Whilst my passion for railways has its roots in childhood spotting days during the Fifties, by the early Sixties the hobby was running out of steam. It began in 1955 when the British Transport Commission (BTC) announced the Modernisation Programme which outlined the BTC's plan to replace old-fashioned steam power with modern diesel and electric traction.
It was the end of world for many youngsters; indeed the turning point for me came in 1959 when my tatty old Ian Allan abc needed replacing and I splashed out the princely sum of 10/6d on the latest Locospotters Book Winter 1958-59 combined edition. Then began the depressingly predictable task of transferring the logged numbers from my battered old abc. By the time I reached the BR Standard classes Nos 70000-92250, I had lost count of the number of gaps due to scrapping.
Worse still, when it came to underlining the new diesels I had 'copped' on visits to Swindon, Derby and Crewe Works, they didn't enter the equation because the new combined edition was printed before they were built; in other words, their numbers were not included.
Call it a dereliction of duty, if you like, but the discrepancies creeping into the hobby were totally at odds with the orderliness that spotters expected, and I ended up joining the legion of disenchanted youngsters who turned their attention to something more rewarding like railway photography - a natural adjunct to train spotting.
So, combining both interests from old spotting days, the purpose of this page is to list as many different steam locomotive classes (numbered from 40000 to 5999) which were listed in Ian Allan's abc Locospotters Book covering the London Midland Region in 1959.
(Above) We start with a lovely colour shot of a Class 8P Pacific 46231 Duchess of Atholl at Crewe Works. After nationalisation in 1948, the newly-formed British Railways tried out a number of liveries with a view to adopting a future standard for its express-passenger engines of Class 8 power classification (dark blue) and for its fleet of express-passenger locomotives with a lower tractive effort (light green). Eventually a lighter shade of blue was chosen for its large express locos, which included the Peppercorn and Gresley Pacifics of the Eastern and North Eastern Regions, the ex-SR 'Merchant Navy' Pacifics of the Southern Region, the ex-GWR 'King' class 4-6-0s for the Western Region and Stanier's ex-LMSR Pacifics. This fine shot of a blue-liveried 46231 Duchess of Athol outside the Paint Shop at Crewe Works was taken by W H Foster, who donated the slide to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Preservation Trust for money raising purposes.
Established in 1988, the origins of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Trust can be traced back to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Preservation Society when a group of Rochdale railway enthusiasts led by Richard S Greenwood, formed the L&Y Saddletank Fund and acquired 3 locomotives, a carriage and 3 wagons. In 1987 the 'Fund' changed its identity to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Preservation Society and started negotiations to form a Charity to secure the collection, thus ensuring that the influence of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway continues to the present day. If you are interested in helping with the Trust's praiseworthy effort to restore and conserve the quality of L&Y workmanship, click HERE to visit the Trust's website to find out more; indeed you can make a big difference by providing either your skills in engineering or carpentry, or perhaps you are simply competent at DIY...you will be welcome with open arms!
(Below) This dinky-sized 'old timer' is one of Aspinall's 0-4-0 saddle tank designs, introduced in 1891 for the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway and designated Class 21. Note the wooden blocks on the buffer beam which were ideal for dock shunting purposes. The last LYR Pug in BR service was a Western Region loco. However, this privately preserved Pug 51218 (acquired by the L&Y Saddletank Fund) was photographed by Richard Greenwood at Newton Heath shed on a very gloomy 18 February 1967 as it was being prepared to work three brakevan trips between Rochdale and Whitworth the following day. No 51218 has the distinction of being the first preserved loco to arrive on theKeighley & Worth Valley Railway on 1st July 1965.
LONDON MIDLAND REGION LOCOMOTIVES 40000-41199.
40001-40070. (Above-Insert-Below) Introduced in 1930, Sir Henry Fowler's LMS Class 3P 2-6-2Ts numbered 40001 to 40070 in the BR fleet was the first of the engines listed on the London Midland Region. A total of 70 were built for use primarily on local passenger services, four on the Western Region, the rest on the London Midland Region. (Above) The class was most easily identifiable from other 2-6-2Ts by their parallel boiler and smokebox curving down to meet the frames, which can be seen in this ER Morten shot of No 40058 entering Shrewsbury station with a local passenger train. (Below) Sporting a St Albans (14C) shedplate on the smokebox door No 40024 - one of twenty Fowler Class 3MT tanks (Nos 40021-40040) fitted with condensing apparatus for working the Metropolitan widened lines through the tunnels to Moorgate Street - is seen heading a suburban service at Aldersgate & Barbican(Inset) The 'Delph Donkey' being propelled by push-pull fitted Fowler Class 3MT 2-6-2T No 40012. Visible in the background is Saddleworth station (closed 5th October 1968).
40071-40209 (Above-Below) Introduced in February 1935, the Stanier 3MT 2-6-2T was a development of the earlier 1930's Fowler 2-6-2T mentioned above. Both classes were identical in many respects; the Stanier engines had the same 5ft 3in driving wheels, 3ft 3½ins pony wheels and trailing wheels, identical sized cylinders at 17½in X 26ins, the same 21,485lb tractive effort, 200 lb.sq.in. boiler pressure, 3 ton coal capacity, 1,500 gallons of water and 41ft 11¾ins length over buffers. However, a distinguishing feature of the Stanier design was the pronounced slope to the top of their side-tanks and tapered boiler in contrast to the parallel boiler of the Fowler 2-6-2Ts. (Above) No 40018 departs from Millersdale on the push-pull shuttle service to Buxton on 16th August 1950. (Below) Rebuilt in 1941 with larger boiler, No 40148 heads a Bradford-Forster Square- Leeds City express past the site of the proposed new Apperley Bridge station on 19th April 1952.
