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Thread: The N.E.R. Amble branch in 1906

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    United Kingdom

    Default The N.E.R. Amble branch in 1906

    The York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway built a branch to Warkworth Harbour in 1849 to haul coal for shipping by sea. The junction, named Amble Junction left the main line at approximately 26½ miles from Newcastle and was 4 miles 79 chains (5 miles) to the station buffer stops, with the end of the company's coal staithes around 250 yards further east.

    Amble at the time of the branch construction was merely a small cluster of fishing cottages located to the west of the harbour. The hamlet expanded in to a town as a result of the harbour traffic. A passenger service did not follow until thirty years later, in 1879 when part of the North Eastern Railway. The N.E.R. chose to use Chevington station as the junction station rather than build a new one further north at the branch junction. There was one intermediate station, at Broomhill, 2½ miles from Amble and 3¼ miles from Chevington. By 1894 the busiest part of the branch, from Broomhill to Amble was double track with several collieries taking coal to the harbour over the period 1949 - 1966, including a colliery wagonway reaching Amble from the south. The largest collery was located at Broomhill, just to the south of the station. The section between the main line and Broomhill was single track. The branch passenger service departed from the outside face of the down platform at Chevington. Both Broomhill and Amble were single platform stations.

    In 1906, the branch passenger train service was as follows;

    Amble, depart:

    8.05 am
    10.26 am
    12.15pm SO
    2.13 pm
    3.20 pm SO
    5.18 pm
    7.00 pm
    8.25 pm SO - To Broomhill, arrive 8.32 pm, returning to Amble ECS
    9.25 pm SO

    Journey time to Chevington fifteen minutes
    Chevington, depart:

    9.37 am
    11.33 am
    1.26 pm SO - From Morpeth, depart 1.05 pm
    2.47 pm
    3.45 pm SO
    6.00 pm
    7.45 pm
    10.00 pm SO

    All trains stopped at Broomhill, seven minutes journey time from Amble and eight minutes from Chevington.

    Chevington Train Times 1906:
    Down trains to Alnmouth and Berwick

    9.27 am Berwick
    11.22 am Berwick
    2.03 pm Alnwick
    2.44 pm Berwick
    3.40 pm Alnwick SO
    5.38 pm Alnmouth
    7.38 pm Alnwick
    9.50 pm Alnwick

    Up Trains to Morpeth and Newcastle

    7.39 am Newcastle
    8.10 am Morpeth
    8.27 am Newcastle
    10.51 am Newcastle
    12.31 pm Morpeth SO - From Amble
    3.27 pm Newcastle
    5.08 pm Newcastle SO
    5.56 pm Newcastle
    7.28 pm Newcastle

    The 8.05 am Amble departure arrived at Chevington at 8.22 am. The 8.00 am from Alnwick, departing Chevington at 8.27 am ran to Newcastle with two stops (Morpeth 8.42 am & Manors 9.07 am), arriving 9.10 am. This would permit someone living in Amble to reach work at Morpeth by 9am, though they’d need to be well paid to afford the train fare, even at 3rd Class. The train from Morpeth at 5.17 pm would be the return journey, connecting in to the 6.00 pm departure for Amble, giving a rather long one hour return journey compared to the 37 minute outward one in the morning. The 22 minute layover at Chevington cannot have been much of a pleasure during the winter. The layover was to provide a connection for Amble out of the the 4.40 pm Berwick to Newcastle train, which originated at Edinburgh Waverley at 2.50 pm, calling Chevington at 5.56 pm. This train had additional vans, including an N.E.R. T.P.O. and the set, after an extended stop at Newcastle would attach several more vans and depart for York at 7.20 pm. presumably some mail bags were transferred out of the Amble branch train at 5.35 pm while in the Up platform and then placed in the 5.56 pm for Newcastle and York.

    It is not certain that the six-wheel carriages still in use during 1906 had steam heating. An old article in the North Eastern Express magazine by a contributor who grew up at Nunthorpe station before WWI mentioned leaky foot warming bottles. If they were hot they’d be on the floor by one’s feet. As they cooled a little they were brought up to the seat. When they were cold they were kicked under the seat. Porters hoped for a tip from 1st Class passengers for providing a reasonably hot one (though gratuities were against company policy). Therefore, it might not have been first choice to take a seat in an unheated carriage if there was a fire in the waiting room.

