Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

The day to day working of the Caledonian Railway Company, including its constituents and successors.
David Blevins
Posts: 301
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by David Blevins »

I have a query on the Markings for Goods Waggon Sheets - Tarpaulins.
In the Caledonian Railway Livery by our previous Chairman Jim MacIntosh (Page 287) he states that "The lettering of the sheets was in white (Caledonian) with a blue cross quartering the area of the sheet; it was not a diagonal cross ...." and is confirmed through photographs and Plate 45, also "....Caledonian Ropes were identified by a blue strand.".
BUT ...... in a Book in my possession "Regulations of the Railway Clearing House - 1880" it states the following :-
CALEDONIAN RAILWAY SHEETS Initials C. R. Marks X (blue) and Ropes Tarred

The question is were the Waggon Sheets changed to a different style + (blue) at a later date and were later ropes alterred with a blue strand (thread) through them, and any idea what year this was changed ?

David Blevins
Last edited by David Blevins on Tue Oct 11, 2022 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jim Summers
Posts: 1183
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:54 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by Jim Summers »

I attach an extract from an RCH document of 1884 on sheets. The whole article was published in an article in the HMRS Journal Vol. 10 Number 11 of 1981, and I trust the HMRS will not be unhappy at a small extract appearing here. It bears out the blue cross, and elsewhere simply said the ropes were tarred. The article says on page 322: "Caledonian sheets - initials were C.R. and the mark was a (St Andrew’s) cross in blue. At least that is how shown in RCH document “General Arrangements relating to Coaching Traffic”, issued 1 March 1884 (see photos). It must mean a “x” as it is depicted, whereas the only other cross is described in words as a Red Cross".

This is corroborated by an exchange on the Highland Railway Society forum where Wordie's sheets were in question. "The 'Wordie & Co' tarpaulin is interesting and does not follow the Caledonian Railway design; they use a horizontal cross, whereas Wordie are using a 'Saltaire', and serif letting as well".

I have a recollection of reading about a blue thread in Caledonian ropes, but cannot immediately locate it. However an article in a Railway Magazine from pre-grouping days inmplies that all companies had threads in their ropes and gives many (quite complicated) examples, sadly not of the Caledonian. It is a reasonable inference that the Caledonian thread would be blue - what else could it be and still be Caledonian?

JimS
Mike 1
Posts: 134
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by Mike 1 »

I have a couple of RCH books from 1904ish which might help but can't see that subject in them. David, can you please tell me what the section/chapter or whatever is titled in which they are described?

Mike
David Blevins
Posts: 301
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by David Blevins »

it comes under the Heading "Return showing the Initials borne by the Stock of the various Companies." Page 189 in 1880 and Lists - Coaching Stock - Waggons - Sheets.
The above is Listed after Ticket Nippers, and Regulations for the Converyance of Military and Naval and Police and Shipwrecked Mariners, etc.

The section for Ropes is on Page 99 under the heading "Ropes, Chains, and Packing; also Sheet Trestles and Sheet Supporters (not attached to Waggons)."

Probably the Regulations evolved over the Years, with Sections added or deleted, for whatever reason.

David Blevins.
Mike 1
Posts: 134
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by Mike 1 »

Thank you David. An RCH “General Instructions” book for 1st January 1903 confirms (p86) Caledonian sheets marked C.R. and “X Blue”. No mention of ropes – sorry!

Mike
Mike 1
Posts: 134
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by Mike 1 »

This picture popped up on facebook. One of those nice old pictures ruined by added modern colour, but its the tarpaulin in the front that attracted my attention. Either blue doesn't show up on the film in those days or there is no cross.

Mike
Attachments
awful coloured picture.jpg
awful coloured picture.jpg (150.25 KiB) Viewed 4769 times
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 887
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by jimwatt2mm »

This was also posted on RMWeb and has attracted several comments regarding the somewhat dubious colours applied to the wagons, not least the CR 8T open in the left foreground, the NE wagon next to it and the NB van behind!

