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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Hockley Station: gwrhd3096

A booklet issued by the GWR to bring to the notice of manufacturers the facilities and special vehicles that existed

The Great Western Railway Magazine published in November 1933 included the following brief article, accompanied by two pictures of transformers at Hockley Goods Yard being carried as an exceptional load from Hayes to Hay Mills Substation in Birmingham ('gwrhd2617' and 'gwrhd2620'). A second edition of the booklet was published in 1936, with a different cover:

The Conveyance of Exceptional Loads

An informative booklet has just been issues by the Great Western Railway Company to bring to the notice of manufacturers the facilities and special vehicles which exist for the conveyance of ‘exceptional’ loads by goods train.

The plan adopted in the book is to devote a page or more to each of the many specially-constructed vehicles, giving a diagram showing the dimensions, load capacity, etc., and one or more pictorial illustrations of their respective practical uses.

For loads of exceptional dimensions and abnormal weight, or for various kinds or merchandise requirements special transit conditions, a comprehensive range of special vehicles is provided by the Company. Huge trolley wagons having a carrying capacity of 120 tons, and an over-all length of 89 feet, 6 inches, have been constructed for conveying heavy pieces of machinery. Such wagons, which are known as ‘Crocodiles L’ are available both in ‘well’ and ‘side-girder’ types. The latter have been used extensively for the conveyance of electric transformers in connection with the national grid system. Bogie wagons both of ‘flat’ and ‘well’ types, are also available in various sizes, their designs having been planned for specific types of traffic e.g. girders, excavators, steam rollers, large trees, etc.

Among noteworthy special wagons are those that are insulated and steam-heated for the conveyance of bananas and those fitted with hooks, ventilators and ice-boxes for transport of meat, while wagons have also been specifically designed for conveyance of motor car bodies as well as finished cars.

The booklet is well calculated to convey swiftly and clearly to the minds of traders the various means by which their special transport problems can be solved by the Great Western Railway Company.

A word should be said concerning the striking and distinctive coloured cover adopted for the booklet. This depicts an ‘exceptional’ load referred to in Greek literature – the historic human haulage of the wooden horse of Troy. Only the cover of the booklet has to do with the primitive in transport, however; the contents represent the most modern and scientific methods of overcoming all kinds of problems presented by the ‘exceptional’ load.

Robert Ferris