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Furness, Lakes & Lune

Meeting Reports

Friday 2nd November 2018
'Locomotive Depots around the British Isles 1957-1968'
Noel Machell

The second digital slide show of the 2018/19 programme was presented by Noel Machell,titled ‘Locomotive Depots around the British Isles 1957 –1968’. Newspaper trains often had a passenger coach or two in there consist and were invariably the means of travel to and from depots beyond the North West of England. Many of the depots were visited during Sundays when most of the allocated locomotives would be on shed in light steam awaiting their weekly rostered duties.
The Modernisation Plan of 1957 and the Clean Air Act brought about the end of steam and all but a few of the places visited during this presentation are recognisable today. Whilst BR set about modernising some sheds with new roofs including a few new builds, the majority of sheds visited were in a run down state. It was obvious that general labour was hard to obtain, with many depots requiring removal of ash and clinker and having a degree of untidiness. Whilst the overall atmospherics and run down engines created nostalgic images, the working conditions for the depots artisan staff were obviously far from ideal.
From the early 60s photographs of clean locomotives were becoming the exception. Some locomotives were repainted following a general works overhaul at one of the main workshops such as St Rollox, which used large Sans Serif numbers. At the last overhaul all were turned out from the works without lining. Following its final overhaul ‘Oliver Cromwell’ was kept clean for Railtours by shed staff. Others were cleaned by volunteers such as the mythical ‘Neverers’ who overnight bulled up a locomotive for the following day’s Railtour.
The geographical spread of photographs encompassed all regions from single road wooden sheds in the far north of the Highlands, to the larger sheds in the East Yorkshire coalfields and the Midlands and the NE, the welsh valleys and idyllic rural examples in corrugated iron in Dorset and the Isle of Man. Depots in the North West were well represented with Preston, Tebay, Barrow and Lancaster in particular, as this was Noel’s home town. Finally to Carnforth in 1968, where the remaining black fives and standard 4s were in steam and lined up for their final duties. At the North end of the depot, the adjoining Keer Sidings contained the last three 9Fs 2-10-0 and many others awaiting the breakers torch.

An excellent evening of nostalgia was enjoyed by 21 attendees and for the first time, the Branch’s recently purchased projector was used.

Friday 5th October 2018
'Transition from Steam to Diesel'
Steve Fort

The first digital slide show of the 2018/19 programme was presented by Steve Fort, entitled Transition from Steam to Diesel covering the years 1957 to 1972.
The post-war modern DC electric system over the Woodhead route had come into operation with the introduction in 1952/53 of classes 76 and 77 which were seen at Dinting in 1956. At the start of 1957 BR had 17,522 steam engines on its books and in that year the first generation pilot plan diesels had been ordered under the 1957 Modernisation Plan. Whilst heavy duty overhauls to the steam fleet continued at BR workshops such as Derby and Swindon, the first of five four wheeled Railcars built in West Germany by Waggon und Maschinenbau had commenced operating on branch lines in Cambridgeshire.
At Kings Cross in 1959 the first Bay Deltics were operating local services alongside the A3s and A4s on East Coast principal trains, whilst on the West Coast class 40 Diesels were taking over from the Duchesses on the principal trains.
Following successful trails of BRC&W class26 in 1960 on the Highland Line, all were eventually delivered to Inverness, the last being withdrawn in 1993. The first section of the WCML was completed in September 1960 and at Battersea Wharf in Oct 1963 a line of class 81/82/83 and 84 electrics were exhibited by BR, all in the new electric blue livery. In November 1962 the last LMS Princess was withdrawn having run a leg of the RCTS/SLS Aberdeen flyer in June.
On the WR the last four Kings were withdrawn in December1962. At that time 32 classes of diesel and electric locomotives were in service totalling 3100 diesel and 189 electric locomotives. On the LMR yellow stripes were appearing on cab sides banned from working south of Crewe, and more steam and diesel were seen double heading for diesel crew training purposes.
December 1965 saw the end of steam on the WR and the last steam hauled express ran on the ER between York and Newcastle. Class 20 D8048 was the first diesel to be painted in BR blue livery on the 9th June 1966. On the SR the last few Merchant Navy class engines were running flat out with the Waterloo-Weymouth services which ended steam on the region on 9th July 1967.
The next generation of diesel locomotives designated class 50 were introduced into service on the northern half of the WCML following testing in June 1967, and on September 9th steam on the ER came to an end, fittingly in the NE on a coal train.
The LMR now had the remaining steam sheds in the NW. Tebay for banking engines closed on 31 December1967, duties taken over by class 17 Claytons from Carnforth, and soon Bolton, Rose Grove and Lostock Hall would close leaving Carnforth as the last operating shed to dispose Black fives 44871 and 44781 on 11thAugust 1968.
Despite the introduction of corporate blue livery, the WR were running Westerns and Warships in sand and maroon livery and plain green and two-tone green predominated on all regions.
Alan Pegler had obtained permission to run ‘Flying Scotsman’ on the main line despite the steam ban, and other steam engines that were bought from BR were now running on preserved lines or towed dead to open days. At the end of this period in 1972 full yellow ends were becoming common and the introduction of TOPS removed the need for the D prefix on diesel locomotives which were renumbered into classes. By mid-1972 393 pilot plan diesels had been scrapped some with less than five years use rendering 11 classes extinct.

