Unadvertised Services

mike57

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Watching one of Jago Hazzerd's excellent videos about the 'Kenny Belle' got me thinking about unadvertised services, to be specific passenger carrying services that dont appear in publc timetables. The Kenny Belle was unadvertised for a while in the 60's and I am aware of another service serving Rowntrees factory in York. It raised a few questions, with respect to operations in BR days:

How were these (and other) services funded, did the company requiring them pay, or did BR use fares to fund them, after working out when to run the service.

How was the need identified, and what pressure could be placed on BR to run them. Also thinking here about the Mullard Simonstone factory, where the rail service to the local station was deliberately made inaccessable shortly after the factory opened by all accounts.

When was the last service of this type, or do any survive today. To be specific I am not thinking of dedicated stations on otherwise advertised services such as the IBM station.
 
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Iskra

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Northern football specials run fairly frequently and are often unadvertised to the public. Some are simply strengthened timetabled services, but unadvertised additional services run too.
 

Gloster

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A few semi-random thoughts on this, much of which is my own opinions and conclusions. One of the main advantages of a service being unadvertised is that BR could cancel or alter it without notice: as many ran at night with low passenger numbers, all the alternative arrangements would wipe out any profit made when the service ran. The same would be the case if the the service was entirely for a single factory: factory closed for a period means no passengers.

I think that most of these were run on a commercial basis: the business might agree to guarantee a minimum revenue, although this was probably the exception. Timings would be worked out by BR based on the shift times provided by the company. I have no doubt that there were plenty of occasions where the managers of a new factory asked (or demanded) that BR provide a service for their employees. BR would look at it and then, usually, turn it down (and be pilloried) because the factory managers’ estimates of passenger numbers were wildly optimistic and the service would lose even more money.

There would always be plenty of people sticking their oar in (factory owners, councillors, MPs, etc.) and the amount of pressure they could bring would depend on their status, but even back in the 1950s, when it came to introducing new services, BR could and would take a generally commercial view: will it pay? With Simonstone, I suspect that BR already knew that the line was hopelessly uneconomic and ripe for closure. Cooperating and running trains for the factory would only make the tiniest improvement to the line’s economy, but would make closing just a bit more difficult.

As to how the need was identified. Some stationmasters would be aware of what was going on and get involve with planning developments at an early stage. In other cases somebody on the non-railway side would go to the railway early on. However, given this country’s disorganised lack of central planning, it was more likely to be hit or miss what happened.
 

SargeNpton

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Were the Waterloo paper trains actually advertised as passenger services?
Paper train from Euston to Northampton was never an advertised service. But if a passenger had missed the last train out of Euston they were often put into the seats in the BSK.
 

Gloster

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Were the Waterloo paper trains actually advertised as passenger services?
In 1980 the Yeovil and the Sunday 03.40 to Petersfield were in the SR public timetable booklet. However, these weren’t designated as News in the Carriage Workimg and it looks as though none of those that were actually appeared in the timetable.
 
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Dai Corner

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One in the Bristol area I was aware of was that to/from North Filton Platform.

North Filton Platform also closed to the public on 23rd November 1964, but continued to be used by a Monday to Friday (BHX) unadvertised workers service until 5th November 1966. At some time after that date a timetabled workers service ran between Parson Street, Bedminster, Bristol Temple Meads, Lawrence Hill, Stapleton Road and Filton (Junction). The service continued unadvertised between Filton & North Filton Platform.
Date closed completely:9.5.1986
 

deltic

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There were a lot of colliery unadvertised services operating in S Wales which I imagine were operated commercially
 

30907

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There were also some services that were officially staff only - I recall seeing in a 90s WTT some in the small hours via Reddish South, I think operating Newton Heath-Stockport. Whether this was for staff who had once been at Reddish depot and still lived around there I don't know.
I don't know of anything more recent.
Further back, when the Divisional offices at Beckenham opened in the late 60s there were morning and evening workings from/to Holborn which were available to staff as far as Lewisham, presumably for folk who had previously travelled to Orpington (?).
In both cases these trains would have run anyway, but not necessarily via that route.

Another category not mentioned so far was armed services weekend leave traffic. In the 80s at least there were still unadvertised Waterloo-Portsmouth trains early Monday morning to soak up returning personnel (possibly also one to Aldershot?), while in the days of conscription there were Saturday lunchtime Andover-Waterloo services.

