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Goods wagons in the fifties, and a UTA example

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jhb171achill
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Nowadays, a goods train will almost never have more than one type of vehicle (I aim this post particularly at younger readers, as older will remember). A train might consist of 18 bogie flats with or without timber, containers, or whatever, or a line of pockets. Naturally, no brake van at the end.

 

This is the reverse of what it was like before fitted trains.

 

Pre 1975, when loose coupled was the order of the day, a brake van was essential - thus a train of loose-coupled four wheeled wagons on a layout based in the pre-fitted era cannot consist of a loco and a line of wagons. Having a brake van at the end is the same as having a locomotive at the front; if it's not there, the train ain't moving anywhere.

 

Now it's different if they are fitted - like the beet four wheelers in their later days, but four wheeled wagons were never fitted en mass in Ireland anyway, back in the day.

 

So if modelling pre-1975, a brake van is a must. But also variety. Not only did trains not consist of a line of the same type of wagon, many trains rarely had two wagons alike.

 

Take the UTA.

 

Ex BCDR stock got mixed up with ex NCC stock, and within this family were some quite modern York Road adaptations of LMS designs (please don't say "mainland"; as well as being technically quite inaccurate and offensive to many, it's narrow gauge!) from Derby. Add to that the passenger-profile "Brown Vans", and the fact that other NCC stock was old enough to be of bncr origin, and you've a mixture. The UTA was anti-rail from the outset and saw no future in any sort of rail traffic, so they built few if any wagons of their own. Now along comes 1958, and ex GNR stock is thrown in as well.

 

To add to the modeller's nightmare, there wasn't even a uniform livery. Like the GNR, the UTA painted some wagons brown if they were fitted, i.e. they could be added to the back of a passenger train. BCDR stock was largely withdrawn, but a few items survived to get UTA markings, often just painted on the left hand lower end on top of the very dark BCDR grey, with their initials still showing. Some, like NCC stock, were repainted, or partly so. The NCC / UTA grey was the same as British LMS grey since the LMS owned the NCC.

 

Once the GNR was absorbed, partial repairs, or poor quality paint which barely mask the large "G N" was the norm. Wagons received "N" added to their numbers, as did carriages, though the letter was first, eg N145.

 

The UTA used "UT" rather than "UTA" on all wagons without exception. It was placed lower left, like the NCC had done latterly, and in the same font.

 

Now to CIE.

 

GSWR, DSER and MGWR rolling stock was commonplace right through the fifties. While they we properly painted, this didn't happen too often and many were almost as tatty as those on the UTA. In the early fifties, the odd one still had "G S" but at a guess this was pre-maybe-1951. The. When the palvans and H vans appeared, the old stock was mixed in with them for a while until they gradually disappeared. The last wooden vans of (late) GSWR or GNR that I saw in traffic were maybe about 1971. Even then they were few. The GSR inside-framed horizontally planked goods vans were the last "pre-H" ones in traffic with some surviving to be brown, and not withdrawn until about 1975.

 

So, a goods train heading to Portadown in 1965 could have (and I saw them often) something like this:

 

Locomotive

NCC brown van

CIE H

GSR wooden van

CIE palvan

BCDR van

Bullied corrugated

GNR van with flying snail

GNR van with UT in faded paint

Three grey bubbles

Flat wagon with load under tarpaulin

CIE H

GNR open wagon with snail

GNR open wagon with "G N"

Bullied corrugated

NCC origin goods van in UTA markings

Courtaulds (NCC) open

Ex NCC brake van (as per the one at Downpatrick); GNR goods van (no black chassis and ironwork, cream porch or white roof; all these are entirely incorrect!) - either in GNR, UTA or CIE livery; or CIE standard 20 or 30 ton van, grey - with snail or roundel. With roundel, wasp stripes on ducket, with snail wasps stripes less likely.

 

If this imaginary train was in the south or west instead of rattling through Dundalk, expect cattle wagons too, and one of the few surviving GSWR brake vans - these remained grey and snail-adorned to the end. GNR brake vans were rarely seen outside their own territory, though very occasional sightings were made.

