When were refreshment trolleys first introduced and on which routes?

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by AY1975, 13 Apr 2018.

  1. AY1975

    AY1975 Member

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    Following on from the thread on services that ought to have a refreshment trolley at www.railforums.co.uk/threads/services-which-ought-to-have-a-refreshment-trolley.157153/ when do you first remember seeing a refreshment trolley on BR and on which route(s)?

    I think I first remember seeing them in about the mid 1980s. I believe they'd had them in some countries in mainland Europe, including France, Germany and the Netherlands, for longer than that, and presumably BR got the idea from continental railways. I think that at least on Network SouthEast and Provincial/Regional Railways routes trolleys on BR were mostly operated by private companies such as Rightline rather than by BR's own Travellers Fare catering division, though.

    I think the first route where I remember seeing them was the South Trans-Pennine Manchester-Sheffield service in about 1985, in the days of Class 31s on that route.
     
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  3. delt1c

    delt1c Member

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    When 1st introduced the HST's had a trolley service but if memory serves me correct there was a problem with the 1st trolleys.
     
  4. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    There were a few trolleys in the 1960s, sometimes used on excursion trains. There was even a steam enthusiast who took a trolley onto non-corridor stock, switching between compartments via the platform. Did not see it myself, but reported by reliable friends on a Wrexham - New Brighton service when steam replaced the usual dmu on Bank Holiday Mondays.
     
  5. The_Engineer

    The_Engineer Member

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    I am not sure how widespread the service was but Traveller's Fare certainly did on train trolley services in the early 70s.

    During 1973 my brother worked for Traveller's Fare trolley services on Saturdays and/or Sundays from either Crewe or Chester, as a student weekend job. I was also enrolled as a "casual" to accompany him at busy times. The Sunday working was usually out from Crewe to Banbury on a Liverpool Lime Street to Poole working, and after an hour or so turn round, back on a Poole to Lime Street. Urns of coffee and tea were prepared at Crewe, and in the buffet at Banbury for the return. A brute load of food and drink was stashed in the guard's van to replenish the trolley. Some limited restock could be done at Banbury as well.

    His other routes would be North Wales trains without buffet facilities, and some workings to and from Euston. All went well until he had an accident in getting the trolley off a train at Euston, resulting in a broken foot and missing a good few week's college work! I don't think he did much with them after that and found other casual work!!

    In my early childhood (late 50s - early 60s) I can recall trolleys operating from station platforms at Chester General dispensing refreshments to waiting summer Saturday extra trains that had no buffet facilities. I am sure they also did on-board service too.
     
    Last edited: 13 Apr 2018
  6. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    The first time I saw one was on a CEP in the 1980's between Ashford and Tonbridge.

    Hastings Diesels Ltd claims to have the prototype one !
     
  7. falcon

    falcon Member

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    There was no first class trolley just 2nd class trolley.
     
  8. falcon

    falcon Member

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    Trollies have been on trains since at least the 60's.

    Overnight trains used to have a cream coloured trolley with a silver urn and biscuits on it on trains that ran on the ECML in the early 70's

    The more modern trolley was introduced in 1976 with introduction of the HST. That trolley used compressed air to force the water out of a small urn situated inboard the trolley.

    The compressed air trollies were used in micro buffets (where 4 seats where taken out at the end of a coach and the trolley entered a small counter area via the toilet) in the 1980's.

    The mark 3's ITWYCCI were introduced at the end of the 80's early 90's they had an battery contained within the water urn that pumped the water.

    There have been many modifications to the mk3 trolleis over the years. I think the trollies are on a mk 5 now!

    from 1977 to 1990 intercity services had few trollies on due to guards banning them on safety grounds.
     
  9. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    Not sure about this, my memory could be playing up but weren't the "microbuffets" on the Western Region cross-country DMUs simply static trolleys? They worked from one location in the train but were wheeled on/off?
     
  10. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    If this is the enthusiast I am thinkinbg about, based in Manchester but ranging surprisingly far afield, he wrote a Railway World article in the late 1960s about his experiences as such a trolley steward. I think he was a university student at the time and diid it as a summer job. This included racing a fellow steward it through the streets from Manchester Victoria to Piccadilly with it at the end of a shift, ruining the wheels.

    If you ever saw the buffet unit in the WR Gloucester RCW or Swindon dmus actually in use, you did better than me. They were a right waste of space, taking up about one-third of the centre car with counter tops etc that were, in my experience, never used, from new until they were scrapped.
     
    Last edited: 14 Apr 2018
  11. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    The micro-buffets on the ScotRail 47/7 Mk2d sets were exactly that, a trolley parked in a gap in the counter. Whenever a Mk3 set was used on an Aberdeen run the trolley was loaded onto the DBSO (no buffet car in the Mk3 sets) and it wasn't long before the same practice occurred with the Mk2 sets.
     