40332-40557 (Above) Former Midland Railway Class 2 (LMS Class 2P) No 40491 (built in October 1896) awaits departure from Sheffield Midland with a local train on 24th April 1952. Originally constructed by SW Johnson, the MR's CME 1873-1903, this 4-4-0 class was rebuilt by his successor RM Deeley (MR's CME 1903-1909) with superheater and piston valves. No 40491 was among only a few survivors of this once extensive class totalling 245 - only thirty six engines were still listed in my 1958-59 winter abc; No 40491 was withdrawn in October 1960. The majority of the 2Ps were allocated to sheds on the old MR system, chiefly in the Midlands.
40563-40700 (Below) Introduced in 1928 these 4-4-0s were the result of Sir Henry Fowler's post-grouping development of the earlier MR Class 2P with modified dimensions (smaller 6ft 9in driving wheels) and reduced boiler mountings. Out of the original 138 members built, no fewer than 134 were still listed in my abc, but only just...with the onset of dieselisation they were diminishing fast and all had gone by the end of 1962. The class was adopted by the LMS as a standard light passenger engine and many went to Scotland for service on the Glasgow and South West routes. During BR days the Class 2P continued to operate on the Scottish Region, principally around Kilmarnock. Some tenty years after its introduction in September 1931, No 40647 heads a local train at Ayr on 27th July 1951. The loco was withdrawn in October 1961. Note the Fowler flat sided tender which differed from the earlier Midland tender with coal rails as seen attached to 40491 above.
40907-41193 (Above-Inset-Below) Listed among the engines in my Ian Allan abc Locospotters Book (1958-59 winter edition) are 33 'Compound' Class 4P 4-4-0s Nos 40907-41193, albeit the sequence of numbers reveal ominous gaps due to scrapping. By the summer of 1960 only four remained in BR stock: No 40907 at Millhouses (Sheffield), 41063 at Manningham (Bradford) and the remaining two at Monument Lane (Birmingham). (Above) This once popular and highly efficient class produced some splendid performances during the earlier years of grouping on the Birmingham two-hour expresses from Euston, and also duties in Scotland on the former Caledonian Railway and G&SWR main lines. (Inset) The class was developed from the original five 7ft 'Compound' 4-4-0s introduced in 1902 by Samuel W. Johnson, CME of the Midland Railway 1873-1903 based at Derby. The 3-cylinder compound arrangement comprised one high pressure cylinder inside the frames, and two low pressure cylinders outside. From 1905 onwards, Johnson's successor at Derby, Richard M Deeley, built a simpler version based on Johnson's original 4-4-0 design which made the engines more straightforward to drive. The Johnson locomotives were subsequently rebuilt as Deeley Compounds and outshopped with smaller 6ft 9in couple wheels and superheater, including the now-preserved 1000 in 1914. The doyen of the class was destined for preservation after withdrawal in 1959 and restored in Midland maroon livery for display at Clapham Transport Museum. Here No 1000 was photographed by Frank Ashley heading the return leg of an SLS railtour from York to Birmingham New Street via Doncaster, Sheffield and Derby at Ambergate on 31 August 1959. (Below) The Compound Class 4P 4-4-0s were numbered 40900-40939 and 41045-41199 in the BR fleet, but it should be noted that Nos 40940-40999 were not built. However, with the onset of dieselisation and the introduction of more modern BR Standard steam classes they were early candidates for withdrawal. Here, No 40937 is seen on its home shed at Bank Hall (27A)...TO BE CONTINUED.
We continue the page with a visit to Willesden Motive Power Depot in London, courtesy of two fine railway photographers, Alex (Mac) McClymont and Keith Long, both ex-railwaymen....
WILLESDEN MOTIVE POWER DEPOT 1A
(Below) Willesden depot was classified as 1A, this being the first of the alpha-numerical shed coding system, which, for this young spotter back in the Fifties, somehow bestowed a level of prestige over the remaining BR sheds listed beneath it. This system had its origins back in the Thirties when the LMS carried out a reorganisation of locomotive operation and maintenance, and henceforth all sheds were grouped into districts with the main depot being allocated the code letter A, followed by a number of subsidiary sheds listed in alphabetical order. An extension of this system was adopted by BR in 1950 before it was replaced by an alphabetic code for BR's diesel fleet in 1973. (Below) A famous LMS Poster 'The Day Begins - 1946' by Terence Cuneo, measuring 50" x 40", shows a wonderful image of Princess Coronation Class locomotive City Of Hereford being prepared on the turntable at Willesden shed. This vibrant poster went under the hammer for a whopping £6,100 at a Creat Western Railwayana Auction in November 2012...click HERE.
(Above-Below) Ex-SR engineman Alex (Mac) McClymont is a major contributor to this site. He has a Rail Cameraman page featuring Eastern Region steam days at Kings Cross and a gallery of Southern Region photos on Geoff Burch's 'SR Enginemen Remember' pages. In this shot an assortment of locomotives are lined up in front of the 12-road running shed at Willesden depot on 16th June 1962. A little over three years later the shed was closed on September 27th 1965 and the site cleared to make way for a Freightliner depot. (Below) Stanier Black Five 44916 based at Willesden (1A) prepares to move off shed on 16th June 1962. Built at Crew in 1945, she ended up at Stockport Edgeley and was withdrawn in December 1967.
