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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:47 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:29 pm
Posts: 427
I found Tony's posting in an email and thought I'd transfer it to the Forum; it isn't really a station so I'll suggest to Simon that we have a new heading LNWR Yards.

I'm not sure how to get the plan and photos on here as they're embedded in the email so I'll forward it to Simon and get him to work magic!

Anyway; this is really interesting so anybody got any input please?! Regards Peter S.

I am currently seeking information in an effort to establish how the old L.N.W.R. slate yard on the up side of the main line at Mold Junction functioned. My main query is thus:-

Were slates stored and sorted by the railway company on behalf of the originating quarry owners between being received and transhipped by the railway?

Or did the participating slate quarries i.e. those at Ffestiniog, Bethesda, Dinorwic etc. have a hand in the operation of the yard?

Unfortunately the yard as such had closed before my father, the late J.E. (Jack) Robinson became the last 6B Shedmaster in 1952, and throughout his tenure the yard was used as an extension to the East End marshalling yard on the down side of the adjacent main line.

If anyone is able to offer any information that would help clarify my queries please get in touch.

Many thanks,
Tony Robinson

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:40 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:13 pm
Posts: 100

The only comment I can offer is that looking at the British Newspaper Archive there are a few adverts where slate dealers, such as Robert White, slate merchant of Sheffield (1867), Dawber & Son of Hull (c1900), Dawber, Townsley & Co. Ltd, Hull (1911) mention that they had a depot at Mold Junction. There was an auction sale in Birmingham in 1871 of 230,000 blue and red Penrhyn slates following the dissolution of a partnership, the slates being at Mold Junction.

In Robert White's case he mentions other depots at Bangor, Garston, Morecombe & Runcorn where wholesale slates were available from.

I may be wrong but all this suggests that dealers were using the slate yard as a holding area so that orders could be sent to the correct place. Wasn't that sort of thing common in those days where goods were despatched to a goods depot on the basis that orders would be received by the time the goods arrived and the good agent could be advised to whom it should be released or delivered to?

The slate yard sidings were extended extensively around the turn of the century it would appear.


Martin O'Keeffe

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:19 pm
Posts: 323
I've had a quick look at this subject. The first fact to note is that there are no Private Siding Agreements for Mold Junc, so it seems all the infrastructure was owned and maintained by the LNWR. This would not preclude space being let to slate agents or dealers (in the same way as to coal merchants or oil depots in a goods yard) and it seems very likely that his was what was done.

It is possible that some understanding of the traffic and its handling could be gained by investigating the history of the merchants identified by Martin, as well as by using more familiar LNWR sources such as the Traffic Committee minutes.

I have looked at the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Editions of the O.S. 25" plans on old-maps.co.uk. These show that by 1870 there were extensive loading banks filling the spaces between the sidings on the up side. At that date there were two double-ended sidings flanking these loading banks, with what must be a run-round siding adjoining the main line. The two loading sidings appear to be gated from the rest of the yard. By 1899 the sidings were longer and dead-ended, with additional sidings and installations at the Chester end. another 12 years later there were four loading banks served by five sidings, with a run-round on the one furthest from the main line, and a weighing machine on the r-r line. I regret that I do not have the Passenger Traffic Comm minutes or Goods Traffic Comm minutes authorising expenditure on these changes, but they must be in the books at RAIL410/2xx at TNA.

The third .jpg above shows the layout before the quadrupling, around 1899-1901, and I think it is the same LNWR survey that was used in the Journal article.

Of course, Mold Junction was the main remarshaling point for express goods traffic from and to the C&H Division. All this happened on the down side, for both up and down traffic. Indeed there was an Up Reception line on the down side, accessed by facing connections at No.4 box. At the east end, this goods traffic arrived and departed over the Branch lines, using the connections at No.2 box.

The slate wharves were still in use in the 1950s, but traffic must have declined to the extend that their use could be rationalised. In 1958-59 a scheme was implemented to reduce the number of wharves to three, and to use the space thus released for 6 additional marshalling sidings for goods traffic, allowing up trains to be dealt with on the up side for the first time ever! This was mentioned in the Railway Gazette and Railway Magazine, I think, and might also have been in the RO?

Hope this helps a bit!

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:45 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:39 pm
Posts: 48
Thank you to Martin and Reg for their postings and information on Mold Junction.

It is interesting to see how long it takes for information on some topics to come to light. Below is a copy of a letter which was published on the December 2006 Edition of the Society Journal asking for information on the same yard!
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (Journal Vol. 5 No.3)
Mold Junction
SIR - At Mold Junction, on the up side was a large 'Slate Depot', which consisted of three 'Slate Wharfs' near to the road overbridge at Saltney Ferry Station, with raised platforms and road access. These appear on the plan reproduced on page 469, of Vol 4 No12.
Access to the sidings was controlled from Mold Junction No 1 ('Slate Yard' on the track plans on page 468). To the west these sidings led into a group of six long sidings, four of which served long wide platforms described as 'Slate Depot' and 'Slate Wharfs'. These sidings are laid out to suit up direction traffic, and Tony Robinson mentions in his article up freight departing from the yard.
The wharfs seem to be arranged for loading and unloading wagons. But Mold Junction is a long way from 'Slate Country' (normally associated with Snowdonia and places like Blaenau Ffestiniog). The main group of sidings had no road access, so one appears to be left with tranship from one wagon to another. But why would they want to do this - an expensive, presumably manual operation? One might have thought the original wagon could take the traffic through to destination.
The only thing I can think of is that it was to store the slate until wanted by the customers, with loads made up to order. But why then would the LNWR do this and not the slate company?
Does anyone know exactly what went on in this yard, how it worked and why?
Richard Foster

It just goes to show the importance of continuing to be a member of the Society, the things you want to know about may be on their way!

Richard Foster

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:45 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:19 pm
Posts: 323
Just a little snippet - while earching for someone else, I found a page in the LNWR pre-1878 salaried staff Register for Slate Yard, Mold Junction. There was quite a large turnover of staff, but I noted there was at least an Agent and two clerks.

How many wages staff were employed there I know not. But the C&H Wages Staff Registers are at Chester R.O. and names can be searched on their website.

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