    No northbound connection from Chevington until 9.31 am for Berwick, stopping at Alnmouth at 9.52 am. I wonder how long a horse drawn buggy would take to cover the 5½ miles by road between Amble and Alnmouth stations. I doubt that it would take longer than the 1 hour 47 minutes the train offered the erstwhile traveller. I can see why the early motor omnibus companies in the 1920s were quick to identify Amble to Alnwick as a potential market. They were also not slow to offer a journey time of under one hour to Morpeth, with a higher frequency and lower fares than the train. By 1930 the LNER decided to throw in the towel, relying on their interest in the United Bus Company to take a market share of passengers from the town. it seems that Amble was never considered for either steam autocar or steam railcar operation.
    Last edited by borderreiver; June 4th, 2020 at 12:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    United Kingdom

    Default The N.E.R. Amble Branch in 1906

    The locomotive working the passenger service on the Amble branch were from Alnmouth shed in the 1908 Passenger Engine Working document.

    Turn no. 4 with two shifts of enginemen.
    Shift one 5.40 am - 3.40 pm
    Shift two 12.50 pm - 10.50 pm (SX) 11.55 pm (SO).

    7.00 am Off shed, Light engine to Amble.
    7.30 am Arrive Amble.
    8.00 am Depart Amble (replacing the 8.05 am in 1906)
    8.15 am Arrive Chevington.
    9.30 am Depart Chevington.
    9.45 am Arrive Amble (replacing the 9.37 am in 1906).
    10.26 am Depart Amble.
    10.41 am Arrive Chevington.
    10.57 am Depart Chevington. (Not a passenger service in 1906).
    11.12 am Arrive Amble.
    11.23 am Depart Amble (Not a passenger service in 1906).
    11.38 am Arrive Chevington.
    11.53 am Depart Chevington (replacing the 11.33 am of 1906?).
    12.08 pm Arrive Amble.

    12.18 pm Depart Amble SO
    12.55 pm Arrive Morpeth SO
    1.05 pm Depart Morpeth SO
    1.41 pm Arrive Amble SO

    2.13 pm Depart Amble
    2.28 pm Arrive Chevington.
    2.50 pm Depart Chevington.
    3.05 pm Arrive Amble.

    3.15 pm Depart Amble SO (replacing the 3.20 pm of 1906)
    3.30 pm Arrive Chevington SO
    3.45 pm Depart Chevington SO
    4.00 pm Arrive Amble SO

    5.13 pm Depart Amble (replacing the 5.18 pm of 1906)
    5.28 pm Arrive Chevington.
    5.55 pm Depart Chevington. (replacing the 6.00 pm of 1906)
    6.10 pm Arrive Amble.
    6.45 pm Depart Amble (replacing the 7.00 pm of 1906)
    7.00 pm Arrive Chevington.
    7.53 pm Depart Chevington. (replacing the 7.45 pm of 1906)
    8.08 pm Arrive Amble.

    8.15 pm Depart Amble Light Engine SX
    8.40 pm Arrive Alnmouth shed SX

    8.25 pm Depart Amble SO
    8.32 pm Arrive Broomhill SO
    8.40 pm Depart Broomhill ECS SO
    8.49 pm Arrive Amble SO
    9.20 pm Depart Amble SO (replacing the 9.25 pm of 1906)
    9.35 pm Arrive Chevington SO
    10.00 pm Depart Chevington SO
    10.15 pm Arrive Amble SO
    10.25 pm Depart Amble Light Engine SO
    10.55 pm Arrive Alnmouth shed SO

    The branch passenger engine may have been a T.W. Worsdell A Class 2-4-2T (later L.N.E.R Class F8), which was T.W.Worsdell's first engine design for the N.E.R. in 1886. Sixty were built over six years to 1892. The L.N.E.R. report on closure in 1930 describes the Class F8 as the regular branch engine but it is unclear which loco was assigned the work pre-grouping. F8 No. 1160 was photographed on the branch during the L.N.E.R. period. However, an F Class 4-4-0 (later L.N.E.R. Class D22), number 18 was photographed on the branch during 1922. In Bartle Rippon's 2007 book on the branch he reports that an M Class 4-4-0 occasionally graced the branch and that F Class 4-4-0 No. 18 was a regular visitor.

