Portsmouth Dockyard - Naval and Royal Specials?

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DerekC

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The following image was posted on the "Historic Hampshire in Photographs" Facebook page. It shows 34039 "Boscastle" crossing Edinburgh Road (now Bishop Crispin Way) on its way from the Dockyard at Unicorn Gate to Portsmouth & Southsea station - date unknown. My question is - what was it doing there? Did naval passenger specials ever run into the dockyard?

166888898_10157776581340095_5776804078852576114_n.jpg
 
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Gloster

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I can’t see anything to the left of the bus, so could it be running tender first or light? Are we looking east or west?
 

DerekC

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We are looking east, so the front of the locomotive is towards Portsmouth & Southsea station. You are right. it could be running tender first or light - but still, why is a passenger loco of that size on the dockyard branch?
 

Gloster

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I would presume that there were occasions when a ship was commissioning at a shipyard or dockyard that wasn’t one of the manning depots (Chatham, Devonport and Portsmouth only, I think). Then it would be necessary for most of the crew to travel at the same time. I presume that the normal practice for small parties was to march them to the Town station and put them on a regular service, but with almost a whole ship’s crew this might have been impracticable and a special train was arranged.
 

30907

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On another FB group (Everything pre 1968 Southern) someone has shared the same photo and this comment has appeared:
This was a special test working on 20 Nov 1960 to test whether it was possible to rn the Royal Train into Portsmouth dockyard and it was top’n’tailed by 34039 and 34075 with two Pullman’s, Royal saloon 396 and two Mark ls
Previously I believe T9s had worked Royal trains on the line, but they were in their last months by then.
With the awkward curve and gradient I doubt troop trains would have used it.

BTW there's an interesting looking signal (protecting the crossing) to the left of the bus.
 

Ash Bridge

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On another FB group (Everything pre 1968 Southern) someone has shared the same photo and this comment has appeared:

Previously I believe T9s had worked Royal trains on the line, but they were in their last months by then.
With the awkward curve and gradient I doubt troop trains would have used it.

BTW there's an interesting looking signal (protecting the crossing) to the left of the bus.
That signal caught my eye too, any clues of its origin? also was this line owned by BR or the Admiralty?

Thanks for the fascinating post @DerekC, I was never aware this line existed until yesterday evening and that Bulleid WC Pacific really does look so out of place!
 

Gloster

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I think that the level-crossing was the dividing line between BR and the Admiralty. This would put the signal on Admiralty property and therefore make it of its own design. I have a very vague feeling that it was still there only a few years ago, but could be completely wrong on this.
 

DerekC

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A quick look on Google Earth shows that one of the level crossing gates is still there as a memento of the line, but no sign of the signal. As to whether it was BR or Admiralty, the following is the relevant extract from the BR(S) Sectional Appendix for 1960 (courtesy of the Signalling Record Society), which calls it the "North Dockyard (Admiralty) Line":

NORTH DOCKYARD (ADMIRALTY) LINE.-Access to this line is by a trailing connection in the up line. The points are operated from Portsmouth & Southsea High Level ground frame. The working is in accordance with the "Regulations for working on single lines by one engine in steam or two or more engines coupled together" except that on arrival in the Dockyard the staff must be given up by the driver to the person in charge of the train and, when the return movement is ready,
the person in charge of the train must hand the staff to the driver.
Great care must be exercised by drivers and guards when it is necessary to propel the train from the down to the up line over the crossover road at the Harbour end of the High Level platform on account of the steep gradient.
The maximum load of a train over this line with one engine is as follows: Passenger- 5 bogie or ten 4-wheeled vehicles or equivalent; Freight-Equal to 24 loaded vehicles provided a heavy brake van is used. Equal to 10 loaded vehicles if a heavy brake van is not available.
Six- or eight-wheeled vehicles must not be worked beyond the North Dockyard line.
The following instructions are supplementary to those appearing in Table "J":-
When a train has an engine at each end, the staff must be shown to the driver of the leading engine and handed to and carried by the driver of the rear engine.
In the case of an assisted freight train, the assisting engine must be uncoupled at the High Level platform, when it may, if necessary be used to assist the train engine to start on the incline towards the Dockyard.
Except in the case of empty coaching stock for Fratton, trains from the Dockyard assisted by an engine in the rear must stop at the High Level platform to detach the assisting engine.

And here's a photograph of another WC Pacific which is apparently emerging from the branch at Portsmouth & Southsea station, so maybe passenger workings were not so unusual - the arrangements in the above extract certainly allow for them. This photo courtesy of the following website:

http://www.starzina.com/Starzina Z Railways Portsmouth.htm

Portsmouth & Southsea - Dockyard Junction.jpg
 
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Gloster

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And here's a photograph of another WC Pacific which is apparently emerging from the branch at Portsmouth & Southsea station, so maybe passenger workings were not so unusual - the arrangements in the above extract certainly allow for them. This photo courtesy of the following website:

http://www.starzina.com/Starzina Z Railways Portsmouth.htm

View attachment 93884
This appears to have been the LCGB’s ‘The Hayling Farewell Railtour’ of 3 November 1963. The loco was 34088 ‘213 Squadron’ and U 31791 was on the other end. The photo was taken after the train had returned from the Navy Barracks Platform, which suggests that other trains did go down there. The photo is on the Six Bells Junction site credited to David Pearson.