Up to 1972 only 26 locomotives had left Barry scrapyard, but in the next ten years many more would go to preservation lines. Some would take years to rebuild as funds became available, and through the perseverance of dedicated groups some would steam again on the mainlines.

Friday 6th April 2018
'Around Britain then and now'
David Bousfield

On the 6th April our Treasurer, David Bousefield, gave a slideshow presentation ‘Trains around Britain Then & Now’ using some of his own ‘modern’ images and a selection of ‘historical images from his father’s extensive collection of colour slides taken in the 1960s. Some additional slides had also come from the Ray Reid collection, a railwayman and an RCTS member and an acquaintance of his father. David used two 250 watt slide projectors alternating between them, a setup which allowed the images to fade in and out between successive slides, he said the previous owner was the Bishop of Grantham and he had purchased them e Bay.
We started the countrywide journey at Lancaster and then around Lancashire and the northwest to the Cumbrian coast and around to Carlisle and Glasgow. Then across to Edinburgh and down the East coast by St. Neots to London and a visit to platform nine and three quarters for a posed photograph courtesy of Warner Brothers. The DLR and Eurostar Express sets at Waterloo were a contrast in railway technology and design. From Waterloo we crossed the Saltash Bridge to visit Exeter and onwards to Penzance with a brief visit to the S&D then back to the S&C and Leeds and Bradford new station.
Along the way there were favourite spots that his father liked to visit and some before and after comparisons as well as holiday places especially selected where steam still operated. There were many slides showing steam specials and Railtours with a variety of diesel traction. Many of David’s slides depicted railways in the landscape, a format which he said he favoured for his photographs. All together a large variety of motive power and some privatised liveries and franchises which are now history were shown, including 90698 being the last WD 2-8-0 in steam on the ER. During the narrations there were also some interesting facts such as the Tesco container train which saves 73% of the fuel of the equivalent number of lorries, and the use of the former CEGB Kearsley power station electric shunters at Heysham nuclear electrical generation plant.
At the end of a 2 hour presentation we came back to Lancaster with WCR 48151crossing Carlisle Bridge being silhouetted by the setting sun on its last leg of the ‘Fellsman’ and journeys end at Carnforth.