Jim
David Blevins
Posts: 301
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by David Blevins »

I am surprised no one has agreed with the "definition" of Jim MacIntosh on Caledonian Railway Wagon Sheets.
In support of his argument in his Book "Caledonian Railway Livery" - Here are a collection of Photographs all for the Period c. 1900.
The Wagons appeared in "The 1900 Register of Wagon Plant" and in the background can be seen various Goods Wagons covered in Sheets, worded
- "CALED ONIAN" the space between the "D" and the "O" having a "Blue" Line which would agree with "a Blue Cross (+) quartering the area of the sheet."
If the Regulations of The Railway Clearing house for 1880 and 1903, as mentioned already, are correct - it's strange how photographic evidence for 1900 shows otherwise.
Were there two different lettered Waggon Sheets ?
The photographs seem to be taken in the Glasgow area - St Rollox yard (?) .
In my research into Caledonian Railway Staff I did come across entries for Caledonian Railway Staff who made "Sheets" in Perth, only now do I realise they were not making Bed Sheets or Sails for Ships, but Sheets for Goods Wagons.
Were Goods Waggon Sheets designed differently in Glasgow or Perth ?
Did Glasgow outsource Sheets to another Company or were they produced at St Rollox Works ?
Lots of questions, any ideas please contribute.
David Blevins.
Attachments
W099M - 8 Ton Swivel Wagon No. 5483.jpg
W099M - 8 Ton Swivel Wagon No. 5483.jpg (32.44 KiB) Viewed 4728 times
W110A - Boiler Machinery Wagon CR No. 19 - Copy.jpg
W110A - Boiler Machinery Wagon CR No. 19 - Copy.jpg (32.37 KiB) Viewed 4728 times
W051Ca - 25 Tons Rail Wagon.jpg
W051Ca - 25 Tons Rail Wagon.jpg (28.8 KiB) Viewed 4728 times
W038A - CR 16 Ton Heavy Weight Wagon No. 54.jpg
W038A - CR 16 Ton Heavy Weight Wagon No. 54.jpg (35.79 KiB) Viewed 4728 times
CR 111 2-4-0 withdrawn 1900
CR 111 2-4-0 withdrawn 1900
240147 - 111.jpg (52.92 KiB) Viewed 4728 times
John Duffy
Posts: 152
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by John Duffy »

Might the different style of sheet not be for use on wagons, but rather for road vehicles? As these would be less likely to wander off home territory they may not have required to be so distinctive.
wsaxt04
Posts: 92
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:46 am

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by wsaxt04 »

Wagon sheets and ropes

I can offer the following supplementary information relevant to wagon sheet and ropes as below, with all articles having appeared within the HMRS Journal:

Journal vol.12, no. 8, Oct – Dec 1986, pages 241 – 242, article entitled ‘RCH identification marks for ropes and suchlike’ by Mike Peascod, who is also very well known as an extremely prominent member of the ‘Cumbrian Railways Association.’ All five Scottish companies are mentioned within the survey, whilst the text mentions that all company ropes must be not less than 25 yards in length, made of hemp and have a particular mark to designate the owning company within the rope.

Journal vol.13, no.11, July – Sept.’90, pages 331- 336, an article entitled ‘Wagon sheet numbers’ by Nigel Digby. The article, in addition to providing an assortment of wagon sheet numbers for various English pre-grouping companies, does contain various illustrations as to how wagon sheets were to be attached to open goods wagons and then the fastening ropes applied.

Journal vol.16, no.6, April – June 1998, pages 204- 209, an article entitled ‘Notes on Wagon Sheets’ by Malcolm Cross and Bob Essery. Please also see subsequent issues for further correspondence and feedback.

Within the latter article by Cross and Essery, reference was made to an issue of ‘LMS Magazine’, published in 1925, when it was stated that wagon sheets measured 21 ft. 0 in. by 14 ft 4 in. The latter publication, as I understand the matter, should be available to check within the ‘Archive Department’ of ‘The Mitchell Library’, Glasgow, so that would be a worthwhile visit The two authors also mention a survey within the ‘LNER Magazine’ for 1932, dealing with wagon sheets, so that should also be consulted.

As an aside, when William F. Jackson was serving as General Manager of the NBR Company and providing evidence before the ‘Railway and Canal Commission’ in Oct./Nov. 1910 in relation to the Demurrage and Siding Rent Dispute, he claimed that he knew of a goods working which had crossed the Forth Bridge and arrived at the other side with all its wagon sheets blown off by the wind. Whether such a story is true or not is debatable, but Jackson did explain that he preferred to use covered goods vans for merchandise traffic, as opposed to open goods wagons and sheets. Jackson also explained that from his company’s experience, four years was about the normal working life of a wagon sheet. This was just below the working life of a sheet for the LMS of five, as explained by H.N.Twells – please see first reference immediately below.

