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End of the Goods Brake Van

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StevieB
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One of the operational benefits of liner trains was that, being continuously braked, there was no need for a brake van at the end of the consist. However, in Both Ireland and the UK the opposition of the trade unions was a major hurdle to overcome, so it was many years before they finally disappeared on such trains. So, my question to those in the know is whether the likes of Bell Line, dolomite and oil and magnesite trains began with a brake van? There is a photo in Irish Railways Past and Present of a liner train departing Waterford in August 1976 complete with brake van but I yet to see photos of any of the three above.

Many thanks.

 

Stephen

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One of the operational benefits of liner trains was that, being continuously braked, there was no need for a brake van at the end of the consist. However, in Both Ireland and the UK the opposition of the trade unions was a major hurdle to overcome, so it was many years before they finally disappeared on such trains. So, my question to those in the know is whether the likes of Bell Line, dolomite and oil and magnesite trains began with a brake van? There is a photo in Irish Railways Past and Present of a liner train departing Waterford in August 1976 complete with brake van but I yet to see photos of any of the three above.

Many thanks.

 

Stephen

 

Hmm. In the uk. Fully fitted goods ran without brake vans well before unions got involved. I don't think rail companies ran brake vans where they didn't need them.

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The union problem was most likely between the NUR, representing guards, and ASLEF, representing drivers, over having guards in the rear cab of the loco - long before moves to get rid of guards!

 

Stephen

 

Until 1967, when agreement between BRB and NUR ,meant that fully fitted trains needed no guards van and the guard rode in The rear cab of the loco, all freight trains fitted on not has a guards van.

 

after 1967. Even though aslef threatened action, brake vans on fully fitted trains were gradually eliminated. Single manning agreements on BR in the 80s eliminated the guard and the secondman in most cases.

 

Prior to the 60s , complete fully fitted freight was comparatively rare, mostly fast parcels etc. partially fitted was more common with loose coupled unfitted a common sight.

 

As to your original question, certainly from memory in Waterford I only saw brake vans ( and I used to travel in them ) on beet trains. Never on liners or dolomite trains. I would suspect cie by then had long negotiated the guards situation away.

Edited by Junctionmad
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I think that there are two issues being confused here - (a) the elimination of brake vans on goods trains and (b) the doing away with guards on trains. The first, elimination of brake vans on goods trains, was, as has already been said, brought about by the introduction of fitted wagons on goods trains. When this happened the guard rode in the locomotive in, I think, the leading cab. The use of a brake van on a nominally fully fitted train would, I think, have indicated a problem with the brake system. The second question - doing away with guards on trains - depended on the availability of train radio on various lines. In the event of a train failure one of the guard's duties was to assist the driver in protecting the train and until there was a reliable method of doing this without the need for a second man the guard remained. Of course there were union issues in both cases but mainly in the second case where there was a reduction in jobs.

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There was no real union or staff resistance to the ending of the elimination of goods brake vans on fully fitted trains, the loco cab was safer and a lot more comfortable than a standard CIE 20 & 30T van at 50mph. Fully fitted freights with brake vans were restricted to 35mph

 

A guards van was sometimes used on Foynes Byrytes trains so the guard could close level crossing gates without having to walk the length of the train when the crossing keepers had finished their shift.

 

CIE seem to have been quite cunning in their dealings with the unions in the 50s and 60s, eliminating the requirement for a fireman on diesel locos years before BR by placing the train heating boiler in the van.

 

A lot of IEs labour relation problems arose as a result of worker frustration with the large general unions after ASLEF withdrew from Ireland and the lack of long term Government commitment to retaining the railways.