    On the disused stations website a small photograph of Chevington in 1906 has the branch passenger train in the outside face of the down platform. It is a tank loco but not clear enough to confirm it as an A Class 2-4-2T let alone its number. There are three carriages in the train, which may well be six-wheel stock. The rear one is a short carriage with a birdcage lookout.
    Last edited by borderreiver; June 4th, 2020 at 12:49 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    United Kingdom

    Default The N.E.R. Amble Branch in 1906

    The rolling stock used on the Amble branch is listed in the 1926 Carriage Roster, which is several years after the N.E.R. was grouped in to the L.N.E.R. Unfortunately, to date, no earlier document has emerged to give a detailed breakdown of the sets in use by the North Eastern twenty years earlier in 1906.

    In the 1926 roster the following sets were allocated to Alnmouth;

    No. 28 - Chevington and Amble set - XBC (1-4), XB (6) - 8 1st 100 3rd (XB detached when possible, WT additional SO as required. Wash and clean at Amble per schedule)
    No. 30 - Alnmouth and Chevington set - B (2), WT (8) - 100 3rd (Wash and Clean M.O. swept out other days).

    X indicates a 52ft bogie carriage.
    Y indicates a 49ft bogie carriage.
    W indicates that a 49ft or 52ft bogie carriage will suffice (a 45ft bogie carriage (prefix "Z") would also suffice but those were a small batch built for service between Malton and Whitby via Grosmont)

    Set No.30 is remarkable in 1926 because it is a very rare example of a 6-wheel passenger carriage in the roster. The N.E.R. brake with 2 3rd compartments was the Diagram 20. 162 were built between 1892 and 1897. They evidently were built to expand van space on trains without having to attach a Diagram 21 Van and followed on from the Diagram 19 B (3), 114 of which were built between 1887 and 1892. From the earlier research regarding the Diagram 178 Third I know that in 1906 there would have been six-wheel carriages on running stock which are not identified by drawing number as one did not exist in 1906 at the time. Given that they are not in the N.E.R. drawing books of 1897 and 1900, then they had not been available for some time. There is no explanation for this lack of drawing. One example I have found from a postcard dated to 1905 is a 30ft six-wheel Lavatory Third described as a "Diagram 1". However, in the 1897 NER Drawing book a Diagram 1 is a 34ft Lavatory First and carriage No. 1453 does not resemble the D.1 FL drawing, so is not a declassified Lavatory First. In the 1906 Passenger Rolling Stock document, carriage 1453, 1455 and 92 were 30ft TL seating 34 3rds built in 1884 and given the note "j". There are several such carriage types in the N.E.R. passenger rolling stock as late as 1922, with the 1922 withdrawal being a 4-wheel carriage! That was a note "t" 4-w 4 compartment luggage Third.

    The XBC (1-4) of 1926 set No. 28 could be a Diagram 145 of 1907. Seven were built between 1907 and 1910, so it is a rather rare specialised type of carriage, with the minimum 1st Class provision of 8 seats, a moderate 3rd Class provision of 40 seats, and around 40% of the carriage given over to van space. The drawing shows an 8ft6in width for the body, which was around six inches wider than the typical 6-wheel carriage. The way the armrests are arranged in 1st Class indicate that four passengers at the windows had generous seats while the seat space between them seems rather narrower with no middle armrest. I believe that it was probably not all that often that these XBCs ran with a full 1st Class load.

    The XB (6) of 1926 set No. 28 could be a Diagram 144 of 1908. Eight were built, so like the Diagram 145 were rare, specialised carriages for specific traffic flows. With Van space a fraction below 12ft 10in just under 24% of the carriage given over to van space this is a carriage meant to provide a moderate number of 60 3rd Class seats with accomodation for the guard and a small amount of parcels. If required to run as a single vehicle it would offer ten more 3rd Class seats than a single carriage steam autocar along with a marginal improvement in van space, though at a cost of no 1st Class provision. Both the diagram 144 and 145 would have been significant upgrades for branch passengers, not least for having steam heating.

