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Engineering wagon names and telegraph codes

Discussion in 'Heritage rolling Stock' started by Yorkshireman, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman Part of the furniture

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    On WSR trip today a woman asked the TTI why the Dogfish and Catfish ballast wagons were so named. Consultation with another TTI, the guard and myself did not produce an answer nor did Google search. I asked friend tonight and he said it was a railway telegraph code. Another Google produced both GWR and BR telegraph codes lists that had a wide variety of codes but no sign of cats or dogs. Can anyone enlighten me please. TIA
     
  2. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    There's a list of sorts on https://web.archive.org/web/2012101...om/~second_engineering/fishkinds_and_tops.htm. AIUI wagons used for track maintenance are/were named after acquatic creatures, including catfish and dogfish. Earlier the GWR at least used telegraphic names (see Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Western_Railway_wagons), whether the former grew from this I'm not sure. Others better read than me will be able to give a fuller explanation, but I hope it's of interest.

    Patrick
     
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  3. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman Part of the furniture

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    Thanks for that Patrick. My search did not find the first but I had seen the second.
     
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  4. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member Friend

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    Unless I missed it there was no mention of RUDD - a long wheelbase open for general PW use, air braked.
     
  5. Wenlock

    Wenlock Active Member Friend

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    What may not be obvious from the first list, is that not only did many variants or conversions bear the same name, but also that one of the features separating apparently similar descriptions was carrying capacity. The list was/is constantly changing as new variants are created (or unsuitable names such as Pollock are replaced).

    The original reason for the telegraphic codes is more interesting for the visitors. Before cheap/free telephone systems were widely available, many/most businesses communicated mainly by telegrams. The railways also had internal telegram networks. To both reduce costs (charged by the word) and increase speed of communication, special code words were created to replace lengthy descriptions.
    Most commercial traffic is of course now arranged by phone or email, but codes have survived in the Civil Engineers fleet.

    By the 1950s codes were available for most variants of both traffic and service vehicles, which were separated by the use of "fish types" for service vehicles, codes also existed for various operating purposes such as CAPE for cancelled or PINE for will terminate at.
     
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  6. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    I had been meaning to ask why people here sometimes refer to trips being "caped". Now I know.
     
  7. Wenlock

    Wenlock Active Member Friend

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    image.jpeg image.jpeg
    Although in strict railway telegraph use CAPE is also the past tense. These codes survived in general railway use through the Telex era and probably are still used in TOPS ZZ messages. (My experience ended in 1997)

    The book shown above runs to 88 pages!
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
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  8. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    The SVR has ex-LT HERRING wagons, not listed above.

    Details accessible from the SVR Wiki http://www.svrwiki.com/Goods_Wagons

    (Mods - perhaps split the thread?)

    Patrick
     
  9. Wenlock

    Wenlock Active Member Friend

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    RUDD is a relatively modern wagon type. The codeword RUDD is listed in the 1958 book as meaning "Following missing from train named, said last seen at your station. Send to .........."
     
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  10. Wenlock

    Wenlock Active Member Friend

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    Unlike the RUDD wagons, HERRING is in the 1958 book as a 20 ton, centre door only, ballast hopper, although not specified as bring LTE.
     
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  11. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Active Member

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    There were two completely different BR designs of HERRING, both 20T centre door ballast hoppers but they look nothing like each other. I am guessing (too lazy to check) that the ex-LT ones are identical to one of these types.
     
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  12. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Active Member

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  13. Wenlock

    Wenlock Active Member Friend

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    Indeed. After all the fish names were only intended to indicate usage, simplifying wagon ordering and supply etc.

    To a p/w engineer I would have thought that a 20ton centre discharge ballast hopper was sufficiently specific, regardless of design or appearance. A wagon with greater or lesser capacity, or with side discharge ability would be an important difference.

    I believe the GW system included suffix letters for different versions, ie: MINK describing a van, with suffix letters for what type of van?
     
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  14. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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  15. DisusedBranch

    DisusedBranch Active Member

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    Only in idiotic Britain could a name be deemed 'unsuitable' because it sounds a little like (tee hee) a slang word (fnarr fnarr) for a (whoop whoop) part of the (ooh Matron, keep it covered) male anatomy (snigger) . I despair of this country sometimes, in some things we really are so immature.

    I nearly tittered there, but that might have caused all kinds of offence! Come to think of it, maybe The Powers That Be should stop us using words like silly, mock, twit and banker?
     
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  16. Ploughman

    Ploughman Part of the furniture

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    I think that the final names allocated were to a converted Coal Hopper - Coalfish
    and a converted Tank wagon - Fish Tank.
    This would have been early / mid 2000's when somebody did not have a great deal of imagination.
     
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  17. Wenlock

    Wenlock Active Member Friend

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    I saw quite a few wagons which had had the P converted to a B with a hefty application of shunter's chalk.
     
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  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    The GWR wasn't unique in using telegraphic codes for wagons. The LSWR also had a list, which in the main gave a closer match between function and name (for example, Meva for a meat van; Ice for a refrigerated van etc.) Interestingly, they also used Toad as the telegraphic code for a brake van.

    Whoever devised the scheme clearly had a sly sense of humour, or at least a smidgeon of education. A four-wheeled well truck was "Well", and a six-wheeled well truck was therefore "Weller". I wonder, had they built an eight-wheel bogie version, whether it would have become "Wellest"?

    Tom
     
  19. Romsey

    Romsey Active Member

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    Hello,

    The 2 axle opens converted from tank cars are also known as "Coalfish" and are TOPS wagon type MTA. The ex MGR conversions are coded MHA. A quick look at the brake gear will show the difference - there is a big gap where the hopper doors would have been. However, for the average relaying gang with the rain dripping down their necks - it's a coalfish and takes 30 tonnes of ballast spoil. They really don't care about its history or spare parts until one fails on site....

    Falcons and Red Snappers were allocated as names about 12 years ago and the MXA ex BDA (Bogie Bolster) 53 tonne spoil wagons were named "Lobster" about 2 years ago. ( I floated the idea of "Merlin" as that was a small falcon, but it wasn't adopted.)

    Cheers, Neil 13198 MTA 395196 Eastleigh Yd 6 May 2012.jpg
     
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  20. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Well-Known Member

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    In 'Notes From Overground' the Author muses on the names given to wagons.

    When exactly did the National Network stop using telegrams/telegraphs - and do any preserved lines use them?
     

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