Paddington Hoovers at rest after 600 mile journey

Class 50s 50050 'Fearless' and 50007 'Sir Edward Elgar' sit at the platform ends at Paddington with the 'The 50 Terminator' Pathfinders Railtour on 26th March 1994.
Class 50s 50050 ‘Fearless’ and 50007 ‘Sir Edward Elgar’ sit at the platform ends at London Paddington station with the ‘The 50 Terminator’ Pathfinders Railtour on 26th March 1994.

Hoovers at Paddington after a 600-mile Railtour

On 24th March 1994, Class 50s 50007 ‘Sir Edward Elgar’ and 50050 ‘Fearless’ hauled the Pathfinders Tours ‘The 50 Terminator’ from London Waterloo station to Yeovil, then on to Exeter St. Davids. From there the train made its way to Penzance before returning to London Paddington station via Exeter and Westbury.

The railtour was the last Class 50 hauled train on British Rail, and it saw them travel over the routes which were the last ones that saw regular Class 50 haulage at the end of their operational time BR.

The outward leg saw them travel from London Waterloo to Exeter St. Davids via Salisbury and Yeovil. After running round the coaching stock the locomotives then worked the train to Penzance where the locomotives were re-fuelled. They then took the train from Penzance to London Paddington via Newbury; arriving back in London a little before midnight. The mileage travelled was close to 600 miles, not bad if you were a ‘Hoover’ basher!

Both 50007 and 50050 are now preserved, and registered for mainline running. This photograph will be added to the Railtours collection soon to be uploaded to the Lineside Photographics website

It all started in the North West

English Electric built Type 5 417 (later 50017) has just passed Mossley Hill on the outskirts of Liverpool with the 11:00 1V83 Liverpool Lime Street to Plymouth service some time in the early 1970s.

When introduced in the late 1960s the Class 50s were used as temporarily to haul services over the non-electrified lines during the electrification of the route north from Crewe to Glasgow. Once the electrification work was completed in 1974 the locomotives were introduced on the Great Western routes from Paddington, themselves ousting the Diesel Hydraulic ‘Westerns’ by 1977.

The introduction of the High Speed Trains to the Great Western saw some of the Class 50s moved to work the London Waterloo to Salisbury and Exeter services, as well as to some of the Birmingham and Oxford services from Paddington.

Due to reliability issues the class were refurbished at Doncaster works between 1979 the 1984. Withdrawal came some ten years after this work was completed, although 18 of the original total of 50 locomotives were preserved.

 

Bullied Pacific locomotives scrapped too early?

Re-built Bullied Merchant Navy Pacific locomotives 35015 'Rotterdam Lloyd' and 35012 'Union Castle' both await their fate at Nine Elms Shed some time in 1964. BR Standard Class 5 73086 'The Green Knight' sits simmers next to them; her fate was still another two years away.
Re-built Bullied Merchant Navy Pacific locomotives 35015 ‘Rotterdam Lloyd’ and 35012 ‘Union Castle’ both await their fate at Nine Elms Shed some time in 1964. BR Standard Class 5 73086 ‘The Green Knight’ sits simmers next to them; her fate was still another two years away.

Bullied Locos scrapped before their time, and at what cost?

Bullied Merchant Navy Pacific locomotives 35015 ‘Rotterdam Lloyd’ and 35002 ‘Union Castle’ were both withdrawn from service with British Railways in early 1964 (possibly the w/e 23rd February). These were the first of the MN Class to be withdrawn, potentially due to them requiring an intermediate overhaul which was deemed too expensive given the impending end of steam some 3 years hence. I find this a strange decision (like so many around this time) given that both locomotives had been re-built less than 6 years earlier; so effectively had many years of service left.

The Modernisation Plan of 1955 seemed to drive every decision thereafter; that, and the accountants struggling to justify spending money on steam locomotives when diesel and electric traction was the ‘future’. Given that the some MN duties were taken over by the Warship locomotives, which themselves were only to last in service for a little over 10 years, highlights the lack of planning that seemed to go on in the implementation of the 1955 Plan.

I’d love to look at the costs of these rebuilds and compare to the new build of diesels to see how close the valuations were. It would also be interesting to look at the day-to-day running costs of steam vs. diesel at this time. If anybody can help with that information or knows where to find then please get in touch.

The BR Standard Class 5 73086 ‘The Green Knight’ lasted another two years after this photograph was taken, but this meant that it only spent 11 years in service itself. The ironic thing is that this locomotive was built after the release of the Modernisation Plan by British Railways in 1955!

