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Fig 1: This view would have been similar to the one I saw when our train, headed by 61109, drew into Kirkby-in-Ashfield (Bentinck) on 2nd January 1963 before taking us onto Sheffield (Victoria). This photo of 61312 was taken in 1952. Photo Credit: Frank Ashley, Malcolm Rush Collection

Youthful Days – Part 6

In Youthful Days Part 6 Malcolm Rush recalls the day he first travelled by train from Kirkby Bentinck station to Sheffield (Victoria) to enjoy a day’s spotting there.

My first visit to Sheffield Victoria took place on Wednesday 2nd January 1963 when a group of lads travelled from Kirkby Bentinck station on a Nottingham (Victoria) to Sheffield (Victoria) stopping service hauled by Thompson Class B1 4-6-0 No. 61109. Although the distance wasn’t great it was a momentous day for me as I hadn’t travelled that line before. Also, I’d heard that at some point on the journey we would see some “Jubilees” and “Royal Scots”. At the time I didn’t know where that would be but it was actually Staveley Central shed where the locos were being stored. I noted six “Jubilees” and two “Royal Scots” (Figs 2 & 3), all of which I now know, according to BR Database, had been withdrawn from Sheffield (Darnall) on 29th December 1962.

An SLS note on BR Database says for Darnall MPD on 7/7/1962 “The Scots and Jubilees stored at Staveley since Millhouses closed in January have been transferred here for the summer services, viz 45536, 46151/64 and 45570/6/94. 45656/83 and 45725” After the summer of ’62 they clearly returned to Staveley to await their final fate. Of course, one of the first sights which greeted me at Sheffield was the mass of 1500V direct current (d.c.) overhead electric wires providing the power for the electrified Sheffield to Manchester via Woodhead route. The pages of my spotting log for that day are shown in Figs 2, 3 and 4.

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Fig 2: Malcolm’s spotting log for his day at Sheffield (Victoria), page 1. Photo Credit: Malcolm Rush

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Fig 3: Malcolm’s spotting log for his day at Sheffield (Victoria), page 2. Photo Credit: Malcolm Rush

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Fig 4: Malcolm’s spotting log for his day at Sheffield (Victoria), page 3. Photo Credit: Malcolm Rush

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Fig 5: The sight of working electric locomotives with pantographs was unusual for me, in 1963. This BR poster from 1955 extols the virtues of the electrified Sheffield to Manchester (via Woodhead) line. Photo Credit: Science and Society Picture Library, Image released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial-Share Alike 4.0 Licence

A vivid memory remains with me of an accident that happened on that day. I was standing at the Manchester end of Sheffield (Victoria) station and opposite a bay platform curved from which the track fanned out into a group of 2 or 3 sidings. A few parcel vans were being propelled towards this bay platform and a shunter, walking at track level adjacent to the platform with his back to the train, was waving the train forward.

What happened next was probably caused by some confusion as to which siding the vans were headed for. With the shunter still walking forwards and waving the train on, the vans kept moving on the track nearest the platform until the footboard of the first hit the shunter on his back. The man was then rolled round and round between the platform and the footboard until someone realised what was happening and stopped the train. I hope that no serious injury resulted, but the last I saw of him was when workmates were assisting his painful progress along the platform – a haunting vision for an 11 year old and one which remained with me for some time

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Fig 6: The end of our return journey on 2nd January 1963 from Sheffield (Victoria) would have looked something like this (although there was no snow on that day!) This photo of a Nottingham (Victoria) bound train was taken in February 1963 at Kirkby Bentinck station. Photo Credit: H.B. Priestly.

I was fortunate enough to make another journey to Sheffield by train from Kirkby Bentinck on Tuesday 26th February 1963 during the last week of the local passenger service operations.

Again, I saw some “Jubilees” and a “Royal Scot” at Staveley Central shed, not so many though (45576, 45683, 45725 and 46151). On that day I noted 92 engines, copping 48 including “Jubilee” 4-6-0 No. 45579 ‘Punjab’, A3 4-6-2 No. 60054 ‘Prince of Wales’ and EM1 Bo-Bo No. 26000 ‘Tommy’. I also saw B1 No. 61312 (depicted in Fig 1 during 1952). Additionally I noted the named Pullman coaches I’d seen in January – Opal, Falcon & Wren. I believe they would have been on the London Kings Cross to Sheffield (via Retford) “Master Cutler” train.

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Fig 7: Another photo at Kirkby Bentinck showing a southbound train from Sheffield (Victoria) with B1 No. 61316 in charge during 1952. I did see that engine at some point during my spotting years, but not on either of the two days I visited Sheffield. Note the train headboard being carried, reversed. Photo Credit: Frank Ashley, Malcolm Rush Collection

Kirkby Bentinck Station closed to passengers on 4th March 1963. There’s a blog which tells more about the station on the Steaming Back to Kirkby website at https://kirkbysteam.co.uk/kirkby-bentinck-station/


Blog by Malcolm Rush

Posted by SB2K admin on 22nd August 2023