(Above-Below) Stanier Black Five 45111 was photographed at Willesden on 16th June 1962. Built in 1935 at the Vulcan Foundry works and a Willesden based locomotive (1A) at the time she was photographed, she ended her life at Rose Grove (24B) and withdrawn in October 1967. (Below) Stanier 8F Class 48668 was built at Brighton works and her last shed was Leicester (15C).
(Above-Below) Stanier 'Jubilee' Class 45669 'Fisher' in Willesden Shed on 16th June 1962. On 29 April 1935 No 5552, the first of the class, permanently swapped identities with 5642 which had been named 'Silver Jubilee' on 19th April 1935 in recognition of the Silver Jubilee of King George V on 6th May of that year. This change gave the name to the rest of the class. (Below) A general view of of locos stabled around the turntable.
(Above-Below) Another major contributor to this site is retired railway signalman, Keith Long, who has his own Rail Cameraman page. Keith goes by the name of 'Cabsaab 900' on his superb 'Flickr photostream. Here he captures the light and shade inside the steam roundhouse at Willesden 1A on a bright summer's day on July 2nd 1961. This shows the the second of HG Ivatt's pioneering Co-Cos No 10001 and BR's Type 2 Bo-Bo No D5031 tucked away in the stalls around the turntable. No 10001 was built at Derby Works and delivered to 1B Camden on 10th July 1948; withdrawal came on 12th March 1966 after 1,101,700 miles in service and she was scrapped at Cox & Danks of Acton in February 1968. By comparison No D5031 is a jumped-up whippersnapper!....built at BR Crewe Works and delivered new to 31B March on 25th June 1959, the loco became TOPS Class 24 No 24031. Withdrawn in October 1975 she was scrapped at Swindon Works in December 1976. Keth comments on his 'Cabsaab900' Flickr Photostream - 'At the time this photo was taken No 10001 was just a week short of her 13th birthday (almost a teenager) and D5031 is a week past her second (barely out of nappies) and there isn't a yellow warning panel to be seen anywhere!' (Below) Another classic photo of the transition from steam at Willesden. These shots were taken on Keith's trusty Ensign Selfix 820 and shows Type 2 Bo-Bo No D5089 and the second of the SR's Ashford Works 1Co-Co1's No 10201 inside the steam roundhouse on 16th September 1961.
(Above-Below) In pre-digital days - before cameras were equipped with auto-focussing and through the lens light metering - few photographers attempted interior shots of steam sheds; they were dark and dismal places where the changing light made it difficult to get the exposure right. Nonetheless, the results could be most rewarding, and Keith managed to produce a few 'gems' for his collection, including this one of 'Patriot' class No 45546 Fleetwood, still fitted with the original Belpaire boiler and single chimney, at Willesden shed (1A). (Below) One of the great things about opening a Flickr account is that visitors to your site get the chance to comment on your photos. For example, this excellent interior shot at Willesden depot of HG Ivatt's Co-Co No 10000 on 2nd July 1961 created some dialogue. It goes to prove that there must be countless thousands of enthusiasts who were disappointed that such an important locomotive was not saved from the cutters torch, including Keith who has posted his own comments - 'The real shame is that the loco survived so long after being withdrawn in December 1963 (it was not cut up until January 1968). It would have been better to have saved something like this rather than say eleven out of the thirty 'Merchant Navy' class. It's not that I have anything against the MNs, or steam in general; it's just that the preservation scene is so unbalanced.' Click this link to visit Keith's main collection; it contains a massive number of sets of BR steam-diesel days.
A RAILWAYMAN'S MEMORIES
Tony Thompson, ex-Agecroft, Patricroft and Crewe, remembers a fateful trip on the 11.20pm Manchester to Glasgow in the summer of 1961…
During my firing days at Patricroft shed, the so-called 'No 4 goods link' job had more top passenger work than goods work. One evening during the summer of 1961 I had booked on duty at 9.35pm for the 11.20 Glasgow, which we called the '11.20 papers'; it also included two Royal Mail vans with mail catchers on opposite sides for the return journey. My driver that night was Maz, and as we prepared the Jubilee, I oiled the big and small ends for him (I always had a spare pair of overalls in my locker for 3 cylinder engines) and filled the firebox slowly during preparation. Then before we left the shed we topped up the tender and trimmed the coal for safety, which is more than can be said for the Newton Heath men that hooked onto us at Manchester Victoria…but I'll come to that later.
At 10.40pm we left Patricroft shed light engine for Manchester Victoria's platform 11, which more or less encroached on Exchange's platform 3. We hooked on to the train at 10.55pm and some 5 minutes later the Newton Heath men hooked on the front of us with one of the low-framed Caprotti black 5s.
The reason for double heading this turn was to tackle Pendlebury Bank, especially with 16 bogies on; it was a very heavy train filled mostly with mail and papers plus parcels. The timings to Preston was 43 minutes, but as usual our departure was held up by the paper guys, never the Post Office, and this delay could be anything up to eight minutes before we got away.
A few minutes before our scheduled departure I put a few rounds on; I had a good box with fullback damper open and near to blowing off, but one always has the gauge glass at approx ¾ or less to keep her quiet. The advantage of this job was that after starting from platform 11 we passed through platform 3, then across a series of crossings to get onto the Lanky, the fireman could drop the steam pressure to just above 200lbs then have his pressure up to 225lbs psi before Salford Station.
