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LMSS Masthead

LMS Barrows and Trolleys

Photo of Large Barrow Large numbers of this large barrow were built to a former L&NWR design. This example was one of the later modified types, having the axle retained on blocks instead of on a shaped side bar as was the earlier pattern, and riveted end ironwork instead of cast ironwork. Type No. 229.

The LMS inherited a vast assortment of barrows and trolleys from the constituents and the designs were perpetuated in the first few years of the LMS.

Minor variations were soon in evidence but these really only replaced the pre-group cast or imprinted lettering with LMSR, particularly on wheel castings.

Virtually all the constituents had used wooden frames for flat platform trolleys but in the early 1930s a new design of trolley was developed. This was of steel welded construction and with wood used for the platform. It followed closely on the lines of one produced by Tubewrights Ltd. of Liverpool and supplied to the LMS.

Trolleys for special uses were built in small numbers with modifications from a basic design of trolley. Amongst these were platforms fitted with rollers for use with heavy items and milk churns.

With the LMS having shipping interests several designs were built specifically for use on ships or to facilitate transhipment of goods. Sling trolleys were used and once loaded were slung by crane onto the ship and remained so until reaching the warehouse at the end of the journey.

Experiments were carried out in 1939 with a large low trolley, and this was fitted with a wide conveyor belt for use at berths and used at Heysham.

Sack trucks differed little in design and construction and there were many different sizes and specialised types. Wheels were the only readily descernible changes from those of the constituents. Basic construction has always been in wood, but iron staves were fitted for heavy work, particularly in sheds and works.

Barrows of the LMS were built to a specification of the LNWR and this became the standard LMS built large platform barrow. Small numbers of the former Midland Railway curved leg design were built but it was a heavier barrow altogether than the former LNWR one. The LNWR design and LMS repeat differed only in wheel lettering and end ironwork - the LMS end was curved at the top instead of the squared end, and the bars were rivetted to the outer rim rather than cast or welded.

With ordinary usage the barrows and trolleys lasted for many years and just as the LMS had over substantial numbers and types, so the LMS passed on equally "Allsorts Assortment" onto B.R. in 1948.

Special trolleys included the very elegant Midland buffet bars, the large-wheeled, but small Rug and Pillow trolleys, and the larger Rug and Pillow trolleys with small wheels which were a feature of the LNWR works at Wolverton.

A special 2 wheel pump tank was to be seen at principal stations, used for filling toilet water tanks in coaching stock.

By 1923 brakes were fitted to the majority of trolleys and some barrows used on platforms certainly as a result of the Wellingborough accident.

Automation came to trolleys with the introduction of a four-wheel electric truck in the late 1930's. The 1 ton Harbilt battery chassis was fitted with a steel framed, wooden flat platform body, and pneumatic tyres, and it was handle-operated.

Many of the trolleys were fitted with welded rubber tyred wheels, but possibly only as replacements on visits to works or when the originals were worn out.

Livery was black with white lettering, although grey was also used, particularly on sack trucks.

Allocation of these items (from official records):-

Stations at which No. of
staff handling traffic is
No. of 2 wheel barrows
Small, Med. & Large
1 - 5 men One truck in excess of the number of men.
5 - 9 men Two trucks in excess of the number of men.
10 men and over 1.10 trucks per maximum number of men employed on handling traffic.


At stations with a total barrow stock of 20 or over the name of the station was painted on the side-member, to facilitate identification when away for repair. Other types of barrows and trolleys were supplied according to the needs of the traffic.

These notes represent a brief resume of the barrows and trolleys used by the LMSR.

Further Reading

H.N. Twells, LMS Miscellany. OPC 1982 ISBN 0 86093 172 2

H.N. Twells, LMS Miscellany Volume 3. OPC 1986 ISBN 0 86093 383 0

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