King’s Cross Shuffle – the 2nd Movement..

The King's Cross Shuffle 2nd Movement. An unidentified Class 40 in BR Green livery and sporting frost grills makes its way on to the King's Cross Fuelling Point some time in the early 1970s.
The King’s Cross Shuffle 2nd Movement. An unidentified Class 40 in BR Green livery and sporting frost grills makes its way on to the King’s Cross Fuelling Point some time in the early 1970s.

King’s Cross Shuffle, the 2nd Movement…

A second view of a Class 40 undertaking the King’s Cross Shuffle. I can only assume (but need to check) that Peter Collins moved down the York Road platform towards the Gasworks Tunnels. The photograph shows the end of the fuelling shed (on the right) looking back down towards the far west of King’s Cross station and the old milk yard.

The first photograph (seen on this post) didn’t really give an idea of where the loco was in relation to the fuelling road and stabling roads. This photo shows that the loco is preparing to move onto the fuelling shed (looking at the way the turnout is set). The shunter is leaning against the point-lever waiting either for the driver/secondman to finish walking to the platforms, or the driver of the Class 40 to move off.

The whole scene is one of clutter (for want of a better description). The track work seems from another era, typical of steam days, and the speed limit of 8mph is no surprise. The routes into the station are still designated by letters (anybody shed any light on these?), and the original 1932 colour-light signals are supplemented by disc shunting signals. The signal gantry still has the smoke deflectors from steam days.

I think the Class 40 might be D247, but I’m not sure if this fits with the location in the early 1970s, or if the date of the photo is 1975/6 when the loco was allocated to York MPD. On closer inspection I noticed that the loco has frost grills fitted. If I recall the fitting of these grills was not always of benefit to the cooling of the early diesels, but I hadn’t realise that the practice lasted into the 1970s.

I think a little more research may be needed here, and if you can help please get in touch!

Evening at King’s Cross Fuelling Point

Deltic 55018 'Ballymoss' awaits its next duty from King's Cross in the late-1970s. The King's Cross Fuelling Point was always the first place to look when spotting!
Deltic 55018 ‘Ballymoss’ awaits its next duty from King’s Cross in the late-1970s. The King’s Cross Fuelling Point was always the first place to look when spotting!

King’s Cross Fuelling Point

An evening view of King’s Cross Fuelling and Stabling point sees Deltic 55018 ‘Ballymoss’ awaiting its next duty north from London. It is standing in front of the TTA wagons used to deliver fuel to the depot which was stored in the tanks seen behind the Deltic.

This is the first of a series of photos showing locos moving on and off the facility. The Class 31 sitting behind the Class 47 still sporting a 4-digit head-code panel is 31249. The Class 47 sitting in the fuelling shed is Gateshead stalwart 47409 (one of the original ETH locomotives). The date is post rationalisation and electrification, so at the earliest is 1976/77; but I have no date for the photograph.

I’m hoping that anybody who worked at King’s Cross could possibly remember the scaffolding around the chimney stack at the factory behind the fuel tanks…..

I always remember watching the ‘King’s Cross Shuffle’ as locos moved from the station to the fuelling point and wondering why they persisted with such an awkward manoeuvre. That said, something similar still happens at Ipswich when locomotives make their way from the sidings to the fuelling point, where a shuffle is required to get on to the Freightliner facility.

A Deltic would always cover the whole station with its trademark blue smoke, especially when starting up from being idle for a while. I do miss that smell…. I seem to recall a Summer Saturday at King’s Cross when there seemed to be a constant movement of locos in and out of the facility. It must have caused the Operational and Signalling departments a few headaches if ever a problem arose!

I’ve always thought that this facility would make a great modelling project, and having seen a 4mm model of Ranelagh Bridge at Paddington (set at night too) the temptation seems even greater!

I’ll put up a couple of the other photos taken on the same evening in future posts, but please look at a previous post of two Class 40s at the other end of the facility.

