What were locomotive 'trip workings?'

Iskra

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Often, when you see a picture of an old locomotive/train in BR days it is referred to as being on a 'trip working,' however, rarely is it explained what these are. Can anyone please explain what these workings were and how they are different from any other form of locomotive working? What other forms of 'workings' existed, other than 'trip' ones?

Apologies if this is a daft question...
 
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swt_passenger

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I think they were basically “on demand” services organised in, and limited to a relatively small local area, and didn’t appear in the main working timetable.
 

ChiefPlanner

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Resources made available for local freight and ballast workings - most were timetabled - but there was considerable flexibility within the start and finish times. Sometimes busy - sometimes dead.

EG - T33 a 25 from Watford Yard to work between Bletchley and Willesden and in between.
 

Iskra

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Excellent, thanks for the information. So is this why they often seemed to feature unusual traction, it was often just whatever way knocking around spare for the day?
 

steamybrian

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In my days on BR trip workings were short distance train movements between for an example up yard to down yard, loco depot to station yard or private siding to marshalling yard, etc.
 

ChiefPlanner

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Excellent, thanks for the information. So is this why they often seemed to feature unusual traction, it was often just whatever way knocking around spare for the day?

Often loco's fit to run , but "not the best" - so a slightly unwell 25/ 31/47 best kept local on light work ,and one not to be sent out on a longer run where it might cause problems.

Like sticking an AC only 313 on the St Albans Abbey branch for a week rather than risking it on the much harder work on the North London line with pan up / down at various places.......
 

eastdyke

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Often, when you see a picture of an old locomotive/train in BR days it is referred to as being on a 'trip working,' however, rarely is it explained what these are. Can anyone please explain what these workings were and how they are different from any other form of locomotive working? What other forms of 'workings' existed, other than 'trip' ones?

Apologies if this is a daft question...
The way I have always understood and used the the term 'trip working' always related to movement of goods in a local area.
As a couple of instances:
A gronk used to do trips as required between Manningtree Yard and the Private Industrial siding(s?) at the BXL Factory on the GE main line (in the 1970's). In the 1950's a J50 J17 (or similar) one or two daily 'trip workings' between Ipswich Yard and the Private Industrial sidings at the Ransomes and the Cranes sites on the eastern outskirts of Ipswich, part way along the Felixstowe Branch.
The other type of goods working in the mid 1950's would be the daily 'pick up goods' often in the charge of a J39 which would run each weekday from Ipswich to Felixstowe picking up (and setting down) wagons at the (general) goods yards along the route. By that time of course there was not too much! The outbound was around 6am and the return would have been mid-morning.
[These are my memories from the time]

[edited to correct loco class J50 J17 (or similar)]
 
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Iskra

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Often loco's fit to run , but "not the best" - so a slightly unwell 25/ 31/47 best kept local on light work ,and one not to be sent out on a longer run where it might cause problems.

Like sticking an AC only 313 on the St Albans Abbey branch for a week rather than risking it on the much harder work on the North London line with pan up / down at various places.......

Yes, that does seem a rather sensible strategy. Thanks for your help.
The way I have always understood and used the the term 'trip working' always related to movement of goods in a local area.
As a couple of instances:
A gronk used to do trips as required between Manningtree Yard and the Private Industrial siding(s?) at the BXL Factory on the GE main line (in the 1970's). In the 1950's a J50 one or two daily 'trip workings' between Ipswich Yard and the Private Industrial sidings at the Ransomes and the Cranes sites on the eastern outskirts of Ipswich, part way along the Felixstowe Branch.
The other type of goods working in the mid 1950's would be the daily 'pick up goods' often in the charge of a J39 which would run each weekday from Ipswich to Felixstowe picking up (and setting down) wagons at the (general) goods yards along the route. By that time of course there was not too much! The outbound was around 6am and the return would have been mid-morning.
[These are my memories from the time]
Thank you very much for the information!
 

6Gman

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I think also that the terminology was used differently in different areas.

So in some places the trip workings would show a detailed programme of work, with timed runs to various locations (which could, of course, be altered on the day subject to traffic needs). In other places there would simply be a starting location, and booking on and off times.

I'm pretty sure I've seen a Trip working in Hull that simply read "Book on 0600. Anywhere". !

In BR days 70s/80s I can certainly remember bound booklets "Shunting Engine & Local Trip Notice" for areas.
 

306024

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Ripple Lane - Thameshaven was another example, a fair distance via Purfleet and East Tilbury. The Thameshaven oil programme was very flexible, with trains loaded according to refinery and customer requirements. They would be tripped up to Ripple Lane to await their booked WTT or STP path forward. Class 37s were the usual traction for these trips.
 

Iskra

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Excellent recollections.

Do we know if crews liked doing trip workings? Or were they seen as more monotonous?

I know coal trip workings in the West Riding came with some sort of bonus per loaded wagon moved, which could have attracted some to the work, as well as causing some hurried driving.
 

eastdyke

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Do we know if crews liked doing trip workings? Or were they seen as more monotonous?
It seemed quite laid back in 1979 when this film was shot of Manningtree Station.
The gronk can be seen making the short journey up the GE main line around 7 minutes in. The shunters are heard talking about their work.

