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Author Topic: Snowdown Colliery  (Read 67981 times)

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trainman

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Re: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #82 on: November 05, 2012, 22:52:56 »
 Thanks S4, c class limited =65 even then the water level was a problem, from Dover u or n Ashford to Dover King Arthur, only fired a coffee pot a few times, had one on a pass to Faversham killed the timings, got to Faversham too early!! They were very fleet of foot.
 regards, trainman

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #81 on: November 05, 2012, 20:36:42 »
Thanks Trainman, I enjoyed that very much. A wonderful panacea after a day thumping an 18 tonner around East London for 12hrs. Much appreciated. What loco would you expect for the return working? C, Q1, N, U?

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

trainman

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Re: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #80 on: November 05, 2012, 19:12:37 »
    Loose coupled trains were the order of the day (mostly night) when I was a Dover fireman. One turn in particular, 8.0 p.m. goods from Dover to Ashford, shunt at Folkestone junc., signal box working, shunt at Sandling junc., box working, but guard had to work in the dark with hand lamp only, then on to Ashford where we got relieved for two hours while our train was remarshalled. We had also to wait until our return had arrived at the arches and taken water, we could then depart to the station, stop cab to cab for change over. By this time the signal system had changed to block regulation 4, line clear junction blocked, ie next stop signal could be Folkestone Junction, train load +120, steam brake on the engine, vacuum on tender, and maybe one or two vacuum fitted vans and guards brake on the rear. Now here was an engine that had been on the road for nearly 20 hours and had had little servicing in that time. It was normal for the fire to have about 6 inches of ash and clinker on the bars so I had to get under it with the rake and lift it to get some air into the fire, so take up the slack and away we used to go. We would nearly be at the Ashford works before we saw the guards signal, so from here on it was a hard slog to Westenhanger. Going over the top at Westenhanger there was a big lurch as the guard applied his hand brake, but at this point in my mind we were a runaway train, vacuum brake on and driver using the steam brake. Most drivers used to open the drain cocks if the hiss from the cocks stopped - then the driving wheels were skidding. About Folkestone Central things became under control, nearly always got a green light at the junction so next stop, Dover Town Yard - all this talk about vacuum brakes. What vacuum brakes?
  regards trainman

Offline howard

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Re: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #79 on: October 29, 2012, 17:01:02 »
We have a number of 'blow through' wagons on the K&ESR although we call them 'piped' and a 'fully fitted' train could have a couple of piped wagons in it. It's the Guard's job to make sure the Driver knows because it reduces the brake force available. They are still identified as TowerWill says. If you have a piped wagon on the back of a train and the coupling breaks then the vacuum hoses will break and the train will stop. Unfortunately the piped wagon will roll off away from the train if you are running uphill at the time. This causes a certain amount of upset to the crew of any following train!

Offline TowerWill

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Re: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #78 on: October 29, 2012, 10:34:35 »
Sorry peterchall, I was waffling a bit but the railways and coal mines were very much interlinked. A "blow through" was nothing more than a rail wagon which had the pipework installed to take the vacuum (or air) from the wagon in front to the wagon behind but the wagon itself was not fitted with the automatic brake, only a handbrake. The pipework at each end of the wagon was painted white so it was easy to spot. Where this might have become a problem at Snowdown would have been after running the loco around and a "blow through" next to the loco at Ashford became the rear wagon when returning to Shepherdswell. Not allowed of course but fortunately not a problem I ever had to solve at Snowdown sidings. We needed to check that out before leaving Ashford sidings.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #77 on: October 29, 2012, 09:00:25 »
Please, what is a "blow through" wagon. This layman's mind boggles :)
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline TowerWill