For photographic illustrations of wagon sheet and loads please see the following:

‘LMS Miscellany, vol.one’ plates 48 & 49, by H.N.Twells (OPC, 1982), which illustrates the manufacture of wagon sheets.

‘LMS Miscellany, vol.to’, plate 205, by H.N.Twells (OPC, 1984), which illustrates how an open goods wagon should be correctly sheeted over and the ropes attached.

I would think that this entire subject matter would make a good basis for an article to be written up for ‘TTL’, along with suitable, related illustrations. Any willing volunteers?

Arnold T.
David Blevins
Posts: 301
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by David Blevins »

Not had a lot of Luck trying to access the HMRS Journals.
The other suggestions seem to be too late for the Caledonian Railway, being the later LMS Period.
I do remember that Wagon Sheets (Tarpaulins) were produced im 4mm and 7mm scales a few years ago (pre-covid) but not sure by whom.
I have some in 4mm with a diagonal St Andrews Blue Cross and some with a Blue Cross (quartering) the Sheets in 7mm scale.
Any suggestion on who produced them would be useful, perhaps they have some Historical Information on why there is a dispute/query on whether both are correct, or is only one correct ???

David Blevins.
Last edited by David Blevins on Tue Nov 01, 2022 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mike 1
Posts: 134
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by Mike 1 »

A firm by the name of Smiths made these, but I know nothing about them.

Mike
jasp
Posts: 623
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:40 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by jasp »

David Blevins
Posts: 301
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by David Blevins »

An e-mail is on it's way to Roger Smith Model Railways, hopefully he will enlighten us to his Research.

David Blevins.
caleyJim
Posts: 267
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by caleyJim »

I've placed the article from LMS Magazine referenced by Arnold T above here: https://www.lmssociety.org.uk/topics/sh ... rtment.php

I apologise for the quality of the photos but the original reproductions are not of great quality. Although a little late in period it is an interesting read and does confirm the use of a blue cross by the Caledonian.

Jim Smellie (wearing his LMS Society webmaster hat)
David Blevins
Posts: 301
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by David Blevins »

No Reply from Roger Smith Model Railways on his source of the "blue cross" on Waggon Sheets, so far.
Interesting though, that he did produce two seperate styles, a Blue Diagonal Cross in 4mm & the Blue (+) Cross quartering style in 7mm scales.

Some Information has been gleaned from articles in the HMRS Journals, by a Michael Peascod using RCH Regulation Information -
ROPES - Tarred Ropes listed for 1874 and 1882
ROPES - Blue Strand listed for 1890.

In the 1880 RCH Regulations for Waggon Sheets it also lists:-
LONDON TILBURY & SOUTHEND RAILWAY with a "Blue stripe across from corner to corner" and lettered L.T. & S. R.
This Company seems to have been taken over by the Midland Railway in 1912.

Is it likely the Caledonian Railway alterred it's Wagon Sheets from a Blue X to a Blue + to a request from the Railway Clearing House, as each Company had to have different "markings" on their own Waggon Sheets.

David Blevins.
Mike 1
Posts: 134
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by Mike 1 »

Slightly off topic, but only a little ... in LNWR circles a question has arisen about ropes. This has started from the discovery of some brass ferrules secured to the ends of ropes which are stamped with the initials of the company, a letter and a sequence number. We know ropes were numbered, the LNWR having in excess of 60,000 of them, but what does the letter mean? I assume the Caledonian also numbered their ropes but did they use letters too and is there a record of what the letter signified? I'm guessing it might be the length?

Mike
David Blevins
Posts: 301
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by David Blevins »

The attachments were written by a Michael Peascod in a HMRS Journal, forwarded too me by Jim Smellie.
1. All ropes to be not less than 25 yards in length, and must be made of Hemp.
4. Each Company must have a particular mark in its ropes. There must be a metallic ferrule on the middle of each rope, stamped with the number A the rope and initials of the owning Company.

I seem to remember that Michael Peascod was associated with the Cumbrian Society if that is of any help.