    In 1906 I know that bogie carriages were not present on at least one branch passenger train due to a shot at Chevington dated to 1906 on the disused stations website for Chevington. Three shorter carriages (30 - 34ft) with the one bringing up the rear having a birdcage lookout. This feature was present in the 1900 49ft arc roof stock but no drawings for it are in the 1897 or 1900 drawings books on six-wheeled stock. In another shot from the disused stations website also attributed to 1906 the branch train is made up of a single elliptical roof carriage, which at the time would have been a brand new design. From one extreme to the other it appears, and a variation in the working twenty years later, where a single set is providing the service aling the branch. The photograph is rather fuzzy, so it is not easy to determine what the carriage is. It most likely is either a Van Third or Van Composite. but with a large number of compartments, perhaps five or even six. The locomotives in both shots are tank locomotives. On examination I am going to put my neck out and say that the single carriage is a Diagram 145 XBC (which would make the shot 1907 at the earliest rather than 1906) and the locos are A Class 2-4-2T rather than O class 0-4-4T or B Class 0-6-2T. What I do not know is if the Amble branch received as new the XBC Diagram 145 in 1907/1908 along with the XB (6) Diagram 144 in 1908. Of course both could have arrived later, which would affect the assumptions made about the shot on the disused stations website. Of course, if you run the XBC(1-4) and XB saying it is 1908 and somebody says you can't prove that they did, you can equally say that they can't prove they didn't! Should the original photograph of the single carriage have a contemporary note on the back dating it then it would make a powerful case for date "x", unless of course official documents show that the carriage was not even built at that time, in which case the dating of the note becomes suspect. Such are the challeneges to making decisions about history.

    Perhaps a modeller might make a modeller's license case for running a veteran BTP 0-4-4T (Alnmouth shed has sent the A Class to works) and the substitute is a BTP. The BTP and a set of 6-W/4-W carriages would, for the 1906 traveller resemble something from their childhood during the 1880s.
    Last edited by borderreiver; June 5th, 2020 at 05:09 AM. Reason: More to say

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    United Kingdom

    Default The N.E.R. Amble Branch in 1906 - Goods

    To start, a quick summary of goods trains on the branch.

    Arrival from Benton Bank 12.15 pm
    Departure for Amble Junction 12.50 pm.
    Departure for Amble Junction 3.20 pm. SX
    Arrival from Amble Junction 4.15 pm SX

    The N.E.R.A. publication "NER Northern Division Goods Engine Working 12th July 1915" indicates that the Amble branch passenger engine, Alnmouth shed turn No.3 was rostered to undertake goods working during the afternoon as required (Indicated by Q in the roster) The working was Saturdays excepted. At 3.20 pm the branch passenger engine would leave Amble with a Class B goods, reaching Amble Junction at 3.40 pm. After remaining there until 4.00 pm (probably shunting) it returned to Amble, arriving at 4.15 pm. No road wagon is mentioned, nor is Broomhill, the intermediate station on the branch.

    Of course there is a degree of interpolation since the passenger engine working data is from 1908, the goods working data from 1915, the road wagon timetable from 1917 and the carriage roster data from 1926! NER Timetables for October 1912 and LNER timetable for July 1923 exist alongside Bradshaw's February 1906, April 1910 and July 1922. In a perfect world there'd be a full set for a single year but that is not the one we have inherited.

    In the 1917 Road Wagon timetable neither Broomhill nor Amble are listed as stations dealing with full truck loads only where "smalls traffic" have to be consigned to a nearby stations which do. Neither are they listed among the stations and sidings dealing with less than wagon load traffic, but having no road wagon service. To recap from elsewhere in the Road Wagon document, a full wagon load was defined as at least two tons consigned to one destination.

    Amble is in the Alphabetical station index of the Road Wagon document as being under Morpeth station as the sub-tranship station. Road wagons connecting Amble and Morpeth are No.9 inwards and No.46 outwards.
    For Amble, the road wagons connecting to other tranship stations from Morpeth are No. 9 for inwards traffic and No. 46(a) for outward traffic. Broomhill is identical. Chevington road wagons inwards are Nos. 92 and 101 inwards with Nos. 46, 91 and 99 outwards. The Chevington road wagons connecting with other tranship stations from Morpeth are Nos. 3, 43, 44 and 91 inwards and Nos. 3, 43, 44 and 92.

