Transportation => Tramways & Railways => Topic started by: Signals99 on March 25, 2013, 00:16:49

Title: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Signals99 on March 25, 2013, 00:16:49
Hi, not too sure if this is in the right thread? Just read Smiffy`s blog in station buildings. He mentions a military platform at Chatham station - information please? As an ex Gillingham loco fireman it's news to me. All I can remember on the up side at Chatham was a dead end bay used for a loco waiting area.
Not to say it was not there, Smiffy`s  usually spot on with info. Just curious!
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: smiffy on March 25, 2013, 01:55:14
This is the only clear picture I can find of the Military platform. A lorry is parked next to a goods van, but I am unsure as to the kind of freight that would have been loaded and unloaded here - perhaps one of our railway specialists can help. This is probably the dead end bay you refer to. (from "Dartford to Sittingbourne", Middleton Press).
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Signals99 on March 25, 2013, 08:52:34
Yes indeed Smiffy, that's it, well we live and learn. The times I sat on that bay road usuly a "c"class loco was allocated to that job, we called it the "banana split"job, the main turn was to shunt out rolling stock for Fyffes bananas (they had a warehouse siding on the down side).
Thanks Smiffy, I never once heard it referred to as a  military siding?.
Looking at the "schools class" on the up main that guy was looking for trouble if he entered Victoria tunnel with his safety lifted, bad boiler management I know, I did it once. never again. :)
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Signals99 on March 25, 2013, 09:13:38
It's me again, sorry to all you train spotters out there, that loco in Smiffy`s photo may have been a "King Arthur" not a "Schools", my memory's not so good these days. Would be grateful for positive ID .
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: peterchall on March 25, 2013, 11:03:15
If it's any help, that is almost certainly an army Bedford OY truck next to the goods van.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: smiffy on March 25, 2013, 14:26:18
Hi Signals99, the loco is described as class N15 30799 Sir Ironside and the picture was taken September 1958.

Definitely remember the Fyffes bananas warehouse!
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: smiffy on March 25, 2013, 14:44:38
A slightly closer look at the lorry....

Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Signals99 on March 25, 2013, 15:28:34
Smiffy, thanks for the information re the loco and the army lorry. Yes, now I look again I can see it`s a "King Arthur Class "loco. Should've known by the smoke deflectors. The"Arthur's" are a pig to work on from a firemans` point of view, sixteen foot fire box plus a low brick arch. Try cleaning the fire on an "Arthur" on a hot summers` day, it was purgatory, still got the scars on my arms to prove it. Happy days!
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Sentinel S4 on March 25, 2013, 16:59:54
Try cleaning the fire on an "Arthur" on a hot summers` day, it was purgatory, still got the scars on my arms to prove it. Happy days!

Dad still talks of the time he had to throw the fire out of an Arthur at Gillingham station, she had just come up semi-fast from Ramsgate and was really hot when he and his driver took over. I can't remember why she failed but bad injectors is nagging the back of the mind. It did not do much for the station platform and the Station Master got a bit funny with them for it, I can't quite understand why............ :)
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Signals99 on March 26, 2013, 00:16:58
Yes ! Remember an incident vaguely similar to that, both injectors failed, it was loose the fire or drop the plug? (to the layman the plug was a lead safety device fitted in the fire box, all the time it was covered in water ok, when it became uncovered it melted, extinguishing the fire).
Involved a lot of "wrong line working" to recover the loco to Gillingham shed, she stood on the back road in the shed for some time. It was a Stewarts Lane Arthur, I think.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Sentinel S4 on March 26, 2013, 08:00:32
This one was a Stewarts Lane Arthur, I believe. That said I have seen brand new injectors fail on the Romney, fresh from Pemberthy's and just fitted. As you say 'Happy Days'.

