the more I fall in love with this line - the S&D was such a unique and interesting line so I hope I'm doing it justice.


Seen from Penshaw Park a WD passes south through Penshaw station with a train of Esso oil tankers. I work from the 1945 OS 25" map but the park has fallen on hard times now.

WD passing Penshaw Park 14.6.24 by A1 Northeastern, on Flickr

Later in the day the WD passes the big bracket signal at Coxgreen Junction where the NCB lines diverged on the left from the BR lines. The junction was controlled by a box called Lambton Junction until 1923 when it was motor worked from Coxgreen station signalbox.

WD at Coxgreen Junction 14.6.24 by A1 Northeastern, on Flickr
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Some days you look at your work and you're really pleased with what you have achieved thus far. On others, you look at it and think "it's just wrong". Today is one of the latter for me; I've been at Evercreech Junction and I'm undecided about the platforms, specifically the Up platform (the side without the station buildings). You'll notice in the images below that there is a pronounced kink in the platform to allow the track around the middle siding while keeping the platform on a curve. I can't see this in any photos and I think it's a consequence of my placing some tracks down in a funny way that's caused it. Unfortunately, being on a curved gradient it's not a quick fix, so to actually eliminate the kink and have a nice, smooth curve as on the down platform I would need to relay a large section of the track at Evercreech Junction. While I don't particularly fancy that, the kink is playing on my mind and I'm not sure what to do - what do others think? Keep as is or rip up and relay?




the kink is playing on my mind and I'm not sure what to do - what do others think? Keep as is or rip up and relay?
I see what you mean PLP. It isn't immediately obvious, but it is there. Is it possible to put additional spline points into the platform to ease the kink out a little?
I see what you mean PLP. It isn't immediately obvious, but it is there. Is it possible to put additional spline points into the platform to ease the kink out a little?
Unfortunately not, as the platform follows the track which has the kink. I think I'm going to have to relay it - I might completely redo the junction and see if I can achieve a cleaner look with the sidings too.


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