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Furness, Lakes & Lune

Meeting Reports

Friday 5th January 2018
Steam &  Diesel in the Northern Fells
I Pilkington

On the 5th January Ian Pilkington gave an historical digital presentation ‘Steam and Diesel in the Northern Fells’. The presentation covered the years 2010 to 2016 with some popular locations being visited more than once to capture a variety of preserved steam in action throughout the years.
The Northern Fells provided a colourful backdrop to railway photography but the weather can play an important part in producing a classic portrait as Ian was to show in some of his pictures. The Lancaster and Carlisle and the Settle and Carlisle forged routes north – south through the fells and the majority of photographs had been taken along these lines. The ‘Little’ North Western in the Lune valley, the Blackburn Hellifield line, the Cumbrian Coast line north of Barrow and the Newcastle and Carlisle provided alternative backdrops to the remaining photographs.
The variety of preserved steam locomotives captured on film included Duchesses, A4s, Castles, ‘Britannia’ and ‘Tornado’, black 5s a plenty and ‘Galatea’ which appeared in both red and black livery.
Some well-known named trains were replicated with headboards and appropriate motive power such as the ‘Royal Scot’ and the ‘Thames Clyde’ express and there were other chartered specials with headboards, ‘Tin Bath’, ‘Cumbrian Coast Express’ and ‘Cumbrian Fells Express’ being but a few.
Whilst preserved steam took major place, a good number of modern Diesel hauled freight trains were seen .These were often taken at the same location either before or after the steam special. The Clitheroe cement train, the Chirk Cronspar log train, Railtrack engineer’s trains and nuclear flask and coal trains. These trains were operated by DRS, Colas Rail, Freightliner Heavy Haul and EWS. and finally the long and heavy Eddy Stobart/Tesco Daventry container trains showed what variety of freight is handled in the area. Of special interest to class 37 enthusiasts in the NW is the DRS-Northern Rail Barrow –Carlisle train, which was seen in several locations on the Cumbrian coast being top and tailed before the introduction of the MK2 DVT.
The final showing of the evening brought us right up to date with the new DRS class 68s on their first operational runs over Shap. Ian enlivened his presentation with an informative narration which included locations dates and times.

A very colourful, interesting and informative evening.

Friday 3rd November 2017
Preston to Windermere in last years of steam
Noel Machell

For the second meeting of the season Noel Machell a well know and popular speaker retuned on the 3rd of November to give a pictorial presentation on a journey from Preston to Windermere in the last years of steam. The photographs spanned a decade from 1952 to 1963 starting from Preston, and included the last few MR and LNWR locomotives operating from Lancaster Green Ayre and Carnforth MPD’s. The products of Fowler, Stanier, Ivatt and Riddles were well represented and the presentation ended with the early Derby Lightweight DMU and the introduction of class 40 and 44 diesels on the WCML.
Between Preston and Windermere the traffic passing through and past nine major junctions was well represented with local passenger trains to Morecambe, Carnforth, Windermere and Barrow, and included was a large variety of freight and parcel van trains and mainline passenger trains such as the Royal Scot and Lakes Express on which some of the last Duchesses ran before withdrawal.
The Lakes Tours which started from Morecambe appeared several times being hauled by different locomotives from Green Ayre MPD. Also transfer freight between Lancaster Green Ayre and Castle yards and local trip working from Heysham Harbour to Carnforth were shown.
Also covered were RCTS tours on the Longridge Branch and RCTS/SLS tours on the Glasson Dock branch prior to their closure and diversions from the WCML around Lancaster and Morecambe as the viaduct spanning the River Lune at Lancaster was being rebuilt. The latter were ‘top and tailed’ as there were three reversals on-route.
Lancaster Green Ayre MPD was visited on several occasions from 1952 until closure in 1966, when, over time, the MR 4-4-0 Compounds and 0-6-0 big goods were replaced by more modern locomotives designed by Fowler, Stanier and Ivatt and Riddles. The layout of the depot was unusual as entrance and exit to it was via the turntable. It rostered locomotives for passenger traffic on the ‘little’ North Western line to Hellifield and Leeds and the Lancaster to Morecambe locals, trip working between Lancaster yards and Heysham Harbour and fitted freights from Heysham Harbour to Leeds, as well as chemical traffic from the ICI complex at Middleton. Jubilees from Leeds Holbeck and ER B1s were also serviced at the depot.

An enjoyable and informative presentation with an attendance of 21, this is above normal for the branch.

Friday 6th October 2017
Green Diesel Era
Steve Fort

A digital slide show ‘The Green Diesel Era’ was presented Steven Fort and covered the period from 1947 when the LMS unveiled 10000 to the last diesels still in green livery in service with British Railways circa 1983. The early prototypes which pre-dated the Modernisation Plan were well represented, these having been introduced in the early 1950s such as the LMS diesel electrics twins, the WR gas turbine, the three SR Bullied diesel electrics and the Fell diesel mechanical oddity.
The aim of Modernisation Plan of 1957 was to bring to an end the days of steam, but in the rush to introduce the new diesel motive power, some of the early prototypes were less than reliable and had a short life. They were all painted in the corporate green livery with a D prefix to their number which also denoted the class and with the second steam engine emblem and no yellow ends. The majority were powered by one or more diesel engines with electrical transmission. The WR, however decided on hydraulic transmission for their Hymeks, Westerns and Warship classes which, soon after 1960 they started to paint them in maroon and desert sand livery.
By 1962,half yellow ends had started to appear on new builds and repaints, to make them more visible to the staff and, in particular, those working on the infrastructure. By this time the diesel locomotive was starting to replace the dwindling stock of steam engines and they could be found at steam sheds throughout the system. This was not an ideal environment and it would be sometime before new diesel depots were built, the largest one in London being at Willesden. There were also several slides devoted to the second generation higher powered type 5 prototypes’ introduced from 1962 such as DP2, Hawk and Falcon.
Electric locomotives were also well represented with the classes 81 to 85 in their new electric blue for the first part of the electrified West Coast mainline, the Southern Region 71, 73 and 74 electro diesels and the Metropolitan Vickers 1,500 volts on the Woodhead route.
By 1968 the D prefix had been dropped and full yellow ends and the new corporate blue livery had started to appear. These changes in livery took some time and as late as 1983 green livery with full yellow ends was still being carried by a few class 47s and a single class 20. As a comparison, passenger stock was soon repainted, and a train of blue and grey Mk 1 coaches on a principal passenger train could be hauled by a green livery diesel into the mid 1970s.

An extremely good presentation with its ever changing and colourful display and accompanying historical facts. Also included within the slides was a social picture of railway staff and the end of platform train spotters.

last updated: 07/02/18