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….

 

Diversions through Sunny Suffolk

GBRf Class 66 66755 climbs away from Thurston with 4M29 10.29 Felixstowe North to Birch Coppice on Wednesday 28th December.

One of many diversions, GBRf Class 66 66755 climbs away from Thurston with 4M29 10.29 Felixstowe North to Birch Coppice on Wednesday 28th December.

Diversions through Sunny Suffolk

Over the Christmas and New Year holidays the Great Eastern mainline has been closed for engineering works. The container trains that normally travel via the North London line are being subject to diversions through Bury St Edmunds and Ely, meaning that in 30 minutes there have been 4 trains following each other to the north in the early afternoon.

I took some photos just north of Thurston on 28th/29th December because the lighting was so good!

Wednesday 28th December 2016

First is a normally routed service, GBRf’s 4M29 Felixstowe to Birch Coppice (seen above) hauled by 66755. The second train was a diverted  service and is GBRf’s 4M23 Felixstowe to Hams Hall hauled by 66719 ‘Metro Land’ (seen below).

GBRf Class 66 66719 climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M23 10.46 Felixstowe North to Hams Hall Parsec on Wednesday 28th December.

GBRf Class 66 66719 ‘Metro Land’ climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M23 10.46 Felixstowe North to Hams Hall Parsec on Wednesday 28th December.

I’m not sure what a collection of ‘Sheds’ is termed, but another GBRf train, 66769 heads 4Z33 Felixstowe to Doncaster Railport.

GBRf Class 66 66769 climbs away from Thurston with the 4M23 11.22 Felixstowe North to Doncaster Railport on Wednesday 28th December.

GBRf Class 66 66769 climbs away from Thurston with the 4M23 11.22 Felixstowe North to Doncaster Railport on Wednesday 28th December.

The final train of the quartet provided a little variety with a different operator and a different class of locomotive. Freightliner’s Class 70 70016 heads the diverted 4M87 Felixstowe to Trafford Park away from Thurston with a little clag thrown in for good measure.

Freightliner Class 70 70016 climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M87 11.13 Felixstowe to Trafford Park on Wednesday 28th December.

Freightliner Class 70 70016 climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M87 11.13 Felixstowe to Trafford Park on Wednesday 28th December.

The Class 70s are pretty rare on this line and are normally only seen on diversions. They are even rarer at the moment given the poor reliability of the locomotives.

Thursday 29th November

I hadn’t got my hopes up for the day as the forecast was for heavy fog that would linger all day. In fact, the day was even clearer than the 28th, with no fog at all!

Having found out that the diversions were running, I opted to go to Thurston station to photograph Freightliner’s diverted 4L89 22.01 Coatbridge to Felixstowe. This is normally an Electric loco to Ipswich and I expected it to be quite heavily loaded…. I was disappointed.

Freightliner's diverted 4L89 22.01 Coatbridge to Felixstowe coasts downhill through Thurston station as it makes its way towards Ipswich on Thursday 29th December 2016.

Freightliner’s diverted 4L89 22.01 Coatbridge to Felixstowe coasts downhill through Thurston station as it makes its way towards Ipswich on Thursday 29th December 2016.

I thought maybe it might have been double-headed, but a single ‘Shed’ in the form of 66557 was in charge! Not only that, but the train was lightly loaded as can be seen by the ‘going-away’ shot from Thurston station.

Freightliner's diverted 4L89 22.01 Coatbridge to Felixstowe heads away from Thurston station as it makes its way towards Ipswich on Thursday 29th December 2016.

Freightliner’s diverted 4L89 22.01 Coatbridge to Felixstowe heads away from Thurston station as it makes its way towards Ipswich on Thursday 29th December 2016. The ‘dip’ in the track underneath the road bridge to allow 9’6″ containers to be carried on the trains is clearly visible.

After a leisurely walk back to the bridge, I awaited the same trains as the previous day.

One of many diversions, GBRf Class 66 66755 climbs away from Thurston with 4M29 10.29 Felixstowe North to Birch Coppice on Thursday 29th December.

One of many diversions, GBRf Class 66 66755 climbs away from Thurston with 4M29 10.29 Felixstowe North to Birch Coppice on Thursday 29th December.

I looked at a new angle for the shot of 66755 on 4M29 Felixstowe to Birch Coppice, but I’m not sure about portraits when there is so much light on the side…

GBRf Class 66 66719 'Metro Land' climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M23 10.46 Felixstowe North to Hams Hall Parsec on Thursday 29th December.

GBRf Class 66 66719 ‘Metro Land’ climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M23 10.46 Felixstowe North to Hams Hall Parsec on Thursday 29th December.

66719 ‘Metro Land’ was again in charge of 4M23 Felixstowe to Hams Hall, and… 66769 turned up on 4M23 to Doncaster just as on the previous day.

GBRf Class 66 66769 climbs away from Thurston with the 4M23 11.22 Felixstowe North to Doncaster Railport on Thursday 29th December.

GBRf Class 66 66769 climbs away from Thurston with the 4M23 11.22 Felixstowe North to Doncaster Railport on Thursday 29th December.

Fortunately, Freightliner provided a little bit of variety by utilising 66529 on the diverted 4M87 Felixstowe to Trafford Park; phew…!

Freightliner Class 70 70016 climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M87 11.13 Felixstowe to Trafford Park on Thursday 29th December.

