(Above-Inset-Below) The post-war 'baby-boomers' (at the top of page) will have no genuine sense of nostalgia for the 'Big Four' pre-nationalised railway companies since they didn't start train spotting until after BR was formed, so the heady days of 'Apple Green' and 'Garter Blue' liveries fall outside their spotting experience. But I must include this shot of Class A4 No 4499 Sir Murrough Wilson approaching York from the north with an 'up' train in 1939. No other locomotive made such an remarkable impact than the first member of the class, No 2509 Silver Link, when it averaged a speed of 100mph for 43 miles during its famous press run on the 'Silver Jubilee' on 27th September 1935. The train was named to mark the Silver Jubilee of King George V, and the first four A4s Nos 2509-12 carried names with a silver theme and emerged from Doncaster 'Plant' in a silver-grey livery to match the train set. (Inset) Fast-forward twenty-odd years to the Fifties, and Class A4 60017 Silver Fox heads the northbound 'Flying Scotsman' through York...this was one of the first shots taken by a young aspiring railway phtographer Barry Hilton with his trusty Kodak Brownie 127. (Below) Another day...another A4, 60021 Wild Swan passes Holgate station with the famous Anglo-Scottish express.
(Inset Left & Right-Below) A couple of readers have written in to say that a page devoted to the railway centre at York is not complete without mention of the National Railway Museum in the city - I agree. It is a gross oversight on my part. When you have a major attraction like the NRM slap bang on the doorstep it is all too easy to take it for granted, and so I am happy to redress the imbalance here. In fact, the timing of this posting coincides with the museum's plans for a historic reunion to mark the 75th anniversary of one of the NRM's star attractions, Class A4 Mallard, which broke the world speed record for steam in 1939.
A spectacular family reunion is planned for a celebratory programme of events in 2013, including a line-up of all six surviving A4 locomotives in the world! Now that's something worth waiting for!
After all, the Class A4 is a major source of international pride for rail enthusiasts and I suspect the country as a whole - the iconic streamlined front-end is on a par with the sleek shape of Concorde - and, for those old enough to remember, the E Type Jag! And so it is wonderful news to hear that two expatriate Class A4s Nos 60008 and 60010 have found their way back to Britain. Following the withdrawal of No 60010 Dominion of Canada in May 1965, the loco was restored at Crewe Works here prior to being donated to the Canadian Railroad Historical Association (CRHA) for display at the Canadian Railway Museum at Delson/Saint-Constant, Quebec near Montreal.
Similarly, Class A4 No 60008 Dwight D Eisenhower was withdrawn from Kings Cross shed in 1963 and restored at Doncaster Works in readiness for display alongside the Union Pacific's articulated 4-8-8-4 'Big-Boy' No 4017 (Right) at the US National Railroad Museum, Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Photographer Ray Hindle writes - 'Compared to the sleek lines of 60008 the 'Big Boy' is a brute of a loco. It is rumoured that during WW2, German agents sent reports of Union Pacific using giant coal-hauling locos with 100 plus cars attached measuring over 2km in length. Nobody believed them!
But having sat in the engineers seat, I can tell you I've stayed in hotel rooms smaller than that cab!'
(Above-Below) Originally named 'Golden Shuttle', No 60008 (its later BR number) was renamed Dwight D Eisenhower in recognition of his service as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces during World War 2 (Eisenhower later became the 34th President of the United States 1953-1961). These shots by Ken Livermore of the repatriated 60008 & 60010 at Shildon will whet the appetite. Nick Newport and Ken made a 540 miles round trip from Reading to Shildon to photograph them. Ken writes - 'It was well worth the effort and saved us several thousand air miles! Full marks to the NRM!' Indeed it is due to the sterling efforts of the National Railway Museum at York that the A4 duo are now back on home soil. The museum not only houses the largest collection of railway objects in the world, but admission is absolutely free - a good excuse to take the Missus and kids for a brilliant day out! Click here to visit the excellent NRM website.
