U-skips donated
November 2009

One afternoon in October the phone at the Museum rang - nothing unusual in that, you will say. Well maybe, but this call was of particular interest to the Amberley Narrow Gauge Railway. "This is John Smith (not his real name) from the XYZ Company in Kent (not the real name either, but he was in Kent - just). We have some Hudson skip wagons to dispose of from a tunnelling contract - would you like some? Any that don't get taken away are going in the furnace." This chap is serious!

A quick visit is arranged - having checked with the Museum management that we can follow this up and take delivery if we think them appropriate to the collection - and a favourable report comes back. We decide we will take six - more than that and we will need to lay some more sidings.

We phone him back. "We'll have six please, if that's OK."

"No you won't," came the reply, "you're having eight - and these are free of charge as you are a Museum. You only need to arrange transport - but it must be soon."

We step back in amazement (and start looking for space to put those extra sidings!)

Transport is arranged with a local contractor and on 11 November, the lorry arrives with our eight free U-skips.

The first chassis is soon unloaded and dropped onto Redcar Sidings .....

..... quickly followed by the first of the bodies.

Others follow rapidly ...

Hold on - where are we going to put this one?

It's OK - we have another chassis here. Put it on this.

Soon they are all unloaded - here are four of the rake of eight. They are very compact and look rather good all in a row. Another train for Industrials Day? (That's on April 25th by the way)

This broadside view gives a good idea of the solid construction.

And at the risk of boring you, here's another one .....

..... and another one .....

..... and, oh look, here's another .....

Unfortunately, there are no coupling chains with them so that is our next job - to find or purchase some small 3-link chain couplings. The pins are securely welded into the ends of the chassis which precludes use of our usual single links which we use on our other short four-wheeled skips and other wagons.

Several of the wagons carried these crudely applied (using weld) "fleet" numbers and weight limits.

Considering how roughly skips in industry often get treated, the survival of several of the Robert Hudson (Raletrux) builders plates was surprising. Two are illustrated here.

(Thanks to Peter Trinder for the photos of the unloading)

The Museum's Official Website is here.
Gerry Cork & Amberley Museum - November 2009
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