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Author Topic: War time Railways  (Read 675 times)

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Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2017, 20:36:23 »
Didn't mean to snap Howard. Sorry.

S4.
A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Offline howard

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2017, 18:55:15 »
My reply was tongue in cheek S4. I didn't know the track bed went that far - you learn something every day - well, nearly every day!

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2017, 22:30:09 »
I never stated that it was a practical solution but the thought was there. The Col always had an eye for the main chance for his lines. Yest that bridge at Sandwich might have been a problem and the best route in was from the Minster direction but he had to try. On a side note using the historical feature on Google Earth I see that the road bed was made as far as Wickhambreaux from Canterbury Road, Wingham. Getting off topic here.....

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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2017, 21:57:04 »

I recently read a book by an ex steam loco driver who recounted backing his loco onto a long train of tanks on flat wagons on dark night, coupling up and then giving his loco a huge 'handful of steam' to get it going only to find that it took off like a scalded cat. Later inspection showed the tanks to be dummies.

OT. This reminds me of the motorists who complained to the police about being overtaken on a motorway by a truck carrying three Sherman tanks. (Which would give a combined weight of around 100 tons.)


It turned out the Sherman's were fibreglass dummies for a film set!


Offline howard

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2017, 08:12:28 »
Just a thought, but had Richborough become a train ferry port then the image of the `Golden Arrow` reversing at Shepherswell and trundling up past Eastry double-headed by a pair of Stirling O1s would perhaps have been no more incongruous than the sight of a phalanx of ancient R1 tank engines pushing the train across Folkestone Harbour bridge!
Lovely thought but wouldn't it have come down the north Kent coast or up through Deal? I have a feeling that the good Colonel's track bed might have had to be replaced first and possibly some of the curves eased, not to mention That Bridge!

Offline Mickleburgh

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2017, 23:39:53 »
Just a thought, but had Richborough become a train ferry port then the image of the `Golden Arrow` reversing at Shepherswell and trundling up past Eastry double-headed by a pair of Stirling O1s would perhaps have been no more incongruous than the sight of a phalanx of ancient R1 tank engines pushing the train across Folkestone Harbour bridge!

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2017, 21:47:44 »
Great stuff Howard! I could not find the date. I have heard legend told (by a very reliable witness who knew what he was looking at) that there is a loco laying in the River. He was told she was dropped when being loaded and never recovered. On day he found it as part of a sand bank visible on a neap tide. He actually moored his canoe to the return crank.... But that is another post in its own right.

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Offline howard

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2017, 20:24:45 »
The link span and associated lifting gear were removed in 1923 for use elsewhere.

Offline Mickleburgh

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2017, 08:25:43 »
Richborough as a train ferry (to Boulogne) was a WW1 creation solely for munitions traffic (reasoning, less handling, shortest route to the front). Various development plans were mooted inter-war but never followed through to any extent and it was probably considered too vulnerable in WW2.

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2017, 19:14:39 »
I understand that the link-span was retained as Richborough was to be developed as a train-ferry harbour alternate to Dover. One of the reasons that the good Colonel pushed the EKR there in the early 1920's was the fact that there was to be an outlet for the Kent Coal field that he so ably served, as well as through freight from the former SECR at Shepherdswell (as if they would ever have thought to send trains along the EKR......)

Someone can confirm either way, Howard, as this site is such a repository of knowledge.

S4.
A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Offline howard

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2017, 18:41:15 »
Please don't forget that the Port of Richborough was also a staging point for the R.O.D. as it was train ferry equipped and a great deal of the landing craft, etc. were built there.
Surely the train ferry link span etc had all been removed in the 20s?

I recently read a book by an ex steam loco driver who recounted backing his loco onto a long train of tanks on flat wagons on a dark night, coupling up and then giving his loco a huge 'handful of steam' to get it going only to find that it took off like a scalded cat. Later inspection showed the tanks to be dummies.

Offline Mickleburgh

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2017, 10:37:59 »
As is said the logistical exercise of D-Day was staggering but it must be borne in mind that the process went on for several months and to some extent was ad-hoc at the delivery point. There are limits to what can land across the beaches and the capture of the Cherbourg port and the eventual breakout from Normandy were both behind the original schedule. Nor were movements confined to the major south coast ports, One reserve battalion of the Glosters moved from Devizes to Eastbourne for shipping D-Day + 9 but their intended vessel having been mined were embarked instead at London, surely then a high risk run through the still defended straits of Dover. The Bristol Channel ports dealt with the bulk of the vehicle and heavy shipments, as they had in WW1. There is a well documented account (Oakwood Press) of an American ROD based at Newport South Wales (probably the main  one) who had over a hundred locos stored on running lines in the Taff Vale. These eventually all moved to France but probably not until Le Havre was taken.

But the main thing to remember is that the whole shebang lacked today`s high-tec central control, it was triplicate memos, basic telephones, much greater degree of devolved responsibility, ability to adjust and improvise. Above all I saw it once described as a `Consider it done, Sir!` mentality, particularly as applied to the railways.

Offline mikeb

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2017, 22:20:27 »
Conan / S4, thanks for your replies.
Yes, it  is quite possible that Uncles engines / tanks were "cardboard cut-outs". I think however he may have added this trickery to his story. It would have been an intriguing addition to tell a 9/10 year old boy. He did say S4, that after DDay they all disappeared fairly sharply and the line returned to normal working.
Nice to have Uncle`s tale verified.

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2017, 21:39:09 »
As far as I'm aware much equipment was stored in Kent. Both real and fake. It was seen as a double solution to convince the German Intelligence that the Pas de Calais really was the crossing point, but with excellent links to Southampton, Portsmouth, Newhaven, etc it made sense to keep them on our lines in Kent and Sussex. The former LSWR lines were, along with the GWR lines, full of troop trains heading for and returning from embarkation. The locos and rolling stock would have been for the third or fourth wave to cross the channel during the invasion, which leads us to extrapolate that the tanks, etc were fakes. I have been told that Sittingbourne yard was full of tanks as was one of the running lines on the Sheppey branch. It has been nice to see that someone else has been told of this build up. From what I have been told they vanished almost as fast as they appeared..... Please don't forget that the Port of Richborough was also a staging point for the R.O.D. as it was train ferry equipped and a great deal of the landing craft, etc. were built there.

This was an effort beyond our comprehension of scale. I have heard that everything on the LSWR main was one way only, return trains were routed another way (I have severe doubts it could ever be done again) and everything ran almost in sight of the train in front, no block working but all in tickets. Amazingly there were no, I repeat NO, collisions worth reporting and all troops got to the right place at the right time. I understand that there were coaches seen from as far North as Newcastle hauled by their LNER locomotives seen heading South. It was not quite as manic as the Dunkirk evacuation when there was not a spare coach (or loco) to be had south of the Thames, by D.Day they had had plenty of time to plan this in great detail. The other thing is that all the American locos (Baldwin and Alco class S160 (two or three preserved in UK)) were in use on the British Railway network less than a week before they were due to be embarked for France. Two reasons for this, one being that the crews were familiar with them and two they were already run in and in possibly the best condition they could be.

S4.
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Offline conan

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Re: War time Railways
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2017, 22:47:46 »
Could this have been part of the Fortitude South deception plan, that is were they real or fake tanks?
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

 

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