The Nine Elms website

In tracking down the location and date of the photograph, I came across a fantastic website dedicated to Nine Elms Shed. A brilliant archive of memories about the railwaymen and operation of the shed. Give it a visit, you won’t be disappointed!

 

Unknown location we need help on!

An unidentified Class 47 powers a fully loaded car transporter train at an unknown location. Nice photo though!
An unidentified Class 47 powers a fully loaded car transporter train at an unknown location. Nice photo though!

Unknown, Unknown and Unknown!

Every now and then you come across a photograph and think – ‘I like that!’ Looking for images to support an article I am writing for my new magazine (more about that soon….), I came across this negative. The only thing that was in the description was – ‘Class 47’; everything else was unknown.

So given the number of amazing people out there on FaceBook and Twitter, I thought it was worth another go at seeing whether anybody can recognise the  location and possibly the train.

My guess is that this is either a train of Ford or Vauxhall cars some time in the late 1970s. Now that would mean that they cars have come from a UK factory in Essex or Merseyside possibly, or maybe the Midlands if the cars are in fact from the Birmingham area…. See what I mean about unknowns!

If I was pushed I would guess that because of the hills in the background that this is possibly in the Yorkshire or Lancashire area. The train appears to be joining the lines on the far left and is climbing an incline from a line that disappears to the right. Not much help, but I am sure some ex-railwaymen or folks interested in signalling may recognise the junction layout.

So any help in reducing the number of unknowns would be most gratefully received!

This begs the question, do you have to know everything about a photograph to like it? I ask myself that regularly as I plough through my old slides trying to remember when it was taken, or what the train was. I rarely took notes, and most were thrown out when I left home.

If I had my time again I would have taken more photographs and taken better notes; and most importantly of all insisted to my Mum that they were important!

Updates to recent posts on the Lineside Photographics Blog

Its always great to get constructive feedback on our posts, and more importantly to gain additional information on the photographs as well. Using FaceBook and Twitter is a great way of getting in touch with ex-railwaymen and enthusiasts who are far more knowledgeable than myself!

Our last two posts raise some questions about locations, dates and services, so its nice to be able to put up another post with some updates to the accompanying information relating to the photographs.

Please feel free to add any additional information about posts on the Blog, or any photographs available to buy at Lineside Photographics.

A Rural Deltic

Class 55 Deltic, 55019 'Royal Highland Fusilier' arrives at Gainsborough Lea Road station during ECML diversions some time in 1981.
Class 55 Deltic, 55019 'Royal Highland Fusilier' arrives at Gainsborough Lea Road station during ECML diversions some time in 1981.

This image was posted without any information on the location, train or date. Well thanks to some folks on Facebook I can say that the train is a northbound express from King's Cross which is arriving at Gainsborough Lea Road station where passengers for Retford will take another connecting train. 

I hope to be able to identify the possible date some time in the future, but the nose markings on 55019 date the photograph to 1981, the last year of the loco's service with British Rail.

A WD in Darlington

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

After yesterday's posting of the WD 90149, which I had been photographed at Darlington Shed, local folks have identified the photograph as being taken on the roads used to steam locomotives recently out shopped from Darlington North Road works. 

I have still to confirm the date as 23rd November 1963, so if this doesn't match up I'll let folks know!

Its always nice to get more information about our photographs, so if you can provide any information please get in touch.

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!

 

A Deltic arrives at a ‘rural’ station, but where is it?

EE Deltic 55019 'Royal Highland Fusilier arrives at.... where?
English Electric Deltic 55019 ‘Royal Highland Fusilier arrives at…. where?

We’ve got plenty of Deltic photographs to go online, but sometimes a photograph turns up that is a bit unusual. This photograph is of Deltic 55019 ‘Royal Highland Fusilier’ arriving at a station, but we have no idea of where it is, or what the service might be.

The train is made up of Mk2d/e air-conditioned stock, but there is little else to go on as to the location or service. If you can help us then please get in touch through the form below (or via social media). There does appear to be at least one ‘basher’, maybe it was you?

In addition to any information on the train id and location, it would be useful if the keener Deltic aficionados out there could confirm the date the photograph was taken by the ‘weathering’ on the front of the loco.

This is another photograph which reflects British Rail post-steam and pre-privatisation. There is still a feeling of the station being a place of work, rather than an empty and un-manned shell so many places became during the 1980s. The foot crossing still seems to have regular use, and a member of staff is walking down the platform. How long after this photograph was taken did this scene last?