Freightliner Class 70 70016 climbs away from Thurston with the diverted 4M87 11.13 Felixstowe to Trafford Park on Thursday 29th December.

Unfortunately, any further photography was cut short by the cold and the light, but hey this type of traffic in ‘Sunny Suffolk’ is always welcome!

Please look out for more images on the blog and available to buy at the Lineside Photographics website.

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.

Express to Clacton 70s style

Class 309 Clacton EMU 309 607 sways over point-work as it makes it's way out of London and on to the Essex coast some time in the 1970s.

Class 309 Clacton EMU 309 607 sways over point-work as it makes it’s way out of London and on to the Essex coast some time in the 1970s.

The Clacton Express Class 309s

Originally known as AM9 electrics, the Class 309s were built by British Rail at their York factory between 1962 and 1963. They worked exclusively between London Liverpool Street and  Clacton/Walton-on-Naze until 1989, when Class 312 units were introduced on some services. They were used on some services to Harwich and Ipswich after 1985, but were transferred to the North West for use on services from Manchester Piccadilly to Crewe and as far as London Euston for First North Western trains.

I always remember these units as comfortable and fast, probably because they were based on Mk.1 coaching stock and Commonwealth bogies. They lasted until 2000, having been refurbished in the mid-1980s

Little has changed in the way that stock is cascaded through the railways it seems. New stock is provided for the London commuter, and the older stock is then sent for use on other lines. This happening right now with the cascade of 30-year old Class 319s for use on the North West electrification scheme. The brand new Class 323 EMUs were supposed to have been sent to the West Midlands by now, but acceleration of the Class 319s is so poor they cannot keep to schedules between Manchester and Stoke/Crewe….

The photograph was taken by Peter Collins and will form part of a collection showing trains in the London suburbs soon to be available at the Lineside Photographics website. We will be including steam, as well as electrics and diesels, so hopefully there will be something for everyone!

Now if it was me waiting for my train at Clacton and I was offered a Class 309 or a Class 360, I think I’d vote every time for the 309 and its Mk.1 carriages..

The day after Offord, Doncaster on 8th September 1962

A yet un-named English Electric Deltic D9010 emits the trademark blue exhaust as it accelerates through Doncaster station with the 1A47 13:30 Edinburgh to King’s Cross service; the ‘Heart of Midlothian’. The locomotive was named ‘The King’s Own Scottish Borderer’ on 8th May 1965 at Dumfries, and withdrawn on 24th December 1981.

The Offord Derailment, 7th September 1962.

In the evening of 7th September 1962, Peppercorn A1 60123 ‘H.A. Ivatt’ derailed at Offord whilst in charge of a northbound freight. For the next two days, whilst the accident was cleared, trains were diverted between Hitchin and Peterborough via Cambridge and Ely. The collection of photographs now available shows a number of trains as they passed through Doncaster station on the 8th September; including a couple of surprises…

A York based Raven B16 on a GN passenger train from the south is the highlight of the workings photographed on the 8th September. A host of spotters spilling off the platforms captures the train-spotting hobby during this transition period from steam to diesel on the GN/ECML. We have more images to add to this collection in the New Year.

The southbound standby loco (an A1) is seen just above the first coach. The evening light captures the graceful lines of the Deltic locomotive, shown off by the two-tone green livery. Today, this scene is a mass of overhead wires, rationalised track-work and the Doncaster Power Signal Box.

This photograph was taken nearly 55 years ago when the railway was undergoing major changes in locomotive power. The 22 Deltics replaced some 55 steam locomotives; indeed the day after this photograph was taken was the first day when all 22 Deltic locomotives were in operational use. When seeing images like this I cannot help but think what a ‘soulless’ place the railway has become….

 

Colour Cast, or Black and White?

Class 31 5639 (31215) enters Finsbury Park carriage sidings with some suburban stock after working the morning rush-hour. Taken on Agfa slide film, the transparency shows a blue colour cast that stubbornly affects the photograph.

Class 31 5639 (31215) enters Finsbury Park carriage sidings with some suburban stock after working the morning rush-hour. Taken on Agfa slide film, the transparency shows a blue colour cast that stubbornly affects the photograph.

The same image of 5639 as above, but now converted to Black and White. No colour tint, but has it lost something by removing the colour?

The same image of 5639 as above, but now converted to Black and White. No colour tint, but has it lost something by removing the colour?

Colour Cast, remove or convert to Black and White?

The image of Class 31 5639 entering Finsbury Park station is typical of colour slides taken in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The colour cast, typically blue on Agfa slides, is more prevalent on photographs taken in poor light (as here), rather than in full sun.

The dilemma is, should we keep the colour and address the colour cast as best we can, or take the easy option and convert the image to black and white. The record of the event remains the same, but we don’t get an idea of the colour of the railway stock, the signalling infrastructure or the landscape.

When looking at photographs we try and reflect more than just a record of an event whenever possible. Peter Collins ensured that he not only took a photograph of the loco-hauled suburban stock, but that he also showed the signalling infrastructure too. The loco-hauled trains were soon to be taken over by DMUs, and then electric multiple units. Electrification of the Great Northern suburbs was not too far away either.

The image captures British Railways when it was in the transition period between steam and rationalisation on a major scale. The fact that the stock will sit in carriage sidings until the evening peak is a throw back to the nationalised railways, and yet the flexibility it gave is sorely missed today!

So, the question remains, does the image being in colour matter?

Let us know…