Having got the right of way at 11.27pm, Maz opened the regulator and we stormed through Exchange then with the second valve and reverser pulled right back, we headed across onto the Lanky. From then on it was all systems go and both engines were soon pounding through Salford Station, the 5x roaring and the black 5 blasting. Approaching Pendlebury Bank we had a full 7 minutes to make up, so it was shovel in hand and a few rounds for the climb ahead, but the 5x was in fine fettle so keeping her around the 225 mark was comfortably easy.
As we neared the top of the bank I shoveled a few more rounds into the firebox before we leveled out in anticipation of Walkden Water Troughs, serving all four tracks - 'Fast' and 'Slow' Lines. Ahead we had 14 miles of near straight level track and both engines were flat out, doing over 75mph on the approach to the troughs.
At this juncture, it should be explained that the practice for picking up water with a double-headed train was that the leading engine dipped first and as the spray started to dwindle the train engine dipped second. However, this particular night things didn't go quite as smoothly! When the time came for both firemen to prepare for the water troughs, I got off my seat and walked towards the water scoop handle when I heard an almighty crash behind me! Spinning round I saw a large chunk of coal had smashed through my window and shattered in the cab!
So much for trimming the tender on the part of the 26A men! I dread to think what might have happened to me had it been three seconds earlier!
With hindsight, l can only assume the bridge we'd just passed under was lower than the previous bridges, and as a result the coal had been dislodged from the tender of the leading engine, came hurtling along the top of our boiler barrel and smashed through my glass! Make no mistake I was shaken up but somehow managed to drop the scoop and top up the tender. After removing the broken glass from the window, I could put my head out of my side window at speed, but sitting on my seat in front of the missing glass took my breath away, so I ended up standing between firing, putting the injector on and keeping the footplate clean and dampened down. By the time we got to Peel Hall Sidings we were doing 86/88mph on the approach to Hilton House Junction and took the extreme right hand peg over the Whelley to join the West Coast Main Line. My driver Maz blew the whistle to get the attention of the leading engine crew and alert the bobby to wire Preston for a fitter to fix a new glass to the fireman's side.
By now we had recovered some time; we passed the 20mph restriction at Hilton House box, but once we were on the West Coast mainline down fast, it was back to sparks flying from both engines, especially the 5x - and, of course, the shovel was being used fast and furious to get us into Preston. We had a very fast run down to Preston, lurching over Euxton Junction at nearly 90! After such an unusual trip we arrived 1 minute late, but saw no sign of a fitter, the Newton Heath men hooked off and went on their merry way (the 26A men were booked to work a train back from Preston, and we at 26F had a Fish train from Law Junction to Oldham Road). When the Preston men relieved us to take the '11.20 papers' north I put my express lamps on and I explained to the driver and fireman what had happened.
Our return trip to Manchester was delayed - the fully-fitted Fish train arrived at Preston more than an hour behind schedule at 2.15am, but as the train rolled into the platform I couldn't have wished for a more welcoming sight - it was my favourite 'Jubilee' class 5596 Bahamas and looking in super condition. When we arrived at Manchester we headed up Platting Bank, then at Miles Platting Station propelled our train back down the bank into Oldham Road Goods Yard, hooked off and headed light engine to Patricroft Shed…the end of a good nights work, signed off, and home James...
If a publisher was seeking a sure fire winner to add to their list of new titles then they need look no further than former Railway Press & PR Officer Neil Johnson's anecdotes about the railway industry when he was based at the Railway Technical Centre (RTC) Derby. Here Neil regales us with the third in his series of stories from the land of the railway press office (the first two are still under construction).
MORE TALES FROM 'AULTY TOWERS'
By Neil Johnson
Like many former railwaymen, my interest in trains and railways goes back to boyhood days and this has stayed with me through my entire life. The Derby area perhaps more than anywhere else in the UK, even worldwide, boasts an unparalleled history and input in the rail industry from its earliest days to the present time. During my career with the railways, I befriended a number of footplate staff; drivers past and present, firemen and second men, and those who had started their driving career as cleaners. You don't have to look far in and around Derby before you find someone who has ridden the rails for a living.
My old neighbours, the Holland's, were a family with a strong railway pedigree. Alf Holland had been a fireman during the Fifties and his father-in-law, Eddie Prince, had been a top link driver of considerable note and one of the first drivers to test the early LMS mainline diesels Nos 10000-1 in 1947.
Following his retirement in the early Seventies, Eddie Prince joined me on a jaunt to the then newly-preserved Severn Valley Railway and his first action upon stepping off the bus was to climb into the cab of a Stanier 'Black 5' - 'Great engines these,' he mused, 'They could do any job they were given. I always liked it when I was paired with one of these…'
Eddie Prince may have been an early diesel pioneer of some fame, but clearly his heart was still with the old steam workhorse that he had known throughout most of his working life.
(Below) A tantalising glimpse of HG Ivatt's first Co-Co twin No 10000 at Derby on 18 May 1948. Although this photo was taken some five months after British Railways was formed, the locomotive is still sporting its striking black and silver livery and raised LMS lettering on the bodyside. No 10000 was put into traffic working as a single unit on the MR main line under the watchful eye of Derby. It was joined by sister engine No 10001 for further tests to assess their performance coupled together as a 3,200hp multiple unit on the West Coast Main Line.
