The Hoppers: Limestone Traffic (Amberley)

1 In Stock

Trains have conveyed crushed limestone from Derbyshire to the soda ash and chemical works in mid-Cheshire since the 1860s. By the 1930s traffic was booming and to meet this demand a new higher-capacity design of wagon – the “Hopper” – was designed and built by Charles Roberts for Imperial Chemical Industries. These revolutionary new wagons, supported on bogies rather than using the simple 4-wheel arrangement of their predecessors, vastly increased the carrying capacity of each train load.

The fleet of 152 bogie hopper wagons became instantly recognisable to railway enthusiasts. For just over sixty-one years between 1936 and the end of 1997 the wagons worked almost every day of the year, running several times per day. Many different locomotive classes and types have hauled these services since 1936 including steam Classes 4F, 8F and 9F, and diesel Classes 25, 37, 60 and 66.

The Hoppers: Limestone Traffic contains 180 photographs taken over the lifetime of these wagons. It features many different locomotive types captured in a variety of locations. Approximately half the photos are archive black & white images, with more recent material in colour. Most are presented in two-per-page format and all are accompanied by detailed captions.

After 61 years of almost daily service, the duties were taken over by modern wagons from 1998 and the traffic still runs around six times per week, feeding the sole remaining soda ash plant. The final pages of the book look at recent workings featuring the new wagon fleet.

As well as many different locomotive types, The Hoppers: Limestone Traffic also features the many different companies that have been responsible for operating the service, including the LMS in steam days, the transition to diesel operation under BR and latterly Transrail, EWS, Freightliner Heavy Haul and now DB Cargo in the era of privatisation. 96 pages.

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