Trollies and Parcels at Crewe

An interesting mixture of the modern railway of the 1970s with traditional adjuncts as AL6 Class 86 number E3176 awaits departure southbound from Crewe with a West Coast express whilst all around are period trollies and the flagstones of years past. Note how much parcels traffic was still being conveyed by rail.

An interesting mixture of the modern railway of the 1970s with traditional adjuncts as AL6 Class 86 number E3176 awaits the 1A28 departure southbound from Crewe with a West Coast express whilst all around are period trollies and the flagstones of years past. Note how much parcels traffic was still being conveyed by rail.

Trollies everywhere!

An evocative photograph by Peter Collins taken at Crewe in the early 1970s. Class 86 Electric E3167 (later 86007, 86407 and now currently operational as 86607) awaits departure amongst the trollies with working 1A28, a southbound express to London; but can anybody tell me the actual service?

I’m a little rusty when it comes to West Coast electrification and without a Working Timetable I don’t know if this is an Anglo-Scottish service or one from Liverpool or Manchester.

In addition to the service I’ve also slightly enlarged both the driver and the trainspotter, so if you can identify either of them I would also appreciate it. I believe the photo to have been taken in 1971-1973, but cannot give a more precise date than that. The spotter has a pen and piece of paper in hand, and is maybe looking use one of the empty trollies as a seat for the next few minutes.

Many things have changed since the photograph was taken; the complete lack of trollies at stations these days, the removal of flagstones on platforms and of course the lack of any parcels traffic on stations. The only surprise is that the locomotive is still operational with Freightliner running as 86607. What I wouldn’t give now for such a scene at Crewe or any station these days. The bland trains stand at a bland station, and more often than not the spotters are over 50!

Please use the form below to contact us if you know the service, or can identify the driver or spotter.

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

ECS to Red Bank Sidings….

Class 40 40002 sits at Platform 16 at Manchester Victoria station with two parcels vans some time in the early 1980s. I'm unsure of the working, but its likely that the train is about to leave for Red Bank Carriage Sidings just to the east of the station.

Class 40 40002 sits at Platform 16 at Manchester Victoria station with two parcels vans some time in the early 1980s. I’m unsure of the working, but its likely that the train is about to leave for Red Bank Carriage Sidings just to the east of the station.

Red Bank Carriage Sidings in Manchester

I am currently writing an article for my new magazine on parcels trains in the Manchester and Stockport area in the early 1980s. I have several photographs of short parcels (ECS to Red Bank Sidings or otherwise) at Platform 16 at Manchester Victoria station (as above); I believe that it may be an NPCSS ECS move from Bangor to Red Bank, but cannot confirm it. (I am going through the WTTs I have access to, but if anybody is aware of the workings at this time please contact me.)

I have no details of when the photo of 40002 was taken, although I think it is at least 1982, as the No.1 end was rebuilt and had the number applied some time in the early 1980s. Again, if you can shed any light on the likely date of the photo then please get in touch through the comment box below.

Manchester’s main parcels depot was that at Mayfield station, but both Piccadilly and Victoria station saw their fair share of parcels and news trains. Newspapers were printed in Manchester up until the mid-to-late 1980s, so as well as handling editions sent up from London, the railways were also used to send papers around the north of Britain.¬†Famous amongst railway enthusiasts were trains known as the Red Bank Empties which were made up of empty vans returning to Red Bank Carriage Sidings ready for them to be used to distribute newspapers the following night ¬†from Manchester.

Red Bank Sidings were also used to store coaching stock in between workings to avoid congestion at Victoria station; so passenger stock, parcels, news and DMUs were all managed through the facility up until the late 1980s when many services were switched to run through Piccadilly station rather than Victoria.

Look out for some forthcoming collections at Lineside Photographics showing parcels workings in and around Manchester.