(Above-Inset-Below) After nationalisation in 1948, the newly-formed British Railways began experimenting with a number of liveries with a view to adopting a future standard for its express-passenger engines of a 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 ex-SR 'Merchant Navy', the ex-LMSR Pacifics, the ex-GWR 'King' class 4-6-0s and the Peppercorn and Gresley Pacifics of the Eastern and North Eastern Regions. The repainting was started before the first British Railways totem device had been designed and BRITISH RAILWAYS was painted in full on the tender sides. (Above) Still awaiting its new five-digit smokebox numberplate, Class A3 No 60072 Sunstar heads the southbound Tees-Tyne Pullman out of York.(Inset Right) This locomotive nameplate, Sunstar, is from the LNER A1 Class 4-6-2 built by the North British Locomotive Co, Works No 23109, in September 1924, LNER No 2571. It was rebuilt and re-classified as an A3 in July 1941 and renumbered 72 in 1946, becoming BR 60072. It was allocated new to Gateshead in October 1924 and later to Tweedmouth, Copley Hill, Holbeck and finally Heaton again from where it was withdrawn in October 1962. After six months in store at Blaydon, it was cut up at Doncaster Works in May 1963. The loco was named after the racehorse, owned by Mr J B Joel, which won the 1911 Derby and 2000 Guineas. The plate - clearly stamped '2571' and '72' on the back - was mounted on a detailed wooden splasher with rivets and went under the hammer at a recent Great Central Railwayana Auction. (Below) Yet to be named 'Curlew', Class A1 No 60122 heads a motley collection of coaching stock out of York.
(Above Below) Another oldie from the excellent Cecil Ord collection. Environmentalists will deifinitely not approve of this shot of Class C7 4-4-2 No 2156 blasting out of York with a special train for the south. A total of 50 Class C7s were built between 1911-1918, but only 14 survived into nationalistation in 1948 - they were all gone by the end of the year....I recently received a letter from Cecil Ord's daughter, Madeline, regarding her late father's collection. Madeline writes - 'Hi, when dad died in 1967, his photographs and plates were dispersed, with a large number going to Peter Wilson of Darlington. My sister and I have little idea of where these and others now reside; despite several enquiries we have drawn a blank. Only out of curiosity are we wondering if you are able to help with the whereabouts of his photographs or plates. We would like to think they have found a good home! Many thanks, Madeline....' If anyone can help, Madeline's email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org (please note this is a non-clickable address to avoid spam, but you can email manually). (Below) The new British Railways colours also included carmine and cream for its mainline coaching stock, or 'blood and custard' as the livery became popularly known. This livery can be seen midway along the stock of the up 'Northumbrian' express headed by a blue Class A4 No 60003 Andrew K McCosh at York.
(Above-Below) This photo of Class A1 Pacific No 60127 departing from York with an 'up' express is just one of the many thousands of images to be found on the Colour-Rail website. Established more than twenty years ago, Colour-Rail has built its reputation as the premier source of high quality images of road and rail transport throughout the ages. These are available in a range of formats including online downloads, high quality prints, duplicate slides and in large format for gifts. Colour-Rail's website has an excellent search facility. Click here to visit the site.
(Right) Inspired by this evocative photo of Grandfather JC Tate and other railway workers posed on the front of a locomotive circa 1920, Mike Tate contacted the site via email seeking identification of the others in the photo - JCT is first in the bottom row. The photo prefix '4102' may identify the photographer or agency. Mike's address is dreambase-at-aol.com - you will have to replace the '-at-' with @ and email manually. Any help is much appreciated. Thank you.