Alf Holland went on to tell me about one particular day as a young fireman when he was called upon to pair with his fiancé's father on an express turn from Derby to St Pancras. He was apprehensive at the prospect of working with his girlfriend's dad but equally keen to make a good impression. The loco was an elderly Midland Compound, a regular performer on the route, but by the 1950s the 4-4-0s (introduced to traffic in 1924) were getting a little long in the tooth.
Their journey was uneventful to begin with; Alf minded his P's & Q's and ensured he tackled everything absolutely spot on, but things were about to take a turn for the worse as he prepared to dip the scoop to pick up water from the troughs near Wellingborough.
Alf told me - 'I had just unscrewed the mechanism right down and then pulled it back a couple of turns to ensure we got just the right amount of water, but I was a trifle late in pulling it back and we hit the troughs with the scoop fully extended. The result was the tender overflowed with icy water, cascading a torrent of coal down into the cab and washing it right off the engine!'
The upshot was they reached St Pancras with a spotlessly-clean cab but barely a couple of shovelfuls of coal to keep the firebox at the required heat. It was a sobering lesson at such a young age.
A footnote to this story may give the young site visitor some idea of the way authoritarian-style conventions were often at odds back in the Fifties. Whilst the youthful Alf was considered old enough to fire a London express (not to mention the responsibility he had for the safety of hundreds of passengers) his fiancé's father still held him accountable for seeing his daughter was back home by ten every evening!
(Above-Below) Dipping the scoop to replenish the water at speed required a high degree of skill…here 'Black 5' No 44690 skims over Salwick Water Troughs between Preston and Kirkham on 3rd June 1963. (Below) 'Jubilee' class No 45647 Sturdee takes on more water than its 4,000 gallon tender capacity can cope with at Salwick Troughs on 23rd October 1966.
Characters abounded on the railways in times past, particularly those who drove and maintained Britain's grimy Goliaths; Alf told me on a couple of occasions of another fireman called Ginger, who, if bored when firing on a slow moving goods train, would literally step out of the cab and take a walk along the running plate to the front of the engine then around the smokebox before returning to the cab by the driver's side…all whilst the engine chuffed and chugged along! Goodness knows what his drivers thought about such behaviour, not to mention the goggle-eyed signalmen along the route.
Sadly neither Eddie Prince nor Alf Holland are with us as the 21st century rolls on, they have moved on to that great roundhouse in the sky, but their tales of the footplate and reminiscences will always be with me.
Likewise whilst working at Derby's Rail Technical Centre I spent many happy hours chatting to Pete Skelton, an ex-Nottingham fireman. He joined the railways in the early Fifties, or as Pete succinctly puts it - 'They were so short of staff at loco sheds they gave you five bob if you signed up.'
Pete even enticed an old school mate out of a job as a butcher's boy to join him cleaning engines. It was not long before both of them acquired firing turns on expresses down the Great Central mainline at the tender age of 17. By the end of the decade he had switched to the clerical ranks, yet he never lost his affection for those he had toiled and sweated with. In his opinion 'They were real blokes…'
In his latter role as the supremo for the Rail Centre's cash office, he brightened the lives of many with his humour and tales from the footplate. If you were having a bad day, then a wander down to Pete's abode to collect your expenses always brightened the mood. As a queue formed for the two o'clock opening, Pete would sometimes greet the ensemble with - 'Crikey! You lot are impatient for your beer money today aren't you!' This he normally followed up with the first two verses of Gray's elegy or a literary gem of similar standing - if however the awaiting line was purely male, more than likely his opening gambit was a ditty that began with 'Whisky, women, cards and dice...'
Modesty forbids me from regaling the remainder.
Pete once took me over to see some of his old footplate pals: it was one of the most enjoyable evenings of my life. One old boy told me with pride how he began his railway career as a telegraph boy for the Great Northern Railway, but before they ever let him near an engine he had spent hours in a gloomy office, signing footplate-men on and off duty: the company issued him with half a pencil with strict instructions to make it last for he would not get another for three months.
Even during my early days with BR, such frugality was not uncommon.
One driver that Peter worked with was a frustrated mathematician and every time they stopped for signals he would get his chalk out and teach him advanced arithmetical techniques and trigonometry on the loco cab floor - perhaps his driver's impromptu maths lessons were the catalyst that prepared Pete for his future life as a cashier?
I remember clearly whilst as a young relief clerk spending a couple of days working with Pete on the warrant travel section; he arrived at the office one morning in extra ebullient mood. On Nottingham station whilst switching from the Radcliffe train to the one for Derby, he had bumped into one of his old drivers who he had not seen for over two decades.
'We did a little jig!' he exclaimed -'the entire gathering on the platform was staring at us! I remember one day we were on a return working from Rugby to Nottingham with a tank engine and he asked me how much water I thought we had left in the side tanks; he was speculating on whether we should replenish the tanks at the next water column - 'Let's test our skill,' he said, 'we'll be extra economical.'
Well, after passing three other columns at which we could have stopped to top up before reaching Victoria station, I was sweating cobs and continuously looking at the gauge waiting for the explosion that would take us all to Kingdom come. By the time we steamed back to Colwick sheds the tanks were bone dry!
When I asked why we had done it, he answered - 'Just to see if we could!'
