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.

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!

Bog-Crates in 1970s East Anglia

A Class 105 DMU (also known as Bog-Crates) departs from Stowmarket towards Ipswich on the 29th June 1978.
A Class 105 DMU (also known as Bog-Crates) departs from Stowmarket towards Ipswich on the 29th June 1978.

Bog-Crates and Semaphores

I started trainspotting in East Anglia in 1976; a hobby that started with the purchase of an Ian Allan Combined Volume after seeing Deltic 55006 ‘Fife and Forfar Yeomanry’ on a King’s Cross to Edinburgh express at a Northumberland Level Crossing. My normal spotting, however, was of ‘Bog-Crates’ in sleepy Suffolk.

Living only 200 yards away from the Cambridge/Ely to Ipswich railway line I had a good starting point for ‘cops’! My local station, Thurston, had been a manned station until January 1967, and until 1976 still had a coal train tripped from Bury St. Edmunds by the station pilot (normally a Class 08 shunter). Having a goods yard, Thurston also had a signal-box, which controlled the local semaphore signals.

The Ipswich-Cambridge trains were operated by Class 101 or Class 105 DMUs, although a notable exception was a train which started at Liverpool Street at 4am and made its way back to London via Ipswich and Cambridge. The DMUs were affectionately called ‘Bog-Crates’, a name I used but to this day I have no idea where it came from; other than the fact that the units were showing their age and had a toilet!

The picture above was taken by an Oldham photographer who visited East Anglia in the mid-late 1970s. The slide it is from has the processing date as July 1978, but no details of the date or service. In the deepest recesses of my memory I remembered that the at this time DMUs often displayed the day and date in the window of the unit, and this photo shows 29 and ‘Thurs’. Sure enough, the 29th June 1978 was indeed a Thursday, so I had the date of when the photo was taken.

All the photo shows is that the destination is Ipswich, but it is also displaying a ’64’ in the window; so is this the route, or something else? Can anybody answer this question? For a little help another photo shows the same ’64’ and a destination of Leicester, also on a Class 105 DMU, but not the same one.

If anybody can help then please drop me a line below.

 

Twilight of the Class 90 Locomotives in East Anglia

Newspaper associated Class 90s, 90011 ‘East Anglia Daily Times: Suffolk & Proud’ (left) and 90002 ‘Eastern Daily Press: 1870-2010, Serving Norfolk for 140 years’ (right) await their departures from Norwich on 18th February 2017. 90011 was working the 13.00 1P39 to Ingatestone, and 90002 worked the 13.30 1P41 to Colchester. Trains were running no further than Ingatestone due to engineering work between there and London Liverpool Street.

Enjoy the Class 90 locomotives while you can…

I’ve become a little disillusioned with the traction scene on the UK railways for a number of years. The decline of heritage traction coincided with the move to multiple units. The Voyagers and Pendolinos introduced by Virgin are charecterless, and in the case of the Voyagers are uncomfortable, cramped and seriously lacking in baggage storage. Thankfully, The Greater Anglia Class 90 locomotives still offer an opportunity for loco-hauled travel.

It look like the move towards soulless travel will continue with Greater Anglia’s move to a total Multiple Unit based fleet, and the introduction of the Hitachi trains on Great Western and East Coast franchises. This leaves only Trans Pennine Express buying locomotives and coaches (offering some degree of flexibility) for future loco-hauled travel.

The Class 90s currently offer the only full Inter-City loco hauled service between London and Norwich, so whilst it lasts and whenever possible I will be trying to travel behind and photograph the fleet.

Similarly the HSTs and Class 91s are soon to be relegated from regular travel, so again I will be trying to get haulage and photos of as many as possible before the onward march of “tubes” continues.

Photo Bashing/Timing Project

As part of the project to capture the last days of regular locomotive hauled travel I will also try and produce logs of journeys. Whilst travelling on an Anglia Ranger Plus ticket on 18th February I stumbled across and App for the iPhone called SpeedTracker. For £3.99 the app will produce logs of journeys including data output for speed, distance, altitude and time. In addition it also provides an accuracy figure based upon the GPS signal.

Having discovered the App late in the day, I only the had to use it on a journey between Diss and Ipswich, and the log of the journey follows below:

Date: Saturday 18th February 2017
Loco: 90002 ‘Eastern Daily Press: 1870-2010, Serving Norfolk for 140 years’
Coaching Stock: 11068/11101/10414/12151/12111/12137/12115/12093/12032
DVT: 82103
Weather: Dry

DistanceLocation Elapsed time Speed (mph)
0.00Diss Station 00:000
0.92Palgrave LC 01:3066.2
3.56Mellis LC 03:2691.6
3.79Beecroft (Wright's) LC 03:3493.6
3.91Rectory Rd LC 03:3994.3
6.84Gislingham LC 05:25101
9.49Cow Creek LC 07:0199.3
11.01Wassicks LC 07:56100.5
12.00Haughley Junction 08:3199.7
13.89Regent Street LC 09:4098.9
14.40Stowmarket Station 09:5998.4
17.17Gypsy Lane LC 11:39100.1
17.89Needham Market Station 12:06100.7
19.71Baylam LC 13:11100.3
20.81Barham Sidings 13:52100.6
21.41Claydon LC 14:1575.6
24.52Europa Junction 19:0641.9
25.46East Suffolk Junction 20:2238.4
26.25Ipswich Station22:070