 

I hope is provides some inspiration. Dunluce Castle, of this community, seem to have a v eclectic collection of scratch built stuff - this is entirely appropriate.

 

A line of Hornby vans, all uniform, whizzing round behind a 141, will loo impressive on a layout, but in reality - for those interested in accuracy - such things never happened.

 

Below is a UTA walk. Showing the poor paint.

 

This was a cut down Courtaulds wagon, which were originally a reddish brown as is still evident. It's now 1975, and this beast is parked up at Antrim with a few classmates. As you can see from the strapping, it was originally a full height wagon. About a dozen were cut down like this by NIR about 1969 as ballast wagons. NIR ever ran goods trains.

 

image.jpg

 

Incidentally, on a livery note, you can er how myths about black ironwork arise. Imagine this picture in black and white, the ironwork gets rusty long before the paint fades on the wooden bits, thus a B'n'W photo will make it look darker. Courtaulds wagons had red/brown paint on ironwork, and the watery NIR light grey paint was on ironwork too.

 

I hope this is of help.

Edited by jhb171achill
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Great thread, Jb but you have just given me some more homework to do since I'm only familiar with 60% of theses wagons or liveries or both!

Was the C352 NCC352 or Courtaulds (and that wagon is part of my homework)? Look like a poorly stenciled UT followed eventually by NIR's stamp.

 

I like these wagons because of they unusual shape. A purpose built older ballast would have been a 2 or three plank wagon, I presume, and I presume the cutting was to allow it to be unloaded by hand or mechanical digger?

 

The wagon behind is in NIR grey?

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The LMS NCC used larger letters, GSR like, on the main body side, until about the wartime. Afterwards (similar practice on English LMS) it said "LMSNCC" where "NIR" can be seen, in the same style and position. The UTA copied this, replacing "LMSNCC" with "UT".

 

The so-called Courtaulds wagons, which incidentally were UTA wagons, NOT private owner, were full height sides the entire time they were in goods traffic and UTA ownership. When the UTA abandoned goods in 1965, the overwhelming majority were scrapped, leaving maybe a dozen or 20 for PW purposes. About half of these we cut down as shown. While in the distant past, low sided angled ended opens were built by different companies, none survived into this era on any line.

 

If you model a wagon in the style shown in the picture, it's PW use only, and inevitably will be hauled by a filthy "Jeep" or one of those three English Electric shutters which NIR obtained in 1969.

 

About 1970, I would estimate there were no more than a dozen left. NIR painted some of those, plus at least one NCC goods brake, and one GNR goods brake, in the very pale grey seen on the one on the right. But some retained UTA red/brown, and some retained the full height sides. Both Whitehead and Downpatrick have still, I think, got examples of these.

 

Once NIR appeared out of the ashes of the UTA in 1968, the few wagons they intended to gain for the above purposes had a "C" prefix added to their number. So an open wagon number 234 by the UTA, became C234. This is a bit like the "A" suffix used by CIE, though in their case a new number accompanied it. Both CIEs "A" suffix, and NIRs "C" prefix were for departmental use. The old bogie balks wagon on the DCDR, of NIR origin, has a number starting with "C".

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I like these wagons because of they unusual shape. A purpose built older ballast would have been a 2 or three plank wagon, I presume, and I presume the cutting was to allow it to be unloaded by hand or mechanical digger?

 

The wagon behind is in NIR grey?

 

As far as the shape is concerned, there were variations; you can see that the two shown are cut down to differing extents. The reason for the cutting was indeed for unloading. Though, as I said, many remained in UTA red/brown and were NOT cut down.

 

When in goods traffic, none were cut down, nor had "C" prefixes. But they were just as tatty looking!

 

Thus - another point. If modelling UTA goods wagons, or pre 1955 CIE, pristine models just look totally, completely, wrong. Weather them within an inch of their lives!

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Both UTA "Courtaulds" wagons, originally built by the NCC in 1922/4. The "cut down" one was exactly the same as the other - as were ALL of those cut down ones - before NIR altered them thus about 1970/1 for PW purposes. By that stage it was 6 years since they had been used for actual goods traffic.

