Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

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Pyewipe Junction
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Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by Pyewipe Junction » Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:02 am

Does anyone know the route taken by the Grimsby to South Wales fish train up to the early/mid 60s between Grimsby and Annesley?

I would have thought hat the logical route would have been Grimsby to Lincoln, then Lincoln to Annesley via the LD&ECR, turning off at Edwinstowe.

The reason I ask is that I can't remember this train ever being mentioned among the Lincoln trainspotting fraternity, which it certainly would have been once it started to be hauled by Brits when they were allocated to Immingham.

Perhaps it went through in the wee hours, when we were all tucked up in our beds dreaming of Dusty Springfield. :wink

But I have seen a photo of it near Annesley in daylight...

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Re: Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by Boris » Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:56 pm

If it is the one I am remembering it came via Retford and passed through Kiveton Park about 1540 every day Usually K3 sometimes with a K2 pilot in front, leaving a distinct smell of the sea behind it.

It took the curve at Waleswood and went then via Staveley

It had four or five swingers behind the guards van and used to drop these at Nottingham

I have a pic of it approaching Kiveton Colliery signal box with 61732 piloting 61829 taken 10 Aug 1952.

Anyone with A.B.Cs of that year could they check what depots these two were at at that time. Ive only got 1959 issue and 1732 is not in and 1829 is at 36A

I will try to scan it and put it on the site but its not the best of pictures
Last edited by Boris on Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by 52D » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:28 pm

1732 from 1948 till its death 04/57 CLK Colwick 38A
1829 in 1948 WFD Woodford Halse, in 1952 Gorton 39A, in 1955 Lincoln 40A, in 1959 Doncaster 36A died 03/62
Hi interested in the area served by 52D. also researching colliery wagonways from same area.

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Re: Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by Pyewipe Junction » Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:56 pm

Thanks for that, Boris.

I thought that must be the case, but it's strange the train took a longer route than through Lincoln. Perhaps there was a reason.

At least the mystery is solved!

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Re: Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by Boris » Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:11 pm

Just found the Pic. I mentioned of the K2 and K3 on the fish

Look on web site http://www.j31.co.uk it's on there
R/H side "Railways and canals" then click on "Trains apge"
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Re: Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by High Street Crossing » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:25 pm

I think I know the train you are referring to. I remember it as an avid train spotter passing through Lincoln at about 5.45pm everyday (in early sixties). For about 3 years it was headed by one of the Britannia class locomotives at Immingham. So it was one of the train spotting highlights of the day in Lincoln.

I have often wondered where this train was headed and then recently saw a picture in "Railways in North Lincolnshire" (Bates/Bairstow) which shows a photo of 70039 leaving Grimsby with "the 4.30 fish train to Whitland, South Wales". This would be spot on with the timing in remember for the train passing through Lincoln.

I have also seen pictures of Britannia haulded fish trains in the vicinity of Mansfield/Langwith junction, which is consistent with the route being over the old LDEC route between Lincoln and Chesterfield/Mansfield. Again on the web, I have seen references to fish trains at Nottingham and Leicester and there is also reference to fish trains to Whitland at Swindon. So my best guess for the route of this train is Grimsby-Lincoln-Nottingham-Woodford Halse-Banbury-Swindon-Whitland.

Two questions remain in my mind. Why would there by a fish train to Whitland? ie what is so special about Whitland? Secondly - what route did the return trains follow? I don't have any memory of return trains travelling through Lincoln. Perhaps it happened early morning or perhaps for some reason they did the return journey by a different route.

Hope this helps. Anybody help with the other two questions?

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Re: Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by Flamingo » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:13 pm

Whitland does seem a rather strange destination for a fish train, though it was the junction where branches serving places on the Welsh coast such as Pembroke Dock and Cardigan diverged from the main line which went to Fishguard. I shall always regret not having taken the opportunity to travel on the Cardigan branch in 1959, we chose the Pembroke line instead.

Is it possible that Whitland was not the ultimate destination but rather a distribution point for the inward fish traffic from Grimsby? It could also have been a convenient collecting point for outward fish traffic from Wales, which would have been different kinds of fish from those caught in the North Sea and landed at Grimsby? There was certainly a Whitland to London train of milk in tanks.

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Re: Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by Bryan » Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:50 pm

It didn't offload on route did it?
Nottingham, Banbury and Swindon are all potential markets or distribution points.

