Mail trains- where did they stop?!!!

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by Ian B, 4 Oct 2010.

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  1. Ian B

    Ian B New Member

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    Hi all, new to this site so not sure if i'm asking this in the right place!!!

    Does anyone know where I could get details of mail trains in the mid 90s- what services ran and where they called en-route? I've got details of TPO services but can't find anything about boggo parcels services!

    Any help would be much appreciated!!!!

    Ian B
     
  2. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    The standard mail and parcels trains made use of the dedicated Royal Mail terminals just as the TPOs did. So Sheildmuir near Glasgow, Low Fell on Tyneside, Doncaster, Warrington, Rugby(?) and Willesden. Probably amongst many others, but that’s the ones I can remember.

    The network was extensive: From what I saw in north east England, it seemed to be primarily based around a Scotland and North East England to the Midlands and South West corridor which made use of the ECML, and another Scotland to London corridor via the WCML.

    Parcels trains also called at intermediate stations where mailbags were loaded from the platform: In the mid to late nineties, I can remember this taking place at Carlisle and York. Staffords’ Royal Mail terminal was a platform alongside the passenger station, and at Bristol Temple Meads, the terminus for a number of mail trains from various places, the trains were unloaded in the station and there are a couple of sidings on the south side of the station that held quite a substantial number of mail vans during the day.

    The Royal Mail class 325 postal units were introduced in 1994 for general parcels traffic, and I think were concentrated on the WCML Sheildmuir and Warrington to Willesden parcels trains.

    On the ECML, class 90s were used on Sheildmuir/Millerhill and Low Fell to Willesden parcels trains, which were fewer in number than on the West Coast I think, and some of these were TPOs.

    For some examples of services, there used to be a 14:07 Low Fell to Bristol Temple Meads, which usually only loaded to about five or six vans, and was always used as a balancing move: In the mid nineties, this featured a double headed pair of RES Class 47/7s, which later changed to top and tail class 67s, and inbetween these periods I can remember seeing a class 86 used as far as Doncaster, with a 67 dead on the rear.

    There was also a much lengthier train of around 11 vans that passed through Newcastle southbound at around 17:45 from Sheildmuir, electric hauled by a class 90 or 86, which may have conveyed TPO traffic, think it may have continued onwards to Willesden, but I’m not sure.

    An afternoon Sheildmuir to Willesden parcels train, formed of two class 325 Electric Postal Units, called at Carlise station to pick up mail at about 15:30.

    That’s my rough recollections, hope they are of some help, I’m sure others will be able to offer more detailed information.
     
  3. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    And of course back in the good old days they used to collect and drop off mail bags at the lineside whilst on the move! However this would be before the scope of the OP's question (at least I assume so :|)
     
  4. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    Yeah, that was a clever little practice; ended in the late 70s I think, maybe earlier? Some of the mail vans once fitted with collection equipment were converted to standard parcels vans afterwards. As I'm sure you know, the Great Central Railway do occasional demonstrations of the operation.
     
  5. Wyvern

    Wyvern Established Member

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    I seem to remember a Royal Mail coach parked in the bay at the south end of platform one at Derby in the seventies. It was a quick trip down Nelson Street to the sorting office and that was the parcels end of the station as well.
     
  6. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Up until recently there was a disused road around to one platform at Liverpool Lime Street to allow for postal road vehicles to reach the platform where the post arrived.

    I did see a modern looking post train on the WCML near Winsford (north of Crewe) a couple of years ago.
     
  7. rail-britain

    rail-britain Established Member

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    During the 1990s there was a daily Aberdeen - Mossend "parcel" train
    It joined a main service at Mossend
    This was typically a Class 47/4 with between 4 and 8 coaches

    Under EWS this varied in frequency typically once a week
     
  8. Turbostar

    Turbostar Established Member

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    IIRC, the south west services, you had one lot coming up from Penzance to Plymouth, joining up with Plymouth vans, then the ensemble heading up to Bristol to connect with the ones up there, then onwards to London, Low Fell, etc. You had the 47/7s powering the services, then once the 67s were up & running they gradually became the power for the mail trains in the south west.
     
  9. truckman060473

    truckman060473 Member

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    talkin of mail trains I can remember in Newport 2003 waiting to see a newish EWS 67 on the mail but it was still in the hands of a 47 on this particular day! I had seen a 67 at Swansea on the mail in May 2000
     
  10. merlodlliw

    merlodlliw Established Member

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    Welcome Ian B.

    Have you got the Crewe/Chester TPO in your list of the 90s, the Crewe/Holyhead TPO stopped when a giant sorting centre at Chester opened
    and Chaos occurred reinstating a TPO for a 20 minute run to Chester.
     
  11. silvermachine

    silvermachine Member

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    Slightly off topic, but what happened to the 325s?

    were they scrapped or are they in store somewhere?
     
  12. mbonwick

    mbonwick Established Member

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    Still in use.....
     