(Below) Not sure of the full details to the photo below, my thanks to Vic Smith of York for supplying the caption information and suggested link. Flanked by the ancient Grade 1 listed City Walls on the right and York Minster on the horizon, the footbridge spanning the main line provides the photographer with this splendid view of the 1839-built 4-road York and North Midland Railway's (Y&NM) engine shed on 11th July 1937. Reposing in the shed yard from left to right: LMS Fowler Compound 4-4-0 No 1047 (BR 41047), LNER Gresley K3 2-6-0 No 2934 (BR 61925) and NER Worsdell J71 0-6-0T 482 (BR 68268). Vic writes - 'This photo was probably taken during the shed's last days; the 1931 OS maps shows the building in use as an engine shed with the carriage shed built behind, whereas In 1937 the engine shed became a carriage shed and the building behind was converted into a Lost Property Office. Beyond the buffer stops can be seen the water tank with the white walled turntable well in front. The building on the extreme right is the original 1928 Railway Museum. The overall scene has changed since 1937. The footbridge has gone and the shed replaced with a car park. The water tank behind the buffer stops still remains and is now a Grade 2 listed building; the tank continues to display a Y&NM plate on the tank side. Click here to visit the interesting York stories heritage page...'
(Above-Left) By way of a change here are two shots of ex-LMS locos to illustrate the spotting potential of a visit to York during steam days. Adding to the loco variety is unnamed 'Patriot' class No 45517 heading south through Holgate Junction and 'Jubilee' class 45582 Trafalgar with the bag in at 50A.
(Below) A busy moment at York station on 2nd May 1964 with Class B1 61031 Reedbuck heading the RCTS 'North Eastern Limited' which arrived from Newcastle behind Class A3 60051 Blink Bonny. The B1 continued via Malton, Seamer, Falsgrave Junction (Scarborough) to gain the scenic coastal route via Robin Hoods Bay to Prospect Hill Junction, Whitby. After running tender first into Whitby Town, the railtour continued via the Esk Valley line to Battersby and on to Middlesborough, where withdrawn Class Q7 No 63460 (specially reinstated for this tour) contined the journey via Thornaby, Bowesfield and Redmarshall junctions, Wynyard, Wellfield, Murton, Penshaw Junction, Ryhope Junction and Sunderland back to Newcastle Central. Another Class A3 at York that day was preserved 4472 Flying Scotsman seen on the left awaiting the arrival of 60106 Flying Fox on the Gresley Society 'London North Eastern Flyer' from Kings Cross. No 4472 headed the railtour to Darlington and return trip to Doncaster where 60106 took the final leg back to Kings Cross. Class B16 No 61463 awaits signals on the right. Click here to visit the the definitive railtour guide on the web - 'Six Bells Junction'.
(Below) A locomotive nameplate 'Reedbuck' from the LNER B1 Class 4-6-0 No 1031 (later BR 61031) went under the hammer for £7,400 at a Great Central Railwayana Auction on 13th October 2012. Built at Darlington in July 1947, the loco was allocated new to Leeds Copley Hill shed; its later sheds included Bradford, Thornaby, York and Ardsley from where it was withdrawn on 9th November 1964 and cut up by Drapers at Hull in May 1965. The Reedbuck name refers to a greyish-brown species of antelope which inhabits grassy swamps across West to East Africa...
(Above-Below) The English Electric Co's 3,300hp 'Deltic' Co-Co heads south out of York on a test run - just visible are cables trailing from the window of the rear cab to the LNER's Dynamometer Car No DB99950, the leading coach in the ensemble. The burley proportions of this prototype seemed to stretch the loading gauge to the limit. During a proving run to Berwick it dislodged chunks of platform-edge coping at Manors Station, Newcastle - and a close encounter with a platform at Darlington cost a new set of cabside steps. As a result, the prototype was employed mainly on the ECML south of Leeds, and photos of 'Deltic' at York are rare. In view of the clearance problems, the production fleet of 22 locomotives appeared with a revised bodyside contour swept in at the waist to comply with the rigid restrictions of the British loading gauge - no more than 9ft wide over the body and 7ft 6ins below the underframes. The difference in body style can be seen further down the page.
(Below) An incoming 'Hunt' class 4-4-0 alerts a group of spotters at York station and (beneath it) they check the numbers in their Ian Allan abc books. These 'stills' are from the 1953 British Transport Film (BTF) 'This is York' - a behind the scenes look at the staff working at York Station as seen through the eyes of the Station Master...pure nostalgia. Click here to watch the film uploaded to You Tube by David Bromage..