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Re: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #76 on: October 29, 2012, 08:26:59 »
Many thanks for the info about the minfits DS239! I think it was in 1978 that unfitted trains were banned from the Southern Region. If I remember rightly this was after some tank wagons, standing at a red signal and over catch points, rolled back slightly and were derailed and went down an embankment when the train restarted. Maybe in the Dartford and Hither Green area. The catch points were all wound into the closed position after this. Previous to this I did work, or learn on, some unfitted freight trains where an unfitted wagon or a "blow through" had to be put on the rear of a train. One interesting trip when I was out learning with "Concrete Boots" and with "Squeeker" up front, was between Dover Town and Hoo Junction via Chatham. This train was made up of oil tanks and with a "blow through" wagon and brake van at the rear. The guard's route books had all the braking points marked down in those days. One wet night passing Shepherdswell I put flats on my brake van wheels where the the route book said "brakes on hard".
Just having minfits with one main hatch was enough to look out for when stumbling around dark sidings. A dropping minfit hatch did cause a derailment. But that was up in the Chatham area and in a tunnel.
We were supposed to ride in the rear cab on fully fitted trains. I was doing this on the Ashford to Snowdown/Shepherdswell empties when I saw clouds of smoke coming off my minfit wagons where some of the brakes had come on. I left the Empty/Loaded levers alone after that, just like the old guards told me to!

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #75 on: October 28, 2012, 21:30:27 »
Anyway, it's all academic at the moment, the 'P' is lying in bits at Rolvenden!

1; Find CME.

2; Jump up and down screaming "I want my P back NOW"

3; If the above fails jump up and down on CME's head until he puts her back together again.

4; If all else fails drive another loco......

As a driver/fitter ex-Ronmey we used to set the loco brakes, within days some of the drivers would have backed them off so that the train would stop on a rising gauge. It was easier on the three link couplings.

Wandering off thread, sorry. Thanks for posting more pics, DS239. The one of St Martin was great, not there now. I think her stack was not the best looking in the world. Also I never realised that the Avonside's all had copper caps. An interesting embellishment for an industrial loco.

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: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #74 on: October 28, 2012, 21:01:08 »
I think that you should have a word with your fitters about the lack of braking power on your P, maybe they need taking up a bit? :) Nice to have another steam driver out there, mine was almost all on the Romney but you get to play with the Big Toys :). Slightly green with envy now........ :)

S4.
I don't think it's down to the fitters. The loco weighs about the same as a bogie coach but has less than half the braking power as the brake cylinder is smaller than the two fitted to a coach and there is only one. We always run goods trains 'fully fitted' with the 'P' whereas all our other locos will handle them with a 'fitted head' (a number of brake fitted wagons next to the loco for those of you unfamiliar with railway jargon). Anyway, it's all academic at the moment, the 'P' is lying in bits at Rolvenden!

Offline DS239

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Re: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #73 on: October 28, 2012, 18:20:45 »
Those brown coloured wagons look very similar to the minfits we were using in 1977, by which time were virtually all vacuum brake fitted.
I think the Southern Region of BR had [apart from special workings] done away with 'unfitted' goods trains by the early 1970's,- hadn't they?
Quote
I don't think the ones we used had those little hatches above the main hatch though.
Whilst in the mid to late 1970's BR were scrapping a lot of their unfitted 16T minerals, they were re-bodying vac-fitted ones, and creating 'new' ones by re-bodying vac-fitted 17'6" long underframes taken from other wagons that had been made redundant by loss of traffic,-'Palbrick' wagons and such, and these re-bodied 'Minfits' [MCV's in TOPS parlance] lacked the top flaps over their side doors.

More images that I've found on the web:-





Ex-BR Class 12 0-6-0DE no.15224

[img]http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5239/ this is Avonside 0-6-0ST 'St.Martin', the one that didn't survive into preservation.

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #72 on: October 28, 2012, 11:34:53 »
I stand corrected about the brakes, thank you Howard. I know that when built they had a steam brake so they must have been removed at some time in the locos life. I believe at some time they had air pump as well as the circuit for push/pull working, this enabled them to work air fitted stock as well as vacuum. I am guessing that the steam brake would have been done away with then.

