Dormitories on the line?

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VerdevaleRailway
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Dormitories on the line?

Postby VerdevaleRailway » Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:32 pm

I've been viewing a Video, where it mentions in passing about dormitories in the water tower. Was this common?

Thanks V.R.
'whose origin was a terminus'

b308
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Re: Dormitories on the line?

Postby b308 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 1:47 pm

A bit more info required! Where and when for starters!

I'd guess it was at a depot where staff may have lodged overnight... Normally at the big stations (such as London or Glasgow) there would have been large buildings with dormitories for locomotive crew. There's plenty of reference to them in the many books written by ex footplate crews from LMS/LNER days. Not very nice places by all accounts!

There may have been long branch lines where an overnight stay was needed and they converted the bottom of the water tank structure to house some beds but I haven't heard of any, back to you!

Bigmet
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Re: Dormitories on the line?

Postby Bigmet » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:58 pm

Crew dormitories were a relative rarity in the UK, and as already mentioned above only in major urban locations; though some were provided 'in the country' during WWII for two very practical reasons. Firstly the ration system meant that arrangements needed to be in place to make food available where the men were staying, and secondly the changed traffic patterns caused by the war meant that the lodge location might not be near a town of any size so no hope of accomodation.

Most crew on 'lodge' turns in peacetime would make private arrangements, staying with another family: typically families of railway workers, for the very practical reason that shift working with irregular arrival and departure times was accepted among those who knew the railway.

VerdevaleRailway
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Re: Dormitories on the line?

Postby VerdevaleRailway » Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:55 pm

b308 wrote:A bit more info required! Where and when for starters!

I'd guess it was at a depot where staff may have lodged overnight... Normally at the big stations (such as London or Glasgow) there would have been large buildings with dormitories for locomotive crew. There's plenty of reference to them in the many books written by ex footplate crews from LMS/LNER days. Not very nice places by all accounts!

There may have been long branch lines where an overnight stay was needed and they converted the bottom of the water tank structure to house some beds but I haven't heard of any, back to you!


More info, whoops sorry, the reference is to Exeter St Davids

"the old water tower is a monument to the steamers, when long distance crews bedded down in it. Dormitories roofed over with a few thousand gallons of water. New men were warned, if you have to get up in the night, don't pull anything."

Image

It had never occurred to me before to question as to why there were windows in water towers. Knowing the sheer practicality that railway engineers exercised, it should have been obvious they were for something?

Thanks you b308 and Bigmet for the information. Did water towers form any other ancillary functions?
'whose origin was a terminus'

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stuartp
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Re: Dormitories on the line?

Postby stuartp » Fri Dec 23, 2016 9:26 pm

I'm not aware of any others used as dormitories. Settle's was used as a stables for a while for carters' horses, and Garsdale's was famously used as a church/village hall/community centre. I suspect most of them were used as storage space or a repository for all the stuff which accumulates in any workplace and nobody can be bothered to actually get rid of. Certainly that's what Appleby's was used for when I was responsible for it.
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Bufferstop
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Re: Dormitories on the line?

Postby Bufferstop » Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:16 pm

Were any provided in decomisioned coaches? It would seem an obvious quick fix if they became necessary due to wartime route changes.
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b308
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Re: Dormitories on the line?

Postby b308 » Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:14 am

Probably used anything that was going during the war!

Overnight lodges lasted through to Privatisiation, we on XC had several lodge turns which rolled over from BR days, I suspect that the Sleeper train staff still have them. Ours from Brum and Manchester was a Brighton Lodge, there was also Plymouth and Aberdeen lodges earlier. We used hotels, though, I suspect that they got a good deal considering it was three rooms virtually every night of the week 52 weeks per year!

senorsenales
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Re: Dormitories on the line?

Postby senorsenales » Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:19 pm

Bufferstop wrote:Were any provided in decomisioned coaches? It would seem an obvious quick fix if they became necessary due to wartime route changes.


Newbury Racecourse was certainly a wartime staffing point using old coaches. The racecourse was transformed into a huge yard because of the proximity of Greenham Common US base, and certainly a friend on mine lived in these coaches when he came over from Southern Ireland to join the railways as a goods guard.

'Proper' hostel accommodation was provided all over, the one at Oxford survived until about 1966 when it became a hostel for the homeless, and there was certainly one at Westbury in 1992 when I went there on a two day course and we stayed overnight there.

Lodging turns were not unusual considering the sort of distances that were being covered at 25 - 30mph on a freight train, an out and back turn in eight hours could be quite difficult to roster, you would not have got very far in reality. Certainly it is well documented that Saltley crews had a turn to Carlisle, stayed in the hostel, and returned the next night. Paddington passenger crews went as far as Plymouth and back the next day.

The hostels had canteens that were open 24/7 providing stomach lining food to train crew at all hours of the day and night.

I think we tend to forget that freight was very slow, and not at passenger train speeds of today.

dougalmac2
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Re: Dormitories on the line?

Postby dougalmac2 » Wed Dec 28, 2016 5:21 pm

Hi All,

I was under the impression that most loco sheds had dormitories in steam days. I came across this when researching 5C Stafford while planning my Bagnalls Bridge layout.

On page 200 of 'LMS Engine Sheds Vol.1 The L&NWR' by Chris Hawkins & George Reeve, Wild Swan Publications Ltd., the plan shows a building actually labelled as 'Lodging House'. This can be clearly seen on' Britain From Above' photo -

http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/EPW014112.

The shed is on the right hand side of the pic and the lodging house is the L shaped building beside the road. This photo is dated 1925 but the building is visible on much later photos.

Mac

b308
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Re: Dormitories on the line?

Postby b308 » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:40 pm

Only sheds where they stabled locos from other sheds where the crew couldn't get back. Not all by any means.


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