EDIT: It looks as though the BB and the U only took over from a S15 at Fratton and the BB only worked Fratton-Barracks-Portsmouth & S. HL, with the U working the train on to Havant on its own.
 
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John Webb

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The signal that appears in the first photo appears to be of a very early design whereby two arms, one for each direction, were mounted on the same post. Such signals were used at stations to indicate to drivers if they could enter the station or not. Unlike later single arm signals, the driver had to know where to stop if the signal was against him - the signal often being sited in the middle of one of the platforms.

Not entirely surprising an Admiralty line should have such an elderly signal, I suppose, as there is a direct connection between the Admiralty's semaphore signalling system that linked London to Portsmouth and other ports and the subsequent use of a moving arm railway signal - hence the latter being known as 'Semaphore' signals!
 

DerekC

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This appears to have been the LCGB’s ‘The Hayling Farewell Railtour’ of 3 November 1963. The loco was 34088 ‘213 Squadron’ and U 31791 was on the other end. The photo was taken after the train had returned from the Navy Barracks Platform, which suggests that other trains did go down there. The photo is on the Six Bells Junction site credited to David Pearson.

EDIT: It looks as though the BB and the U only took over from a S15 at Fratton and the BB only worked Fratton-Barracks-Portsmouth & S. HL, with the U working the train on to Havant on its own.
Interesting to know. Here is a photograph of a royal train in the dockyard, but what locomotive and where in the dockyard I don't know. Source is once again:

http://www.starzina.com/Starzina Z Railways Portsmouth.htm

Starzina Z Railways Portsmouth Dockyard Royal Train 1900.jpg
 

Gloster

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Probably LB&SCR atlantic 39 Hartland Point on the bit of dockyard at its south-Western corner, where a line used to come down from the throat of the Harbour station.

EDIT: It appears to be South Railway Jetty: there is a map on the same site.

EDIT II: The loco was not built until 1906 and was unnamed, but in 1913 it was named La France for a visit to Portsmouth by President Raymond Poincare [there should be an accent on the e]. I can’t find a date, but it was late June.
 
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DerekC

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Yes, I read about that line also - apparently installed for Queen Victoria to visit Osborne, but she preferred her special station at Royal Clarence Yard in Gosport. The swing bridge across the entrance to what is now the Warrior berth was bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1941 and never repaired, I think. So I guess the prospective 1960 royal train foray may have been the first since WWII and they were trying out the northern connection into the Dockyard.

I like the idea that the photo of No 39 was for the visit of the French president, but the flags on the front of the locomotive don't seem to tie in with that. The one on the left certainly isn't the "tricoleur".
 
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30907

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I like the idea that the photo of No 39 was for the visit of the French president, but the flags on the front of the locomotive don't seem to tie in with that. The one on the left certainly isn't the "tricoleur".
It looks black to me, and the Union flag with the star in is also non-standard, but it is clearly a (LBSCR) royal train of some sort. Any flag experts here?
 

DerekC

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It looks black to me, and the Union flag with the star in is also non-standard, but it is clearly a (LBSCR) royal train of some sort. Any flag experts here?
The black flag in combination with the royal coat of arms makes me wonder if it was associated with the funeral of King Edward VII in May 1910. The ship looks large - unfortunately the name isn't visible. Theodore Roosevelt represented the USA. Could it be a special for him?
 

Gloster

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President Poincare was met by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, so perhaps the flag is his personal one. I do think that this was probably President Poincare’s visit.
 

WesternLancer

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Interesting to know. Here is a photograph of a royal train in the dockyard, but what locomotive and where in the dockyard I don't know. Source is once again:

http://www.starzina.com/Starzina Z Railways Portsmouth.htm

View attachment 94020
That image comes up as a Getty Image - but not much in the way of additional useful caption info - the date of 01/01/1900 seems to me a bit of a default date used in the event of actual date not known

esp as Wikipedia says LBSCR no 39 was not built until 1906 - and it also mentions:

"No. 39 was named La France in connection with the visit to Portsmouth of Raymond Poincaré, the President of France; the locomotive was often used for royal trains and other important special trains, and had been selected to haul the train conveying Poincaré.[1] The whole class was named (and no. 39 renamed) during 1925–26 because the Southern Railway's publicity department had decided that express passenger locomotives should be named in order to improve the railway's image".

and interestingly this indicates moving film of the event in 1913 is available to users who can register:


Main title. "Scenes at Portsmouth & London." The state visit of the French president, Raymond Poincare, to Britain. The guard of honour is seen marching into position; Raymond Poincare comes alongside in a launch and reviews the guard; the train leaves Portsmouth. HMS Victory fires a salute. The procession drives away from the London terminus.