Going back again, colliery trains were not confined to Wales: the Margate miners' train had its own dedicated set of elderly stock - the round trip for the 6am shift at Chislet Colliery appeared in the timetable, but the others were unadvertised; they ran through to Canterbury West and I presume ended with electrification.
 

ChiefPlanner

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There were a lot of colliery unadvertised services operating in S Wales which I imagine were operated commercially

No not "commercially" -regarded as part of the employment package and in WW2 as a very useful way of keeping production up and getting people to work without using petrol etc resources. Many though were on "private" lines with maybe some incursions onto the national network - e.g Cwmllynfell (LMS) to Gwaun Cae Gurwen on LMS metals and then onto a "private" line.

As far as BR / LT staff trains , - no reasonable passenger would be refused so I gather in the small hours. IE - not blind drunk and abusive.
 

jfollows

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There were also some services that were officially staff only - I recall seeing in a 90s WTT some in the small hours via Reddish South, I think operating Newton Heath-Stockport. Whether this was for staff who had once been at Reddish depot and still lived around there I don't know.
There was an hourly service all night Manchester Piccadilly - Stockport - Guide Bridge, then back again. Took 25 minutes for the single journey so the same unit could trundle back and forth all night. I was once put on it at Piccadilly in the late 1970s after arriving late, for a taxi home from Stockport. And, yes, it served staff who lived in the area, I have a friend who then lived in Reddish so his route home was ideally on the ECS to Reddish Depot but when that closed (or the last ECS to the depot had gone) I think he lived downhill from Reddish South so that was preferable to uphill from Levenshulme on his bicycle. It's in my 1986 WTT and my winter 1994-1995 WTT (as you say) which is as late as my "historic" collection currently goes.

Officially its only intermediate calls were Longsight, Stockport and Reddish South, with the latter formally being a request stop. I suspect it would stop on request at Levenshulme and Heaton Chapel, even if it was on the fast line, on the basis that its passengers were staff and could be trusted to exercise the appropriate caution.

EDIT Even in 1994/95 there was also an hourly (midnight to 5am-ish) staff EMU to Mottram Yard Staff Halt from Manchester Piccadilly, I'm thinking for staff who lived in the vicinity and used to be based at Mottram Yard? This went "empty" to Hadfield to reverse but I can't imagine it would have been a problem staying on it if you were staff.
 
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75A

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The 03:27 Victoria to Eastbourne / Hastings paper train carried passengers in the BSK which was always next to the engine (73) as far as Eastbourne, with a stop @ Lewes.
 
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Crewe Works had one unadvertised service to and from the station for the benefit of staff until the early 80s. It was a continuation of a peak hour Crewe - Stoke and v.v. DMU (which was advertised). The service originated from 1927 as a sop to transferred employees when the LMS closed the North Staffordshire works in Stoke. Quite a few staff who lived at the station end of Crewe also used it.
 

Lemmy99uk

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There were a couple of night-time EMU operated staff trains in the West Midlands in the 80s that served New Street, Wolverhampton, Bescot and Walsall.
I remember a who driver would let you know the day before if he needed to catch the Wolverhampton staff, so that the train could stop at his garden that backed on to the mainline.
 

6Gman

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Crewe Works had one unadvertised service to and from the station for the benefit of staff until the early 80s. It was a continuation of a peak hour Crewe - Stoke and v.v. DMU (which was advertised). The service originated from 1927 as a sop to transferred employees when the LMS closed the North Staffordshire works in Stoke. Quite a few staff who lived at the station end of Crewe also used it.
Which reminds me that there was an unadvertised Preston-Crewe and return DMU to fit "office hours" at Rail House, Crewe. Quite why I'm not sure; perhaps there had been some transfer of staff from Preston at some stage. (A lot of Rail House staff had transferred in from Manchester and Derby but they used public services.)

As an enthusiast it brought the rare sight of a Cravens unit into Crewe on a regular basis.

On my first day on the staff at Rail House I was firmly told that work finished at 17.01, precisely. And that if I saw people leaving at 16.50 it was because they were catching the Preston train (which left at something like 17.01 or 17.04) and that I was not to emulate them!
 

30907

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The 03:27 Victoria to Eastbourne / Hastings paper train carried passengers in the BSK which was always next to the engine (73) as far as Eastbourne, with a stop @ Lewes.
Was that not an advertised service, or did that change when it moved from London Br?
 