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Good photograph of a PW wagon on page 67 of the UTA in Colour and lots of film of UTA and CIE goods wagons in volume DVD by John Laird. Checking through my own stuff the UTA patched/done up a lot of ex GNR 10 ton and ex NCC 12 ton wagons in the early-mid 1960s mainly for the Courtalds traffic. They were painted bauxite read and numbered from C1 to C300 but most were gone by the late 1960s. There is very little published on this area and it is a great pity that Volume 3 of the Northern Counties book was unpublished although I have been told that a finished manuscript exists, does anyone know for sure?

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I don't know of the manuscript, airfixfan, but if I found out I'd finish it myself!

 

The wagons you mentioned that were renovated for the Courtaulds traffic are the very ones that all the above photos are of. Some were GNR, but the majority were NCC, and carried builders plates (visible on the photo above) showing building dates "NCC 1922" or 1924. It is out of these that the dozen or more survivors for ballast with NIR came.

 

I never knew that the "C" prefix was put on the Courtaulds wagons - I suppose it makes sense now! I had always assumed that it was an NIR suffix for departmental use, like CIE's "A". It certainly fulfilled that purpose in LATER days, as subsequently acquired ballast wagons carried it! By that stage, it HAD become a departmental tag.

 

Several guard's vans were kept on by NIR for ballast use. There were two GNR vans, one of which is the RPSI's "Ivan". The other was an identical vehicle which was in woeful order at Downpatrick and was donated by DCDR to the RPSI's "youths" to provide spares for "Ivan". There was also at least one NCC van retained, now on the DCDR, and possibly another as well.

 

Ex-GNR vans travelled on the Bangor line and ex-NCC areas of UTA / NIR after the break up of the GNR, but while they did appear beyond Amiens Street on CIE, it wasn't much or often. CIE were, of course, churning out many of their own more modern goods brakes at the time, so most of what CIE inherited was broken up quite soon.

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ex GNR 10 ton and ex NCC 12 ton wagons in the early-mid 1960s mainly for the Courtalds traffic. They were painted bauxite read and numbered from C1 to C300 but most were gone by the late 1960s

Pender & Richards Book book (Summer 1967)refers briefly to these, as rebuilt in 1965 by the UTA. Note that JB's wagon is C352 and doesn't fall within that sequence

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That wagon could have been rebuilt in 1967 or even renumbered by NIR. There are some images of ex works wagons in red in the John Laird DVD. Fimally there were some references to Volume 3 of the Currie book in recent RPSI emails about NCC number plates and numerals. Can anyone help?

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After all that, I was going through some wagons I had picked up at various points and came across a Provincial Wagons 4 Plank Open (uncut) Courtaulds Wagon that I'd purchased without fully understanding it origin!

[ATTACH=CONFIG]23126[/ATTACH]
[ATTACH=CONFIG]23143[/ATTACH]

Provincial Wagons Courtaulds.jpg

Anyone know how to get rid of this inverted attachment, once uploaded, I can't seem to detach it from the post

(something obviously occurred from being in proximity to jb's photos:D)

Provincial Wagons Courtaulds.jpg

Edited by DiveController
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Been there many a time, Dive! I couldn't detach those either.....

 

The "uncut" version is the way all UTA wagons used for Courtaulds traffic were, and therefore all red-brown ones. It was only after NIR set some aside for PW work that they received light grey point and had their sides cut down, if that's any help.

 

The UTA tended to remove the old NCC cast number plates, certainly by the late 50s in most cases, and paint numbers in the style shown on Leslie's model instead. (I like the rusty looking ironwork on it - absolutely authentic!). They did retain their small oval makers plates (only about 6 inches across - WAY smaller than CIE ones). These were attached to the chassis around the middle, below the drop-down side.

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DiveController said:
Pender & Richards Book book (Summer 1967)refers briefly to these, as rebuilt in 1965 by the UTA. Note that JB's wagon is C352 and doesn't fall within that sequence

 

...and yet it's the reddish brown...

 

Which perhaps suggests than Brendan's list refers to those rebuilt, as opposed to those used for Courtaulds. So, probably the one I saw was not rebuilt, but was used for Courtaulds.... would that make sense? If the "C" prefix refers to Courtaulds traffic as earlier suggested, this would add to this theory.

