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GWR Cattle Pens - Old Rights Of Way, Railway & Model Railway History - The Prototype. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Jun 15th, 2011 09:54 am
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Sol
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The following is from a modelling friend of mine here in South Australia & has some facts and a question. If any YMR member can assist, it would be very much appreciated.

 

The background is that I am modelling Abingdon in the period c1932 (although I am thinking of pushing it back into the late 1920s). I have good detailed photographs of the cattle pens taken in the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and these show concrete posts and pipe rails as per the drawing of “G.W.R. Standard Cattle Pens” published in Part 2 of Stephen Williams’ Great Western Branch Line Modelling series and also in Adrian Vaughan’s A Pictorial Record of Great Western Architecture. Neither book shows a date of issue of the drawings. One of the latest of the photographs shows the south-eastern corner of the pens in a very dilapidated state and the remnants of the posts and rails there appear to be timber.

 

I have a very fuzzy 1920s view of Abingdon yard enlarged from a distant oblique aerial view over the town from the south (ex-Aerofilms). I think it is showing timber posts and rails but I cannot be sure. I get the impression they are freshly painted white (not necessarily the effect of the liberal lime-washing that prevailed in cattle pens in earlier days).

 

Based on the above, I have come to the conclusion that the pens would originally have been constructed in timber (posts and rails) and that most of it was later replaced using concrete posts and pipe rails. The question is: when were these replacements made?

 

Following another avenue, I have made some searches on the internet for information about the GWR concrete works at Taunton and have found some references to a “Catalogue of concrete articles produced at Taunton GWR Depot”. The last one seems to have changed hands for the daunting sum of UKP160 so I have not actively pursued a copy. I would hope it could give an indication of how early the concrete posts for cattle pens were produced.

 

A few months ago, I made an appeal for information on the gwr e-list but received only one belated response that was not much help. I was planning to try again with the GWSG forum but have not done so yet. In the meantime, if you could run it past your contacts I would appreciate it.

 

Many thanks,

**************************************************



 

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 Posted: Wed Jun 15th, 2011 02:59 pm
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ddolfelin
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This confirms that the concrete posts would have been made at Taunton but I can find nothing about dates.
Presumably they were substituted as general upkeep rather than as a result of a policy of replacing all.
Unless there is a record of such work preserved, I think this question will be a toughie.

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 Posted: Wed Jun 15th, 2011 07:03 pm
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Bob K
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There are a couple of pictures of the cattle dock at Abingdon on http://www.disused-stations.org.uk. They may help although he most likely has these?

Bob

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 Posted: Wed Jun 15th, 2011 11:19 pm
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Sol
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Thanks fellows - I will advise my mate.

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 Posted: Thu Jun 16th, 2011 08:06 am
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Sol
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A reply from my mate:

*************************************

Some helpful responses there thanks Ron! Please pass on my sincere thanks to your correspondents. If you don’t mind, please also pass on my comments below as they may trigger further thoughts from them

 

My comments:

 

I have already seen the photo of the cattle dock at Shipston –on-Stour. It shows some useful detail but does not advance my thinking on dates. Naturally, I have been trawling my references for examples of timber pen construction, looking for any consistency of detailing and eventually I may have to rely on these to form the basis for my model. In connection with timber construction details, I have gone through the lists of drawings put out some decades ago by the BR/OPC Joint Venture, hoping to see generic details, but it seems that drawings were produced for a number of specific sites (I have noted examples for Aberdare, Atherstone(?), Ballingham, Brimscombe, Chalford, Llantrissant and Swansea High Street in my lists).



The link to the photo caption in “BR Steam in the 1950s and 1960s” may be a good indication about the Taunton works but we should note that the cattle pen posts were quite different from generic fence posts. They were specifically designed for cattle pens and had two sets of holes cast in for the bars so that L-corners and T-junctions could be constructed. Details for the normal GWR concrete post and wire fencing were published in GWRJ-13 but provide no clues as to the date of the drawing.

 

Details of other concrete products have also been published in GWRJ. GWRJ-28 has the single arm lamp column shown in standard drawing 79/47 but the 1947 date does not help my investigation. Similarly, GWRJ-71 has details of a standard 10ft x 8ft concrete hut with the Swindon drawing office copy stamped 12 December 1939.

 

In terms of early appearances of the concrete post and steel pipe construction, a good indication is shown in GWR Goods Services – 2B (page 322) which shows a new cattle dock constructed for the 1934 refurbishment of Knowle & Dorridge. The photo also shows some newly-constructed concrete post and wire fencing, probably to the details shown in GWRJ-13.

 

The recollections of dates penned by one of your correspondents are in accord with my expectations – i.e. still timber until the late 1920s or  early 1930s – although the example described above at Knowle & Dorridge is earlier than his later 1930s date for the introduction of the newer form of construction. I am now leaning more towards adoption of the timber construction for my model of Abingdon and this will reinforce my thoughts on adopting a modelling period in the late 1920s rather than the early 1930s.