Taunton

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The Branch Line Society published a regular booklet listing the detail of services over both unusual lines and unadvertised trains. They have put the whole lot of back numbers, back to the first, on line. The earlier ones, going back to 1963, are a fascination, and appear very complete - for this topic they feature staff trains, works trains, oddball excursions etc. here's the web pages index :

BLS - PSUL Document Archive (branchline.uk)
 

mike57

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The Branch Line Society published a regular booklet listing the detail of services over both unusual lines and unadvertised trains. They have put the whole lot of back numbers, back to the first, on line. The earlier ones, going back to 1963, are a fascination, and appear very complete - for this topic they feature staff trains, works trains, oddball excursions etc. here's the web pages index :

BLS - PSUL Document Archive (branchline.uk)
Interesting, thanks for sharing. The service to Rowntrees Factory, York, which I mentioned in the original post survived until 1988, which is a lot later than I realised
 

DerekC

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The Branch Line Society published a regular booklet listing the detail of services over both unusual lines and unadvertised trains. They have put the whole lot of back numbers, back to the first, on line. The earlier ones, going back to 1963, are a fascination, and appear very complete - for this topic they feature staff trains, works trains, oddball excursions etc. here's the web pages index :

BLS - PSUL Document Archive (branchline.uk)
Yes absolutely agree with @mike57. The first one that hit me was the services in the 1960s from Liverpool Street to Epping (presumably for staff) via the link between Temple Mills (East) and Leyton. I guess these were operated by DMU. Does anyone know when the link was taken out?
 

Cheshire Scot

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The 03:27 Victoria to Eastbourne / Hastings paper train carried passengers in the BSK which was always next to the engine (73) as far as Eastbourne, with a stop @ Lewes.
Likewise the 02.45 Waterloo to Bournemouth newspapers, just one BSK although I can't remember where it was marshalled. This was listed in the public TT (second class only obviously), so obviously not unadvertised. I have a vague memory it may have also conveyed a BSK for Portsmouth on Monday mornings for the navy people, or was it maybe was just a MO connection at Eastleigh.

EDIT: Yes MO also conveyed a coach for Portsmouth detached at Eastleigh, I think it had vans detaching anyway for Fareham etc en route to Portsmouth.
 
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75A

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Likewise the 02.45 Waterloo to Bournemouth newspapers, just one BSK although I can't remember where it was marshalled. This was listed in the public TT (second class only obviously), so obviously not unadvertised. I have a vague memory it may have also conveyed a BSK for Portsmouth on Monday mornings for the navy people, or was it maybe was just a MO connection at Eastleigh.

EDIT: Yes MO also conveyed a coach for Portsmouth detached at Eastleigh, I think it had vans detaching anyway for Fareham etc en route to Portsmouth.
On the Eastbourne papers the BSK was always @ the front so that the electrics could keep the passengers warm. At Eastbourne the 73 would run round the train, couple up to the last van and take that to be unloaded at Hastings, it would then carry on to Ore, to run round before heading back to Eastbourne and then finally Brighton Top Yard.
 

Gloster

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Likewise the 02.45 Waterloo to Bournemouth newspapers, just one BSK although I can't remember where it was marshalled. This was listed in the public TT (second class only obviously), so obviously not unadvertised. I have a vague memory it may have also conveyed a BSK for Portsmouth on Monday mornings for the navy people, or was it maybe was just a MO connection at Eastleigh.

EDIT: Yes MO also conveyed a coach for Portsmouth detached at Eastleigh, I think it had vans detaching anyway for Fareham etc en route to Portsmouth.
In 1980 on Tuesday to Saturday the 02.45 had a 3 set L (BSK+CK+BSK) and two NJV at the front for Bournemouth, then one NJV for Southampton and one for Portsmouth (the latter was an NFV on Saturdays), and two NKV for Basingstoke and two for Woking. On Mondays the Bournemouth section was the same, but then there was just three BSK for Portsmouth and two NKV for Basingstoke behind it. On Mondays another NJV off the 02.15 News was tacked on the rear at Southampton. (NJV and NKV were both GUV, but the latter were BRUTE modified. NFV was a non-gangwayed bogie-van.)

Source: May 1980-May 1981 Carriage Working Notice.
 

