Where exactly was Class 03 D2185 located in the 1970s?
The aim of this dilemma is to clarify at which of the Birds Group scrap yards Class 03 D2185 was actually located and scrapped. Most disposal books record D2185 as being scrapped at Birds Group Long Marston yard in 1978. This could be correct but did anyone ever see or photograph this locomotive at Long Marston in 1978? So far nothing to confirm that it was there then has been found. The alternative possibility was that D2185 was actually scrapped at Birds Group Cardiff yard where it had been located since at least the Summer of 1972 and possibly earlier. However, as a consequence an enormous can of worms has been opened which suggests that what has previously appeared in print about this and other Ex BR shunting locomotives that have passed through, or are recorded as having past through, Birds Group yards is either partially, or totally incorrect.
1966 - 1972 BR Diesel Shunting Locomotive Cull
Bird Group appear to have been concentrating on carriage and wagon disposals at this time. It would appear that the seventeen locomotives acquired from this cull were intended for use in their yards or as a source of spares to support those used. Scrapping taking place once they had no further use for the locomotives.
Bird Group - Cardiff Yards
It has now been established Birds Group have actually had two different yards in Cardiff since the mid 1960s. The first, which was were the Ex BR locomotives were used, was to the east of the main Cardiff Docks complex, between Splott and what was Pengam Farm. This closed in the Autumn of 1977 and was most commonly referred to as 40 Acre site.
The following notes might help with regard to the location and surrounding area. On the North East of the Pengam Farm site was built the Tremorfa Works. Here the coast is on a North East-South West alignment. To the South West of the Pengam Farm site was the Dowlais steel works which had many buildings and tracks along with other firms. The road running parallel with the coast and to the North of the works sites and into the docks is Rover Way. To the West of the steelworks were the railway tracks and siding in a North-South alignment, the junction being near Roath. Roath Dock was to the west of these railway lines with the lines splitting to both sides of the dock and Queen Alexander dock slightly further South and West. Bute Dock was to the North West of Roath Dock on an almost North-South alignment.
The replacement Bird Group yard which opened in the Autumn of 1977 was to the North of Tremorfa Works, next to Rover Way, This is now Sims Metals, Birds Having sold this part of the scrap metal work to Sims.
The yards though appear to have been described in numerous different ways in enthusiast publications over the years which has created much confusion. Examples of how they have been referred being Roath Dock, Tremorfa Works, 40 Acre Site and Rover Way. Ideally we would like to include a map of the area here with the location of the yards clearly marked. If anyone could provide such a map could they please make contact. Alternatively, can anyone give an accurate OS grid reference for the two yards.
|D2185 in Bird's Cardiff Yard on 4th July 1976 railonline.zenfolio.com|
|D2185 in Birds' Cardiff yard on 3rd January 1977 Brian Rolley|
|This picture, taken c1977, in the Long Marston, Worcestershire yard of the Bird Group, shows (from left to right) D2187, D2194 & D2146. D2188 was also present when this picture was taken. Rail- Online collection|
D2125 & D2757
Society member John Hall, who is doing extensive research into BR diesel locomotive disposals, came across the picture above of a Class 03 that is almost certainly D2125. This picture appears elsewhere on the internet but David. J. Smith, in whose collection it is now held, has given permission for its use here.
Even though the Class 03 was photographed from the opposite side to the other photographs of D2185, detailed examination reveals significant detail differences. Thus, it is concluded the locomotive can't be D2185. As to the date of the photograph, this is not known but is believed to be late summer or early Autumn 1971. David says "The shot of the 03 is on a strip of 6 35mm negatives, the previous shot being of "Warship" 856 at Swindon Works during a visit on the 14th August 1971". It is hoped that the background to the picture will allow confirmation of the location. David also says "The next shot on the strip (after the D27xx one - only that one and the 03 are from the scrapyard) is at Cardiff Canton depot, so that confirms a South Wales location".
The second picture above now throws more 'oil on troubled waters'! This shows what is believed to be one of the later built former BR North British 0-4-0 at the same location. D2757 was recorded as going to Birds Cardiff yard but as having been scrapped in October 1970. If it is indeed that locomotive then scrapping must have taken place much later or if it is not that one which one is it?
If you can confirm the location of these photographs or can add anything else that might help solve this dilemma please make contact.
With regard to D2186 it has to concluded that this was never a Birds Group locomotive despite what is often reported. It was actually sold to A. R. Adams & Son, Newport in the Spring of 1970 or possibly earlier (see below) for use as a hire locomotive. References to it ever being at Abercarn Tinplate Works or Birds Group, Cardiff have been concluded to be presumptions based on previously published presumptions. It never ever being located at these locations. Its only known hires being to Aberaman Colliery Washery and Tower Colliery. From September 1972 it seems to have been stored at A. R. Adams premises in Newport until being scrapped in 1981.
A closer look at the history of D2186 supports further that this was a hire locomotive and had no connection with Birds Group. Roger Harris records it as being "....to store about 3/69, reinstated 5/69 on hire to private firm for track lifting and noted on this duty 6/7/69. Withdrawn 13/9/69. The track lifting being referred to was that between Thame and Morris Cowley. Further detail of this has been supplied by Peter Alexander who says "D2186 was used in connection with track lifting between Thame and Morris Cowley during the summer of 1969. Also, D2178 was also in use and they were exchanged at Morris Cowley every few weeks. D2186 was the last ever "train" from the west when it arrived on 19 August 1969 and D2178 formed the last departure eastbound on the same day. Track lifting, already completed east of Wheatley then started at the Morris Cowley end. On 12 September basically all track was lifted and D2178 was taken away by road from Wheatley to Oxford Rewley Road (former LMS) station for re-railing. As I recall, the locos were on hire to the Cohen 600 Group, the company which did the demolition." Could it be that D2178 and D2186 were by the summer of 1969 already owned by A. R. Adams and this was an example of a much earlier hire. Further details of the Adams hire fleet can be found here
Sightings for D2185
|D2185||Birds, Long Marston||31/05/1969||p.265 8/69 RO|
|D2185||Birds, Long Marston||28/06/1969||p.334 10/69 RO|
|D2185||Birds, Long Marston||14/07/1969||p.407 12/69 RO|
|D2185||Birds, Long Marston||26/07/1969||p.367 11/69 RO|
|D2185||Birds, Long Marston||07/03/1970||p.156 5/70 RO|
|D2185||Birds, Long Marston||30/03/1970||Gordon Edgar|
|D2185||Birds, Tremorfa (+D2125)||13/05/1973||p.226 7/73 RO|
|D2185||Birds, Tremorfa (+D2125)||20/10/1975||Mike Martin|
|D2185||Birds, 40 Acre Site, Rover Way, Cardiff (+D2125)||25/03/1976||IRS Records|
|D2185||Birds, Cardiff (+D2125)||11/04/1976||Stewart Hookins|
|D2185||Birds, Rover Way, Cardiff||04/07/1976||Rail-Online archive|
|D2185||Birds, 40 Acre Site, Cardiff||03/01/1977||Brian Rolley|
Last updated: 7th December 2019