 

It has just occurred to me that the spoil wagons, as far as I remember, had numbers beginning with "M". Obviously, then, "Magheramorne"?

 

Such us the beauty of research. Fifty years on, we learn something new every day.

Edited by jhb171achill
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...and yet it's the reddish brown...

 

Which perhaps suggests than Brendan's list refers to those rebuilt, as opposed to those used for Courtaulds. So, probably the one I saw was not rebuilt, but was used for Courtaulds.... would that make sense? If the "C" prefix refers to Courtaulds traffic as earlier suggested, this would add to this theory

That's certainly possible especially as Airfixfan seems to think some were rebuilt in 1967 and might not have been in traffic when Pender's book went to press. Were Courtauld's wagon private owner wagons as I thought that the UTA ceased all or most freight in 1965?

Seems like the wagons did not last that much longer and were gone by the "late 60s", unusual that they'd have been rebuilt as late as 1967. Couldn't find much on the web regarding Courtaulds itself ......

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The Courtaulds wagons were not private owner - they were UTA's, mostly ex NCC.

Rather than being fully rebuilt, I'd say they were substantially patched up. They still had their NCC 1920s wagon plates on them well after withdrawal anyway! My own recollections of them were of wagons that were the FAR FAR from new looking.

After the Courtaulds traffic stopped, the vast majority were broken very quickly, with maybe a dozen or so retained for PW. And these lasted into NIR days when some more were broken, or set aside, others cut down and repainted with a single coat of poor quality emulsiony light grey paint. Naturally, the red showed through quite soon, and the metal parts simply returned to bare rust with tiny occasional patches of rust-stained grey!

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It has just occurred to me that the spoil wagons, as far as I remember, had numbers beginning with "M". Obviously, then, "Magheramorne"?

 

In the thread about the Provincial Wagons (http://irishrailwaymodeller.com/showthread.php/3103-SPOILing-the-Ulstermen?highlight=spoil+wagons) model of the spoil wagons prototype photos show the wagons with numbers prefixed with a 'C' in the 1990s. When did the prefix change from 'M' and were the wagons re-numbered at the same time?

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Good photograph of a PW wagon on page 67 of the UTA in Colour and lots of film of UTA and CIE goods wagons in volume DVD by John Laird. Checking through my own stuff the UTA patched/done up a lot of ex GNR 10 ton and ex NCC 12 ton wagons in the early-mid 1960s mainly for the Courtalds traffic. They were painted bauxite read and numbered from C1 to C300 but most were gone by the late 1960s. There is very little published on this area and it is a great pity that Volume 3 of the Northern Counties book was unpublished although I have been told that a finished manuscript exists, does anyone know for sure?

 

The manuscript exists and on the very computer I am typing from. I've had it for many years, but always was diverted from sorting it out. It's been pushed agin by another publishing exercise which will take the next year of my life.

 

However, I can tell you that it won't help you much on the query you raise - the rolling stock chapter is sparse. Russell Currie really only took the story up to about 1965.

 

I have done a replica Courtaulds wagon in my Provincial Wagons series. I note that there isn't a picture of one in my "previous wagons" section, so I may add that later. I did it with BROWN strapping, which was how the UTA painted them as the wagons were renewed and mine certainly has a "C" prefix to the number, as per prototype (I have photos of several so numbered. My wagon is a four plank, but there were many six plank ones as well.

 

Leslie

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Does anyone know anything about when this traffic stopped? It seems that UTA was operating some freight at least these after 1965 if they were rebuilt for Courtaulds in '65/'67?

 

The wagons were "rebuilt" earlier in the 1960s. I can't open the file in which I have a description of the traffic. It ceased in 1966, when the contract was lost.

 

Leslie

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Pre 1975, when loose coupled was the order of the day, a brake van was essential - thus a train of loose-coupled four wheeled wagons on a layout based in the pre-fitted era cannot consist of a loco and a line of wagons. Having a brake van at the end is the same as having a locomotive at the front; if it's not there, the train ain't moving anywhere.