S4.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: smiler on March 26, 2013, 09:16:35
Looking at smiffy's photo, I can`t work out what /where the road is the van is on ?
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: smiler on March 26, 2013, 09:19:55
Ah! Think I've got it, road coming down from Victoria Gardens towards station.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Signals99 on March 26, 2013, 09:54:06
Hi Smiler, yes that's it, the road joined Ordinance Terrace by the railway bridge. We used to pop up to a small general store for eggs and two rashers, nip back to the loco and cook it on the firing shovel, a 'billy` can of tea, ten minutes shut eye, (five thirty start that turn) then back on the roaring main, light to Gillingham in time to do the dockyard run.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Sentinel S4 on March 26, 2013, 11:17:36
Hi Smiler, yes that's it, the road joined Ordinance Terrace by the railway bridge. We used to pop up to a small general store for eggs and two rashers, nip back to the loco and cook it on the firing shovel, a 'billy` can of tea, ten minutes shut eye, (five thirty start that turn) then back on the roaring main, light to Gillingham in time to do the dockyard run.

I am going to guess that you were on a C class for that turn. Dad always went down the Dockyard branch on a C, then they would shunt the Down Sidings with her....

S4.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Signals99 on March 26, 2013, 13:25:04
Again, correct sentinel S4, a 'c'class was the only loco then that could take the dockyard loads up the "bank" to Gillingham sidings, not counting diesels, they came later.
When your dad did that run he most almost certainly came across ' Buck ' Aldridge, a local only man (restricted to Chatham\Gillingham sidings), he was part owner of Aldridge & Pope chip shop. Coming out of the yard in max load state was a test of our firing skills, you had about three hundred yds (old money) to gather enough momentum to get up the dreaded slope, 140PSI on the gauge, boiler topped up and the fire dancing on the grate. Buck used to turn the blower on full, my heart dropped as I watched my fire go out the stack, coal and steam all over lower Gillingham. Then when you got (if) you got to the sidings, Buck would give you a rollicking if she lifted her valves. All for seven pounds ten bob a week.   
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: smiffy on March 26, 2013, 14:41:45
Chatham station was a much more interesting place in those days - now it's just two tracks, straight through.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: howard on March 26, 2013, 15:47:33
Yes ! Remember an incident vaguely similar to that, both injectors failed, it was loose the fire or drop the plug? (to the layman the plug was a lead safety device fitted in the fire box, all the time it was covered in water ok, when it became uncovered it melted, extinguishing the fire).
Involved a lot of "wrong line working" to recover the loco to Gillingham shed, she stood on the back road in the shed for some time. It was a Stewarts Lane Arthur, I think.
I don't think that you will find that the steam from a melted fusible plug is designed to extinguish the fire. It's more of a warning to the footplate crew that the water level is low. On a big engine a couple of tons of white hot coal would take more than the steam coming through a half inch hole to put it out!
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Sentinel S4 on March 26, 2013, 18:34:36
The fusible plug was invented by Richard Trevithick to protect the fire box crown sheet when the water ran low. Initially it was a lead rivet but that was later changed to a plug that is threaded into the crown sheet. On a standard gauge loco you may well have four or five plugs screwed into the crown sheet. They are not designed to put the fire out but relieve the pressure and dampen the fire down somewhat. Romney locos and most Road engines have a single plug and I have only ever seen one dropped (not by me I must add) and that jet of steam is very effective. On this occasion the gauge glasses had become blocked (the driver had failed to check them before going off shed) and he ran with the small injector struggling to maintain the water level. It could not and his plug went at the outer home at New Romney. I was on shed as a fitter that day and had to clean up the aftermath. The loco was back in service for the last train of the day for testing purposes. The driver was 'let go' as he had failed to perform one of the most basic safety checks on a steam loco.