    No. 9 was a Gateshead Park Lane wagon dedicated to traffic for Amble.
    No. 46 was a Newcastle Forth wagon dedicated to traffic from Amble, running MFO.
    No. 46(a) was a Newcastle Forth wagon dedicated to traffic from Amble, running TuThO.

    No. 9 closed for traffic at Gateshead at 6.45pm SX and 2.0pm SO.

    The wagon served Morpeth, Broomhill and Amble stations.
    Pilot Engine took it from Gateshead to Heaton Junction 12.05am.

    Attached to the 5.15 am from Benton Bank to Morpeth, timetable page 4. Detached at Morpeth.

    Notes: The wagon to go in to Morpeth warehouse for Broomhill and Amble traffic. The inference is that some road wagons did not go in to the warehouse.

    Attached at Morpeth to the 9.50 am working from Benton Bank to Amble, timetable page 6.

    The Goods Engine timetable 1915 page 4 covers Tweedmouth engines but no 5.15 am from Benton Bank. There is a 6.00 am from Benton Bank to Morpeth, a Class B turn for a Heaton Junction engine, turn No.12 and it conveyed road wagons Nos. 9 and 55. The 6.00 am arrived Morpeth 6.35 am and spent the next 12 hours at Morpeth returning in the Up direction at 6.35 pm. On Mondays turn No. 12 returned from Morpeth at 6.15 pm.

    The Goods Engine timetable 1915 page 6 covers Tweedmouth engines but no 9.50 am. There is a 9.50 am
    from Benton Bank to Amble, Heaton Junction shed turn No. 28. A Class B turn and reached Amble at 12.15 pm. The 9.50 am train conveyed road wagon No. 9 from Morpeth to Amble.

    No. 46 closed at 12 noon (MFO). 12.50 pm Amble to Amble Junction, where it was detached. Attached to the 5.50 am Tweedmouth to Heaton Junction and detached at Morpeth.
    No. 46(a) closed at 12 noon (TuThO). 12.50 pm
    Amble to Amble Junction, where it was detached. Attached to the 5.50 am Tweedmouth to Heaton Junction and detached at Heaton Jcn. the 2.0 am pilot would trip it from Heaton Jcn to Newcastle Forth Banks.

    Turn 28 stayed at Amble
    until 12.50 pm departing for Amble Junction, arrival 1.38 pm, shunting Broomhill en-route. The turn then ran to Warkworth (Class D ), departed Amble Junction 2.38 pm, arrived Warkworth 3.25 pm (shunting Acklington en-route). It departed Warkworth at 4.0 pm (Class D), arriving Heaton Jcn 8.13 pm. When turn No. 28 departed Amble at 12.50 pm it conveyed Road Wagon No.46/46(a) as far as Amble Junction. At Amble Junction road wagons 46 (MFO) and 46(a) (TuThO) were attached to the 5.05 am Tweedmouth to Heaton Junction turn after it arrived at Amble Junction. That train was turn No. 6 of Tweedmouth shed, calling at Amble Junction. In 1915 turn No.6 leaves Tweedmouth at 5.50 am (Class D & B), only reaching Heaton Junction at 4.33 pm. The task, the pickup goods stopping at every station on the ECML in Northumberland. When did it reach Amble Junction? Not before 1.38 pm but before 4.0 pm (any earlier than 1.38 and later than 4.00 and there is no point detaching the wagon from Heaton turn No. 28). possibly arrived about 1.40 pm so it could use the services of the Heaton turn No. 28 engine at Amble Junction.

    On its way south Heaton turn 28 stopped at Amble Junction. There, road wagons No. 44, 91 and 99 attached. No. 44 for Heaton (Forth Wagon, Tweedmouth to Forth). No. 91 (Tweedmouth Wagon, Tweedmouth to Morpeth) and No. 99 (Tweedmouth Wagon, Alnwick to Morpeth MWFO). These, presumably were left by the 5.50 am Tweedmouth to Heaton Junction working but there is an inconsistency between the 1915 Goods Engine and 1917 Road Wagon documents. In the 1915 working the notes have Heaton Junction turn 28 picking up the above mentioned wagons at Amble Junction but the 1917 Road Wagon document has them working to Heaton Junction with the Tweedmouth shed turn 6 working the 5.50 am.

