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Red Star parcels

Discussion in 'Everything else Heritage' started by SilentHunter86, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. SilentHunter86

    SilentHunter86 Member

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    I've just learned about this while researching an article I'm writing on the Deltics and find it really fascinating that such a service was provided.

    Does anyone have any memories of using and/or operating this service? How much did it cost for someone to send a parcel?
     
  2. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Active Member

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    Some years ago I went to the Isle of Man with a friend. Changed trains at Crewe and immediately realised I'd left my coat on the train. Spoke to the guard on the next train and he made some calls and managed to track it down, following which the coat went to Liverpool to be held by lost property. Meanwhile I changed trains again in Lancaster and ran into town to buy a new coat and ran back again (because there was no way I was going on the ferry without being on the deck, or what passes for a deck on that ferry, and I thus needed a coat).
    The railways very kindly said I could have my coat back but they were only willing to send it via Red Star Parcels, unless I wanted to go to Liverpool and get it. Now, I have nothing against Liverpool (never been there, actually) but the ferry times from the IOM meant an overnight stay (yes I did consider it!), and it's a very long way from home, so Red Star Parcels it was. And it cost nearly as much as the replacement coat did. And then I had two nearly identical coats for a long time, and for some years was able to take a small amount of pleasure in telling people that although I'd never been to Liverpool, my coat had.
    So the short answer is - "a lot".
     
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  3. Ploughman

    Ploughman Part of the furniture

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    Went on a family camping holiday to Cornwall in the late 60s - early 70s near Newquay.
    Absolutely threw it down on the first day, Mum gave Dad an ultimatum the upshot of which was that the tent was packed up and sent home early by Red Star to Southport and we stopped in a Guest House for the rest of the week.

    Besides Red Star there was also the BR internal mail service.
    Which besides normal internal mail was also used for packages especially between Works and Depots.
    I used to collect parcels from York Stn for BREL York.
    The drop off point on platform trolleys, was roughly where the Bike racks are now.
    Think the service was one of the casualties of privatisation as after 1993 I think it stopped altogether.
    I last received a parcel this way at Leeds in 1992.
     
  4. Vilma

    Vilma New Member

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    In the 80s I worked for a company based on Tyneside that did a lot of work for Ford Motor Co. I was the one who got prototypes, samples, etc., to the right people to get the parts signed off by the right people prior to production.

    The parts were put on a train at Newcastle Central and sent Red Star overnight to my local backwoods station, on the route to the research centre. I collected them at 7.00 am and then delivered them by hand.

    Wonderful service, never missed a delivery. If you use DHL et al now, they really only guarantee at (extra cost) morning deliveries. Mine were always delivered before 8am!

    Such is progress... Never knew what it cost though.
     
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  5. CJF

    CJF New Member

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    I used to work for the BBC at Pebble Mill. In the early 80's videotapes were big and heavy. The normal means of transfer between sites was an overnight truck known as "Wells Fargo" but occasionally things missed the van. First thing in the morning we would examine the overnight load and if an urgently required tape was missing, we rang Television Centre. the tape would be Red Starred to New St and we would collect it by lunchtime. Did this lots of times and it always worked and was on time. A Mk.1 BG in the normal consist of Euston Birmingham trains probably helped (or at least a brake cage)
     
  6. Steve B

    Steve B Active Member

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  7. guycarr360

    guycarr360 Well-Known Member

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    Did loads of work for a chip board manufacturer in NE England, who were just moving into the Server / PC solution, from a mainframe monstrosity.

    performance and reliability levels of components at the time were questionable, but in association with a supplier in London, we kept them running with Hard Disc Drivers and Controllers delivered same day using Red Star.

    Have to say the service they offered, is in stark contrast to some of the current carriers, always on time, and ready to collect from within 10 minutes of train arriving.
     
  8. whitlow

    whitlow New Member

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    When I was a child, talking up to about 1980; my parents used to send crated small livestock and dogs/puppies by Red Star Parcels. It was part of the service that livestock would require particular attention and not considered at all a problem. The trip to the station was a proper treat for me. My parents also used to go on about much earlier it was common to send small livestock like rabbits or poultry to a distant show by rail; a steward from the show would collect the stock, conduct it to the show, put the stock into the show pens and see to the welfare, organise the taking of the exhibits to the judging tables if necessary then crate it back up, along with prize cards/monies and despatch it for return after the show. This might have been a Saturday evening for carriage into Sunday morning or might be a two day show, in which case the return would be Sunday evening; railways were a proper 7 day undertaking then.
     
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  9. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Part of the furniture

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    No idea of the cost but my father used to send samples from Oxenholme to London for work. But the best bit was in the run up to Christmas when we would go to the station to pick up what relatives from Bournemouth sent to us grandchildren. I was convinced for years that the train was named Red Star as we were always waiting for The Red Star.
     
  10. horace

    horace Member

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    I worked in the airfreight industry for many years. In the 1980s we had a customer who imported machine spares from Germany. We often had to send on part of the shipment to his customer by Red Star as the service was economic and reliable.
     
  11. cav1975

    cav1975 Member

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    My school transport club regularly hired films from British Transport Films. I used to take them to Radlett station from for Red Star to take them back to BTF. Worked regular as clockwork and free to us as BTF was a BR subsidiary.
     
  12. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Well-Known Member

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    A colleague of mine worked at Trowbridge about the time of privatisation. AS Wiltshire CC's HQ was just over the road she had to deal with all the inter library loans that were sent by Red Star
     
  13. 7143

    7143 New Member

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    I can vouch for the FR being part of the Red Star network too. Here's a scanned photo I took of a train "at speed" at Tanygriseau, taken 25th August 1982.
    82-08-25 04a Tanygriseau Festiniog Railway Red Star Parcels.jpg
     
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  14. NeilL

    NeilL Active Member Friend

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    Red Star Parcels main accounting office was at Stevenage and I remember visiting it many times in my working life.
     
  15. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Active Member

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    My IOM story was post-privatisation, possibly as late as early 2000s. I'm unsure if the service itself was privatised with the rest of the railways but the name certainly lived on for a while.
     
  16. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    When I was serving in HM's light blue flying club, urgently required spares for aircraft would be despatched by Red Star from various storage depots because, in some cases, it was actually a damn sight faster service than road delivery to some of the more isolated airfields in the UK (motorways were just about starting to make an appearance in a few parts of the country). Even when motorways were well established, on the Scottish base I was on, the engineers would ask for the Red Star service for spares that had to come from the depot - because it was a reliable service, the engineers could plan their maintenance work accordingly (not an easy task on military aircraft with the ever-moving goal-posts).
     
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  17. Western Druid

    Western Druid New Member

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    I was the duty supervisor and then depot manager at Red Star Sheffield in the 1990s - it is so nice to hear such positive comments about Red Star, yes things went wrong from time to time but they were few and far between - happy days!
     
  18. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Part of the furniture

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    At one time (mid-80s) a former colleague and I - then working in London - were seriously considering getting a polypin of Robinson's Old Tom sent down via Red Star for our department's Christmas party... :)

    (although I could have sworn it was Owd Tom back then...)
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
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  19. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

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    And did you?
     
  20. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Part of the furniture

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    Sadly, no... :( I think incapacitating an entire shift (we were working, despite the party) with Old Tom might have earned us a trip upstairs to The Office!

    I also have a vague recollection that the transport cost approximated the cost of the polypin.
     
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