Deltic 55019 managed to survive the cutter’s torch at Doncaster works and is under the care of the Deltic Preservation Society at Barrow Hill near Chesterfield. The DPS also look after 55009 ‘Alicydon’ and 55015 ‘Tulyar’. The Barrow Hill Roundhouse, where the DPS is located,  is currently being re-developed, so please check their website for when it reopens to the public.

We’re planning on uploading a collection of English Electric’s finest at the Lineside Photographics website in the near future, so please keep us in mind if you want a photograph of a regiment or racehorse!

London Freight in the 1970s

In the mid-1970s, a Class 47 Brush Type 4 (D1637) makes up its train of fitted vans in the yard adjacent to Royal Oak underground station on the Hammersmith branch near London Paddington station.
Difficult to believe that well into the rail-blue era, the huge Paddington Goods Depot was still despatching trains to the west. Here, in the early-1970s, a Class 47 Brush Type 4 (D1637 later 47 483) makes up its train of fitted vans in the yard adjacent to Royal Oak underground station on the Hammersmith branch. The location was part of a bus depot, but is now very much an important part of the CrossRail Project.

London Freight in the 1970s

I cannot recall the London Paddington Goods complex  on the north side of Royal Oak Underground station, and even more so given that trains were still being handled there in the early-mid 1970s. In steam days a tank engine would have been shunting the vans, but I assume that D1637 would be taking the train forward to its destination, so Old Oak Common had left it to the Class 47 to shunt the train.

I do remember the odd freight train running through Kensington Olympia, Stratford and Clapham Junction in my early spotting days. Railfreight and Speedlink were still operated by British Rail then, but these days I think freight is normally restricted to Stone trains running to various depots in London, plus the many container trains running between the Great Eastern and West Coast Main Lines.

Peter Collins took some fabulous shots of freight trains in and around London, and they will be appearing in a forthcoming collection soon at Lineside Photographics.

The gradual fall away of freight on British Rail as the road transport lobby found favour with the Thatcher Government, seems to have been a decision that accelerated Privatisation. It effectively put the nail in the coffin of the railways transporting goods other than containers or bulk loads of coal and aggregates.

I dont suppose that the Railfreight or Speedlink concept would work today due to the necessity of building freight handling facilities to replace those that now were swept away and replaced with factory units or housing….

 

 

Mum, can we go to King’s Cross please…?

A smartly attired mother, or doting grandmother, has accompanied two boys to King's Cross for a bit of trainspotting and they are suitably ensconced on handy Post Office trollies whilst their airline bag, a common spotter’s carry-all, sits on the platform. In the background one of the last two Gresley-designed Buffet Cars is at rest, marshalled into a Mark 2 set having arrived in the formation of an up express. The scene is vastly different now since electrification.
A smartly attired mother has accompanied two boys to King’s Cross for a bit of train spotting and they are suitably ensconced on handy Post Office trollies whilst their airline bag, a common spotter’s carry-all, sits on the platform. In the background one of the last two Gresley-designed Buffet Cars is at rest, marshalled into a Mark 2 set having arrived in the formation of an up express. The scene is vastly different now since electrification.

Train spotting at King’s Cross

Peter Collins has captured everything I remember as a train spotter in the 1970s with his photograph taken at King’s Cross. My first encounters up close with Deltics was at King’s Cross when my Dad took me from our home in Buckinghamshire to pick up Grandma from a Newcastle train. Apparently I would cab the locos with my Dad (aged 3; that’s me, not my Dad!), and he would be my chaperone as the spotting bug kicked in in the mid-1970s until I was deemed old enough to go myself. The Post Office trollies, the bag for butties, drinks, the Ian Allan books and the notebooks are all to familiar a scene for many.

By the time I visited King’s Cross, electrification had swept away the infrastructure from steam days, but Deltics still drew the crowds to the platform ends. The last time I was there, over ten years ago, there were no spotters and it seemed very difficult to get onto the platforms.

The Gresley Buffet car E9131E (built in 1937) is looking a bit worn, and would last only a couple more years in BR service. I’m not sure the year, but I suspect that the photo was taken in the early 1970s, pre-TOPS, so if anybody can shed light on the possible working that would be great.

Fortunately the coach is still with us, having been restored to it’s former glory by the Severn Valley Railway as part of it’s Teak Carriage set.

Suburban services to Liverpool Street 70s style!