 

Whistlers perform the King’s Cross Shuffle

Two Class 40s (as yet unidentified) are performing the shunting manoeuvre required to get from the King's Cross fuelling point to the platform roads. The date is some time in 1973.
Two Class 40s (as yet unidentified) are performing the shunting manoeuvre required to get from the King’s Cross fuelling point to the platform roads. The date is some time in 1972/3.

The King’s Cross Shuffle

Another fine Peter Collins’ photograph shows two Class 40s performing the King’s Cross Shuffle between the fuel stabling point and the platforms. This complex manoeuvre was necessary due to the cramped layout of the stabling point just to the west of the station throat by the Gasworks Tunnel.

The furthest locomotive is standing at the north end of Platform 16 (or 14 depending on the date of the photo). This platform was for Northbound services between Moorgate and the Hertfordshire suburbs; the Southbound trains using the York Road station on the far east of the King’s Cross complex. The Moorgate services were diverted away from the King’s Cross station to use the Northern City Line in November 1976, and the Platform seen here was closed in 1977 as part of the construction works for the electrification of the suburban routes out of King’s Cross. The stabling point was closed in May 1979, with locomotives subsequently being serviced at Finsbury Park Depot to the north.

Whilst both locos have disc head-codes, the loco in the platform sports the new BR Blue livery, although still with pre-TOPS number, whereas the loco in the foreground is painted in BR Green and has a pre-TOPS number.

The train shed of St. Pancras Station forms a fine backdrop to the photograph. Whilst this scene is unchanged since steam days at King’s Cross nearly all of it has been swept away (including probably the locomotives) during the station’s modernisation and rationalisation. Whilst steam had ended in 1963, some ten years previously, many of the operating practices were still in place at this time, and one can imagine two A1 Pacifics in place of the Type 4s just as easily!

An afternoon at Darlington North Road Works in November 1963

WD 2-8-0 90149 of Mexborough shed (41F) sits at Darlington Shed presumably after some attention at Darlington works. The date is Tuesday 19th November 1963, and judging by the shadows it appears to have been taken during an organised shed visit!
WD 2-8-0 90149 of Mexborough shed (41F) sits at Darlington Shed presumably after some attention at Darlington North Road Works. The date is Tuesday 19th November 1963, and judging by the shadows it appears to have been taken during an organised shed visit!

Photography at Steam Sheds

There are countless images of steam locomotives at sheds around the country. Images such as this WD at Darlington, were taken by many enthusiasts and photographers to record the everyday workings of a steam shed. Darlington shed was somewhat different due to the Darlington Works maintaining locomotives from all over the Eastern Region, so visitors from afar would often attract spotters and photographers.

I like this photograph for many reasons. The rundown appearance of the WD is only brightened by the newly painted smokebox numberplate and shed plate. I need to check my WD reference book to ensure the date matches those of the maintenance records for 90149.

What I really like about the photograph are the little cameos spread around the picture. The first is the line is the line of shadows thrown by the photographers onto the trackwork in the late afternoon sunshine. There must be at least 10 shadows, each one offering the photographer a different shot of the same scene. Secondly, the wagon containing the kindling wood for starting fires, transferred from the wagon by a hand cart. The buildings behind the loco don’t appear to cater for locomotives anymore, appearing to be too small to allow a loco inside (do you know any different?).

Finally, the locomotive itself offers an insight into the state of British Railways in November 1963. Steam had already been ousted south of Peterborough on the East Coast Main Line (some two months earlier), but freight engines were still the mainstay of freight trains in the Midlands and Yorkshire. 90149 would end its days at Langwith Junction in Nottinghamshire, being withdrawn in January 1966, some 22 years after being built to help the war effort in June 1943. No effort has been made to even clean the engine after its works visit, and I assume that the smokebox id’s were only renewed to help identify the loco from others in the works.

The fact that this locomotive was kept working seems, to me at least, to raise questions about the Modernisation Plan, and especially its implementation.

More on that thought it further posts!