Benwick branch, GE section

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Hatfield Shed
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Benwick branch, GE section

Post by Hatfield Shed »

Anyone know off-hand what the outgoing produce was, and where it went? I realise that hunting down Peter Paye's book may well be the best answer, but this is a scoping exercise, did any of it go in trainload quantities up the ECML to KX goods or thereabouts?
burnie
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Re: Benwick branch, GE section

Post by burnie »

Are we talking Peterborough area? I used to go fishing in the area and there was a lot of sugar beet around in the early 1960's, took this from wiki......
From 1898 to 1966 Benwick was the terminus of the Benwick goods railway which ran from Three Horseshoes junction at Turves, on the Ely to Peterborough line. The station was on the road to Whittlesey. There was never a passenger service on the line, except a special enthusiasts train on 9 September 1956.
Hatfield Shed
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Re: Benwick branch, GE section

Post by Hatfield Shed »

Yes, that's the location. The online information I have turned up is limited largely to geography. Even now the route of the line looks to be largely agricultural with minimal settlement.

It's really traffic other than sugar beet that I am interested in, as that would be processed locally. Were there regular consigments of taters, brass, carrots and the like, going up to town?
burnie
LNER J39 0-6-0
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Re: Benwick branch, GE section

Post by burnie »

This short clip might give you an idea, back in the years just after the second world war, farms were still fairly traditional, so mixed arable and livestock. Likely products going by rail would likely have consisted of live animals going to major towns to market along with cereal and beet crops, potatoes and brassicas would also have been railed out to larger towns like Peterborough no doubt. In my research for the area where my current layout is based upon, I found that mixed goods trains were very frequent in small village station yards, though decreasing when the railways were nationalised.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydsD37Rd3ec
john coffin
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Re: Benwick branch, GE section

Post by john coffin »

One of the problems all of us face is the lack of decent photos of freight trains, and WTT for the area which would give you a better
idea of the type of trade.
However, it is worth remembering that pre war, and indeed probably until the 1960's farming was much more seasonal than today,
thus at particular times of the year, specific crops were sent. Think about the trade in Potato's that required a special place at
Kings Cross goods.

Also worth remembering that certain places like for instance Enfield, were well known for being "MARKET GARDEN" towns, so it is
perhaps worth looking into local history for the kind of crops the local area was known for.

Whilst we are used to the idea that mixed goods were often used on branches, it seems from the few photos I have of other areas
that mainly single style wagons supported by covered vans. The other thing to think on is the use of Transit Brake vans to move
small things around.

HTH
Paul
03piggs
GER J70 0-6-0T Tram
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Re: Benwick branch, GE section

Post by 03piggs »

Just a adjunct to John's post above;

I've looked at my copies of the wtt for the 1950s (various dates) there was only one working to Benwick per day, (Class K) to/from Whittlesea. This was also booked for a J17.

Stu
becasse
NER Y7 0-4-0T
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Re: Benwick branch, GE section

Post by becasse »

Inward traffic - coal, coke, seed potatoes, fertilisers and some roadstone

Outward traffic - sugar beet (to BSC factories at Peterborough, Ely and Wissington), barley, wheat, oats, hay, straw and root crops (potatoes, carrots, onions, swedes, mangold wurzels, parsnips, turnips) (to markets at March, Cambridge, Peterborough and Wisbech, plus the London markets at Spitalfields and Covent Garden)

Two way traffic - some livestock and horses plus occasional agricultural machinery
Only Benwick had a crane (of 30 cwt capacity) and livestock handling facilities

Small amounts of milk churn traffic - carried in the brake van
Hatfield Shed
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Re: Benwick branch, GE section

Post by Hatfield Shed »

Thanks for all the contributions. I was wondering if there might be direct traffic in vegetables up to London. On the basis of a train a day, I feel this is unlikely.
03piggs
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Re: Benwick branch, GE section

Post by 03piggs »

Give me a day or two Hatfield shed and I'll have a look through my wtt copy of winter 1952 as this has freight working notes. I'll see what is mentioned for services from Whittlesea.

Stu
Hatfield Shed
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Re: Benwick branch, GE section

Post by Hatfield Shed »

Stu, Most kind, and no tearing hurry at all!
WTTReprinter
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Re: Benwick branch, GE section

Post by WTTReprinter »

I have a 1947 Cambridge District Fruit & Veg traffic notice that I scanned and offered to the GERS society a while ago (still available for sale on GERS website) I just had a quick look though and, surprisingly, there's nothing for the Benwick branch, although there is for the Wisbech-Upwell line.
Given the agricultural nature of the Benwick line that is surprising.
Thanks.
WTT Reprinter
http://wttreprints.uk/
becasse
NER Y7 0-4-0T
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Re: Benwick branch, GE section

Post by becasse »

WTTReprinter wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 4:34 pm I have a 1947 Cambridge District Fruit & Veg traffic notice that I scanned and offered to the GERS society a while ago (still available for sale on GERS website) I just had a quick look though and, surprisingly, there's nothing for the Benwick branch, although there is for the Wisbech-Upwell line.
Given the agricultural nature of the Benwick line that is surprising.
Photographs of trains on the Benwick branch rarely show more than an odd van (which was probably for fertiliser traffic) so clearly there was no, or very little, soft fruit traffic even in the relevant season. In contrast, in latter years at least, soft fruit traffic each autumn was almost the raison d'être of the retention of the W&UT. Different parts of the Fens were suited to different crops.
03piggs
GER J70 0-6-0T Tram
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Re: Benwick branch, GE section

Post by 03piggs »

Hi all.

Just checked the wtt, there are 2 services that have operational notes that could help. (These are taken from WTT section J 15/9/1952 until further notice)

7.45pm Whittlesea to March Up Yard (Class H)

Conveys traffic for March, Bishops Stortford, Norwich Victoria and Lowestoft, also London and via London

9.40pm Whittlesea to Whitemoor (Class K)

To convey all Up road traffic via Whitemoor including London vegetable traffic and traffic for March, Norwich Victoria and Lowestoft

Hope these do help. I have done some of my sheets for Whittlesea, which I can add to the other area of the forum when I get chance.

Stu
Hatfield Shed
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Re: Benwick branch, GE section

Post by Hatfield Shed »

Thanks Stu. I feel that supplies a probable answer to my scoping question, relating to the possibility of direct movement on the ECMl up to London. It looks like movement up to or via London will typically have been on the GE section. Now if that's a misinterpretation on my part, someone will correct that for sure... This is such a good forum.
becasse
NER Y7 0-4-0T
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Re: Benwick branch, GE section

Post by becasse »

It is worth remembering that railway companies always tried to maximise mileage earnings by keeping traffic on their network so far as was practicable. That would have set traffic patterns in GER days and, unless there was very good reason to do otherwise, the fact that the GNR and GER were under common ownership in LNER days would have done little to change things.
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