(Below) Most biographers' version of Edward Thompson's reign as CME of the LNER (1941-1946) is that of a man dedicated to diminishing Gresley's record at Doncaster. His decision to rebuild the original Gresley Pacific - GNR Class A10 No 1470 Great Northern, built at Doncaster in April 1922, later numbered No 4470 by the LNER in 1925 - was seen as a calculated move to discredit his predecessor's legacy. This is supported by his controversial rebuilding of another Gresley design - the six Class P2 2-8-2s - into new Class A2 Pacifics. Whatever one's opinions there is an interesting exchange of views accompanying a photo of Great Northern on ex-signalman Keith Long's excellen' Flickr site. Cabsaab
(Above-Inset-Below) Borrowing my sister's battered Kodak Brownie 127 camera for a day's spotting trip to York, I hadn't a hope of freezing the action of this Standard Class 5 No 73167 and Class A3 (below) heading 'up' trains in August 1959. A year later, though, and the most basic of Kodak models whetted my appetite for buying a new camera with a range of shutter speeds and 'f' numbers on the lens barrel. But what did all those confounding numbers mean? I hadn't the foggiest! Had it not been for a friendly photographer giving me a quick lesson on aperture settings and optimum shutter speeds on my first 35mm camera - an Halina 35X, which I'd bought on the 'never-never' from mum's mail order catalogue - my attempt at photographing Class A1 No 60116 Hal o' the Wynd on the 'up' 'Heart of Midlothian' on April 20th 1960 would have been a complete waste of time. No 60116 was one of 17 locomotives in the class that perpetuated names borne by the former NBR 'Atlantics' and 'Scott' class engines after characters in the books of Sir Walter Scott - Hal o' the Wynd was the blacksmith in 'The Fair Maid of Perth'. The remainder were named after racehorses, birds and names associated with the LNER's constituent companies and their loco superintendents. Both photos © D Hey
(Above) Class A3 No 60064 Tagalie restarts a train for Newcastle beneath the great arched roof at York station on April 20th 1960. On the left, a BRCW 3-car set awaits departure for Scarborough. The dmu service commenced on March 17th 1960, replacing most of the weekday steam-hauled passenger services to the Yorkshire coast, the majority of which were through workings from Leeds. Photo © D Hey
(Below) The preservation movement was born in the hope that at least one example of a class could be saved, though some classes faired less better than others. The Class A1 Pacifics had the distinction of being the last express passenger locomotive to be designed by a pre-nationalisation company, but none survived the cutter's torch. The first A1, No 60114, entered traffic just 8 months after British Railways was formed, therefore it never carried an LNER number. The locos were constructed consecutively at Doncaster (26) and Darlington (23) and all 49 were completed by the end of 1949. By the summer of 1966, however, all had gone for scrap, the last being No 60145, after a working life of just 17 years. A study of Gresley Class V2s and Peppercorn A1s inside the roundhouse at 50A in 1963. By January 1964, York's allocation of Class V2s totalled 26 and its allocation of A1s consisted of Nos 60120-21/24/26/38/40-1/43/45-47/50/55 - 13 in all. By 1966 all the A1s had gone after an average life of only 15 years, the last from York depot. Sadly, none survived the cutter's torch - and out of a total of 184 Class V2s, one remains, No 60800 Green Arrow, which has found a home at the NRM. Photo © B Lister
(Above) This view of cleaners sprucing up Class A1 No 60140 Balmoral at York shed in October 1963 gave photographer, Brian Lister, a preliminary glimpse of things to come, as the building came under the auspices of the National Railway Museum ten years later. Work began in January 1973 with Number 3 and 4 roundhouses destined to become the NRM's main hall. The No 3 shed possessed a 60ft turntable whereas No 4 shed had a 70ft turntable, both having radiating stalls providing an imaginative way of displaying locomotives and rolling stock. The removal of the smaller turntable caused some controversy, but this enabled the NRM to exhibit rolling stock on parallel lines. Ironically, the old steam shed - once filled with sulphurous smoke, hot oil and steam - is now designated a no-smoking area to visitors! Photo © B Lister. (Below) Sporting a Kings Cross (34A) shedplate on the smokebox door, Class A1 No 60139 Sea Eagle restarts a London-Newcastle train out of York.
