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unfitted freight

Posted: Tue May 12, 2020 8:18 am
by 76026
The posts on 9Fs on oil trains and on banking are making me green with envy- wish I'd woken up to railways a few years earlier.

It's also made me wonder when the last unfitted freights ceased- around Brizzle and nationally.

Someone (can't remember who) told me that somewhere in the country there was one last unfitted train that continued to run fo a while after all others had cease. I've a vague sense it had specialised wagons but the traffic wan't expected to flow much longer, so there was no will to shell for converting them to air braking or replacing them. Does this ring any bells?

Re: unfitted freight

Posted: Sat May 23, 2020 1:36 pm
by Rivercider
One late example of unfitted freight was export coal via Swansea Docks in MDOs (unfitted 21t mins) until early 1987.
They were still used as the wagons were unloaded by coal hoists one at a time,each wagon was uncoupled separately, and any vacuum pipe work would have been in the way.

cheers

Re: unfitted freight

Posted: Sat May 23, 2020 2:09 pm
by Rivercider
The elimination of unfitted trains was a gradual process, with parts of BR becoming unfitted bit by bit. The SR was first I think in around 1975?
The British Steel strike of 1980 rendered many unfitted coal and steel wagons surplus to requirements, many were then scrapped.
The air braked Speedlink network had built up from the late 1970s, and the traditional vacuum braked Other Wagon Load network lasted until about May 1984. After that there were still many unfitted wagons in engineers use, particularly bogie rail carriers, and some unfitted services continued to run until the late 1980s, including a Gloucester New Yard to Tavistock Junction (and return) service which ran a couple of times a week. West of Taunton had become fully fitted around 1984 I guess.
So by the late 1980s unfitted trains around Bristol would have been very rare, though I don't recall when the last one ran.

cheers

Re: unfitted freight

Posted: Sat May 23, 2020 8:49 pm
by 76026
Thank you for supplying the answer to my question. Good to know that I hadn't imagined there being a particular reason for retaining unfitted wagons. Suitably cheered I went looking online for photos, and found yours on the 'Retired Section Swansea Docks' website. Great shots- you clearly found some rather good vantage points.

Re: unfitted freight

Posted: Tue May 26, 2020 10:34 am
by Rivercider
Thanks for the comments about the Swansea Docks photos.
Because of the sheer volume of freight traffic in South Wales there were also other quite late unfitted revenue earning traffic in the 1980s.
Coke from Nantgarw to Barry Docks for export in HUO (24t hops) to about 1982/3
Steel coil from Llanwern to Newport Docks in coil-C and coil-J wagons to at least 1985.
There was also coal in HUOs to Sponodon in the East Midlands which lasted much longer (late 1980s), also some other traffic between Grimsby and Immingham in private owner wagons.

cheers

Re: unfitted freight

Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:13 am
by buxton4472
Talking of South Wales, during the miners' strike in 1984/5 Nantgarw coking plant managed to dispose of the vast majority of its stockpiled blast-furnace coke to Llanwern steelworks using (amongst other wagons) coke hoppers (the ones that had wooden boards around the tops to increase capacity for coke being less dense than its parent coal. From memory, these were unfitted. This disposal had the blessing of the NUM lodge chairman at Nantgarw. Working at the area laboratory attached to the coke ovens site, I could see as many as four trains a day leave the plant for Llanwern. I believe these hoppers were also used to supply Pensnett from Cwm coke-ovens, but I cannot remember when this traffic ceased.

Re: unfitted freight

Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:34 pm
by 76026
Thank you for this. I hadn't exactly forgotten about coke, but it's a while since I've heard or read anything about it. Sometimes we used the domesic variety instead of coal when I was a nipper.

Surprising that coke was moved from a plant to a steelworks with the NUM's blessing during a strike. I wonder why?