    This appears to be a rather slow transit. 12 noon Tuesday at Amble goods warehouse but not at Newcastle Forth banks until 3 am the next day. It also appears that while the 9.50am Heaton turn 28 turn worked to Amble Daily, taking road wagon No.9 with it, that there was no road wagon 46/46(a) running in the Up direction on Wednesday or Saturday.

    Coal traffic on the Northern Division was mostly arranged on a daily ad-hoc basis between the mineral traffic department and the shed foremen. the 1915 Goods Engine Timetable mentions Shilbottle Colliery in one turn but it does not appear to be hauling away loaded coal wagons for the Amble branch. There were train paths on the main line and branch but it was not expected that every path would be used every day of the week. It will take research to determine the annual tonnage going out from the N.E.R. staithes at Amble in order to determine a likely number of trains running along the branch with coal traffic.

    Last edited by borderreiver; June 8th, 2020 at 07:10 AM. Reason: Formatting and claification

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    United Kingdom

    Default The N.E.R. Amble Branch in 1906 - Goods

    The 1917 Road Wagon Timetable reveals that there was other goods traffic to Broomhill and Amble, in addition to the road wagons. Newcastle Forth Goods had two daily through wagons assigned to the branch, one to Broomhill and one to Amble. These closed at 12.30 am and left Forth at 2.15 am. This means that when Heaton Junction Shed Turn No.28 passed Amble Junction its trailing load comprised at least the following;

    Road Wagon working No. 9
    Through Wagon from Newcastle Forth to Broomhill.
    Through Wagon from Newcastle Forth to Amble.

    The Through Wagon was a wagon which conveyed smalls traffic between two stations which could consistently fill a wagon on a tri-weekly or daily basis. Fill, I take it to mean a load of at least 2 Tons, the same single destination weight which would permit the supply of a wagon to a customer. It appears from the timetable that while Newcastle Forth could do so on a daily basis for Amble and Broomhill the reverse direction was not generating sufficient smalls traffic to fill even one wagon to Newcastle Forth, not even on a tri-weekly basis.

    While the N.E.R. did use covered wagons as through wagons it was not guaranteed to be one, especially to smaller stations with lighter traffic flows. In my opinion I believe that Amble probably merited a covered wagon but Broomhill would not, at least daily.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    United Kingdom

    Default The Amble Branch - Coal Traffic in 1910

    The staff magazine of the North Eastern Railway, the N.E.R. Magazine, has revealed some information about coal tonnages shipped out from Amble. The article dates from August 1912. From Home Office figures for 1911, the port of Amble despatched 620,787 tons of coal. 452,551 tons were exported, 128,558 tons shipped coastwise, 34,231 tons were shipped as foreign-going bunkers and 5,449 tons as coastwise bunkers. The figures aren't differentiated between the N.E.R. staith and the colliery-owned staith. A later article on Northumberland ports did provide some information on the traffic split. The bulk of coal shipped out from Amble originated from the collieries of the Broomhill Coal Company, with "only a small proportion of the traffic being hauled by the N.E.R. engines". Therefore I have revised the figures previoulsy presented here. I estimate that "a small proportion" might have been around a fifth of the traffic, 124,157 tons.

    Prior to the introduction of P6 15 ton and 20 ton coal hoppers, the northern division favoured the P4 10.5 Ton hopper. The P5 11 Ton and P17 12 Ton hoppers were preferred by the Central/Southern Divisions. To deliver 124,157 tons of coal to the staith equates to 11,824 loaded P4 hoppers going down the branch and the same numbers of empties returning.

    The N.E.R. mineral trains ran on five and a half days a week. Two shifts Monday to Friday and one shift on Saturdays. The trips were arranged on an ad-hoc basis daily between the mineral department and the shed foremen at mineral engine sheds. However, train paths were set aside for the use of mineral trains. There were two weeks during July/August when the collieries closed for "the pitmen's holidays". This was for maintenenace work at a time when demand for coal was relatively low. With fifty weeks of operation the tonnages moved varied with the seasons. low during the summer, higher during the spring and autumn and high during the winter. There are risks associated with stockpiling coal, the principal one being of spontaneous combustion, so the intent was to minimise the time between extraction and shipping.

