Category Archives: WDLR (British & Dominion forces)

British & Dominion Forces’ equipment used on the War Department Light Railways.

More bogie developments….

This is really a brief update, following my posting in May this year (2013).

Nocton bogie reconstruction

As you can see in the photo, after just 2.5months working on it – our team at Apedale has made remarkable progress! Hopes are high that it will be on its wheels in the next few weeks.

Watch this space…..

One down….

It’s been a really nice few dry weekends at Apedale recently, which has been a welcome break from the rather persistent rain that we’ve been experiencing…

alr_class-d

All this dry weather has allowed us to finally complete one of the key WDLR projects – a former Ashover Class D wagon. This was a major re-construction which included a large number of parts salvaged from Wagons #25 & #63.

With an eye on the major First World War Centenary next year, this vehicle has been restored to original WDLR condition. I have to express my thanks to my friends/colleagues at the AVLR who have helped to complete this vehicle & the many contacts who have provided useful spare parts and information over the last few years!

On to the next project…..

 

Mystery projects……

Sorry for the delay posting again! Life has been quite hectic recently – partly with developments surrounding the Moseley Railway Trust’s “Tracks to the Trenches – 2014” event at Apedale.

However, all has not stopped on my own projects!

A recent development has been the collection of parts of bogies that belong with the Ambulance Van that was collected from the South Tynedale Railway back in Bogie frames!November 2011! These latest bogie parts have been supplied with great thanks to the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway Historical Vehicles Trust - who retrieved them for this project a while ago.

Now that they have arrived to Apedale, hopes are high that at least one (if not the pair) will be progressed extremely quickly. What are they for? Watch this space….

Apedale Progress!

 

Sorry that it has been a little while since the last post (again!) – I have been completely overwhelmed with work at Apedale recently. This has included some WW1 rolling stock projects & organisation of our major Annual Gala (10/11th September).

Anyway, you may have read about the progress being made with some WDLR bogies over the last few months. these have finally made it under a vehicle…

p1020037s p1020052s

In addition to this newly reconstructed Class D wagon, we also managed to turn out our Kerr Stuart Joffre Locomotive. This is as accurate a restoration as we could manage back to WW1 condition. Seen here with our 40hp Simplex – a sight almost certainly not seen since a around 1919!

p1020057s DATE FOR THE DIARY – 8/9th September 2012!

Enjoy!

More bogie progress….

Well, its been a little while again – progress is being made though!p1010926s Here we see the latest developments with the ex-Nocton/Alston bogie. It is coming along nicely. The latest addition has been the ex-Ashover wagon coupler, which had to have a significant repair (straighten the shaft & replace the end thread & nut) before it could be used.

Having had the good fortune to find some original drawings, I had ordered a batch of new coupler springs. The first of these were successfully installed on the bogie at the weekend.

The partner to this bogie for the “mystery” project has now been completed.

p1010928s This is an ex-Ashover/FR bogie & is seen in Aurora Works’ yard, following its final coat of paint.

Currently I am assisting with the Moseley Railway Trust’s apprentice projects, so I’ve not been able to spend as much time on-site working on these projects directly when on-site as previous – many thanks to Mick, Terry & Alex for helping progress things.

I was once told in my day-job, that “there are always evenings & weekends”. Not sure they really meant this type of thing – but seems very appropriate!

Bogie progress!

It has been a little while since I last posted some progress – so here you are:
Bogie_kit

Ikea bogie kit

This shows a little of my “homework” projects. Painting/preparing these items away from site really help speed up the project.

Ex-Ashover bogie re-assembly...
Ex-Ashover bogie re-assembly…

Also progressing well is the ex-Ashover bogie. As of 29/30/11, this was successfully reunited with its wheels. It was placed on the track & run around to the workshop complex – probably the first time it had run on rails in over 10 years!

WDLR Bogie project – This frame arrived at Apedale from Alston with the Ambulance van in November 2010.
What a difference a few months make – compare these last couple of photos!
Bogie Assembly2
Ex-South Tynedale bogie progess…

The latest project…

As you may have read previously, in November 2010 we successfully recovered the remains of the ex-Nocton Ambulance van to Apedale (Moseley Railway Trust). These remains comprised the main frames of the van (in need of considerable repair) & a rebuilt bogie frame. Unfortunately the mists of time have not been kind to this van and it’s chassis/bogies – there are a large number of parts currently AWOL, including most of the fittings/components for both bogies.

WDLR Bogie project - This frame arrived at Apedale from Alston with the Ambulance van in November 2010.

As the arrived bogie frame had been rebuilt several years prior to acquisition, I have taken the decision to start the re-construction of this bogie first. As I am fortunate to have collected together a number of spare parts/drawings over the years and now is the time to start using them! This project is not as impossible as it might seem, although it will deplete my spares holding significantly. These bogies are generally standard designs & could be found under many types of WW1 vehicle. What is this particular example going to be used under (pending the ambulance van being completed)? You’ll have to keep watching…

WDLR Bogie parts - Coupler & brake crank

The first stages of this reconstruction have been to start routing out parts & preparing them for assembly. However, before this all can progress too far, I need to get a set of coupler & leaf (suspension) springs on order….

