Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

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Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by ge_rik » Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:49 pm

I need to make some coal cells at each of my stations. These seem to be called 'staithes' by model suppliers and that's what I used to call them until I read through this archived discussion on RM Web - http://www.rmweb.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=13253

There seems to be some disagreement as to where the cells or bins should be located in relation to the siding. Again, I used to believe they backed on to the siding so the coal could be off-loaded from wagons over the back wall of the cell - which seems logical - as in this picture of an 00 gauge layout.
Image

However, after reading the above discussion there was some dispute as to whether this was based on reality. There are some photos showing various arrangements on the RM Web forum but I also did some research of my own and came up with two examples - both in GER territory (coincidence BTW) which seems to show them some distance from the relevant sidings - and facing them.

Clare station
Image
.
Saffron Walden station
Image
.
I can only assume the poor station staff had to wheelbarrow the coal from the wagons across the yard to the bins.

Can anyone shed any more light on how coal was stored in railway yards?

Rik
BTW - all the images above use embedded URLs linked to the originals and so I assume I am not contravening any copyright.
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Re: Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by philipy » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:06 pm

Can't answer directly Rik, but I've wondered about this myself occasionally.

At Marlborough, both the MSWJR and GWR stations didn't have actual coal bins as such, as far as I know, yet both had associated coal merchants, so they must have either dropped it alongside the track or, maybe shovelled it from wagon to delivery cart.
This link has an interesting article on the subject
http://farnhammrc.org.uk/wp-content/upl ... ants-2.pdf

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Re: Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by ge_rik » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:46 pm

philipy wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:06 pm
Can't answer directly Rik, but I've wondered about this myself occasionally.

At Marlborough, both the MSWJR and GWR stations didn't have actual coal bins as such, as far as I know, yet both had associated coal merchants, so they must have either dropped it alongside the track or, maybe shovelled it from wagon to delivery cart.
This link has an interesting article on the subject
http://farnhammrc.org.uk/wp-content/upl ... ants-2.pdf
Brilliant article, Philip, thanks. Answers most of my questions and confirms some of the things I'm now coming to appreciate. I think the PLR will not be quite so draconian in the wagon and demurrage charges it will levy on its coal merchants ...... :shock:

Rik

PS - Of course, just to be different, it's thought the Southwold Railway stored its coal in sheds - at Blythburgh at least! Maybe the local populace were more light fingered than average.
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Re: Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by tom_tom_go » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:53 pm

It's your railway Rik do as you please. As long as there is some logic to it then it will be fine.

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Re: Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by IanC » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:44 am

I always thought that the coal staithes were located like those in the model picture, and that the back was the same height as the floor of the wagon to facilitate unloading. I must admit I've not researched or thought about it until now. The pictures clearly show it was not the case.
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Re: Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by GTB » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:34 am

ge_rik wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:49 pm
Can anyone shed any more light on how coal was stored in railway yards.
It probably varied from railway company to railway company........

A couple of my ancestors were miners on the Durham coalfield. That was NER territory and that company carried the coal delivered to stations on their lines in their own hopper wagons and the goods yards had coal drops. The coal drops were an elevated siding with storage cells under the track.

Also in that area, staithes were the big elevated wooden structures used for transferring coal from colliery wagons directly into the hold of a collier for onward for shipping by sea. Wouldn't be the first time modellers got the wrong end of the stick...... :roll:

I suspect you are a book tragic like me, so you probably have 'Branch Line to Southwold' from Middleton Press. In the section describing Southwold station there is an aerial photo showing the coal yard in 1920, it is illustration 99. It shows the coal stored in 'bins' of a sort, basically piles of coal on the ground, separated by low walls. The walls look like they might be old sleepers, but I wouldn't swear to it.

Railways used demurrage charges as an incentive for customers not to treat wagons as mobile storage facilities and it was levied on any customers that received full wagon loads, not just coal merchants.

Is that a sawmill visible across the road from the station in the photo of Saffron Walden?

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Re: Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by Peter Butler » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:51 pm

GTB wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:34 am
ge_rik wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:49 pm
Can anyone shed any more light on how coal was stored in railway yards.
It probably varied from railway company to railway company........
During the early years of 20th century North London Railway stored stockpiles of coal like this....
IMG_5636.JPG
I'm sure I have seen a picture somewhere of a similar pile of coal painted white, presumably to deter theft during the National strike possibly?
The best things in life are free.... so why am I doing this?

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Re: Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by ge_rik » Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:25 pm

GTB wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:34 am
..........
I suspect you are a book tragic like me, so you probably have 'Branch Line to Southwold' from Middleton Press. In the section describing Southwold station there is an aerial photo showing the coal yard in 1920, it is illustration 99. It shows the coal stored in 'bins' of a sort, basically piles of coal on the ground, separated by low walls. The walls look like they might be old sleepers, but I wouldn't swear to it.
Guilty as charged. I have in excess of 200 railway books - can't resist them.

