For ease of transportation, mineral traffic started to be moved in hopper wagons to speed up loading and discharge. MARK CHIVERS offers up a selection of typical hopper train formations, spanning the 1950s right up to the 1990s.

A huge variety of hopper trains ran through the British Railways era conveying coal, stone, coke, ballast, iron ore and more. Representing a typical late 1990s period ballast working, a pair of Class 37s leads a rake of Seacow bogie hoppers past the cement works on West Coast Cement where a Class 56 has just arrived with a rake of PCA cement tankers.

DURING the 1950s and 1960s, rail was still the most effective way of transporting bulk freight throughout mainland Britain, especially large quantities of aggregates, coal and minerals.

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