Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Railway Echo No 11

Unmitigated blogs passim have frequently explored the peeling paint impotence of abandoned railway rolling stock. Some are known to have had the indignity of travelling their last miles on the back of a low-loader, and in south east Leicestershire there are enough phantom wagons leaning against hedges to make up a sizeable freight train. Many others, however, don't appear to have strayed very far from where they made their last creeking journeys. The Dungeness Peninsular is famed for old carriages gradually metamorphosing into respectable shacks, many towed here in the 1920's from the Southern Railway (who used the shingle as track ballast all over the south). Others were brought here in the 50s to serve as homes for the constructors of the nuclear power station. But this pale ghost is slightly off piste, within yards of the little branch line that ran from Rye down to Rye Harbour. Opened in 1854 the track was only ever used for freight, mainly for bringing flints from Dungeness to a neighbouring oil firm and chemical works. By 1955 it was almost derelict, but traces of its passage can still be seen. This carriage never became the long-corridored backbone of a larger dwelling, and when I first photographed it there were lacy net curtains at the windows. I must bow to more local knowledge to tell me if it's actually still here.

8 comments:

Forest Pines said...

Re: shingle ballast. That was a feature of the South Eastern Railway. It's unlikely to have spread to other parts of the Southern; I'm not sure how much it would have been used on the lines of the London, Chatham and Dover after that railway and the SER were put under joint management in 1900. The Southern stopped using it pretty much as soon as it was formed; particularly as it was one of the major causes of the 1927 Sevenoaks crash. Probably the major cause, although that wasn't recognised at the time.

Jon Dudley said...

This is the stuff! Railway carriages are wonderful aren't they? sadly I can't help on the local knowledge but this has prompted me to journey East and view that remarkable landscape once more. Right here in New Anzac, a chum has an Edwardian carriage in his back garden wherein we sit on a summers evening gazing upon an uninterrupted view of the Channel whilst chasing the pints down. Everything is still there in this carriage, from the ventilators to the leather window straps to the etched glass 'No Smoking' windows. A division which creates a small bedroom utilises a London Transport Trolleybus window in its construction - perfection! Naturally, it is tarred jet black outside.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Excellent stuff. I don't remember seeing this one on my trip down there last summer, but I could easily have missed it amongst all the sheds, huts, carriages, and so on and on. There is something oddly moving about this one, impotent indeed with neither livery nor wheels.

monkey said...

on the way back from work this evening i stop with a co worker in the snow blizzard to have a look at an old Railway Carrage of sorts. Yellow in colour the roof had been replaced but the wood still remained with a fully intact frame. My coworker has been on the lookout for one. Any ideas where you would aquire such a beautiful thing?

ChrisP said...

All along the South Coast there are still bungalows made by dragging a pair of old coaches to the site with a team of horses, putting them side-by-side and covering the space between with a roof. The compartments were bedrooms and the space was a huge living room. You can still see lots in Shoreham Beach and Selsey.

ChrisP said...

Suddenly remembered I have a picture of one of them here http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrismpartridge/386664063/

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou so much for the link to your Selsey carriage photographs.

Anna Wilson-Patterson said...

This carriage is in front of the Watch house at Rye Harbour. I am currently painting it as part of my coastal series from Hastings to Dungeness.