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Report - Leyland Ammunition store - 23/09/08

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Lister, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. Lister

    Lister 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Dec 27, 2005
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    Spotted this place on the OS map a while ago & finally managed to spend an hour there over lunchtime today. Not been able to find any infomation about the site or it's official name although the local sheep farmer (with trousers tied up with string!) told me that is always been known locally as 'The dump'
    Part of the origional site has been taken over by 2 large prisons.

    1960's aerial view
    As you can see all of the buildings were rail connected together & to the main Liverpool - Preston Line. Small sections of track are still present around the site.






    Complete with sheep!














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  2. Ordnance

    Ordnance Moderator

    Mar 19, 2007
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    Judging from the area I would think it is one of the Ministry of Supply Explosives Magazines for ROF Chorley which finally closed in 2000 (parts also known as ROF Heapy [inc storage tunnels into the hill* still in use by BAE] & ROF Euxton [filled the Bouncing & Tallboy Bombs] during the war) The whole area is being re-developed as Buckshaw Estates. Almost all of the factory has now been demolished and the land being turned over and burnt off (A process to remove contamination)

    These MOS Depots were built along the same lines as the Army Ammunition Depots [examples at Nescliffe Training Area which is littered with similar buildings] but were not under military control as they contained mainly unfinished materials or bulk explosives. Finished goods were shipped to the military depots on completion.

    The MOS and ROF's always used permanent storage locations for explosives, while the forces also used field storage location for some natures.

    :banghead The depot does ring a bell, but for the life of me I cannot pin down its location.

    :cool: * Dare I say it - Heapy is one of the suggested locations for the mythical 'Strategic Rail Reserve' of Steam Locomotives ;)
    #2 Ordnance, Sep 24, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
  3. AndyM

    AndyM 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Oct 13, 2006
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    Almost - the final bit of ROF Euxton (group 1) finally closed at the end of 2007, and as you say is being decommissioned. In fact they completed the burning of the buildings last week, although demolition hasn't started. I know this because I can see the site from my house!

    Heapey is a few miles east of Euxton, and as you say is still active. As far as I'm aware there are no plans for closure at the moment.
  4. Ordnance

    Ordnance Moderator

    Mar 19, 2007
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    The Explosive Store Houses (ESH) at some ROF are within the main area [such as at Thorpe Arch] and others are in a separate compound as here.

    A Double Sided Rail Fed ESH at Kineton before the re-build (only one now remains as an example for the training school.

    I worked at CAD Kineton before it was totally rebuilt in the early 80's and it had a mix of double sided and single sided ESH's (Rail though the middle with stacks either side, or track down one side with all stacks to one side) When these were first built all movement in and out of the ESH was by labour gangs, loading & unloading railway waggons and stacking boxes to the roof between the pillars on 2" x 2" Dunnage to clear the floor. If the containers were cylinders they would be 'pyramid stacked' as in the picture.

    In the late 60's when ammunition started to be palletised, the problem was how to get the pallets in & out of these ESH's so a solution had to be found how to get the Fork Lift Trucks (FLT) into the shed? So at Kineton at least (and Nesscliffe & Longtown so far as I know) a hydraulically ramped rail transporter was developed to carry electric FLT's complete with battery chargers [Called Burtonwood after the officer who designed them] Problem was you needed two because you never knew if it was a right or left handed platform you were working on! but this was a minor problem, and better than shunting the damn thing for miles to turn it round! So we shunted them in pairs each with its own FLT, one facing left & one facing right. Later we had a 'War-Flat' with Radcliffe Tail Lifts staggered on either side.

    Hand Balled Ammunition Stack on Dunnage

    A Burtonwood FLT Transporter

    The other problem was that the buildings were on uneven ground, and the variation between the railway track and the platforms were not always the same hight and could be as low as 6 inch's at one end of an ESH. Anyway you could get up to 14 pallet widths into an WW2 Rail Fed ESH down one side between the pillars, but efficient storage it was not, and it was the need for better storage ESH's that led first to the closure first of CAD Corsham (underground and all hand balled) then Nesscliffe with Kineton being earmarked for a multi million re-build.

    So you can see why the MOS also abandoned their old ESH sites as well. One or two continued on as Ministry of Food Emergency Food Depots.

    Modern 'High Density' Road Fed ESH's at Kineton today (In almost the same area as picture one!)
    Phone Boxes are because Mobile Phones (& Digital Cameras) are banned from the Explosives Area.
    #4 Ordnance, Sep 25, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2008
  5. Ordnance

    Ordnance Moderator

    Mar 19, 2007
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    I have had two queries via PM on the above article so will also share answers here

    How do you work out where all the railway lines were, A lot seem to be 'dead ends'

    In Ammunition and in fact other Ordnance Depots (such as Bicester with is still in use) the sheds were fed by Spurs (Sidings) where wagons were then shunted into target sheds useing empty waggons or 'war flats' as spacers to keep the steam engines (and Diesel Shunter's as well) out of the sheds to reduce the risk from sparks.

    CAD Nescliff Depot Map

    ROF Thorpe Arch showing ESH's within the main factory area with 'ring track'
    The ESH's in Area 9 were much larger, and are now used as a shopping mall (Buywell)

    Which brings me to the second query:

    What's a 'Warflat'

    Warflats were designed for the War Office (WO) later renamed Ministry of Defence (MoD) to transport Tanks and Heavy Vehicles & Plant on the public railway and like all other WO Rolling Stock [unless marked otherwise] were cleared to use the main lines.

    Two main types existed. The Warflat which later were used in many depots to carry stores as well (10 standard pallets could be carried within the depot) and the Warwell which were not as useful but still made good spacers.

    These were used more in the Military CAD & COD's where the MOS & ROF mainly used empty wagons.

    WO 'War Flat' with WO 'Warwell' behind
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