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Bell Lines.

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Can anyone provide information about Bell lines and their containers? When did CIE start running the Bell liner trains and to where? What height were the original containers, were 40 foot containers used from the outset and what equipment did CIE utilize on the trains. (20 or 40 foot flats)? Also when were 8 foot 6 inch containers introduced? Thanks.

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Bells original operation was based on Waterford Port possibly in the late 60s originally planned to use road transport and went over to rail as it was a better option given the state of the roads and relatively long haul from Dublin, Cork and Limerick to the port. This was probably based on the success of the B&I Cork-North Wall Liner which replaced the B&Is Cork-Swansea cargo sailings.

 

Originally only 20'x8' boxes would have been used on 20' flats, the 1st batch of the 42'9" flats were built in 71 and didn't really become common until the late 70s. The original containers were 8, CIE started clearing routes and introducing wagons suitable for 8'6" containers with the 1st batch of bogie and last batch of 4w flats in the early 70s.

 

Usually there were two daily services to and from Dublin and one each from Cork and Waterford, later Belfast & Sligo. Bell containers were also carried on CIE scheduled goods and liner trains.

 

Containers were also moved as single wagon loads sometimes marshalled next to the brake van on loose coupled goods, in the final years most Limerick Sligo goods trains seem to have carried Bell Containers.

 

The traffic grew very heavy in the 80s and 90s with lot of extra trains on weekends moving export traffic from factories to Waterford Port.

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There is a very good article entitled The Bellferry Trains in IRRS Journal No 92 October 1983. But then you can't beat the knowledge of the likes of Mayner, who fills in all the gaps in our knowledge. I was interested to know when they went over from 20' containers on 4w flats to 40' containers on 42' 9" bogie flats. I guess that means that I can run either on my Bell Line trains between Waterford and Cork. When space is an issue, a long line of 4w wagons looks more impressive than the same length, but half the number, of bogie flats.

PM me if you would like a copy of the article referred to above.

Stephen

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http://www.freewebs.com/crail=intermodal/4mmrtr.html do modern image containers in multiple sizes, decorated, kitform etc., but I reckon it's the 8'6" and upward variety only. ISO standards for containerisation were published between 1968 and 1972 which would have banished the 8'0". Would 2mm be a deal breaker? Would H0 containers be of any help, especially in the US? R.
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The length of container is governed by the load. 30 & 40' containers are used mainly for light bulky items manufactured goods and imports, 20' for heavy dense cargo, commodities such as meat, dairy goods, and bulk cargo liquid of solid. A lot of the traffic was Irish food exports in 20' containers to the European market, including pasta to Italy.

 

It might be worth looking out for used Hornby or Triang-Hornby freightliner container wagons on E-bay, the wagons would need shortening and possibly lowering but the bogies/trucks are right for the 1st batch of bogie container flats, the containers typical of the transition era.

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So, it was the type of traffic that dictated the size of container, not they got bigger simply for reasons of economy. As far as I know I've never seen any photos of Cork-Waterford Bell Line trains, so I wonder what kind of traffic there was between Cork and Waterford - 20' on 4w flats or 40' on bogie flats?

Stephen

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Thanks to everyone who replied. Based on the information provided the plan is to use C Rail 20 foot containers on Modified Dapol Prestwin underframes. See Glenderg's post with the photo of 141 and train at Waterford. Since the fiddle yard tracks will only hold a train of 8 or 9 four wheel wagons this should look better than bogies and be prototypical for a mid seventies train. I presume the introduction of 8 foot 6 inch containers led to the early 4 wheel flats being used for the pallet cement wagons in the mid seventies.

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I think a few flats with Bell or British Rail Freightliner containers & Guinness kegs would not look out of place in the consist of your loose coupled Cork-Waterford goods.

 

Improving train payload and better stability at speed may have been one of the main factors in phasing out the 4w flats which were eventually down graded from 50 to 35mph max. The bagged cement and beet doubles seem to have been converted form flats originally used in fertiliser and keg traffic.

 

4w flats still appeared in container traffic into the 90s mostly coal, oil and grain and mixed consists with keg, cement, oil, tar and container traffic over the Mayo & Sligo roads were not unknown.

 

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I recently picked up a copy of Irish Railways Past and Present by Michael HC Baker and in it, on page 48, is a picture of a Bell Line train leaving Waterford for Dublin, 17 container wagons plus brake van! The days when old ways of working had not quite been up to date for the modern railway.

 

Stephen

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