  12. delt1c

    delt1c Member

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    Was fortunate enough
    to use the 120's on Aberdeen Inverness service with the Buffet, very small but felt like a proper train. I believe the last 1st Gen DMU's to have Buffets
     
  13. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    They were briefly used on the Weymouth line when DMUs took over the route in the early 60's.
    Not certain, but memory suggests they became disused around the same time as the line was singled - but I was pretty young and may be misremembering
     
  14. daikilo

    daikilo Established Member

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    I think some 123, 124 and 126 also had miniature buffets but I don't think I ever saw one in operation in the 1970s.
     
  15. delt1c

    delt1c Member

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    123 and 126 lost their catering late 60,s early 70,s ( except 1 trailer from a 123 which was converted for use in a 309). The Aberdeen Inverness were the last DMU with buffet cars
     
  16. 47271

    47271 Established Member

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    A small aside to this. If you watch Michael Palin's Great Railway Journeys trip from Euston to Kyle of Lochalsh circa 1980, as I did on Youtube the other night, you'll see him served at his seat in a WCML service. The steward sells him Maxpax coffee not from a trolley but from a tray strapped to her body like a theatre ice cream seller's. How did this work, especially in relation to the dispensing of hot water?
     
  17. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    that rings a bell - wasn't the water in a backpack?
     
  18. martinsh

    martinsh Established Member

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    The RW article was entitled "Umpteen Thousand miles Of Tea-Trolley travel" as a take-off of Cecil J Allen's recently published book "Two Million miles of Train Travel" [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_J._Allen ] I would guess this was early 70s.

    I could even name the author from memory ...
     
  19. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    The Edinburgh-Glasgow Swindon DMUs we're reduced to 5 car "officially" by 1971. I think the actual 126 buffets were all transferred to Leith for the E-G in the 60s.

    I was always intrigued that the buffet cars in the 120s were given a full red stripe in BR Blue days rather than just over the buffet counter.

    Don't think trolleys came in on Averdeen-Inverness regularly until the mid-80s when the service was provided by 5-car sets of 4 Mk2 TSO with a Mk1 BFK in the middle. Certainly the push-pull sets were effectively trolley only by then.
     
  20. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    No, the cardboard cups loaded with the ingredients (only) were sold first. Subsequently another steward came through with the hot water in a jug for all the cups on display.
     
  21. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    Edit - No idea why the reply has been split
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2018
  22. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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  23. GusB

    GusB Member

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    Memories are a bit vague these days, so I cannot say for sure. I don't remember 120s, but I know I must have travelled on them. I definitely remember loco-hauled stock on the Aberdeen - Imverness, and the buffet car had "normal" seats in one part and a buffet counter. I assume this must have been a Mk1 RMB. If we travelled south from Inverness these was a dedicated buffet car (RB?). I wasn't really a regular enough traveller to be able to put a date on the introduction of trolley services, though.

    I do recall the micro-buffets on the Aberdeen - Glasgow services, and my parents grumbling about how the world would end as a result... :)
     
  24. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    That platform refreshment trolley is reminiscent of the one that was manned all summer Friday nights/Saturday mornings at Bristol TM which catered to the overnight westbound trains from the North to the West Country while they changed locos there. Eventually in the 1970s this started to be shown as such in the public timetable, which must have been the last time a refreshment halt was publicly shown as such.

    Saw a wonderful account of old-time multiple summer Sunday excursions from Nottingham/Sheffield to Cleethorpes, which used to stop for the steam loco to take water at Gainsborough. The independent refreshment room manager had a number of girls on hand who worked down the platform selling ice creams from trays, like in a theatre, into the non-corridor stock. First ones were, free, to the loco crew and guard, who were told they had a second one coming - once the whole train had been served. They did sufficient trade to justify having an ice cream making plant in the back kitchen.
     
  25. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    Well the micro-buffets were disused fairly soon after introduction, being replaced by just the trolley, often based in the DBSO, which of course lead to full trolley operation and no buffets; something which the HSTs should put right :)
     
  26. AY1975

    AY1975 Member

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    I believe the same arrangement was used on the Mark2a/b/c sets on Waterloo-Exeter in the 1980s, with one TSO converted to a TSO(T), and on the Class 309 Clacton units after the withdrawal of the griddle cars. I think both these routes later changed to trolleys wheeled through the train, although I thought the concept was designed to be flexible so the trolley could either be pushed through the train to provide an at-seat service, or serve from a fixed point.
     
  27. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    That was the original idea, but certainly on the Scottish push-pulls (probably the Inverness services as well), after a few years the trolley ended up just being wheeled through the coaches and based out of the brake van.
     
  28. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

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    The micro-buffet arrangement, with a trolley parked in a converted seating bay, was also used on converted Mk1 BSOs on the Birmingham-Norwich services (I think around 1981/82 ish)
     

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