(Above Left-Below) Team effort! Both driver and fireman replenish the side tanks of a BR Standard Class 4 tank at Woking. No fewer than 155 of these sturdy Class 4 2-6-4Ts were built between 1951 and 1956; 130 at Brighton, 10 at Doncaster and 15 at Derby Works. (Below) The Derby team was also responsible for constructing the bulk of the new BR Standard Class 5 4-6-0s. The first of the class, No 73000, was outshopped from Derby in April 1951 and the last No 73154 (one of thirty fitted with Caprotti valve gear and poppet valves) rolled off the production line in June 1957. This was the last steam locomotive to be built at Derby, thus bringing to an end a long and proud tradition at the Derby Works - a total of 2941 steam locomotives were constructed at Derby between 1851 and 1957.
Peter was one of many who relayed their stories with both unwavering loyalty and immense pride at the job they had once undertaken. Recently I was chatting to another old driver who had been a young fireman in wartime, often deputising on the footplate for many older colleagues pulled into the forces - 'Make no mistake,' he told me, 'The railways as much as anything won the war for Britain.'
Indeed it is difficult for many these days to comprehend the importance of Britain's railways before the motorway age, particularly in freight haulage. Nearby Toton in addition to Chaddesden sidings and Rowsley to the north once boasted gigantic marshalling yards. Even today Toton is of significance on the railway map; car drivers traversing the A52 can still witness a labyrinth of lines.
Returning when I can to Derby, I try to enjoy certain events as well as the company of friends; in addition to the annual summer beer festival, I love the model railway show in the Assembly rooms; undoubtedly, one of the best in the country. Older Derbians will recall Syd Sharratt's shop which stood on the long gone Cockpit Hill opposite the bus station.
When I arrived in Derbyshire at the start of my teens one of my first purchases was a model loco (Hornby Dublo Class 8F) from this very emporium, a wonderful vista for a thirteen year-old lad. Just recently, over four and a half decades later, my model engine needed its first overhaul. I forwarded it to master of models Bob Denny who formerly had a model shop on the corner opposite Long Eaton station (once known as Sawley Junction). Now an octogenarian, Bob has lost none of his skills and the 8F was returned in superb running condition. Here too is a local chap of immense railway lineage - both he and his father were footplate men at Toton before he too made the switch to work in the Railway offices at Derby's Nelson Street HQ. In Bob's case as a young man he worked on the Beyer Garratt's, the largest locos ever to take to Britain's tracks. These articulated steaming behemoths were built especially for the sole purpose of conveying coal from the Derby/Notts coal field to southern England. They consumed a vast amount of coal themselves as they hauled immensely long trains of black gold south. No doubt they were also taxing work for loco crews. Trains still snake out of Toton but the visual drama is not what it once was.
(Below) In 1927 the LMS recognised the need to provide a more powerful locomotive to take over the heavy Toton to Brent coal trains worked by double-headed 0-6-0s. Built by Beyer Peacock of Manchester, the 2-6-6-2 Beyer-Garratt provided a tractive effort of 45,620lb and was essentially two 2-6-0s with one large centrally-placed boiler common to both. Although the Beyer-Garratt was by far the biggest of the LMS locomotives (length 87ft 10½in) the distribution of the axle load conformed to the severe loading restrictions on the route. A further thirty were built with rotary coal bunkers in 1930, including No 47994 seen here at Toton shed.
My only pal still driving is another Derby lad who I will refer to by his nickname 'Nooge'. A decade and half ago when I was still a Public Relations Officer, I was lucky enough to spend a working afternoon with Nooge on the past Denby branch; a true rural gem threading its way through Little Eaton and Coxbench.
Nooge, I shall state, is like the railmen of old and quite a character - in the olden days, drivers progressed from cleaning and firing - today a trainman concept is in place and many of the 21st century drivers were once guards, ticket collectors, shunters and other 'hands on' occupations.
In Nooge's case he did the lot before becoming a driver. One of his favourite tales is rather risqué but amusing. When still a young passenger guard, he was working on a late evening London-Derby train when he encountered a group of young women returning from the capital after a day out....all were worse for wear after more than a few drinks, and some had mislaid their tickets. One in particular could not find her travelling docket...
'You must have a ticket M'duck' said Nooge - 'Are you sure you can't find it?'
In a fit of giggles the girl in question raised her skirt significantly showing ample and shapely legs - 'Can't you take it out of that?' she cheekily suggested.
'I was hoping you'd have something smaller!' replied my pal.
During my entire life the connection with trains and humour has always been present. In the old Derby Works, folk often spoke of the 'Railway Sense of Humour'.
I like to think it is still alive and well!
(Below) We started this feature with the Derby-built LMS pioneer main line diesels Nos 10000/1, and so it seems appropriate to end with another diesel class that rolled off Derby's assembly line. In 1959 the BR works was responsible for building the BR/Sulzer 2,300hp 1Co-Co1 Nos D1-D10 as part of the British Transport Commission's (BTC's) pilot scheme orders. These orders were placed by the BTC in order to evaluate the performance of different types of diesels in service conditions. The ten Type 4 'Peak' locomotives were extremely heavy, turning the scale at more than 138 tons which necessitated the use of the cumbersome 1Co-Co1 wheel arrangement to help distribute their weight. The Peaks had the dubious distinction of being the heaviest, yet they had a neat appearance - the nose-end closely resembling that of Derby's earlier LMS pioneers No 10000/1. All ten locomotives (Class 44) were named after Welsh or English mountains, and the name 'Peaks' was subsequently dubbed on the production models. Here the doyen of the class, No D1 Scafell Pike, poses for the official photographer at Derby prior to entering service in September 1959.