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Re: Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by Pyewipe Junction » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:53 pm

Yes, it does seem as though this train was routed so as to enable fish to be distributed en route, although why it went as far as Whitland is a bit of a mystery.

HSC - you obviously lived 'downhill'. I lived on Burton Road and so had to get home by the time the fish train was due. Perhaps you can solve another mystery - can you remember the Boat Train being hauled by a 'Brit' before the end of 1960? I can't, although apparently there was a diagram for a Stratford Brit to haul it from 1958 onwards.

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Re: Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by High Street Crossing » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:35 pm

Reply to Pyewipe - I too lived "uphill", just off Burton Road. Not sure how I managed to be at Lincoln Central station so late in the afternoon. I think from previous exchanges with "Lincolnian" you went to the Grammar school; me too. Did you also go to Westgate, and perhaps Mount Street also?

Can't help you in identifying the Brit hauling the Boat Train. By the time I was interested in trains, it was hauled by diesels. Though I did once travel on the Boat Train from Manchester Piccadilly back to Lincoln after a holiday in Blackpool. I think one of the articles on the "North Country Continental" in one of the steam mags (probably "Steam Days") did say the Boat Train (as we knew it) was hauled by Brits between 1958-60, before changing to B1s and then to EE3 diesels (which is all I remember).

Incidentally, I recently walked along the route of the old LDEC from Skellingthorpe to Pyewipe and then from Pyewipe to Brayford. So much had changed and so much is still the same.

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Re: Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by stembok » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:46 am

According to Trains Illustrated, August,1961, EE Type 3s officially took over the Harwich -Liverpool service from Britannia Pacifics between Harwich and Sheffield from the beginning of the summer service in June,1961, though given diesel reliability at the time steam may have made some appearances after this.

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Re: Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by Bryan » Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:59 pm

Yes, it does seem as though this train was routed so as to enable fish to be distributed en route, although why it went as far as Whitland is a bit of a mystery.
It didn't pick up a return load from Irish sea ports did it? Such as Fishguard.

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Re: Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by Nibelungen » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:23 pm

There are a few photos of the Grimsby(New Clee) Whitland Fish Train in " Sheffield Victoria to Chesterfield Central : The "Derbyshire"Lines of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Part 1 ( Foxline Publishing) One shows a couple of K3's (61975 piloting 61825) coming of the Waleswood Curve at Killamarsh Junction. There's also a photograph of K3 61839 in roughly the same place and then another one actually on the curve and then a "Diesel" (Class 37) post 1962 ( the photograph is dated June 1964) just crossing over Bedgrave viaduct 9now in the middle of the Rother Valley Country Park Lake
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Re: Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by stembok » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:01 pm

I remember that C1963-65 there was a large reorganisation of fish traffic and many trains from the various UK fishing ports ceased to run. Spring, 1964 saw a proposal to cut fish trains from Grimsby from eight a day down to two. Much traffic had already been lost to roads and what remained on rail was often unprofitable or only marginally so. B R hoped that by reorganising fish traffic it could be made more profitable, but many former customers, feeling that the new arrangements were less suitable, changed to using road transport. There was also an alternative view at the time that the railways were actually not too displeased at being rid of the traffic or certainly some of it. There used to be tales of long trains of fish vans outwardly most impressive, but apparently less so when each van was actually sometimes carrying a miniscule number of fish boxes.

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Re: Grimsby to South Wales Fish Train

Post by Spamcan81 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:09 pm

stembok wrote:I remember that C1963-65 there was a large reorganisation of fish traffic and many trains from the various UK fishing ports ceased to run. Spring, 1964 saw a proposal to cut fish trains from Grimsby from eight a day down to two. Much traffic had already been lost to roads and what remained on rail was often unprofitable or only marginally so. B R hoped that by reorganising fish traffic it could be made more profitable, but many former customers, feeling that the new arrangements were less suitable, changed to using road transport. There was also an alternative view at the time that the railways were actually not too displeased at being rid of the traffic or certainly some of it. There used to be tales of long trains of fish vans outwardly most impressive, but apparently less so when each van was actually sometimes carrying a miniscule number of fish boxes.
My Dad used to collect fish from Arlesey station until that was closed in 1959. After that he collected it from Letchworth but by the early 60s it arrived by road. Much to my disapproval as during the school holidays I'd go with him to the station and watch the trains while he completed formalities. No such joy once road took over.

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