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Fig 1: Kirkby-in-Ashfield Loco Shed in its death throes in 1970. Photo Credit: Ian Handley

Last Visit to Kirkby Loco Shed 1970: A Tribute to Rob Bradford

On 20th September 1970, I left Kirkby for Bulmershe College at Woodley, near Reading, Berkshire. Friday 23rd October 1970 was the start of half term so I returned home for the week. As Stan Drabble was short-staffed, and as I had only finished in mid – September, I did all of my old newspaper delivery rounds for the week, at a slightly higher rate of pay!, including Sundays 24th October and 1st November 1970. I also did a couple of extra rounds; money always came in handy, including Diamond Avenue and Nest Avenue.

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Fig 2: An almost deserted Kirkby Loco Shed and Sidings in 1970. Photo Credit: Keith Murray collection

Knowing that Kirkby Loco Shed and Sidings were due to close, indeed it was supposed to have already closed on 11th October 1970, but this was postponed, I visited it for the very last time on the afternoon of Saturday 31st October 1970.  I did my Sunday paper round the next day and the same diesel locomotives were definitely there, as most could be viewed from Low Moor Road. These were the locomotives still on shed that day:


Sulzer Class 2’s (Class 25’s): D5264, D5267, D7604, D7618


Brush Type 2 (Class 31): D5695


English Electric Types 3’s (Class 37’s): D6719 (X), D6829


English Electric Types 1’s (Class 20’s): D8006, D8021 (X), D8023, D8025, D8038, D8040, D8087, D8132, D8134, D8159, D8163, D8168, D8182


X denotes a cop (loco having not been seen before).

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Figure 3: Some of the last English Electric Type 1’s (Class 20’s) allocated at Kirkby-in-Ashfield Loco Shed in 1970. Photo Credit: Graham Upchurch

Therefore, I ‘copped’ two locos during my very last visit! The Brush 2 and EE Type 3s were obviously there for crew training, some Kirkby loco drivers transferring to Shirebrook and Westhouse’s Loco Sheds following closure. By the time I came back again on 12th December 1970, the whole site was abandoned.  It was very sad indeed.

Later, I discovered that the Loco Shed was supposed to have closed (yet again!) on 7th November 1970. However, it didn’t, finally closing on Wednesday 11th November 1970. The last two locos to depart Kirkby Loco Shed were English Electric Type 1’s, D8081 and D8155, at 4.00pm.


Rob Bradford

Posted by SB2K Admin

7th December 2022



On arriving home from the ‘Steaming Back to Kirkby’ (SB2K) finale event at Kirkby-in-Ashfield Library on Saturday, 3rd December 2022, it was with great sadness that I received news of the passing of Rob Bradford. A month previous, after getting home from one of the SB2K Tuesday morning drop in sessions at Kirkby Heritage Centre, I received a package from Rob including two of his photo albums, spotters books and other various documentation. He had donated these to the SB2K project as part of its archive. These will be forever treasured.

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Rob engaged with the SB2K Facebook page from its inception in 2019 and I think I can speak for all involved with the project that he had a phenomenal memory, especially concerning details of the last few years of Kirkby-in-Ashfield Loco Sheds and Sidings. Rob wasn’t afraid to challenge the conventional wisdom of some railway historians if he thought they had got information or dates wrong.

Our condolences go to Rob’s family at this sad time.


David Amos

SB2K Project Co-ordinator

7th December 2022