Fort William - Mallaig in the Steam era

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by alexl92, 16 Dec 2019.

  1. alexl92

    alexl92 Established Member

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    Just out of interest, during the era of steam, would the locos operating Fort William - Mallaig have been turned at Mallaig or would they return tender-first as the Jacobite does these days?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. Elwyn

    Elwyn Member

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    I am pretty sure I remember a turntable south of Mallaig station, somewhere near where the new road is today.
     
  4. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    The 1959 OS six-inch:mile map of Mallaig shows a turntable on the west side of the line south of the station - see https://maps.nls.uk/view/75982706 and go towards the top of the left-hand side of the map.
     
  5. eastdyke

    eastdyke Established Member

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    The turntable was used to turn the Observation Car as well. My bookmarked pictures have gone but if you search:
    'mallaig turntable picture'
    it will still bring some results.
     
  6. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    It was a considerable hoo-hah, in the absence of any shunting locomotive at Mallaig, to get the loco off the front, the Obs off the back, turn both separately on the turntable, and put them back now at opposite ends of the train ready to return. Maybe someone can work out how many movements were required, seems to me about 20.
     
  7. delt1c

    delt1c Established Member

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    12 movements would do it but still a lot
     
  8. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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  9. Richard P

    Richard P Member

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    Clearly alignments have changed a bit since the turntable was there but if you walk down towards the ferry terminal there is a little bit of evidence of the old sidings down there where the fish was landed - it also gives you a good perspective on how the line was laid out in those days
     
  10. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    Train arrives at Mallaig.

    1. Loco uncouples, shunts forward.
    2. Loco reverses along run-round line.
    3. Loco comes forward onto observation car.
    4. Uncouple obs from train, couple to loco, reverse to station throat.
    5. Push obs forward onto turntable.
    6. Uncouple, reverse loco clear.
    7. Turn obs.
    8. Loco comes forward again.
    9. Couple up to obs and pull back from turntable.
    10. Push obs forward into engine shed siding.
    11. Uncouple, reverse loco clear.
    12. Loco forward onto turntable.
    13. Turn loco.
    14. Loco forward off turntable.
    15. Reverse onto obs in siding.
    16. Couple up and pull obs forward to station throat.
    17. Reverse pushing obs along run-round line to what will now be rear of train.
    18. Uncouple, loco forward along run-round line to station throat.
    19. Reverse back onto train.
    20. Couple up, push train back onto obs.
    21. Walk back and couple up obs.
    22. Depart!!!

    I bet the Fort William crews had some choice words about the Glasgow manager who "discovered" the old observation car.
     
  11. delt1c

    delt1c Established Member

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    1 loco uncoupled and pulls forward
    2 loco runs round
    3 loco proceeds to turn table
    4 loco turns an reverses back to line
    5 loco proceeds to observation car
    6 loco reverses with observation car
    7 loco shunts observation car onto turn table
    8 loco reverses with observation car to main line
    9 loco propels observation car via run round loop to north of stock
    10 loco runs round stock
    11 loco proceeds to stock and couples up on south end.
    12 loco propels stock to observation car at north end and couples
     
  12. alexl92

    alexl92 Established Member

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    Fascinating, thanks! Was the observation car a LNER-era feature then?

    Also - probably a stupid question but why was the line LNER-operated? I'd have thought the north-west of Scotland would have been LMS territory?
     
  13. pdeaves

    pdeaves Established Member

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    Simply because of which companies were grouped together in 1923. The pre-grouping companies did not necessarily operate in neat geographical areas (hence for example the Midland Railway operating in south Wales and in Dorset). The pre-group companies transferred as a whole and were not split up.
     
  14. Killingworth

    Killingworth Established Member

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    Opened by West Highland Railway in 1901, operated by North British Railway who then took it over and became a constituent of the LNER in 1923. Loss making from the start and subsidised to help employment in the area.

    There was a suggestion to restore a turntable for the Jacobite but it has been quietly dropped due to likely cost.
     
  15. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    The two Observation Cars were built for the Kings-Cross-Edinburgh Coronation express in 1937, with a shape as a rear-end equivalent of the A4 at the front. Only ran for a couple of years, then stored through the war, and of little value afterwards apart from a few charters (Ian Allan knew of them and would book them for his early Locospotters excursions on the ECML), in crimson & cream livery. Eventually someone in the Scottish Region had the idea to put them on the Mallaig line. Despite their elegant streamlined shape they actually gave a restricted view from the rear, so were substantially rebuilt with more vertical back windows and rearranged seating, and by this time the BR livery was maroon. I think this was done about 1956. Steam locos only lasted on the West Highland for about another 5 years, and they then ran on with the diesels until the late 1960s when they were given up.

    Both cars lived on and are now on the GCR preserved line.
     
  16. Killingworth

    Killingworth Established Member

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    Back in 1958 I travelled the line with my father, still very much LNER heritage. I've not found it anywhere else but I'm sure we had a triplet restaurant car in the train. It might have been added at Fort William. We had a two course lunch crossing Rannoch Moor.
     
  17. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    Last edited: 17 Dec 2019
  18. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    Possibly freed up from the ECML by new Mk1 vehicles? I know the Scottish Region had some ex-LNER Restaurant Composites for the likes of Edinburgh-Aberdeen at this time. In about 1960 they received a tranche of new Commonwealth-bogied Mk1s which they went to a lot of trouble to keep for the best internal services, though they had to give some up to other regions later on.

    I'll check properly later, but I think that was a BR innovation for the route
     
  19. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    Nice pictures. Unfortunately the one of the obs on a turntable is at Fort William, not Mallaig, which indeed had a couple of J36 allocated for local freight, works trains, shunting, etc.

    The picture shows well the vacuum chamber on the turntable, which was part of the mechanism to turn it by connecting up to the vacuum hose of the loco being turned. I wonder how that worked when turning just a carriage, and whether a loco could pump it up in advance.

    You can also sort of see in the picture, by the different colour line in the roof, where St Rollox works had cut the original curved rear end for the more practical observation arrangement. St Rollox must have had a sensible design team who did some substantial reworks of BR vehicles, possibly aided by being well away from 222 Marylebone Road. The rebuilding of the "push pull" Mk 2 stock 10 years after the photo, in 1970-71, for the Edinburgh-Glasgow trains was another case.
     
    Last edited: 17 Dec 2019
  20. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    oooops, I misread that, sorry
    post edited to avoid confusion
     

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