The film has some charming moments and was certainly not made for propaganda!


[Film from East Anglian Film Archive]
 

Bertie the bus

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Trip workings still occur. It isn't uncommon for something to arrive at Crewe from one of the yards or depots to the south, reverse/run round and return south with no trace of the working in RTT or other websites.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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I always thought trip workings were when a long train on a trunk haul had to be moved in sections to reach its destination (limited by length of sidings, yards etc}.
So the portions were "tripped" locally to their destination (sometimes more than one destination).
Something like that.
Maybe it's American parlance?
 

thesignalman

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I think that LMR notice must be late 1960s? I have certainly seen early 1970s trip notices like that, but in the mid-1960s trips still appeared in the Working Timetable.

They were generally referred to a "Targets" by staff on the LMR, e.g. "Target 33", as in older days they apparently carried a disc on the buffer beam with the number on it.

Other regions did things differently. Noting the mention above, the North Eastern Region only scheduled their key freight services, leaving the remainder (e.g. coal and mineral traffic) to be worked as required. I suspect most were organised week-to-week by local typewritten notices rather than being totally un-planned. I have heard them referred to as "No6 Goods" etc which was probably the crew diagram number.

John
 

ChiefPlanner

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A particularly productive one was SY81 (I think) - 47 off Saltley which spend it's day tripping loaded cartics to and from Longbridge to Washwood Heath , all timetabled moves (carefully done to avoid school out periods around Kings Norton) - with a quick run to Bromsgrove to bank the Swindon - Longbridge loaded vans up the Lickey.

In the days of Pebble Mill at One* , they often had live TV from the BBC garden and the crews made a point of blasting the horn as they went past the filming - leading them once to say (bitterly) on air - there are our friends from British Rail again

(*A sort of precursor of the "One" programme , but at lunchtime obviously)
 

Dave W

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My experience is from SimSig, so handle with appropriate caution, but I've whiled away many hours on the excellent 1979-80 Carlisle timetable which was compiled using contemporaneous (and annotated) trip working notices, amongst other documents. The variety is quite extreme - plenty of Gronks nipping between the many yards in Carlisle, but also 25s on longer distance workings down the S&C, up towards Dumfries, etc. There were also plenty of trips between the various quarries around Shap, which necessitated some interesting working, including running around on the main line, which sounds ridiculous these days!

Someone on their forum - I can't find the post now - suggested that quite a few of the shorter trips might be worked by drivers on restricted duties.
 

thesignalman

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It's dated April 1966. Still have a load of them from that period stashed away in my library.
Thanks, that helps nail the change. They were in the Winter 63-64 WTTs.

John

Someone on their forum - I can't find the post now - suggested that quite a few of the shorter trips might be worked by drivers on restricted duties.
Entirely possible - most green card restrictions were against night work and most trip workings were by day . . .

John
 

75A

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Excellent recollections.

Do we know if crews liked doing trip workings? Or were they seen as more monotonous?

I know coal trip workings in the West Riding came with some sort of bonus per loaded wagon moved, which could have attracted some to the work, as well as causing some hurried driving.
Brighton crews in the 80's had the Lavant -Drayton aggregates trains which were basically a couple of miles either side of Chichester, which we had a 73 for, never heard anyone complaining about it.
 
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Do we know if crews liked doing trip workings? Or were they seen as more monotonous?
I remember hearing that in the last years of BR steam, some of the long-standing "Target" workings were still resourced even though much of the pick-up work and requirements to shunt industrial & colliery sidings around the circuit were fast disappearing.

With luck, this resulted in easy days spending a couple of hours pottering about with whatever traffic was on offer, then back to the shed for an early finish.

Allegedly, in the Manchester area, once the day's tasks were finished, it was not unknown for the trip loco & brake van to be parked on the back road at Tyldesley station "waiting for a road", while the driver & fireman repaired to the vault of the adjacent Railway Hotel for a couple of "scoops" (these scoops being chucked down thirsty throats, rather than through the firebox door).

No point getting back on shed too early and risking getting some more work to do! (I'm not sure how safe it was to leave a loco in steam unattended - maybe there was a compliant guard sitting in the brake van "minding the shop"?).

This tale was recounted by a schoolfriend's father, who was a driver at Springs Branch at the time (and who strongly advised me against a job on the railways on account of the unsocial hours, uncomfortable working conditions and low pay - it was the 1960s.
 

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Some Trip workings were allocated to Control and worked to their instructions; For example, N05 was a Grangemouth Control Trip, which IIRC spent most of its time rescuing failed DMUs and taking them to the relevant Depot ! (Grangemouth men had excellent route knowledge). Whereas T02 was the Carstairs ballast Trip and worked to PW instructions. The Trips would adjust headcode according to the working, eg N05 would be 0N05 when running light, 5N05 when hauling a DMU.
 

Iskra

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It seemed quite laid back in 1979 when this film was shot of Manningtree Station.
The gronk can be seen making the short journey up the GE main line around 7 minutes in. The shunters are heard talking about their work.

The film has some charming moments and was certainly not made for propaganda!


[Film from East Anglian Film Archive]
Couple of scans from an old 1960s LM Trip Working Notice

View attachment 100327
Thanks for sharing these, both provide very interesting insights :)
 

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