Many parts! Amongst these are various WDLR bogie parts - including pivot, brake brackets, coupler link pin, etc

Notes on British & French light railway crew uniforms…..

Kindly provided by simon moore

British

The British Light Railway Operating Companies wore standard British Army Service Dress which consisted of ankle boots, khaki trousers and tunic with a grey collarless shirt beneath; the trousers being supported by braces.

The Royal Engineers insignia worn consisted of brass shoulder titles and a ‘GvR’ (George V) Royal Engineers cap badge in brass for Other Ranks and bronze for Officers, badges and devices denoting N.C.O rank were worn on both sleeves with Officers rank being denoted the standard brass shoulder devices.

The later pattern soft Service Dress caps or ‘Trench Caps’ seem to have been worn for the most part with the ubiquitous Mk.I ‘Brodie’ Helmet being worn in forward areas.
Puttees were not worn by all and seem to have been optional, perhaps being more commonly worn by guards who often had to dismount from the train.

Aside from the uniform various forms of overalls and working jackets and over trousers can be seen in photographs, as dictated by the peculiarities of running a railway. Men are also seen wearing the overall leather jerkins, an item of clothing dating back to Medieval long bow men and still worn by troops through to the 1980s, these were most often worn when working on exposed locos like the Crewe Tractors.

French

The French 60cm Light Railways were operated by men of the Artillery, more specifically men from the Régiments d’Artillerie à Pied or Foot Artillery Regiments, the men were mainly from the 10eme Régiment d’Artillerie à Pied until, in 1917, all men operating the Light Railways were transferred to a new unit, the 68eme Régiment d’Artillerie à Pied.

The men wore standard Artillerist’s uniform though this changed a great deal throughout the war as the gaudy red and blue uniform still worn in 1914 was superseded by various designs in the famous horizon blue. The uniform situation is further confused as many of the railway troops, not as reliant on camouflage as the men in the front line held on to more colourful items from their old uniforms long after they had disappeared elsewhere. The basics, irrelevant of colour were, like the British, ankle boots, trousers also termed ‘breeches’ which narrowed at the calf to allow the wearing of puttees. A collarless shirt in plain white or with grey pinstripes was worn with braces to support the trousers and over this a short-collared tunic and a greatcoat or ‘capote’ which was manufactured in various patterns.

Tunic collar insignia.

Above left; triangular greatcoat collar insignia of the 10eme Régiment d'Artillerie à Pied. Above Right; tunic collar insignia of the 68eme Régiment d'Artillerie à Pied.

The insignia was of standard Foot Artillery pattern; red collar patches showing the regimental number in dark green with piping in the same colour. A dark blue-black patch was sometimes also worn on the front of the kepi bearing the regimental number in red. Both Officer and NCO rank was denoted using standard French Army insignia.

 

French Artillery Railway - Uniform hats

Above top; the 1884 pattern kepi worn at the outset of hostilities badged to the 10eme Régiment d'Artillerie à Pied. Above bottom; the 1914-15 pattern horizon blue kepi badged to the 68eme Régiment d'Artillerie à Pied.

The Kepi worn at the outbreak of hostilities was made in dark blue-black cloth with red piping and seems to have been worn by many men until late in the conflict even though it had been officially superseded by a design in horizon blue, this later example can also be seen being worn in various photos. Adrian helmets seem to have been worn rarely by the railway men, when worn they carried the crossed cannon insignia of the Artillery on the front.

As with the British it seems the men operating the French Artillery Railways rarely wore puttees, though over trousers and overall jackets are often seen in photographs, from white through to dark shades though black and white photos don’t allow colour to be determined; these non-uniform items often being worn with the earlier pattern dark blue kepi.

More information is always welcomed – please leave a comment!

First Post!

Well, here we go! This is my first post in the world of blogging…

I have been running the “War Department Light Railways” website for many years. This site includes a good archive of photos & information, but I have not been able to update it as much as I would like recently. I am aiming to use this blog to provide (as a minimum) regular updates on the various WW1 (& related) projects that I am working on or involved with (normally based at the Moseley Railway Trust (MRT), Staffordshire, UK).

Chassis_collection

Ambulance van chassis awaiting collection at Alston.

The story of the MRT is really well covered on the official website - suffice to say, since relocating to its new permenant home adjacent to the Apedale Valley Country Park great progress has been made & I have been able to start consolidating my own collection of vehicles together with the Trust collection. A recent item to arrive has been one of the larger surviving components of a former British Ambulance Van. This had seen post-war service at the famous Smiths Crisp’s Nocton Potato Estates in Lincolnshire, UK. It later passed through both the Lincs Coast Light Railway & South Tynedale Railway before being acquired by myself.

Chassis at Apedale - Moseley Railway Trust.

Seen in this post, the “Van” is awaiting collection at Alston in November 2010 & 1 week later at Apedale, now safely stored awaiting the restoration to start. Many thanks to our friends at the South Tynedale Railway & volunteers back at Apedale for helping with this.

And here is what the finished item will look like….

The finished item...