  13. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    They're in use on the WCML Sheildmuir and Warrington to Willesden mail trains. They spent a while being hauled by class 87 locos on these runs in 2006/7, often without the pantograph cars, as after a couple of years in store a degree of remedial work had to be undertaken on them. They're now running under their own power again and proving to be reliable as far as I know.
     
  14. 33056

    33056 Established Member

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    Shhhhh!!! :shock:

    Don't say that, they will probably be nothing but trouble now ;)

    All still in use apart from 325 010 - last seen heading towards Ilford on a low loader in October 2007. Still there and heavily robbed AFAIK.

    If you can bear with me, I should be able to provide a rough date when the mail services finished, IIRC it was around mid 2004. The last TPOs ran on the night of 9th / 10th January 2004 which was slightly before the end of the rest of the services.

    If you are really lucky, I should have the final "simplifier" of the workings at Willesden PRDC somewhere, trouble is I have no idea exactly where it is at the moment :oops:
     
  15. Old Timer

    Old Timer Established Member

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    Many parcels vehicles were attached to passenger trains, or parcels were carried in the brake van. Some parcels vans were conveyed in mail trains and newspaper trains.

    There were a number of overnight parcels trains, but remember that REPS (the BR Rail Express Parcels Service) and subsequently Red Star was based upon using service trains rather than dedicated parcels trains.

    In the 1980s there were a number of uni-directional afternoon empty parcels trains which collect various vehicles from along the WCML and tripped them to Euston. I recall particularly on a Sarturday a Stranraer to Euston train which purely conveyed empty parcles vans (NPCCS) and stopped at various locations en-route to collect vans.
     
  16. 9K43

    9K43 Member

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    In the late 1980's we worked a mail train from Stockport to Leeds and Bradford.
    This mail came from Swansea.
    The locos were normally Class 47's.
    These trains ran via Huddersfield, LNW Jct to Leeds.
    These trains were for Leeds Guards, but HM Guards worked the jobs.
    We got 4 hours travelling to Leeds, which if you had the job all week was 20 hours extra pay.
    These jobs were much in demand, and where money is concerned you soon found out how many friends you had.
     
  17. 33056

    33056 Established Member

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    Apologies for digging this thead up but I found an old Willesden simplifier from December 2002 whilst tidying up the other day. This is a list of all the departures and arrivals excluding ECS moves:
    Code:
    Willesden PRDC
    Train arr   dep
    
    1O04        11:35  to Tonbridge            4 car 325
    1M04  14:51        from Tonbridge          4 car 325
    1F01        15:44  to Warrington           8 car 325
    1V33        15:58  to Plymouth             67 and vans
    1S96        16:00  to Shieldmuir (v. WCML) 90 and vans
    1S04        16:01  to Shieldmuir (v. ECML) 12 car 325
    1O90        16:30  to Dover                73 and TPO
    1A90  18:29        from Warrington         90 and vans
    1M90  19:15        from Shieldmuir         12 car 325
    1M78  19:22        from Low Fell           8 car 325
    1M06  19:31        from Bristol            67 and vans
    1V34        20:30  to Swansea              67 and vans
    1E47        20:35  to Low Fell             90 and vans
    1F00        20:45  to Warrington           8 car 325
    1M19  22:05        from Doncaster          8 car 325
    1M01  22:25        from Dover              73 and TPO
    1M29  22:28        from Norwich            67 and vans
    1A91  22:30        from Warrington         4 car 325
    1E93        22:53  to Low Fell             8 car 325
    1M51  22:58        from Doncaster          90 and vans
    1V40        23:10  to Plymouth             67 and TPO
    1F02        23:10  to Warrington           8 car 325
    1E53        23:12  to Low Fell             90 and TPO
    1L92        23:15  to Norwich              67 and vans
    1C00        23:18  to Carlisle             90 and TPO
    1V44        23:20  to Swansea              67 and TPO
    1M61  23:36        from Swansea            67 and vans
    1A97  23:40        from Warrington         8 car 325
    1L90        00:10  to Norwich              90 and TPO
    1M62  00:24        from Norwich            90 and TPO
    1M65  00:32        from Plymouth           67 and vans
    1A94  01:07        from Warrington         4 car 325
    1M10  01:10        from Doncaster          90 and vans
    1O02        01:42  to Dover                73 and TPO
    1A92  01:55        from Warrington         90 and vans
    1M91  02:10        from Low Fell           90 and TPO
    1M95  02:15        from Swansea            67 and TPO
    1M99  02:46        from Plymouth           67 and TPO
    1A93  02:56        from Carlisle           90 and TPO
    
    Don't be put off by the very tight timings of some of the trains, the location had 7 platforms and four reception roads with a scissors crossover. As long as everything ran to time (and it usually did :)) it all worked perfectly.
     
  18. pendolino

    pendolino Member

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    Slightly hijacking this thread here, but I've often wondered about something in the Rule Book in connection with 325s - something about 'if you see a blue flashing bodyside indicator light on a class 325, you do not need to report it'. What's the blue flashing light for?
     
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