Neil has a host of other tales to tell from the land of the railway press office and these will be added in due course...
(Below) Richard Greenwood's 'Rail Cameraman' page 53 HERE now contains over 180 colour photos of steam days up north, including a selection of shots featuring the Stanier 'Moguls'. On taking charge of the LMS loco design office in 1933 William Stanier built a number of 2-6-0s of similar power to the Crabs with all his refinements of taper boilers and high pressure boilers. Only 40 were built and they were mostly allocated to ex-LNWR sheds. Works repairs to the Stanier 2-6-0s were carried out at Horwich, and so the sight of this class at Rochdale on running-in turns was not unusual. On 16 September 1963 a polar air stream allowed the brilliant sunshine to last right up to sunset and highlight every detail on number 42982 recently outshopped after a General Repair. It has arrived in Rochdale at 7.37pm on the 5.40pm stopper from Liverpool Exchange. Having uncoupled from the train the Mogul has run forward, switched over to the up main line and is heading to Castleton where it will turn on the triangle and then return to Rochdale. Eventually it will return to Bolton on the 10.45pm stopper. Sunset that day was at 8.12pm...
HELP! I've recently received an email from Paul Underwood appealing for a photograph of 'Black 5' No 45065. Paul writes - 'Hi David, I love looking at your photo collections which bring back many happy memories of my early days on steam locos. I worked at Aston MPD 1956 to 1963 and took a few photos with Box Brownie. I am compiling a photo scheme of all of the Black 5s based at Aston during that period. I am short of one loco and that is 45065. Do you have a photo of that loco or know someone who has please? Best wishes, Paul...' Alas, I haven't...but I'm sure someone can help with Paul's search, his email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org Please note this is not a 'clickable' link via Outlook Express. You will have to email manually. Many thanks in anticipation.
ALL CHANGE AT STAFFORD
Above-Below) Stafford railway station lies at the junction of the Trent Valley Line and the Rugby-Birmingham-Stafford Line on the West Coast Main Line. The first station was built by the Grand Junction Railway and opened in July 1837. This was replaced by a second station in 1844, followed by a third and more grandiose architectural style in 1862, but this was swept away by the present station which was built as part of the modernisation programme when the West Coast Main Line was electrified in 1962. Here Hughes 'Crab' 2-6-0 No 42723 at Stafford in 1960. (Below) With evidence of modernisation well underway - part of the platform canopy and support columns have been removed, and a poster showing electrification progress occupies the wall of the Ladies Room - a couple of spotters cast quizzical looks from behind 'Patriot' class 4-6-0 No 45528 REME at the head of an 'up' train. Built in April 1933, this former paralleled boilered 'Patriot' (Baby Scot) suffered the ignominy of remaining nameless for 26 years! Rebuilt in September 1948, it wasn't until September 1959 that No 45528 was named REME after the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. The loco was among five members of the class withdrawn in1963; it was cut up at Crewe Works in April of that year.
(Above-Below) Ivan Whitehouse, who was a fireman on the Midland Bushbury Shed (3B) from 1957 to 1963, took these shots of Stafford station on a 'borrowed' camera in 1958. The first one shows Rebuilt 'Royal Scot' class No 46129 The Scottish Horse awaiting departure with a northbound train. (Below) 'Jubilee' class 4-6-0 No 45586 Mysore is standing in the south bay on platform 1.
(Above-Below) Missing its smokebox numberplate, Class 3F 0-6-0T No 47475 looks oddly antiquated whilst on station pilot duty at Stafford in 1958. An unusual feature of the 'Jinty' 0-6-0T was the position of the sandboxes; access was gained via a recess in the tank sides so that they could be filled. This shot by Ivan Whitehouse reminds me of my childhood days when Tri-ang produced a 00 gauge model of the Class 3F in the 1960s. Now am I the only one who assumed it was a clockwork model, that the hole in the side was for the key? Just one question...where does the word 'Jinty' come from? (Below) Whilst on the subject of nicknames for locos, how long will it be before the colloquial use of the term 'Black 5' is construed as racially offensive? This is not as daft as it may sound. The irony of today's barmy PC world can be judged by a recent court case involving two Premiership players and an alleged racist remark during a game. Now I'm not about to go into the ins-and outs of it here; what I will say is that when the media covered the day's evidence in court - the one word deemed offensive enough to warrant a court case was the only one that did not require censorship…the rest (swear words) were obliterated in a blizzard of asterisks…the offensive word, of course, was 'black'…it's a crazy world. Here 'Stanier 'Black 5' No 44949 pilots 'Britannia' class 7MT No 70046 Anzac on a 'down' express through Stafford in 1960. (Inset above) A nameplate from the BR Standard Britannia Class 4-6-2 No 70046 Anzac went under the hammer for £8,000 at a great Central Railwayana Auction in April 2011. Built at Crewe and named in September 1959, No 70046 was allocated new to Holyhead in July 1954 and later Crewe North, Longsight, Willesden, Aston, then back to Holyhead again, before being transferred to Banbury and finally Carlisle Kingmoor from where it was withdrawn during the first week of July 1967. It was sold to Campbells, Airdrie on 3 October 1967 The loco takes its name from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps formed during WW1.