(Above-Below) A favourite among steam enthusiasts today - Class A4 No 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley - one of six A4s to be preserved (four in Britain and two in North America) - is seen here at York performing duties for which it was not designed. It is hard to believe that this locomotive set a post-war world record for steam traction of 112mph on May 23rd 1959, almost a year to the day that this shot was taken on April 20th 1960. (Below) Mention is made earlier of Edward Thompson's reign as CME of the LNER between 1941 and 1946 as being that of a man dedicated to diminishing Gresley's reign as CME at Doncaster. On the other hand, supporters of Thompson will say that the rebuilding of certain loco classes was a sensible strategy given the need to standardise wherever possible during wartime conditions - and to give credit where it's due, Edward Thompson's first new loco design for the LNER - a 2-cylinder all-purpose Class B1 4-6-0 - was one of his most notable contributions. Due to the priority on economies of materials, he went to great lengths to save on costs by using existing patterns, jigs and tools at Darlington. In all, 409 engines were built, with 41 named after species of antelopes and 17 after LNER Directors. An 'up' freight headed by Class B1 No 61321 is overtaken by a pair of B1s at Dringhouses York in the 1950s. Today, two B1s survive in preservation - Nos 61264 and 61306. Photo © E A Wood-DH collection
(Above-Below) Forty members of Thompson's Class B1 4-6-0s were named after species of antelope and 18 after LNER directors. In all, 410 locomotives Nos 61000-61409 were constructed, the first batch of 40 emerging from Darlington works from 1942, including No 61037 Jairou seen here heading an 'up' freight over Waterworks Crossing on April 26th 1960. (Below) A more familiar antelope name, Impala, was carried by 61002, seen here awaiting departure with a train for Scarborough on 2nd July 1955.
(Below) A seemingly impatient Class V2 No 60964 The Durham Light Infantry blows off at signals with a southbound freight. (Inset Right and Left) A locomotive nameplate 'The Durham Light Infantry' appeared at a recent GEC Auction. The LNER V2 Class 2-6-2 No 3676 was built at Darlington, Works No 1904, in January 1943, renumbered 964 in 1946, becoming BR 60964. It was ceremonially named at Durham Station on 29th April 1958 by the Colonel of the Regiment. The choice of 60964 was appropriate as the loco spent the whole of its working life at nearby Gateshead and Heaton. It was withdrawn from Gateshead in May 1964 and, after short periods in store it was cut up at Swindon the following October. The surviving nameplate and 'splasher' is a one piece brass casting with the regimental badge fitted separately, with the original BR chromium plating. The integral splasher repainted green with orange lining and the background to the lettering red, original chrome to the lettering, border and badge, the back also completely untouched. This lot sold for £20,000 on 17th January 2009, while the smokebox numberplate of 60964 sold separately for £2,300.
(Above) Another locomotive nameplate from a Class V2 2-6-2 No 60847 'St Peters School York AD627' recently appeared for sale at auction. Originally numbered 4818, the V2 was built at Darlington in March 1939 and named at a ceremony at York station on 3rd April 1939 by JT Brocklebank, Head Boy of the school; this was one of two V2s named in honour of public schools in the north-east of England, the other being 'Durham School'. Doubtless others would have followed had it not being for the outbreak of World War ll. The loco was renumbered 847 in 1946, becoming 60847 upon nationalisation of the former 'Big Four' railway companies. Appropriately a York (50A) engine all its life, 60847 was withdrawn in July 1965 and after brief periods in store at York and Oxley it was removed to Cashmores at nearby Great Bridge where it was cut up the following October. The plate was repainted in the correct colours and the brass lightly polished, overall dimensions being 54" long and 15½" high. This lot sold for £24,000 at Great Central Railwayana Auctions on 25th April 2009. Click here to visit the GCR Auctions fascinating website.
