Kensington Olympia Royal Train – Part 2

The stock of the Royal Train, with what we believe is 47086 'Colossus' at the front, awaits departure from Kensington Olympia some time between Summer 1974 and Summer 1977.

The stock of the Royal Train, with what we believe is 47086 ‘Colossus’ at the front, awaits departure from Kensington Olympia some time between Summer 1974 and Summer 1977.

As a follow up to our last post which featured the Royal Train at Kensington Olympia, I thought I would post this shot of the train showing eight of the carriages. If possible I would like to tray and identify the carriages that can be seen in the photo.

The carriages that can be identified at the moment from other photos, and a bit of research, are as follows (from the loco towards the photographer):

Ex LMS Coach (10071) numbered 5155m and described as a Staff Couchette
Ex ECJS 3908 Queen Alexandra’s saloon (a 12-wheeler)
Unidentified Coach
Unidentified Coach
BR Mk.1 Sleeper 2013 (In Blue/Grey livery)
Unidentified Coach
BR Mk.1 Restaurant Car M325 (this went back into BR service in 1977)
Unidentified Coach (a 12-wheeler)

If anybody can help identify the unidentified coaches I would appreciate it. The  12-wheeler closest to Peter should be easy, but I cannot find any reference to it at the moment. It may be another ECJS coach which was used as a generator van and staff coach, but it’s got me flummoxed!)

When trying to research older photographs like this the internet always seems to be able to help, but in this instance I have struggled to find an online resource for the Royal Train, other than a useful Wikipedia entry! If anybody can point me to an online resource about the Royal Train I would very much appreciate it.

Finally, I am pretty sure that the locomotive is 47086 ‘Colossus’. Depending on the date of the photograph the loco was allocated either to Old Oak Common or Cardiff Canton depot. Given my limited knowledge of Royal Train engine operations, I think this may also help narrow down the date for the photograph to before October 1976 when the allocation to Cardiff was made; as I don’t suppose the loco would be prepared in Cardiff  for a movement starting in London.

So I think the photo was taken in the summer of 1974, 1975 or 1976. Does this jog anybody’s memory?

 

 

Kensington Sulzers meet the Royal Train

Due to extensive engineering works outside Euston station one Sunday in the 1970s, many long-distance West Coast trains started and terminated at Kensington Olympia and here a set of empty stock to form a Scottish service is brought into one of the West London platforms by double-headed Sulzer Type 2 Class 25s. On the adjacent platform stands the empty stock of the Royal Train which then consisted of some pre-grouping vehicles as well as Mark 1 coaches.

Due to extensive engineering works outside Euston station one Sunday in the 1970s, many long-distance West Coast trains started and terminated at Kensington Olympia and here a set of empty stock to form a Scottish service is brought into one of the West London platforms by double-headed Sulzer Type 2 Class 25s. On the adjacent platform stands the empty stock of the Royal Train which then consisted of some pre-grouping vehicles as well as Mark 1 coaches.

This photograph raises lots of questions that I would love to know the answers to. Peter Collins seems to think that the diversion of some trains to Kensington Olympia from Euston was in the early 1970s, but can anybody get any closer than this? The trees seem to be in full leaf, so sometime between May and September; but which year? Can anybody actually identify the train, and really pushing the bounds of optimism the pair of Sulzers actually used?

I am no expert in the Royal Train, but does anybody have any details on the make up of the train in the early 1970s. There is a Mk1. Sleeper within the rake of coaches in blue/grey livery and also a maroon restaurant car. In addition there are two of the dedicated Royal Train saloons, but which ones I am unclear.

Whatever the service is, there is a buffet available for passengers given the contents of the trolley on the platform, although there doesn’t seem much if the service is a long distance one; half a dozen milk bottles won’t last long!

The photo captures the era when British Rail was moving away from steam and into the diesel era, at least when looking at the left hand side of the image. Look to the right half, and we see semaphore signals and steam era coaching stock (Royal or otherwise).

If anybody can help with further information, then please make contact through the form below, or via social media.

 

Short and Sweet, a diverted Slug with Clag!

Freightliner 'Slug' (Class 70), 70003, heads through Heaton Chapel station on 19th June 2017 with a very short 4L90 (MO) 11.17 Trafford Park F.L.T to Felixstowe South F.L.T. service.

Freightliner ‘Slug’ (Class 70), 70003, heads through Heaton Chapel station on 19th June 2017 with a very short 4L90 (MO) 11.17 Trafford Park F.L.T to Felixstowe South F.L.T. service.

Maybe it was a bit too hot for ‘Slug’ Photography

On Monday 19th June 2017, I had decided to use the clear summer skies to photograph the diverted freights through Stockport; by 11am I had already realised it was possibly a bit too hot as temperatures were already approaching 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Having decided to find shade as much as possible, I managed to get this decent shot along with a few more. Class 70 ‘Slugs’ are a rare breed on the stretch of line between Slade Junction and Wilmslow, but with all freight being diverted from their normal route via the Styal line due to some issues with pointwork at the junctions feeding Manchester Airport, they are currently seen several times a day.