Using Microsoft Excel (which I am no expert in) I have also managed to generate a Speed and Altitude graph for the run as below:

The Speed Graph of the Class 90 run between Diss and Norwich by 90002 on the 1P41 13.48 Diss-Ipswich service win 18th February 2017.
The Speed Graph of the Class 90 run between Diss and Norwich by 90002 on the 1P41 13.48 Diss-Ipswich service win 18th February 2017.
The Altitude Graph of the Class 90 run between Diss and Norwich by 90002 on the 1P41 13.48 Diss-Ipswich service win 18th February 2017.
The Altitude Graph of the Class 90 run between Diss and Norwich by 90002 on the 1P41 13.48 Diss-Ipswich service win 18th February 2017.

As can be seen from the log and graphs, the Class 90 had no problem in accelerating away from Diss and continuing to do so despite climbing. 100mph was reached and sustained for most of the journey with a slight slowing for the bends approaching Stowmarket. Unfortunately, the high speed running was interrupted by a Signal Check near milepost 73 near Barham Sidings. I suspect that it was due to a preceding container train, but from then on the journey was somewhat slow!

I hope to undertake more runs and will be bringing these to the blog as and when I can.

I would be interested in any comments people may have on these posts, and whether they are interested or not really bothered!

The Driver of Class 90 90002 steps onto the footplate to ready for departure with 1P41 13.30 Norwich to Liverpool Street on 18th February 2017.
The Driver of Class 90 90002 steps onto the footplate to ready for departure with 1P41 13.30 Norwich to Liverpool Street on 18th February 2017.

 

40 years ago the Westerns’ reign ended

A crisp spring Sunday in 1973 sees a Western Class 52 diesel hydraulic idle off Brunel’s superb Saltash bridge as it heads the daily Penzance to Kensington milk train out of Cornwall into Devon and along the sinuous section of the GWR on the way to Plymouth and beyond.
A crisp spring Sunday in 1973 sees a Western Class 52 diesel hydraulic idle off Brunel’s superb Saltash bridge as it heads the daily Penzance to Kensington milk train out of Cornwall into Devon and along the sinuous section of the GWR on the way to Plymouth and beyond.

The Westerns were withdrawn on 28th February 1977, 40 years ago!

The Diesel Hydraulic Westerns were withdrawn 40 years ago today. They had developed a following somewhat similar to steam engines that had been withdrawn only 10 years earlier, and were the first of the express diesel engines to be superseded by the High Speed Train (HST).

I’m not sure I ever saw a Western before withdrawal, as the Deltics were my thing living in East Anglia; but I’ve got a soft spot for them having seen them in preservation.  They seemed to rekindle the spirit of trainspotting and railway enthusiasm which had died somewhat after steam, probably because like steam engines they were kept in a decrepid state towards the end of their working lives.

Peter Hutchinson managed to take some evocative shots of the class when they still held sway on the Western Region, and his shots will be uploaded soon to the Lineside Photographics website.

Peter’s shot of this Western heading the daily milk train out of Cornwall towards London embodies everything about the Western Region; Brunel’s iconic Saltash Bridge, the Western Region’s decision to go it alone with diesel-hydraulic traction and a milk train. Whilst the bridge still stands, and some Westerns were preserved, the milk train is from a bygone age, replaced by articulated lorries.

The Westerns really started the new-age of enthusiasts ‘bashing’ trains, the Deltics quickly followed and then it was the Class 40s and Class 37s which seemed to be the last of the old-guard of BR diesels with a cult following. Oh for it to be 1977 again!

 

Class 40 D200 Photo-call, when and where?

Class 40 40122 sits at Warrington Bank Quay station with a rail tour.....
EE Class 40, 40122 (as D200), sits at Warrington Bank Quay station with a railtour…..

Warrington Photo-call for Class 40 Pioneer

EE Class 40 pioneer 40122 (painted as D200) sits at Warrington Bank Quay station (I think) with a railtour. Those are the only details I have for this photograph so I am hoping that somebody recognises themselves or was involved with the tour so that I can get some more details!

The fervour and adulation surrounding the withdrawal of the Class 40s seemed to surpass the EE Class 55 Deltic locomotives at times, and as this photograph shows the Whistler fans spanned the age groups. As the numbers of locomotives dwindled so the fans grew in numbers, and as the class seemed to be concentrated on services in and around the north-west  of England, memories of 1968 (and all that) must have been re-kindled!

If you can help with any information on the railtour, date and confirmation of location then I would appreciate it.

There will be many more photographs of Class 40s available to purchase at Lineside Photographics in the coming months. The Class 40 Preservation Society (CFPS)  owns and runs three Class 40s (40106, 40135 and 40145).