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LMS Route: Stratford Midland Junction - The Shakespeare Route

Burton Dassett Platform: smjbd8

View of Burton Dassett Platform's simple combined office and storage shed facilities

View of Burton Dassett Platform's simple combined office and storage shed facilities. The facilities at Burton Dassett catered for goods traffic and workmen trains as this station had no scheduled services. Tarmac were a major producer of road material with plants around the country that required constant supply. The Edge Hills was once an important supplier of aggregates to the Tarmac company as evidence in practically any photograph of this location.

The birth of Tarmac Limited was at the Spring Vale Furnaces of Sir Alfred Hickman and Co. in Bilston, near Wolverhampton. Initially the company developed an invention of Nottingham road surveyor Edgar Hooley at the very beginning of the twentieth century of a road surfacing material created from waste slag recovered from iron and steel mills and pitch, a residue of the coking process which was to revolutionise the construction of roads and any other paved surface from private driveways to airport runways. The term 'Tarmac' is loosely and inaccurately used to describe any such material, since the 1920's the development of asphalt and bitumen as by-products of the oil and chemical industries rapidly replaced the composition of the road surfacing material but the name Tarmac has indelibly stuck.

A very substantial fleet of railway wagons was developed, and for that matter needed as the railway companies in 1922 refused to carry the road-making material in their own wagons. Although a complete inventory of Tarmac rolling stock cannot be assembled due to missing railway company wagon registers, an estimate is that by 1920 the company operated some 1,000 wagons and additional wagons were being built at an astonishing rate. By 1930 almost 2,000 additional new wagons had been built, those with timber bodies usually re-inforced inside to deal with the loads that they would be required to carry The company also owned 140 tank wagons for the transport of liquids from coking plants and refineries. In the 1930's the company diversified into quarrying, taking over several quarries in Derbyshire. Full details can be found in my "Private Owner Wagons, a Fifth Collection"…

The two wagons illustrated above are no. 1393, of which the origin is unknown, and no. 1850, built in 1921 as one of a batch of 150 wagons numbered 1802 to 1951 by the Midland RC&WCo. of Birmingham for the Wolverhampton operation and registered with the L&NWR. The lettering style of all of the timber bodied wagons was constant, black with unshaded white letters. They could have been seen almost anywhere.

Keith Turton