(Below) The Class A2s Pacifics were early candidates for withdrawal, the first going in 1960. The original six members, Nos 60501-60506, were Edward Thompson rebuilds from the Gresley Class P2 2-8-2s, and introduced in 1944. The second batch, Nos 60507-60510 was a similar design with a V2 2-6-2 boiler and Pacific wheel arrangement, designated A2/1. A further Thompson development came with the construction of Nos 60500, named in his honour, and Nos 60511 to 60524 from 1946-1947, all designated A2/3. Following the appointment of AH Peppercorn as CME of the LNER, a further fifteen was built with a shorter wheelbase, designated A2s - and, as it turned out, the performance of the Peppercorn engines was in sharp contrast to the unreliable Thompson design. The first, No 525, was named A.H. Peppercorn and emerged from Doncaster works in December 1947, just a few days prior to nationalisation. Here, No 60526 Sugar Palm, which set a 101mph record for the class on Stoke Bank in 1961, was photographed at York, just a few months before withdrawal in October 1962. The last three Peppercorn A2/3s, Nos 60528, 60530 and 60532 Blue Peter soldiered on in eastern Scotland prior to withdrawal in June 1966. Photo © JR Carter
(Above) In 1960 BR's stock of steam locomotives shrank to less than 13,250, whilst the fleet of main line diesel increased by 409 to 842. In that same year, the Trans-Pennine units and Calder Valley sets were introduced in the north of England. On April 26th 1960, Class K1 2-6-0 No 62004 was photographed at York station heading a northbound loose-coupled freight. The 2-cylinder K1s were evolved from the Thompson 1945 rebuild of No 61997 MacCailin Mor (one of Gresley's original five 3-cylinder 'K4' 2-6-0s built for the West Highland line). In all, seventy K1s Nos 62001-62070 were constructed by the North British Locomotive Company during 1949/50.
(Below) York's station pilot Class J71 0-6-0T No 68256 moves empty coaching stock over Waterworks Crossing on 16th July 1950. This scene has radically changed since the remodelling of the rail layout at York in readiness for ECML electrification. The use of diamond crossings is now deemed out of favour, partly because of the high cost of maintenance and partly because of the ever-increasing demand for high-speed running. The Waterworks Diamonds were removed as early as 1974. Approaching the station from the south, ER Morten took this unusual shot of the breakdown train - unusual because most photographers would ignore a picture of the train, preferring instead to photograph the steam locomotive on the front. This, for me, is why ER Morten's photos are special.
(Above-Below) Divided allegiances...the new diesels may have been derided by older enthusiasts during the early days of dieselisation, yet they caused quite a stir amongst young spotters. As the transition from steam got into its stride, the enterprising English Electric Company became the only manufacturer to have designed and built diesel locomotives to meet the requirements of all five BR power classes - Class 20, 'Baby Deltics' (in the Type 2 power range), Class 37, Class 40 and the Class 55 fleet. The company also supplied more than half of the diesel fleet. Comparisons are odious, they say, but the box-like shape of a diesel loco looked very ordinary when compared to the bulky proportions of a steam locomotive.Above: No D250 attracts a crowd of platform-enders in 1960. Below: Young spotters get a close-up view of No D258 being coupled-up to a southbound train at York. Photo EA Wood-D Hey
Although the history Britain's railways should be taken seriously, some sections of this site are pitched in a light-hearted fashion to relieve the tedium; contrary to popular belief we are not all 'nerds', 'geeks' and 'anoraks'! Hopefully it will give you a measure of the 'knockabout' banter amongst enthusiasts. After all, we enjoy a joke - often at our own expense - though the delivery might be so deadpan that non-enthusiasts might fail to recognise the bone-dry humour. For example, the photo below contains a personal stock of memories. The painting of Class A4 Pacific No. 60020 Guillemot (on the floor) heading the 'up' Elizabethan through York raised a few smiles when it appeared in the May 1988 issue of 'Railway Magazine' together with the caption: 'This illustration - used on the jacket of the Oxford Publishing Company's book 'Northern Steam Remembered' by David Hey and Peter Batty - involved the