(Above-Below) For many years the West Coast Main Line had to operate under the baleful influence of modernisation. The nature of engineering work required for the installation of electrification masts included the lifting of road bridges, or lowering of track level to obtain the neccessary clearance for the overhead catenary. The WCML from Euston to Crewe required work on 78% of the 904 bridges concerned, whilst on the 44 mile between Crewe and Manchester, 82% of the bridges had to be rebuilt. Inevitably, the phase of modernisation involved prolonged disruption of train services. The bridge clearance work involved can be gleaned from this shot of EE Co Type 4 No D218 - later to be named Carmania in July 1961 - heading through Stafford in 1960. The EE locomotives Nos D210-D235 were named after ships operated by the companies Cunard Line, Elder Dempster Lines, and Canadian Pacific Steamships, which were associated with sailings to the port of Liverpool. (Below) The stunning images from the NMSI collection show the quality of poster art to be seen on station platforms across the country during the 1950-60s. For the record, the NMSI family is comprised of four award-winning museums, each with their own diverse identity: the Science Museum, the National Media Museum and, of course, the National Railway Museum (NRM) at York which houses the world's pre-eminent railway collection. Spread across three halls, the Great Hall - formerly the steam engine shed (50A) - is complete with a working turntable, while the Station Hall (previously York's central goods depot) is now laid out like a 'period' railway station. However, the NMSI's full collection is so big that only 8% of the artefacts are on public view. The rest are hidden-away just off the M4, on an ex-WW2 airfield. The Science Museum Swindon is a massive site housing collections ranging from the iconic Lockheed Constellation airliner to super computers, bicycles and the last Fleet Street printing press. The NMSI Collections Online is a superb website which displays countless thousands of objects including a range of fabulous railway travel posters...a visit is highly recommended. This British Railways (London Midland Region) poster - 'London Midland Electrification' was painted by John Greene in 1963 and depicts an AL1 class (later known as Class 81) locomotive with a passenger train in the new Stafford station. An electric multiple unit is waiting at an adjacent platform. The text beneath reads - 'Manchester, Liverpool, Crewe, Birmingham, London, still making good progress'
(Below) A mention must be made of the LMS-Patriot Project's praiseworthy aim to build a new 'Patriot' class steam locomotive to be completed in time for the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice in 2018. The new engine will be named 'The Unknown Warrior' upholding the tradition of former railway companies (in this case, the LNWR and LMS) who bestowed war memorial names on engines to commemorate the brave men and women who served the country in wartime. Click here to visit the site.
(Above) When HG Ivatt became CME at the LMS, his aim was to improve the performance of existing steam classes and several modifications were made to a batch of Stanier 'Black 5' 4-6-0s, including the replacement of the Walschaerts valve gear with the Caprotti variety. Additionally, several members of the class were fitted with double blast pipes and chimneys, including No 44687, seen here at Stafford on 3rd June 1952.
(Above-Below) Following the energisation of overhead catenaries on the West Coast Main Line south of Crewe (where the wires had been installed to clear 13ft 1ins loading gauge instead of the normal 13ft 6ins height gauge) diagonal yellow stripes were painted across the cabside of locomotives denoting their prohibition from working in electrified areas. The relaxation in clearance was permitted by the Minister of Transport to avoid the costly programme of rebuilding certain bridges and tunnels. Some of the classes prohibited included: 'Royal Scots'; 'Patriots'; 'Jubilees'; Class 4F, 7Fs and 'Coronation' Pacifics which carried the compulsory cabside stripe. The engines permitted to work in electrifies areas had their smokebox door lamp bracket moved to a lower position to prevent locomen climbing up to chimney height in the vicinity of the 25kV overhead wires. There is still four years to go in these shots of 'Jubilee' class No 45556 Novia Scotia (above) and 45688 Polyphemus (below) before the official ban south of Crewe began on September 1st 1964.
ER MORTEN GALLERY
(Above) Midland Pullman at St Pancras station on 15th June 1962. Initially shown to the general public at Marylebone Station on June 23rd 1960 these trains were a revelation on the railways of the day. There were five trains, comprised of two six-car sets having first class only, which ran the Midland services, and the three eight-car sets, which ran between Paddington and Bristol and also between Paddington and Wolverhampton via Birmingham, which had first and second class accommodation. The Midland Pullman entered service between London St Pancras and Manchester on 4th July 1960 and ceased at the start of electric-hauled trains between Manchester and Euston. (Below) Sporting a 55A (Holbeck) shedplate on the smokebox door, Caprotti 'Black 5' No 44755 rests at the buffer stops at St Pancras on 2nd August 1961.
(Above-Inset-Below) The official photographer captures an interesting display of advertisements near the entrance to the gentlemen's toilets at Euston station in 1944. Although government propaganda posters were produced in large numbers during World War II, commercial advertising continued unabated; here we see posters for Mackintosh's Quality Street chocolates, Swan Vesta matches, Duraflex shoes, Beecham's Lung Syrup, Dewar's White Label whisky, military uniform tailors and religious tracts. (Inset) An elevated view of Euston's Platform 13 prior to departure of 'The Royal Scot' circa 1933. Introduced in 1862, the Anglo-Scottish express left Euston station daily at 10 am for the 400 mile journey to Glasgow. (Below) 'Royal Scot' class 4-6-0 locomotive No 6139 Welch Regiment makes a spirited start from Euston station in 1928. These photos are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence. In a nutshell, this means they are free for non-commercial use as long as you credit '© National Railway Museum and SSPL' and add a link to the page of origin, in this case, the NRM's Euston Collection HERE.
To be continued...
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