The presentation include an informative narration which included locations and dates; a very historical and enjoyable evening was had by the attendees

Friday 2nd March 2018
The Splendid Years of BR Steam 1958-1962
John Sloane

On the 2nd March John Sloane gave an interesting presentation ‘The Splendid Years of BR Steam 1958-1962’ using his own collection of black and white photographs which he had converted into digital format. His earliest photographs were taken on the WCML north of Preston where he lived and his first camera, a Christmas present, was an Ilford with a maximum 1/40 shutter speed using 120 Kodak 25 ASA (25ISO) film. The film only allowed 8 exposures to a roll and the price of developing and printing were costly when compared to the average weekly wage. This film only gave good results when the subject was either stationary or low speed; he said his shots of the ‘Caledonian’ and ‘Royal Scot’ although of historical interest were not always to the required sharpness.
Like most teenagers of that era, who were called ‘train-spotters’, he said his aim was to collect every locomotive number and visit all the locomotive sheds and in 1957 he invested in the train-spotters bible an Ian Allen ABC combined volume of Locomotives and Loco shed book. From 1957 to 1963 he, and sometimes accompanied by two colleagues, travelled the length and breadth of the country visiting railways workshops, locomotive sheds and stations. Advantage was taken of Rail-rover weekly tickets and other special tickets such as the Freedom of Wales which cost £4 &15 shillings for five days to travel as far as possible in the shortest time. Sleeping on overnight trains, such as the Northern Irishman, could also be used for the longer journeys. In August 1961,using a Freedom of Scotland ticket, a hundred sheds were visited in twelve days. A duffle bag was the only luggage item; it was slung over the shoulder and could carry the combined volume, films and camera and a clean shirt or two.
He would sometimes go with his father, a travelling salesman for a Preston company, and whilst his father was busy he would travel around for the day, one such being a visit to the Somerset and Dorset Bath Green Park shed.
Photographs of nearer locations were taken on the L&Y lines in East Lancashire, Lees and Oldham, Longsight, Newton Heath, Crewe works and Gorton where the last Robinson GCR 0-6-0s awaited the cutter’s torch. There were RCTS specials on the West Lancashire Railway and Longbridge Branch with the last LNWR 0-8-0, and the restored MR compound on a Blackpool special both at Preston, including the gaudily painted Andy Cap special at Blackpool North.
By 1962 the ‘big cull’ was underway with mass withdrawals, particularly on the WR, where mainline steam locomotives such as Kings and Castles were being replaced with Western and Warship diesels.
A visit to Wolverhampton, Bristol, Penzance, Exeter, and Worcester, along the valley lines to Aberdare and into South Wales, including outpost like Pembroke Dock and Neyland for the last steam hauled 6.30 am service train.
Several visits were made to Nine Elms, Three Bridges, Ashford, Eastleigh and Southampton Central on the Southern Railway, including a very wet day in Southampton docks to capture the American 0-6-0 dock shunters in action alongside the iconic Cunard Liner, “Queen Mary”.
Sunday visits to Haslam, Canklow, Kirby-in-Ashfield and Wellingborough sheds all contained large allocations of heavy freight engines which would be at work during the week.
The sheds on the ER at Darnhall, Dairycoates, Frodingham and Doncaster had more diverse allocations where B1s, Britannia’s and A2s stood alongside the last GNR 02s and WD austerity locomotives.
Finally to Scotland and Adrossan to see the last Caledonian 0-6-0s in action, then to Polmadie where there was a Co-Bo off the ‘Condor’ fast freight from St. Pancras. Onwards via Aviemore to Elgin and along the GN of S branch to Banff, now operated by a BR Standard 4MT 2-6-0 with two coaches. At the idyllic station of Ballachulish, where the branch line trains crossed the line, was being operated by one of the last McIntosh Caledonian 439 class together with another of post-grouping development. A contrast in 25 years of steam engine development. The hardest locomotive to find was on the Far North line from Inverness to Wick, the train being hauled by a class 27 diesel all the way to Wick where the last Pickersgill 4-4-0 was still there and in steam.

John enlivened his presentation with an informative narration which included locations and dates. A very historical and enjoyable evening was had by the attendees

last updated: 04/12/18