The 4L90 service is scheduled for a 1275 tonne train, so when only 4 wagons turned up I managed to get a decent composition as the driver opened up for the quick sprint towards Stockport. I’m not sure whether this is a normal load for this Monday Only (MO) train, but I might have to see if I can catch it again soon.

I’ll put some more photos in another post soon, but thought this one deserved to be seen on its own!

Is it all going wrong for Virgin and Stagecoach on the ECML?

Running 5 minutes late, Virgin East Coast HST 43312 heads 1E09 the 09.30 Edinburgh to King's Cross through Doncaster on 27th June 2017. Power Car 43290 was on the rear.

Running 5 minutes late, Virgin East Coast HST 43312 heads 1E09 the 09.30 Edinburgh to King’s Cross through Doncaster on 27th June 2017. Power Car 43290 was on the rear.

The ECML threatens another private venture; good news for the UK Taxpayers perhaps?

Yet again we hear excuses that its all Network Rail’s fault, as Stagecoach announced today that they have set aside £84m to cover the operating costs of the East Coast franchise it runs with Virgin. Other reasons cited for their woeful performance include Brexit and Terrorism, which apparently have affected their ability to attract more customers. They have admitted that in hindsight they paid too much for the contract (£3bn), and having spent £140m on refurbishments of train interiors and station facilities, no doubt egged on by Virgin who always want to appear glitzy, they want to re-negotiate the terms of the franchise!

I am a regular traveller on the ECML, and I know that since Virgin/Stagecoach took over the franchise the price of my advanced tickets have increased by nearly 25%, on average, for the same journeys. First Class Advanced fares have increased by even more, no doubt to recoup the cost of the new leather seats; but the service itself hasn’t changed much. Is it any wonder, then, that the public are travelling by other means, or using other operators that Virgin/Stagecoach are so keen to prevent running at all. Privatisation is supposed to bring competition, but not on the railways it seems.

As well as Network Rail, they have also blamed a “delay” on the introduction of the new Azuma trains, yet by all accounts (DfT), work is progressing well with these and more can be seen at the Doncaster Carr depot almost on a weekly basis. I am yet to understand how the new trains will help increase their revenues. The current trains are generally clean and comfortable, so will brand new trains really make a difference? Remember, it was Virgin who brought one of the worst and most uncomfortable trains to the UK with the Voyagers…….

Surely the time has come for a complete re-think on the railway franchise system? I’m not sure re-nationlisation would work without a significant increase in funding, but then I would rather put the money from HS2 into the whole network. HS2, like Crossrail, is just to get commuters into London; do they really think that us in ‘the North’ will be falling over ourselves to travel to London in half the time, only to waste all of the gained time on getting to and from an HS2 station at either end of the journey?

The next few months will see whether Virgin/Stagecoach can re-negotiate the franchise deal, probably at the expense of promised services; but maybe, just maybe, another failed ECML operator will yield a properly funded and properly organised UK rail system in the future!

Could we also get another livery on the HSTs before they get sent to Scotland, and maybe the scrap yard?

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.

 

A View of King’s Cross from York Road Station

A view from York Road station of the eastern platforms of King's Cross station in the 1970s.

A view from York Road station of the eastern platforms of King’s Cross station in the 1970s.

A view of the eastern platforms of King’s Cross from York Road station. This platform served the trains from the Hertfordshire suburbs to Moorgate until closure in 1976; the northbound suburban services used Platform 16 on the far West of the station.

The famous station signal-box can be seen on the right hand side of the photograph and in front Deltic 9007 ‘Pinza’ waits patiently for the stock of 1L37 19.00 King’s Cross to Bradford service to arrive at the station. An un-identified Class 47 departs with the 18.25 1H17 to Hull. the 1H02 head-code fooled me at first as this is the 12.20 service to Hull, but I am assuming that the loco had worked this service earlier in the day then made its way back to King’s Cross in the late afternoon. The Class 31 (still in BR Green, and possibly 5572) is probably the station pilot used on ECS movements to the carriage sidings north of the station. It is not hard to imagine the Class 31 replaced with an N7, the 47 with an A3 and the Deltic with an A4!

The signal-box was built by the LNER in 1932, and closed on 26th September 1971, with all signalling operations moving overnight to the new King’s Cross Power Signal Box situated on the site of the old York Road Station buildings (behind the photographer). The signal-box remained in-situ for another five years before being demolished as part of the electrification scheme and rationalisation of the station track-work.

The negative from which the photo was scanned is in a bit of a state, and needed a lot of work doing to it to make it presentable. It’s a little dark for my liking, so a bit more work needed I think before I’m happy to make it available to buy at Lineside Photographics.

Memories of British Rail at Manningtree

An unidentified Class 37 on possibly a Harwich Boat Train to London Liverpool Street heads through Manningtree Station some time in the early 1970s.