6Gman

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This is definitely another for my list of "railway books somebody really ought to write"! :D

The Branch Line Society listings reminded me of another group of Non Advertised services - the SAGA trains.

I noted, for example, an Eastbourne - Glasgow that ran on a couple of weekdays. SAGA (an insurance and holiday company these days, specialising in catering for older people) started out offering cheap holidays for older people, often at the "shoulder" of the season (such as May/June and September) and with specific mid-week trains catering for them (thus avoiding Saturdays). SAGA was popularly known as Send All Grannies Away.

In my first railway job in the late 70s my boss used to travel to SAGA HQ two or three times a year to negotiate travel arrangements which gives an indication of the significance of the work even then.
 

CW2

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In a similar vein to Saga, National Express Coaches ran a full first class rake Euston to Carlisle and return on summer Saturdays, exchanging the clientele of their weekly coach tours of Scotland. This would have been late 1970s.
 

Gloster

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In the early1980s the SAGA specials used to run on Mondays and Thursdays from Paddington, with the destinations being Torquay or Paignton and Newquay (if I remember correctly). They used the coaching stock that was used on Fridays and Sundays or Mondays for the country-cottage weekenders and on Saturdays for holiday traffic.

There was also a Newcastle-Portsmouth Harbour (and v.v.) on Wednesdays and workings to Folkestone and Margate, although these might have been part of the same diagram. The Portsmouth-Newcastle’s stock came over from Margate on Tuesday evening and the stock off the Newcastle-Portsmouth went to Folkestone East on Thursday morning.

EDIT: Looking at the Branch Line Society’s guides (see #17) the Newcastle-Margate ran on Tuesdays and the Folkestone West on Saturdays. Both trains in both directions.
 
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Taunton

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From Taunton (you lot knew this was coming, didn't you) in the 1960s, the principal unadvertised services were "reliefs", which ran around key services at times of pressure, sometimes ahead, sometimes behind. They don't appear in the listing of unadvertised services, given above, because they just ran on the mainstream route. It was always impressive to go to the station at midnight on an August Friday night at midnight to meet returning relatives, to hear that every overnight service from Paddington to the West Country that night was running in two portions. In pre-mobile phone days you just turned out for the two trains coming in at midnight, if not on those, back home for a coffee, and back to the station at 2am for a repeat. You could vaguely see the relief holding out in the blackness at the Home signal, waiting for the main train to depart.

One I was apparently taken on at a very early stage (Such that I don't remember it) around 1960 was a summer excursion from Taunton to Burnham-on-Sea at this time. Apparently it took every church group, youth club, etc from the town, plus parents etc. Burnham was theoretically closed by this time, but was opened just for such excursions. It required a double shunt at Highbridge to get from the GWR main line onto the S&D extension to Burnham, but this was apparently done. Subsequent research tells me that a couple of 412xx were sent all the way from Templecombe, to pull the excursion back over the connecting link into the Highbridge S&D platforms, then forward across the main line for the mile (it's no more) to Burnham. Goodness knows how much that all cost.

Regarding the Branch Line Society, they were one of railway enthusiasm's pioneers, along with SLS and RCTS. I suspect the various key members were actually common across these organisations. All used to like to have their headboards on the front of locomotives on various weekend excursions they organised, commonly jointly.
 

thesignalman

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Paper train from Euston to Northampton was never an advertised service. But if a passenger had missed the last train out of Euston they were often put into the seats in the BSK.
They were not the only passengers. Two London "ladies of the night" that lived in Northampton used to use it on certain nights of the week. They used to exchange waves with the signalmen at Bletchley as the train pulled into the platform there.

Happy days . . .

John
 

Taunton

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Not in the BLS book, because they just operated on the main line, but there was a quite substantial unadvertised overnight service for the military, overnight from Waterloo, to both Aldershot (Army) and Portsmouth (Navy), particularly on Sunday night/Monday morning at the end of weekend leave, for those determined to have every minute away before a 6am/7am report time. Developed very much of course in WW2, it slowly ran down through the 1950s-60s-70s. At its peak on Sundays it was pretty much an hourly service all night to both, formed of the main line electric stock, mainly 4-COR in that era, which was coming back on the early morning Up services. Military police would come up from Aldershot to Waterloo in the evening to (try and) keep order.
 

billio

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Passenger trains to Thorpe Arch Royal Ordnance Factory were unadvertised and I suppose so were trains to other similar factories that had their own stations.
 

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