 Cheers,

 Roger

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 Posted: Thu Jun 16th, 2011 04:48 pm
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John Dew
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Sol wrote:  

The background is that I am modelling Abingdon in the period c1932 (although I am thinking of pushing it back into the late 1920s). I have good detailed photographs of the cattle pens taken in the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and these show concrete posts and pipe rails as per the drawing of “G.W.R. Standard Cattle Pens” published in Part 2 of Stephen Williams’ Great Western Branch Line Modelling series and also in Adrian Vaughan’s A Pictorial Record of Great Western Architecture. Neither book shows a date of issue of the drawings. One of the latest of the photographs shows the south-eastern corner of the pens in a very dilapidated state and the remnants of the posts and rails there appear to be timber.

 

I have a very fuzzy 1920s view of Abingdon yard enlarged from a distant oblique aerial view over the town from the south (ex-Aerofilms). I think it is showing timber posts and rails but I cannot be sure. I get the impression they are freshly painted white (not necessarily the effect of the liberal lime-washing that prevailed in cattle pens in earlier days).

 

Based on the above, I have come to the conclusion that the pens would originally have been constructed in timber (posts and rails) and that most of it was later replaced using concrete posts and pipe rails. The question is: when were these replacements made?

 
 

I couldnt find any photos of Abingdon but in Paul Karau's GWR Branch Line Terminii the situation described above is exactly replicated at Hemyock (near Taunton)..........A timber post and rail cattle dock that was replaced with concrete posts in the late 1920s


There are a number of instances in the book of Cattle Pens in the twenties, whether of timber or rail, being lime washed as opposed to painted. I believe this would have been discontinued at the same time as they stopped whitewashing the Cattle Wagons. There is a very good before and after sequence of this showing the Timber Cattle Pens at Ashburton.

Hope this helps

 

 

 

 



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 Posted: Fri Jul 1st, 2011 04:45 am
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John Flann
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There are three photos of GWR cattle pens in GWR Branch Line Termini by Paul Karau at Moretonhampstead; in the accompanying note it says the practice of whitewashing was abandoned, 'apparently having merely provided a false impression of hygiene.' These pens were constructed of bridge rail.

Also at Hemyock, Ashburton and Princetown; from these you can take your pick of apparent different materials.



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 Posted: Fri Jul 1st, 2011 05:15 am
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Sol
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Thanks fellows - all info passed on the the local modeller here.

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 Posted: Fri Jul 1st, 2011 01:20 pm
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As far as I know, I can't find the authoritative reference, LIME-wash was used for may years. [Not 'white-wash'] This followed domestic practice in out-houses, dairies and privvies  etc and was designed to 'seal-in' fly larvae, kill concealed insects by suffocating them and to 'case-harden' exposed woodwork and make it less prone to fungal attack.

As most cattle at the beginning of the railway/cattle transport era were travelling from farm to slaughter, it didn't matter much that a beast was unloaded with an accumulation of all the above between it's toes as it was soon to be 'brown bread' any way!

When cattle began to be cross-bred, transported and treated as a commodity over larger distances, or imported 'on the hoof' from other countries, it was found that the extreme drying and cracking of the hoof material by the extremely adhesive lime exacerbated 'foot-rot' problems.

This in due course led to the use of distilled tar acids contacting methanol [?] like Jeyes fluid.

The dates involved are often discussed on modelling forums, but I have seen photographs of LNWR [?] dated 192? with lime washed wagons and GWR wagons dated 1930 with no lime wash.

Hope this has added to the puzzlement,


Doug



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 Posted: Fri Jul 1st, 2011 07:35 pm
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Dukedog
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Plenty of info, pictures and drawings in the Summer 2011 edition of Great Western Journal.
I had a quick browse this morning in Modellers Mecca!

The drawing shows a pen constructed entirely from rail.
Pretty easy to make if you are a dab hand with a soldering iron!
Otherwise bolt it together as per the prototype using something like 14BA pins and nuts.

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 Posted: Fri Jul 1st, 2011 08:13 pm
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Chubber
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 A fairly definitive answer to this, GWR Journal No. 78 Spring 2011, gives chapter and verse with details of spacing, fitting, posts etc with a 'standard' drawing dated 1902, and yes, it shows bridge rail construction methods.

This info I have from a chum who is off to UK for a month so I can't borrow the volume, but should anyone else have one, perhaps they could answer a question or two.

Edited - That Frank, 'ee knows, tha'knows!  [or, read the latest post before posting!]


Doug



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 Posted: Fri Jul 1st, 2011 10:29 pm
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Sol
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Thanks Frank & Doug, I have advised Roger to keep an eye out as either he or one other GWR modeller gets that magazine.

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