    With eleven shifts per week spread over fifty weeks that amounts to 550 shifts per year. If I assign thirty P4 hoppers to a train then that approximates to 394 trains over those 550 shifts. With the need to accomodate higher demand over the winter I estimate that the split may have been winter: 205 spring: 78 summer: 33 autumn: 78. This amounts to one train a day, six days a week during spring and autumn, a train every other day during the summer season and over the winter rising to either two and three trains a day. I believe that to maintain flexibility there was likely to have been two further daily paths available Monday - Friday and one on a Saturday. So, I speculate that the company provided five paths along the branch each way for Monday to Friday and three on a Saturday. The pinch point is the single line section between Amble junction and Broomhill. Transit time for a mineral train 15 minutes. So, no departure from Amble junction less than 15 minutes prior to a departure of a train from Broomhill and no departure from Broomhill within 15 minutes of a departure from the junction (20 minutes from Chevington).

    As higher capacity hoppers increased in number the number of trains actually running reduced, but because the make-up of an N.E.R. mineral train could include hoppers of 10.5 Ton, 15 Ton and 20 Ton hoppers in varying numbers I doubt that there was a decrease in the number of paths reserved until post-WWII, when 21 Ton steel hoppers were around in large numbers.

    The later article on Northumberland ports mentioned that in 1911 dredging work meant that Amble could accomodate colliers up to 2,000 Tons deadweight. The staithes could load ships at a maximum rate of 250 - 300 tons per hour. To be able to load ships at that rate means having sufficient siding accomodation to stand six thirty wagon trains. While that does not come to 2,000 tons, some of the ship's deadweight also had to be used for the coal bunkers, fresh water and stores. If each 2,000 ton collier loaded 1,750 tons of cargo and bunkers that 620,787 tons translates in to 354 sailings per annum. Roughly an average of one a day, though the trade was seasonal, with the lowest demand during the summer and the greatest demand during the winter. In addition, not all colliers would have been the maximum size of 2,000 tons so the sailings are merely general assumptions.
    Last edited by borderreiver; June 19th, 2020 at 02:46 PM. Reason: Additional information

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Scotland, United Kingdom


    Very cool reading with a cuppa and a Hobnob border. You're getting closer to my stomping ground haha. Worsdell's F8 was a very pretty engine in my opinion. Do we have any idea of what was usually on a "through wagon". Just general messages for the stations? Equipment or something?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    United Kingdom


    If someone despatching a consignment to a single destination was two tons or more the company would provide a wagon for it. This is "wagonload traffic". Two tons seems amazingly small, and at least one N.E.R. goods manager lobbied to raise the limit post-WWI but evidently his efforts were in vain, since the same limit applied in 1939. Traffic below two tons was described as "smalls traffic" and would go in to the company's network of road vans, transhipment vans and through wagons. Like today's carriers, these consignments can be one of many items. Crates for heavy or fragile items, sacks, barrels and baskets for others. Straw was a commodity goods warehouses consumed at quite a rate when used for packing. I recall an article somewhere mentioning barrels of nails and screws being one example going to an ironmongers. In 1940 there was a sporting goods store in Sunderland by the railway station. perhaps some of their sporting equipment came via a road wagon to Sunderland, then on the wagon delivering to consignees. Elsewhere I read of a stationmaster sending a lad to run to a farm to tell the farmer that a consignment had arrived for him and to bring his wagon and at least one hand to help. In a similar article it talked about someone complaining in 1876 about the introduction of new coal cells where coal was dropped from hopper wagons "causing much injury to the coals" and how he had sent his wagon and men to the yard twice but each time been sent away without being able to load his consignment of coals. It might seem strange to think of coal being "injured" but no doubt some large chunks of coal were smashed when dropping six to eight feet on to a stone or concrete floor of an empty coal cell. I mention the coals not as an example of smalls traffic but that some "small" items below two tons might have required the station master sending out word for the receiving person to come and get it rather than delivering it. Another article talked about the railway company wagon delivering items at a cheaper rate than the local carter, so perhaps some traffic was not delivered free to your home or business from the station.

    A "through wagon" was where there was sufficient volume of smalls traffic between two stations that it justified at least a tri-weekly wagon between them, even if the traffic was in one direction. Higher volumes could mean a daily wagon and in exceptional cases more than one daily wagon.
    Last edited by borderreiver; June 22nd, 2020 at 09:19 AM.

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