David Blevins.
Attachments
CR Ropes 1 - Copy.jpg
CR Ropes 1 - Copy.jpg (74.6 KiB) Viewed 4361 times
CR Ropes 2.jpg
CR Ropes 2.jpg (52.46 KiB) Viewed 4364 times
CR Ropes 1.jpg
CR Ropes 1.jpg (58.36 KiB) Viewed 4364 times
Mike 1
Posts: 134
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by Mike 1 »

Thank you David. I knew the guts of that. but not the important introduction. So every rope has a ferrule in the middle (not at the end as I assumed), stamped with the company initials and rope number. Understand that. But if every rope from every company also must have a letter A stamped into it, then even more I ask why?

Mike
David Blevins
Posts: 301
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by David Blevins »

After a sleepless night thinking about the letter "A" it must be a Typing/Printing error in the HMRS Journal - it does not make sense for every Rope to be lettered with a letter "A" the following numbers would be astronomical !
I have checked the RCH Regulations again for 1880 and 4 should read:

4. Each Company must have a particular mark in its Ropes. There must be a metallic ferrule on the middle of each rope, stamped with the number of the rope, and the initials of the owning Company.

The letter "A" was wrongly inserted instead of "of" in the article by Michael Peascod.

Attached are the relevant pages for Ropes, Chains, and Packing .

David Blevins.
Attachments
RCH Ropes 1 - Copy.jpg
RCH Ropes 1 - Copy.jpg (74.81 KiB) Viewed 4339 times
RCH Ropes 2.jpg
RCH Ropes 2.jpg (63.33 KiB) Viewed 4339 times
RCH Ropes 1.jpg
RCH Ropes 1.jpg (67.05 KiB) Viewed 4339 times
Last edited by David Blevins on Tue Nov 08, 2022 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mike 1
Posts: 134
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by Mike 1 »

Thank you David. I dropped a note to Mike Peascod but you've beaten him to it! That makes perfect sense now.

Mike
caleyJim
Posts: 267
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by caleyJim »

David Blevins wrote: Tue Nov 01, 2022 3:44 pm In the 1880 RCH Regulations for Waggon Sheets it also lists:-
LONDON TILBURY & SOUTHEND RAILWAY with a "Blue stripe across from corner to corner" and lettered L.T. & S. R.
This Company seems to have been taken over by the Midland Railway in 1912.

Is it likely the Caledonian Railway alterred it's Wagon Sheets from a Blue X to a Blue + to a request from the Railway Clearing House, as each Company had to have different "markings" on their own Waggon Sheets.
Been thinking about this: to me "Blue stripe across from corner to corner" implies a single stripe and not a cross and so not in conflict with the Caledonian's blue X.

Jim Smellie
David Blevins
Posts: 301
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by David Blevins »

I like your thoughts on this, sometimes it takes another to think "outside the box" and come to it from another angle. It just goe's to show one should never take what is printed at face value, in fact question everything - the idependent thinker could be Right.

The original problem still exists though, why did Jim MacIntosh state it was a (+ cross) with CALEDONIAN printed on the Waggon Sheet and not a Diagonal Cross (X) with the letters "C. R." RCH Regulations confirm the latter but I am unable to find, so far, the Regulations from 1895 onwards regarding Wagon Sheets, and photographs from c. 1900 confirm the Jim MacIntosh statement of the + Cross.

David Blevins.
David Blevins
Posts: 301
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by David Blevins »

The photos are of the Roger Smith Model Railway Wagon Sheets, the 4mm model has the St Andrews Cross (X) with the lettering C R and the 7mm model has the cross (+) style and CALED ONIAN advocated by our late Chairman Jim MacIntosh.
The illustrations show the two completely different styles.
Are Both Right ????
The Black Diagonal lines on the 7mm model are meant to be the Ropes.

David Blevins.
Attachments
DSCN3470.png
DSCN3470.png (200.23 KiB) Viewed 4254 times
DSCN3471.png
DSCN3471.png (266.84 KiB) Viewed 4254 times
DSCN3469.png
DSCN3469.png (180.49 KiB) Viewed 4254 times
DSCN3468.png
DSCN3468.png (210.65 KiB) Viewed 4254 times
DSCN3467.png
DSCN3467.png (192.39 KiB) Viewed 4254 times
Last edited by David Blevins on Thu Nov 10, 2022 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 887
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Goods Wagon Sheets - Tarpaulins

Post by jimwatt2mm »

Two sheeted wagons in the background of the photo at the top of page 224 of Mike's wagon book of a Dia.43 30T wagon would tend to support the 7MM version. The blue line passing between the 'D' and 'O' and bisecting the number can be clearly seen on one of them.

Jim W
Post Reply