But note the different headboard in the BFI image which I assume is a still from this 1913 film, so raises a question as to whether this is the same occasion.

Edit - I note that since post #13 this has veered off topic somewhat from the WC class visit to an early 20th C LBSCR Royal Train loco....
 
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RodS

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Interesting to know. Here is a photograph of a royal train in the dockyard, but what locomotive and where in the dockyard I don't know. Source is once again:

http://www.starzina.com/Starzina Z Railways Portsmouth.htm

Starzina Z Railways Portsmouth Dockyard Royal Train 1900.jpg

Close examination of the dark flag shows it to be the Royal Standard

The other flag is that of the Viceroy of india (or, in this case, presumably, the Emperor of India)

The date will presumably be 11 November 1911, when the King and Queen embarked for a visit to India.

The ship appears to be the liner Medina, briefly commissioned as HMS Medina for this trip before entering general service with P&O

see https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/116247.html

and https://www.worldnavalships.com/images/hmsmedina2.jpg
 
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swt_passenger

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Close examination of the dark flag shows it to be the Royal Standard

The other flag is that of the Viceroy of india (or, in this case, presumably, the Emperor of India)

The date will presumably be 11 November 1911, when the King and Queen embarked for a visit to India.

The ship appears to be the liner Medina, briefly commissioned as HMS Medina for this trip before entering general service with P&O

see https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/116247.html

and https://www.worldnavalships.com/images/hmsmedina2.jpg
Well spotted @RodS, and welcome.

I think the very top left of the image also does show an obscured white ensign flown from the ship’s ensign staff, which also indicates a commissioned ship, rather than a visiting foreign dignitary...
 

Gloster

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Agreed. It may be that 39, even without a name, was the ‘Royal’ engine. President Poincare’s transport for the visit of 24-26 June 1913 was the new battleship Courbet.

Edit - I note that since post #13 this has veered off topic somewhat from the WC class visit to an early 20th C LBSCR Royal Train loco....
...but not as much as some threads do.
 
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zwk500

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Back on the original topic,
I can’t see anything to the left of the bus, so could it be running tender first or light? Are we looking east or west?
The photo is looking east, the engine is facing South but appears to be heading north (judging by the crew looking back). I agree with you that it doesn't appear to be coupled to anything, but then again if it was backing down for a train the stock could have been brought in by a shunter beforehand. Were WC Class ever used on goods services, if not that would indicate that at least 1 passenger train did operate.

I think this is the location: https://www.google.com/maps/@50.800...=310.7712&pitch=0&thumbfov=100!7i13312!8i6656
 

RodS

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Close examination of the dark flag shows it to be the Royal Standard

The other flag is that of the Viceroy of india (or, in this case, presumably, the Emperor of India)

The date will presumably be 11 November 1911, when the King and Queen embarked for a visit to India.

The ship appears to be the liner Medina, briefly commissioned as HMS Medina for this trip before entering general service with P&O

see https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/116247.html

and https://www.worldnavalships.com/images/hmsmedina2.jpg

A further thought after a bit more investigation:

Given that locomotive 39 is facing south, so presumably ready for departure, the date would be 5 February 1912, when the King and Queen returned from their visit to India.

see https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-the-kings-return-from-the-durbar-1912-online
 

DerekC

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Well done @RodS. I managed to find the narrative of the trip to India here:

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc2.ark:/13960/t2k64rj1z&view=1up&seq=385

Unfortunately it doesn't tell us anything about the railway aspects, other than that they arrived in Spithead on 4th February, docked at the South Railway Jetty at some time between then and early morning of 5th, were met by the First Lord of the Admiralty (one Rt Hon Winston Spencer-Churchill MP) disembarked at 10:00 and (after suitable speeches by the Mayor of Portsmouth and others) departed for Victoria. The ship was the P&O steamer Medina, hired by the Admiralty and commissioned into the Navy as HMS Medina specially for the trip.

In case anyone else is worried about getting off topic, I will amend the post title!
 

WesternLancer

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Well done @RodS. I managed to find the narrative of the trip to India here:

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc2.ark:/13960/t2k64rj1z&view=1up&seq=385

Unfortunately it doesn't tell us anything about the railway aspects, other than that they arrived in Spithead on 4th February, docked at the South Railway Jetty at some time between then and early morning of 5th, were met by the First Lord of the Admiralty (one Rt Hon Winston Spencer-Churchill MP) disembarked at 10:00 and (after suitable speeches by the Mayor of Portsmouth and others) departed for Victoria. The ship was the P&O steamer Medina, hired by the Admiralty and commissioned into the Navy as HMS Medina specially for the trip.

In case anyone else is worried about getting off topic, I will amend the post title!
Interesting link! and great to then see that with the BFI film that is viewable - complete with the same loco and Royal Train departing.
 
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Carlisle

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I think that the level-crossing was the dividing line between BR and the Admiralty.
That’s interesting, as I always remember 2 tall locked white wooden gates behind one of the normal level crossing gates & that’d explain the reason they existed
 
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