Oral history workshop

Fig 1: A Central Line tube train emerging from its tunnel into Stratford Main Line Station 26th May 1995.  Copyright Ian G Handley

Trainspotting Tribualtions Part 4: Stratford, Great Eastern.

In steam days Stratford in east London was the largest loco shed on British Railways (BR), by virtue of the number of locomotives allocated. I do not know what the position in this regard was after dieselisation in the 1960’s, which was when I visited.  I do not recall the date of my visit, but it was most likely the Autumn of 1966. I travelled via Euston & London Transport’s (LT) Central Line. This was in itself a surprise to me as I was unprepared for the underground train to rise up & enter the mainline BR station.   On passing through the ticket barriers into the street I turned into a tunnel which passed under both the BR & LT platforms

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Fig 2: The Great Eastern’s pride and joy, 70000 Britannia,  at Crewe works open day on 17th August 1996.  Copyright: Ian G Handley

Inside the loco shed yard was a sprawling site with numerous buildings. There was an old steam loco shed, which was empty apart from two roads which were bricked off as a separate shed. I was able to stand on oil drums and look through windows to see preserved engines stored.   There were a number of engines locked in this loco shed, these included BR Std Class 7 No. 70000 Britannia and Class T9 No. 30120. 

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Fig 3: ClassT9 30120, on a wet and miserable day, in the condition it was in when seen at Stratford, shortly after being moved to Tyseley, where this photograph was taken on 13th September 1970 Copyright:  Ian G Handley

Inside the loco shed yard was a sprawling site with numerous buildings. There was an old steam loco shed, which was empty apart from two roads which were bricked off as a separate shed. I was able to stand on oil drums and look through windows to see preserved engines stored.   There were a number of engines locked in this loco shed, these included BR Std Class 7 No. 70000 Britannia and Class T9 No. 30120. 

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Fig 4: Class T9 30120 at Arley on the Severn Valley Railway, 22nd September 2012.  Copyright: Ian G Handley

Beyond this building there was stationary boiler with an extended chimney.   Someone had chalked the name Rocket on the side. This visit was the only time when I saw the first member of four classes on the same day, i.e., D5500, D6700, D8200 & D8400.   That was a lot to see including rare shunter D2999.

Lastly, I visited the modern Diesel Maintenance Depot. This had four roads, each with room for two engines. Normal practice was to walk down between the first & second road so as to enable you to collect the numbers from two rows of engines & then return by the walkway between the Third & fourth roads.   On passing the final pair of engines I notice a fitter on his back with his head under the engine, I stepped passed & headed for the exit. He saw me but said nothing. I then exited by the same route.

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Fig 5: Trainspotters roaming around the yard at Kirkby-in-Ashfield Loco Sheds in the early 1960’s. Photo Credit: Kirkby Heritage Centre

Walking round was easy, I encountered more spotters than railwaymen.   I will now remind readers that looking round like this is not possible today as instead of being at risk of being thrown out you could end up in court & do not forget now there are many cameras watching you.

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Fig 6: Olympic Park Stratford, East London, 2012. Photo by Paul Hutchinson.

Moving forward to the present day, despite the last-mentioned loco shed being ultra-modern at the time of my 1966 visit, all has now gone. Since 2012 this area has housed the Olympic village. That’s progress for you

 Carry on spotting!

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Fig. 7: Olympic Park Stratford, East London, 2012. Photo by Paul Hutchinson

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Fig. 8: Olympic Park Stratford, East London, 2012. Photo by Paul Hutchinson

 

Blog by Ian G Handley

Posted by SB2K Admin, 19th August 2023