I think that you should have a word with your fitters about the lack of braking power on your P, maybe they need taking up a bit? :) Nice to have another steam driver out there, mine was almost all on the Romney but you get to play with the Big Toys :). Slightly green with envy now........ :)

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: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #71 on: October 28, 2012, 11:20:11 »
Sentinel S4, I didn't suggest that vacuum brakes are useless, only the ones on the 'P' class. I agree with you that the brakes would have been fine as long as all shunting was done at low speed with wagon brakes pinned down. Shunting without a train brake on a 'P' is quite exciting as there isn't a steam brake, at least not on the one I regularly drive, but only a vacuum brake, the cylinder size and therefore power, being dictated by the space available, which isn't much! The steam reverser is quite useful as you can go from full forward to full back at the flick of a lever and stop your train that way if necessary.

Offline TowerWill

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Re: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #70 on: October 28, 2012, 10:42:13 »
Yes a fine set of photos! I can see the sidings that we used to run the loco around the empty wagons from Ashford before going back to Shepherdswell. The plunger that the guard used when the train was completely into the sidings was close to the main line here. Those brown coloured wagons look very similar to the minfits we were using in 1977, by which time were virtually all vacuum brake fitted. I don't think the ones we used had those little hatches above the main hatch though. The dreaded pins holding the hatches shut can be seen. Bill, the Shepherdswell Signalman, noticed a pin wasn't down on a loaded wagon we were shunting across to the Up Siding at the 'Well. With one of us using a crowbar and the other a sledgehammer we knocked that pin down.
We had to scramble about between the trucks to pipe and screw them. I came to prefer coupling/uncoupling the vacuum pipes to doing the same with air braked wagons and their train pipes and main reservoir pipes. Sentinel S4's description of the shunting was very similar to what was required at the 'Well if a cripple wagon had to be put into the Gun Road siding. We'd have to get between to uncouple though and then pull the string to empty the vacuum cylinder. Not to forget hand brake on first. Then handbrake off, a bang from the driver's loco, and then a run beside the wagon into the Gun Road using the brake stick when required.

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #69 on: October 28, 2012, 09:40:18 »
A brilliant set of pics DS239, thanks for posting them. They are certainly evocative of a near forgotten industry in Kent.

Howard, I feel I have to pull you up a bit on the P class. There were eight built as replacement motive power for the railcar sets that were less than successful. They were not as powerful as the LBSCR Terrier however they were good enough to last to the end of steam. Of the eight built four have survived, 50% of the class. If they were that bad the the Southern or BR would have binned them long before. If you look at the Snowdon locos you will notice that they have no brake connections on the buffing beam, the P has. I would also debate with you the effect of 'useless' vacuum brakes. On the Romney that was all we had. After an accident we had to do some experimentation concerned with stopping distances at speed. Now the Romney locos are 1/3rd scale but the track is 1/4 scale. That makes for a mind bend. We found that at 25mph (75mph in 1/3 or 100mph in 1/4) we could stop an 18 car train in its own length. At the time, early 1990's, that was as good as the then new Eurostar. Vacuum brakes work very well. The P also had a powerful steam brake for the loco as well. An old adage for you; The loco is for going, the train is for slowing. In other words the train provided the main stopping power whilst the loco provided the motion. You will also notice that in photo 4 there is a gent walking along side the train. He is the Shunter. Another point is that all the trains behind the locos are only five or six trucks long. The Shunter would be there with his pole to couple, un-couple, brake the trucks (on their hand brakes) and set the road. This was at low speed and the loco would make the train for the main line locos to collect. As I have said all done at low speed and some times the Shunter would have one of the truck's brakes 'pinned down', in other words 'on' all the time. Yes this made the loco work harder but there was less chance of a run away. Very often the locos, industrial designed locos at that, would only have a hand brake and this has lead to many problems in the preservation of them.

Therefore the P class would have been like a Roll Royce for the drivers. She had brakes, train and loco, which meant that she would be as capable as the Avonside or the Hunslet even though she had a lower tractive effort. The point being was that she could stop herself and not rely on being reversed to stop or a hand brake (that really goes back to the dawn of the railways).

Sorry I am banging on again.....

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: Snowdown Colliery
« Reply #68 on: October 28, 2012, 08:23:32 »
A wonderful selection of photos! I'll bet that 'P' class wasn't very popular with drivers and shunters - very little power and a pretty useless vacuum brake.

 

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