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MGW 'fortress' coaling stages

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David Holman


Don't know if this is the right title, but I mean the ones with a high wall around all four sides.

 Presumably, there were strong, wooden doors at the entrance, but how did they open - hinged/sliding and were they the usual green painted colour? The one at Achill looks quite a narrow gap, which can't have made coaling very easy. Did they used baskets, as on previous pictures, or was it just blokes with shovels?

 I have Ernie Shepherd's book on the MGW, but this far haven't been able to find anything useful, while Google is a complete blank.

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The walled coal stores were a standard design used at Sligo and on the Western Branches including Ballinrobe, Clifden and Loughrea. Loughrea is still standing but very overgrown.

The doors  on one side only (possibly iron) were sliding seem to be usually left open. Woodwork and steelwork would have generally have been green, but I will leave it to JHB on whether the sliding doors were painted or remained rusty iron with the rollers and tracks coated in grease and coal dust.

There is a photo of the Sligo coal store in a Desmond Cookham feature on CIE branch lines in a Railway Byelines Annual/Summer Special from the 1990s, CIE shed staff claimed that the store was to prevent SLNCR men "stealing their coal" which Des believed was down to inter company rivalry as SLNCR staff were very honourable enginemen.

While it would have been easy enough to coal the low sided tenders of the small 19th Century locos from the platform, it would have been a struggle with the high sided tenders of the larger locos and the hungry boards of the era of increasingly poor coal from the late 1930s onwards, some of the larger sheds like Broadstone, Athlone  and Tralee used steam or diesel cranes with clamshell bucket, but coaling of larger locos lmay have been by hand at depots like Sligo, Westport, Claremorris and Galway.




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That looks right indeed.

Ii suspect there were differences here and there. Undeniably, the one above is gated. I do believe though, but can't (yet!) prove either way, that some were open. Possibly not initially, but latterly. 

A gated one couldn't have been in order to fill it up, as all the coal would have spilled on the track when you opened it - that's IF you could open it with the force of the coal against it - unlikely.

In MGWR day's station paintwork and ironwork was "post office" red and cream, or possibly a light buff beige colour. Station building interiors (MGWR) were mid brown lower, cream upper.

Once the GSR took over, green and pale cream inside and out. In the interiors only, booking office or waiting room walls were green to waist height, cream above, with a 1 inch black line separateing them. No black line externally.

I think SLNCR buildings were always a dark leaf green with very pale grey / white. I've no idea what the internal station colours were on the SLNCR, but I think possibly green also.

If doors to coal bunkers were painted, and they almost certainly would have been initially, they would certainly have been all rusty and grimy internally. In Midland days, I can't see them painting any if these red - maybe black? I don't know.

Rust would seem a good idea, perhaps!

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10 hours ago, Irishswissernie said:

The structure on the left looks like the end of the Sligo coal stage


1953-04-22 SLCR Sligo shed 'Hazelwood' HCimg215.jpg

Very much confirms Mayner's drawing, with important details around both the doors and the brick built corners. Looks like bevelled capping stones too.

 I continue to be amazed at what this forum can find. Many thanks everyone!

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