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GWR Route: North Warwickshire Line

GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Bordesley Station: gwrbg670b

Close up of Bordesley station's cattle dock with two cattle vans and three open seven-plank wagons in evidence

Close up of image 'gwrbg670' showing Bordesley station's cattle dock with two cattle vans and three open seven-plank wagons in evidence. The open wagons are thought to contain feed or straw for the cattle. There was an obligation placed upon Railway Companies, under various Orders of the Ministry of Agriculture to water animals, within certain length of time after commencement of a rail journey. The specified periods were as follows:

Horses, Asses and Mules 24 hours
Cattle 27 hours
Sheep and Lambs 36 hours
Pigs 27 hours

There was no specific regulation which required Railway Companies to feed animals, but the Protection of Animals Act (1911) made it incumbent upon companies ‘to avoid undue suffering to animals in transit’ and most adopted as a matter of convenience the practice of feeding animals at the same time as they were watered. The cattle pens at Bordesley were convenient located to serve the Birmingham Livestock Market in Digbeth and there were kept busy with special trains from towns with regular Livestock Markets. The following workings have been identified from the 1939 GWR Service Time Table (STT):

Start Time Origin Class Arrives at Bordesley Comments
3.20 p.m. Shifnal Cattle C 5.3 p.m. Alternate Mondays Only
5.20 p.m. Wellington Cattle C 8.12 p.m. Monday Only
  Ludlow and Craven Arms Cattle D 1.59 a.m. Monday Only (Run when Required)
6.32 p.m. Shrewsbury Cattle C 9.5 p.m. Tuesday Only
7.15 p.m. Kidderminster Cattle E 10.0 p.m. Alternate Tuesdays Only
6.30 p.m. Oswestry Cattle E arr. Hockley 12.0 p.m. (extend to Bordesley when necessary) Wednesdays Only
5.40 p.m. Hereford Cattle C 9.25 p.m. Wednesdays Only (Run when Required)
Start Time Origin Comments
10.35 p.m. Dept Bordesley Cattle Empties for Fishguard via North Warwickshire Line
    Arr. Stratford-on-Avon 12.28 p.m.
1.0 p.m. Dept Bordesley Cattle Empties for Kidderminster via Stourbridge (Alternate Tuesdays)
11.35 p.m. Dept Bordesley Cattle Empties for Hereford via Stourbridge (Tue Night)

In addition there was a special (Tuesday to Saturday inclusive) Cattle Train for the Irish cattle traffic, which was off loaded at Fishguard. An engine, van and guard were required to be available at Tyesley Carriage Sidings at 7:0 a.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays (inclusive) to clear livestock for Bordesley Pens (and perishable traffic for Moor Street) brought in by the 4.22 p.m. Gwinear Road to Oxley Sidings Class C Express Freight (via Oxford, Banbury and Leamington) which arrived Bordesley 7.32 a.m.

In British Rail days there were detailed instructions in the Sectional Appendix to the Working Time Table regarding the working of Special Trains of empty Cattle Wagons for Fishguard from Wolverhampton and Bordesley:

1) The maximum loads for the various group engines should not exceed the following, if ‘C’ or ‘D’ timings is required to be maintained:

Group A ... 40 Empty Cattle Wagons
Group B ... 48 Empty Cattle Wagons
Group C ... 60 Empty Cattle Wagons
Group D ... 60 Empty Cattle Wagons

Engines capable of maintaining vacuum timing should always be provided and whenever practicable 29XX or 43XX types should be supplied.

2) C Head Lamps to be carried and run at the standard point to point allowances for Vacuum Freight Trains shewn in Service Book

3) Trains between Wolverhampton, Bordesley Junction and Fishguard via Stratford and Gloucester to call at Stratford-on-Avon for water, Gloucester and Port Talbot for examination and water.

4) As far as possible trains to be worked from Bristol and Birmingham Divisions with return South Wales Engines.

5) It is important that these trains shall reach Fishguard before noon at the latest, in order to be available for live stock arriving off the Irish boats.

Robert Ferris