Suburban EMU AM5 (later Class 305) 305448 arrives into Bethnal Green station at 15.45 with the 2T73 15.26 from Chingford to London Liverpool Street some time in the early 1970s.
Suburban EMU AM5 (later Class 305) 305448 arrives into Bethnal Green station at 15.45 with the 2T73 15.26 from Chingford to London Liverpool Street some time in the early 1970s.

The Liverpool Street Suburban EMUs on the Lea Valley

As a follow up to a previous post showing a Class 309 EMU on its way to Clacton, we bring you another Peter Collins photograph of an inner-suburban working between Chingford and Liverpool Street. The AM5 electrics were introduced on the Lea Valley lines in 1959/60. The 3-car sets (Class 305/1) worked the lines to Chingford, Enfield Town and Hertford East. The 4-car sets (Class 305/2) worked the services towards Bishops Stortford.

The AM5 EMUs worked most of their life on these routes, although occasionally they may have worked some services as required on the Great Eastern lines. The Class 305/1s were replaced by Class 315 EMUs in 1980, the Class 305/2s lasting until the late 1980s when they were replaced by Class 310 EMUs.

A number of Class 305/1 units moved to the Manchester area where they worked suburban services into Manchester Piccadilly station. Class 305/2 units followed after work to shorten them to 3-car units. These units worked on the newly electrified line to Manchester Airport. Most were withdrawn themselves in 2000 when superseded by the Class 323 EMUs which operated all electric services out of Manchester Piccadilly station.

The photograph of Bethnal Green captures a station still unchanged from the steam era, and still it seem, just as grimy! Given that steam had finished in 1962 you could be forgiven for thinking that steam locomotives were still using the lines looking at the state of the roof lattice ironwork. Unfortunately, the 70s look was not unusual on British Rail at this time, and it took another five years or so for BR to clean up stations and move into a more modern era..

Deltic Finale 35 years on…

An un-dated view of Deltic 55019 ‘Royal Highland Fusilier as it heads north through Retford with a train from London King’s Cross.
An un-dated view of Deltic 55019 ‘Royal Highland Fusilier as it heads north through Retford with a train from London King’s Cross.

The Deltic Finale

January 2nd 1982 was the final day of Deltic haulage for British Rail. Much has been written about the ‘Deltic Scotsman Farewell’ railtour and the last service trains, none of which I managed to see because of illness…

The ‘Deltic Scotsman Farewell’ railtour was hauled from King’s Cross to Edinburgh by 55015 ‘Tulyar’, and the return by 55022 ‘Royal Scots Grey’. The arrival at King’s Cross made the national news, probably due to scenes reminiscent of the end of steam.

The last service trains had run on 31st December. 55017 ‘The Durham Light Infantry’ worked 1L44 16.03 King’s Cross – York service and would be the final Deltic to depart King’s Cross in BR service. A special headboard (“Deltic City Tribute & 20 Years Service”) was carried by the locomotive. Unfortunately the train was terminated at Grantham due to a broken rail. The headboard was removed and was driven north to meet 55019 ‘Royal Highland Fusilier’ which was working 1E26 16.30 Aberdeen – York (from Edinburgh).

55017 returned with the 18:58 Grantham – King’s Cross, running in the path of 1A26 15:50 ex York, but the locomotive failed at Knebworth. 47426 hauled 55017 and its train, now designated ECS, back to London.

With the headboard fitted, 55019 arrived in York at 23.06, before going on shed at York MPD.

An opportunity missed, or sound economics?

So was the withdrawal of the Deltics an opportunity missed, or sound economics. With the introduction of the High Speed Train by British Rail, they heralded a new era of rolling stock on Britain’s railway network. Multiple Units were the way forward (apparently), and nothing was going to stop the mass withdrawal of coaching stock in favour of smaller units that could be run in multiple.

I always thought that they could have been switched to other services on a particular route, just like the A4s were, but with a heavy heart I always knew they needed to be run for long periods at high speed, and that really was the East Coast Main Line.

Twenty years, even for a complex piece of machinery, is hardly a lengthy lifetime; just look at the classes of locomotives that were introduced before the Deltics. Did they ever recoup their investment?

Just like other ‘cult’ classes of locomotives, such as the Westerns, the Deltics developed a huge following just as they were about to be withdrawn. Thankfully, and unlike the larger class of ‘Westerns’, 6 of the class were preserved by enthusiasts and the NRM.

Thankfully, the Napier roar is still alive 35 years on from their last days in service with British Rail….