Oral history workshop

Fig 1: Nine Elms Loco Sheds in 1965. Photo Credit – Graham Upchurch

Trainspotting Tribulations Part 1: Nine Elms Loco Shed.

Back in the 1960’s we lived in a different world and behaved in ways which would not be accepted today.   Today if you wish to visit an engine shed, you need a permit or go on an open day, whereas during the 1960’s we walked in and out at will.   This is not recommended today as you are likely to end up in court with a fine.

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Fig 2: West Country Class No. 34004 Yeovil at Nine Elms Loco Shed in 1965. Photo Credit – Graham Upchurch

Some loco sheds were easier than others and one of my favourites was Nine Elms, now the site of the New Covent Garden Market.   Here you got into trouble if you used any means of entry other than the main gate.   The shed stood alongside a six-track electrified main line and railway men very wisely encouraged you to use the main gate as the safest route.

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Fig 3: BR Southern Region West Country & Battle of Britain classes in the 1964 ABC BR Locomotives & other motive power, Combined Volume.  Photo Credit: Keith Wright collection

On passing through the gate, on my first visit in February 1967 I turned right and was met by the roar of the safety valves on 34023 Blackmoor Vale lifting with some force.  We went round the shed and yard to collect all the engine numbers and returned to exit the shed by the same route only to find Blackmoor Vale still blowing off steam with the same force, a sound I can still clearly remember today. On shed were a selection of engines, mostly Bullied Pacific’s and BR standard classes.

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Fig 4: 21c123/34023 Blackmoor Vale at Sheffield Park, Bluebell Railway on 18th July 1976.  Copyright Ian G Handley

Fast forward to 1976 and a visit to The Bluebell Railway and while standing on the platforms at Sheffield Park Station with 21c123 Blackmoor Vale alongside of us, these safety valves lifted and this memory of Nine Elms came back.   Such are memories which we should treasure and keep.

Blog by Ian G Handley

Posted by SB2K admin

19th July 2023