Thanks for that pointer. Looks like the coal cells at Southwold are double ended (ie open at front and rear) , with dividers between different grades of coal, maybe? Out of interest I also consulted my books on the Welshpool & Llanfair. At Llanfair, where two coal merchants shared the yard, the coal was simply dumped in heaps with no dividers.

Looks like anything goes - especially on the narrow gauge. I may use different storage methods at each of my stations.

There's also a couple of pages in Glyn Williams book about the sawmill at Welshpool which was served by the railway, which I'd forgotten about - though the photos aren't particularly helpful.
GTB wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:34 am
Is that a sawmill visible across the road from the station in the photo of Saffron Walden?
Looks very much like it. Seem to be a lot of 'raw' uncut logs in the yard. Maybe I need to create more storage for logs at my sawmill.

Rik
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Re: Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by ge_rik » Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:34 pm

Peter Butler wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:51 pm

During the early years of 20th century North London Railway stored stockpiles of coal like this....
IMG_5636.JPG

I'm sure I have seen a picture somewhere of a similar pile of coal painted white, presumably to deter theft during the National strike possibly?
Blimey, that's a neat stack - worthy of dry stone walling.

I too have heard about coal being painted white, not thought of it being as a deterrent for theft. Makrs sense though.

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Re: Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by steveh99 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:06 pm

I think coal bins are the most wildly mis-modelled feature. Almost every layout I see shows coal bins with their backs to the track at a height level with the bottom of a wagon door. I think this is a self perpetuating error based on what modellers think should happen, not what actually did. I can't find a single photograph of a prototype for this arrangement, but I guess now someone might find one somewhere. However, there are photos or bins some distance away from the track and facing the track and this was by far the commonest arrangement. Here's one still at Corfe Castle station on the Swanage branch.

https://gardenrails.org/forum/download/ ... ew&id=4733
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Re: Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by pandsrowe » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:43 am

But isn't this just reflecting current operating requirements where the coal is brought in by road vehicles and space is required for the vehicle to manoeuvre in order to tip it's load. Additionally space is also required for the bucket loader to operate from the the drop area to the locos needing the coal.
This is certainly an interesting discussion point and worthy of further investigation.
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Re: Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by GTB » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:08 am

pandsrowe wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:43 am
But isn't this just reflecting current operating requirements where the coal is brought in by road vehicles and space is required for the vehicle to manoeuvre in order to tip it's load.
Road vehicles with 1 neddie power need space to manoeuvre as well. I doubt the coal yards were completely re-arranged when petrol powered trucks were introduced.

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Re: Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by GTB » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:45 am

ge_rik wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:25 pm
Guilty as charged. I have in excess of 200 railway books - can't resist them.
Welcome to the club. This is just the railway part of the library. Contrary to what Millennials think, the internet doesn't contain all human knowledge by a long shot.........
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ge_rik wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:25 pm
Looks like anything goes - especially on the narrow gauge. I may use different storage methods at each of my stations.
Sounds like a plan, coal bins at the main stations, piles of coal on the ground at small stations and for something different, a tippler inside a shed at a major coal customer like a gas works, or a mine.

Regards,
Graeme

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Re: Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by Dasher » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:09 pm

There are some good examples of working coal operations in the three pages associated with this link: http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/w/wh ... dex1.shtml

On it own this would be just another page on the web. However, I used to live directly opposite this and my best mate's dad owned Taylor's Coal Merchants in the picture. I am the 10 year old on the platform in the 1965 photo. This was my playground during my formative years - I was on the last Shunter and also the steam Pug that followed some months later (the story about the Diesel on the page is erroneous - the last locomotive (and train) was an 0-4-0 Pug.

Coal for the merchant's was bagged directly from the side door on the 16T wagon. The exception being coal that was ferried by road wagon to the local mill(s) or, by the mid 60's coal that went to the newly purchased hopper lorries that had a bagging facility at the rear.

Coal for the yard was stored separately to coal that was used for motive power. The coal for motive power was stored (roughly) in staves to be found close by the good/engine shed (the shed doubled - it was largely goods but I do remember the odd loco overnighting in there - especially when the snow came down). All coal arrived by rail The suff for motive power was largely dropped from the side door and 'encouraged' to fall away from the track itself! Muscles, shovels and barrows did the tidying up.

The Station was nothing to write home about but the shed was quite a construction. The station lives on though as some of the stone (a very small amount) can be found at the Runnymede Light Railway!

Hope the pictures are useful.

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Re: Coal staithes, bins, cells .....

Post by ge_rik » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:36 pm

Very useful, thanks. Looks like another informal set of coal heaps - and this is for a busy coal merchant.
Must be great to have your early interest in railways photographically documented in this way.

Rik
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