publishers in considerable correspondence as this locomotive, never having been fitted with a corridor tender, was not rostered for the Elizabethan. However, it was a particular favourite of the artist, whose explanation is that it had substituted for a failed diesel!' True, I did say that, but it was a lame excuse to make. No 60020 - a Gateshead engine all its life, and one of eleven A4's coupled with a non-corridor tender - was a regular visitor to Leeds and I must have seen it countless times. However, the mistake was later redeemed by P.W.B. Semmens, who wrote in his Railway Practice & Performance feature (tongue in cheek, I might add) 'I was amused by the caption to David Hey's painting of Guillemot on the 'up' Elizabethan leaving York, and would confirm that there must have been some major failure that day. The 'up' line out of York station runs almost exactly south-west, and the light in the picture is very clearly coming from the left-hand side as viewed, which means the time must have been about 7pm - long after the train's booked time!' Bless you, Mister Semmens...
(Above) Ian S Carr is widely regarded as one of the elite among railway photographers and I couldn't resist using his shot of EE Co Deltic No D9009 Alycidon heading the 'up' 'Flying Scotsman' on the climb from Durham on August 8th 1961 - it packs all the power of a 'Deltic' at full cry. No D9009 entered traffic less than three weeks earlier on July 21st, joining sister engines Nos D9001/3/7 at Finsbury Park. The depot's full allocation was made up of eight 'Deltics', with D9012/15/18/20 following in quick succession. For the record, Alycidon won the Goodwood Cup in 1949, and sired the famous Meld - No D9003 in the 'Deltic' fleet. In the days before top lamp irons were fitted to the nose end, named-train headboards were mounted on a bracket that slipped into two front-end slots below the headcode display panel. Note also the standard express passenger headlamp code - two lamps above the bufferbeam - a legacy of steam days.
(Below) By September 1961 thirteen Deltics were available, and at the beginning of the winter schedules the Class A4s were displaced from the premier ECML expresses and more frequently to be found on Kings Cross-West Riding duties. It was the beginning of the end of the A4's reign, for the Deltic fleet took charge of numerous Anglo-Scottish expresses. The rosters were mainly undertaken by the Haymarket allocation, which included the up morning 'Talisman' and down 'Aberdonian' - the up 'Flying Scotsman' and 10.15 from Kings Cross - the up 'Heart of Midlothian' and 11.35 return from Kings Cross - the 11.15 from Edinburgh and the 'down' Flying Scotsman'. Another famous ECML express, 'The Elizabethan' began life in 1949 when it was decided to create a new non-stop train between the capitals - aptly named 'Capitals Limited' - to run ahead of the 'Flying Scotsman' in both directions. In 1953, when a suitable commemoration was desired for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth, the 'Capitals Limited' was changed to the 'Elizabethan' and the time allowance was cut to 6½ hours bringing the express to within the charmed circle of mile-a-minute running. Engine crews changed by means of the corridor tenders fitted to the Gresley Class A4 streamlined Pacifics, but the non-stop record was discontinued at the commencement of the Deltics reign when a Newcastle stop was introduced for changing crews. Train spotters dutifully note down the number of D9018 Ballymos passing York on the 'down' train on 13th August 1962. A top lamp iron has been fitted above the headcode panel on the nose to allow the locomotive to carry a named-train headboard. Both © IS Carr
(Above) The theatre-type route indicators of the 1951 signalling scheme are much in evidence as No D9021 Argyll & Sutherland Highlander approaches York with the down 'Flying Scotsman' in March 1965. We are now well into the post-1961 BR period, after the British Rail Board (BRB) was formed, and the diesel fleet has acquired the obligatory yellow warning panel on the nose end (as stipulated by the BRB's Accident Prevention Service) though the effectiveness of the panels are somewhat marred by the centre position of the four-character headcode panels on the nose end which restricted their size. The era also heralded the handsome gilt-winged thistle emblem introduced by the BRB design panel for use by the Deltic fleet on 'Flying Scotsman' express duty.