 

IE was able to offer better terms and conditions and re-deploy 'redundant" staff to other roles after the EU Working Time Directive and a buyont economy freed IEs hand to negotiate with the unions

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I think that there are two issues being confused here - (a) the elimination of brake vans on goods trains and (b) the doing away with guards on trains. The first, elimination of brake vans on goods trains, was, as has already been said, brought about by the introduction of fitted wagons on goods trains. When this happened the guard rode in the locomotive in, I think, the leading cab. The use of a brake van on a nominally fully fitted train would, I think, have indicated a problem with the brake system. The second question - doing away with guards on trains - depended on the availability of train radio on various lines. In the event of a train failure one of the guard's duties was to assist the driver in protecting the train and until there was a reliable method of doing this without the need for a second man the guard remained. Of course there were union issues in both cases but mainly in the second case where there was a reduction in jobs.

 

One must be careful about time-lines here. Certainly in the uk , the existence of fully fitted freights was rare until block workings in the 70s began. My understanding was that Ireland was similar, Most fully fitted freights were typically parcels , newspapers and or horse traffic and typically ran with a full passagner brake rather then a goods brake van . I cannot speak for the situation in Ireland to the same extent.

 

Until the 1967 agreement with the NUR. in the uk brake vans had to be provided on fully fitted trains, this was completely the case for steam hauled as there was nowhere else for the guard to travel in.

 

With cie my own experience in the mid seventies on the dolomite trains was the guard travelled with the driver in the cab even though the train was fully fitted.

 

So your contention , certainly in the uk, was that manning rules were prevelant over operational efficiency, this however has been the case since the drawn of railways ! , the whole one person operation issue in the uk is a clear indication of the issues.

Edited by Junctionmad
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I appreciate that we went off course with the discussion re eliminating guards, nevertheless there is evidence that liner trains ran with brake vans.

 

Stephen

 

Pics or it didn't happen

 

As stated in the opening thread of the topic,there is a pic on page 48 of Irish Railways Past and Present by Michael Baker of a container train leaving Waterford with a brake van in August 1976.

I lived beside Adelaide freight yard in the 70s and as container trains started to take over from loose coupled freight,brake vans could be seen on the odd container only trains heading back to Dundalk. Whether it was just for somewhere for the guard to sit or just a way of returning a brake van back to CIE I am not sure,but it did happen,although I have no pics

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I lived beside Adelaide freight yard in the 70s and as container trains started to take over from loose coupled freight,brake vans could be seen on the odd container only trains heading back to Dundalk. Whether it was just for somewhere for the guard to sit or just a way of returning a brake van back to CIE I am not sure,but it did happen,although I have no pics

 

 

Guards vans on Adelaide-Dundalk goods trains rings a bell.

 

For some reason keg traffic from the Harp Larger brewery to Belfast was worked for several years in loose coupled trains after other freight services on the Dublin-Belfast line went over to liner operation.

 

Not sure if it was something to do with the loading arrangements at the brewery or an industrial relations issue.

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You've reminded me, Mayner, yes, I remember that too.

 

I'm nearly certain - but stand to be corrected - that it was industrial relations. The fact that the UTA had abolished all internal goods traffic within the north in 1965, and thus never had its own liner trains, could possibly have resulted in there being no provision in the UTA / NIR rule book for guard-less trains.

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You've reminded me, Mayner, yes, I remember that too.

 

I'm nearly certain - but stand to be corrected - that it was industrial relations. The fact that the UTA had abolished all internal goods traffic within the north in 1965, and thus never had its own liner trains, could possibly have resulted in there being no provision in the UTA / NIR rule book for guard-less trains.

 

Sorry JHB but you have contradicted yourself. If there was no provision in the UTA/NIR rule book for the operation of guardless trains then CIÉ would have been required to operate its trains with a guard north of the border irrespective of what agreements had been reached with unions regarding workings in the Republic. The provision of a guard would have been an operational requirement dictated by UTA/NIR.

 

Indeed, to this day NIR, as a policy decision, uses 'Conductor Guards' on its passenger services. This would have more to do with revenue protection and passenger securitry that the traditional function of the guard. But it still means two-person staffing of trains in Northern Ireland and, because of this, guards also operate on the Enterprise service despite IÉ/union agreement for OPO operations on the IÉ network.

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