An unidentified Class 37 on possibly a Harwich Boat Train to London Liverpool Street heads through Manningtree Station some time in the early 1970s.

Another fabulous photograph by Peter Collins sees an unidentified Class 37 head south through Manningtree Station towards London Liverpool Street some time in the early 1970s. If the head-code is to be believed it is 1F23, so if anybody can identify the service I would be most grateful. The Type 3 is passing a northbound service that has called at the Manningtree station on its way north, probably to Norwich.

The photograph captures British Rail in the 1970s, a time when operating practices remained pretty much as they had been during steam days. Mail and parcels are waiting to be be loaded on the next London bound train; whilst commuters are gathering on the platform seats for that train too. Looking at the way people are stood back from the platform edge I assume that the Type 3’s train is non-stop through the station; as most of the Boat Trains between Harwich Parkeston Quay and London were.

A driver is making his way up the platform towards Platform 1, where the local trains between Manningtree and Harwich Parkeston Quay departed from. The next service to Harwich will have connected with the train in the northbound platform to allow London passengers connections to the coast and intermediate stations.

My initial research leads me to believe that Manningtree (can anybody confirm this?) was still a signing-on point for train crew in the 1970s. Harwich was a busy port with regular shipping services for passengers, vehicles and freight to several European destinations. The rail operations that supported the flow of people and goods through the port of Harwich were intense, and this is reflected in the photograph taken by Peter Collins.

This picture captures my earliest memories of rail travel, a shame then that some 40 years later freight traffic is almost non-existent (having being replaced by the Port of Felixstowe), and the loco-hauled Boat trains are no-more.

See more of Peter’s photographs at Lineside Photographics.

 

 

 

A London Midland Thompson Carriage at Stockport!

Thompson Vestibule coach M13925E (ex E13925E) is seen in an LM Region train at Stockport Station in the late 1960s.

Thompson Vestibule coach M13925E (ex E13925E) is seen in an LM Region train at Stockport Station in the late 1960s. The photograph was taken by ex-railwayman Ronnie Gee.

Why is a Thompson coach running on the LM Region

I’m currently compiling a book using some fantastic colour and black and white images taken by ex-railwayman Ronnie Gee, who finished his career as Stockport Station Manager. One such image is the picture shown above, which shows Thompson ex-Third Class vestibule M13925E (ex E13925E) included in the stock of the 15.05 Manchester Piccadilly to Plymouth service on the 16th June 1967. The coach was built at York to Diagram 329 in 1950, and had previously been in use on Anglo-Scottish services on the East Coast Main Line.

I would be very grateful if anybody can help shed light on some details of the transfer of the carriage to the LM Region. I’ve looked through some books I have, as well as the internet but have yet to find any further details. As the carriage sets tended to be marshalled from the same depot I assume that the coach was based at Longsight Carriage Sheds, but if you know better please let me know!

I like photographs like this as you often capture little cameos of life; this picture is no different as the lady in the first compartment is obvious to the world outside as she concentrates on varnishing her nails!

Further details of the book will be made available soon, but the collection of colour photos are some of the best I’ve seen, and being a railwayman Ronnie seemed to be frequently in the right place at the right time to capture movements of trains that today hold some historic significance (like that of the coach above).

If you can help, please use the comments box below to get in touch.

Class 08 ‘Gronk’ at Stockport Edgeley

Class 08 'Gronk' 08906 shunts coaching stock preparing for the next day's trains to the South West and Great Yarmouth from Manchester Piccadilly. The photo dates from the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Class 08 ‘Gronk’ 08906 shunts coaching stock preparing for the next day’s trains to the South West and Great Yarmouth from Manchester Piccadilly. The photo dates from the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Night-time shunting at Edgeley Carriage Sidings

‘Gronk’ 08906 shunts coaches during the night at Stockport Edgeley Carriage Sidings preparing rakes of coaches for the next day’s Saturday Only services from Manchester to the South West (Newquay and Paignton) and Great Yarmouth. Three sets of coaches were stored at Stockport Carriage Sidings during the week in-between the Saturday services.  Occasionally the sets would be used during the week, one being used on an un-advertised, early morning service from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston (with an early evening return). The stock consisted mainly of Mk1 carriages (with some Mk.2a/b/c’s).

The Carriage Sidings had 8 main sidings, with the rakes split between them. The station pilot would then make up the stock into trains and leave them in the station loops or centre roads for collection by a Longsight engine (normally an electric) to run them as ECS to Piccadilly station.

Stockport station was still a very active hub for parcels traffic now, so the station pilot was kept busy during the night shunting parcels and news’ vans between services from various parts of the North and South. On the occasions when a NPCC or coach was declared as faulty they would be stored at Edgeley sidings until they could be attached to a service for Crewe or Horwich where they could be repaired. The York-Shrewsbury mail train changed engines at Stockport and became famous for providing regular Class 40 haulage for bashers.

A new collection of night-time photographs will be available soon on the Lineside Photographics website. All images are available as prints and as wall mounted products. Digital downloads are also available for all our images.