S4.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Signals99 on March 27, 2013, 23:10:23
Thank you Howard and Sentinel S4 for your accurate and precise description and function of the fusible plug.
I will endeavour at all times to be correct with information I may publish in the forum, I just glossed over that bit, didn't think it would be of much interest, how wrong I was.
I stand suitably chastened.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: howard on March 28, 2013, 17:31:31
Don't worry, it's just that Sentinel S4 and I are know alls (well, I am, he may object to the description!).  We like to air our knowledge when we can be sure we are right (or wrong sometimes).
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: peterchall on March 28, 2013, 18:32:00
If people didn't air their knowledge there would be no point in the forum. If what is posted is not always correct then, hopefully, someone will correct it - in that way we all learn.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Signals99 on March 29, 2013, 14:03:54
Does anyone know what the Military platform were used for. interesting that it was called Military as opposed to Naval or Admiralty, implying that it was in Army use.
  Looking at Smiffy`s photo, it must have been in use into the early sixties? I understand after that, the Bedford q l truck became the standard army cargo truck.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: peterchall on March 29, 2013, 15:41:10
The Bedford QL was in use in the RAF from early in the war until at least 1952, so presumably the same for the army.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: DS239 on March 29, 2013, 16:56:09
The Bedford Truck in the photo is an OY.

I think the date of the photo is late '50's.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: mikeb on March 30, 2013, 10:12:57
When I was a small child (1943-1948 ish) we lived in Ordnance Terrace roughly where the small black van is in the photo. I can well re-call standing there with my mother watching a column of troops being marched up that slope and away into town, presumably to Brompton. Their train was berthed in the long platform which runs under the road bridge. adjacent to the short siding. Date unknown I'm afraid.

I had always been given to understand, perhaps quite wrongly, that this platform was the "Military Platform". It was not directly connected to the public platforms. The short bay was an end loading facility only.

I was also led to believe this longer platform was used during the 1st. World War by ambulance trains.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Signals99 on March 30, 2013, 11:33:47
Hi Mikeb, thank you for that, all adds to the story. So far I have established that in 1893, Gale & Polden, printers moved from Brompton to Aldershot; apparently they had a contract to print army and naval forms/documents. As "preferred contractors" they were afforded the privilege of using the Military sidings at Chatham to ship their printing presses, so that puts the sidings there circa 1893.
We have established, I believe, that it was in use until the 1950s. again thanks to Mikebs ID of the army truck. Given the station was opened in 1858 I think that just about covers it. However I am always willing to learn. Thanks guys and gals.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: smiffy on March 30, 2013, 15:40:09
Looks like the Military Platform may well have been the entire long platform mikeb mentions, not just the small one where the lorry is.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Signals99 on March 30, 2013, 16:15:56
Yes Smiffy, makes sense, pre World War II. Probably the best way to move large bodies of men about the country was by rail. If my memory serves me well, from my footplate days, I would say you could get at least eight carriages on that siding, maybe the bay road was added at a later date?
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: smiffy on March 30, 2013, 17:41:22
Here's a comparison of the station in the 1860's and the 1930's showing the layout.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Signals99 on March 30, 2013, 22:40:16
Sorry I did it again, the credit for ID on the army truck should have bean attributed to DS239.
Mikeb, my apologise to you but once again thank you for the most interesting memories you shared with us. Peterchall many thanks for your input re the Bedford ql.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Signals99 on March 31, 2013, 08:27:32
Ok, Smiffys nailed it for me. Looking at the two ground plans its obvious the bay road was a later addition, the military siding ran the full length of the station cut on the up side.
It ran to a set of stops (buffers) at the bridge end, then returned as a head shunt to the mainline (probably to facilitate a "run round" manoeuvre) also used to release a loco, leaving the wagons to be dealt with as required.
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Nemo on February 10, 2018, 21:58:51
Came across this shot from 1959: https://thetransportlibrary.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=88851&search=Chatham

Couldn't resist this one of the ad hoc brickwork profile:
https://thetransportlibrary.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=88841&search=Chatham
Title: Re: Military platform at Chatham station
Post by: Stewie on February 11, 2018, 09:52:11
Thanks for the shot of the Down bay platform Nemo, that brought back some memories. When under control of the power signal box at Rochester, access to this siding was via a mechanical ground frame just tunnel side of the Maidstone Road bridge. Trains (usually vans for papers and parcels), entered Chatham tunnel and then propelled back. Had quite forgotten about the modified brickwork!