 

Now it's different if they are fitted - like the beet four wheelers in their later days, but four wheeled wagons were never fitted en mass in Ireland anyway, back in the day.

 

So if modelling pre-1975, a brake van is a must. But also variety. Not only did trains not consist of a line of the same type of wagon, many trains rarely had two wagons alike.

 

So, a goods train heading to Portadown in 1965 could have (and I saw them often) something like this:

 

Locomotive

NCC brown van

CIE H

GSR wooden van

CIE palvan

BCDR van

Bullied corrugated

GNR van with flying snail

GNR van with UT in faded paint

Three grey bubbles

Flat wagon with load under tarpaulin

CIE H

GNR open wagon with snail

GNR open wagon with "G N"

Bullied corrugated

NCC origin goods van in UTA markings

Courtaulds (NCC) open

 

 

Hhmmmmm, I'm delighted to say that over the past nine years, Provincial Wagons produced about half of the consist of this train. I'll try and post a picture on my VERY unfinished layout!

 

Leslie

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Pleased to here that manuscript of Volume 3 is in secure hands. Have been going through what is published on this issue which is very little or vague and even incorrect. Some books state that the Courtalds traffic ended in 1968 and my own memories put it around 1967. The IRRS JOURNAL 44 October 1967 states that the signal box at Mount was closed on 25th May 1967 with signals and connections removed. From memory the UTA had tried and failed to end this contract in the mid 1960s. This is why they had to overhaul a large number of wagons for mainly this traffic which is supported by Journal 36 February 1965 which refers to 300 wagons being overhauled by the UTA at this time. These wagons would have a C prefix and be painted bauxite red with 200 wagons required for the Courtalds traffic and 100 wagons needed for ballast/dept. work. In the UTA IN COLOUR book on page 71 there is a photo of this coal train from July 1966. So it is clear that this traffic had ended by early 1967 and the 2 Peckett tanks were sold for scrap in 1968 and I remember an article about them in the Belfast Telegraph in that year which I could not find today having just moved recently! Any more detail appreciated.

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Pleased to here that manuscript of Volume 3 is in secure hands. Have been going through what is published on this issue which is very little or vague and even incorrect. Some books state that the Courtalds traffic ended in 1968 and my own memories put it around 1967.

 

In my previous reply on this, I was quoting directly from NCC Saga, where Mac Arnold was reporting year by year and it's under 1966 that he reports the loss of the contract. Frankly, with Mac's eye for detail I'd trust that date!

 

Like Jon, I have a set of Journals and will have a look and report TOMORROW - time old men were in bed!

 

Leslie

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Here's another Courtaulds wagon at Whitehead - fire damaged by the more pond-dwelling members of our diverse vandalised society:

 

image.jpg

 

There's an interesting point here for the livery-minded. You can just about see traces of the red-brown paint on the steelwork in the corner, but most is rusty. Imagine this photo was black and white - it would appear to show black ironwork, which was never the case. Such things have given rise to the unfortunate inaccuracy in preserved wagons, where time and trouble is unneccessarily and inaccurately taken to pick out metal in black.

 

This is even more evident in the grey one behind.

 

Anyway, I hope that the picture may assist the modeller of such beasts.

 

The light grey contraption in the foreground is a Larne & Stranraer Railway 0.1.0.

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An addendum, on re-reading: the "C" wagons C1-C100 were not all gone by 1969. The Courtaulds traffic ended either 1968 or 1969, but many of the wagons survived on ballast work, as has been seen in other pics and other discussions.

I last saw the last few of them in use about 1979 / 1980.

Edited by jhb171achill
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What a superb thread and gold dust quality information on the old goods trains that once dominated all rail traffic in Ireland.

The formation below behind B130 about to drop some wagons off at Gort is similar to what you describe above and inspiring for layout operation.

Gort_RTTW_P28.jpg

A goods train without a brake van at the end was like a sentence without a punctuating full stop. A bunch of fitted wagons behind a baby GM looked deprived and incomplete without a brake/guards van.

IMG_5893.jpg

Thanks for the info @jhb171achill 👍

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