(Above-Below) Curved from end to end, the graceful symmetry of the roof at York is best appreciated from platform level. The 81ft span is 800ft long and covers the two main through platforms at a height of 42ft. At the time of its opening in 1877, it was Britain's largest station. Of course, the rail centre at York has changed considerably over the years with track rationalisation and a forest of catenary support masts, but the station itself still retains an air of grandeur. Photos © GEC-Alstom, D Hey
(Below) The BRB's choice of a plain overall blue livery for its loco fleet came as a big disappointment and it wasn't until the early 1980s that any variations in locomotive liveries arrived. Stratford depot was the first to deviate by painting silver roofs on some of its allocation of Class 47s, then bodyside Union Jacks were added. Meanwhile, Finsbury Park reinstated the white window surrounds on its six remaining Deltics. In May 1979, the eight Haymarket and six Gateshead Deltics were transferred to York, followed in June 1981 by the Finsbury Park allocation. But time was quickly running out for the Class 55s; the last Deltic-powered BR service taking place in January 1982. Following the introduction of full IC125 service on the ECML the diesel running shed was closed to all but minor maintenance at the end of 1981. On 7th June, No 55012 Crepello and No 55009 Alcydon receive attention. The shed at York now forms part of the NRM's annexe storage building. No 55013 The Black Watch awaits its next turn of duty at York in October 1980. Both © D Hey
(Above-Below) When a class of locomotive is earmarked for withdrawal and their numbers begin to decline, the chase is on to photograph as many different members as possible. An easy enough task you might think - particularly if the class is so few in numbers such as the 'Deltic' fleet: 22 in all. The opportunity arose during a week's holiday in September 1981, but for that entire week No 55013 The Black Watch hauled the 07.50 Plymouth-Edinburgh north of York. Here the loco accelerates out of York past North Yard at Clifton.
(Below) Railway photography is a notoriously subjective matter. The time-honoured ¾ shot handed down by our peers from steam days is the standard that most follow, but with the absence of a smoke effect, diesel photography is definitely more challenging. The cameraman seeking to break from the traditional ¾ perspective should be applauded, not scorned, and all credit must go to Colin Gifford for setting new standards of excellence. The images in his pictorial railway book 'Each a Glimpse', published by Ian Allan blew me away! A tongue-in-cheek shot of a Class 03 propelling coaching stock at a seemingly breakneck speed into Scarborough station may not be everyone's cup of tea, nor is the photograph of a stationary Class 08 shunter being passed by a mixed freight at York South Junction. But to placate the enthusiasts of the old school, I've included a traditional view of No 08540 waiting beneath Holgate bridge. Photos: D Hey
(Above) Click on image to see super-wide view of Class 40 No 40047 at Holgate Junction. Below) The trouble I have with childhood is that I was constantly strapped for cash; the paltry wages I earned from a morning paper round (half-a-crown -12½p in today's money) barely covered the cost of a cheap-day return, let alone the cost of film and processing, therefore with financial stringencies in mind, few railway photographs were deemed worthy enough to snap. But now I have more financial clout, a visit to the lineside is one big photo-opportunity and I can snap away to my heart's content - only I'm not interested in the modern-day scene. It's a funny old world, isn't it? This contact strip of a visit to York during the Eighties illustrates the point perfectly. Had it been the Sixties, there would be a few 'gems' in there of steam trains worth a closer look…but as it is, HSTs, Class 31s, 40s, 'Peaks' and 'Duffs' do not appeal to me. Please note...the contact strip has been re-sized to fit the page - click on photo to see the original size.
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