Oral history workshop

Fig 1: I took this photo on one of the many occasions I saw Class V2 2-6-2 No. 60847 ‘St Peter’s School York A.D. 627’. She was standing at Annesley shed on 23rd March 1964. Sporting a 50A (York North) shedplate, the right hand nameplate is missing. In later years I recall Chris Ward telling me that the engine stood there for about three weeks. Photo Credit: Malcolm Rush. Colourised version

Youthful Days – Part 8

In Youthful Days Part 8, Malcolm Rush continues his memories of Annesley loco shed and recalls his encounter with a Railway Policeman there.

During my spotting years Annesley shed was home to a variety of engines provided to work the Nottingham (Victoria) to London (Marylebone) passenger trains. For a short time in 1962 it was “Britannia” Pacifics Nos. 70014 ‘Iron Duke’, 70015 ‘Apollo’, 70048 ‘The Territorial Army 1908 – 1958’ and 70049 ‘Solway Firth’.

“Royal Scots” then took over, along with a few “Patriots” and “Jubilees”. Annesley was the final loco shed for numerous “Royal Scots” and they were clearly sent there to work their life out. My personal observations total 14 “Royal Scots” seen at Annesley.

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Fig 2: 1st June 1962 and “Britannia” 4-6-2 No.70014 ‘Iron Duke’ looks in fine fettle. Note the studs under the nameplate where the Golden Arrow was fixed in her Stewarts Lane glory days. June 1962 saw four “Britannia” class locomotives transferred to Annesley. Four months later they had all gone! I actually only saw two of these at Annesley during this time – Nos. 70014 ‘Iron Duke’ and 70015 ‘Apollo’. Photo Credit: David K Dykes.

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Fig 3: This is really how I remember the “Royal Scots” at Annesley. With hindsight, it was perhaps rather sad because the writing was already on the wall for the Great Central line and the numerous “Royal Scots” I saw there. They were generally in a run-down condition with no nameplates and sporting the yellow diagonal stripe painted on each cabside. This yellow stripe denoted that the engine was no longer allowed to work south of Crewe under the overhead line equipment. This photo of No. 46125 ‘3rd Carabinier’ was taken on 29th August 1964. I copped 46125, at Annesley, on 2nd November 1963. Photo Credit: Chris Ward’s Annesley Fireman Website

Also seen at Annesley were the impressive Gresley Class V2 2-6-2 engines. These locos generally worked on fast freights and were often York engines. One of these I remember seeing quite a few times was No. 60847 ‘St Peter’s School York A.D. 627’ (Fig. 1). I also have a vivid memory of the sight of a V2 from Lindley’s Lane bridge at Kirkby South Junction. This particular V2 was obviously having some problems because it emerged from Annesley tunnel swathed in dark smoke as it fought its way up the 1 in 132 gradient towards Kirkby South signal box (what would that have been like for the loco crew as their train climbed through the long dark confines of Annesley tunnel?).  I remember hearing the pronounced offbeat 3-cylinders as the engine pounded valiantly towards me.  Once past Kirkby South Junction signal box the gradient eased downhill to 1 in 157 on the section to Kirkby Bentinck.

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Fig 4: There is a nice little link with this engine back to Part 2 of “Youthful Days” on 14th July 1962. That is when I copped 46112 (formerly named ‘Sherwood Forester’) at Sheffield (Millhouses). In my spotting log book I have recorded that I saw 46112 at Annesley on 21st March 1964. That was shortly after 46112 had been in a collision at Woodhouse Jct. on 10th March 1964. Here she stands waiting the call to the scrapyard of J Cashmore, Great Bridge, where she was cut up in September of that year. I remember seeing her in this damaged condition during many visits to Annesley. Photo Credit: Chris Ward’s Annesley Fireman Website

At this point it might be useful to look back at how the steam locos, which worked the Nottingham (Victoria) to London (Marylebone) passenger trains, were serviced during their out and back runs. Up to 1962 Neasden loco shed was available but that shed closed on 18th June 1962. The four “Britannia” Pacifics on its allocation (70014, 70015, 70048 & 70049) were transferred to Annesley. Servicing of GC steam in London then transferred to Cricklewood shed. That loco shed closed to steam in December 1964 and Willesden formally took over the role of servicing GC engines.

Banbury then received, during w/e 2nd October 1965, eight “Britannia” Pacifics (along with Stanier “Black 5” 4-6-0’s). I saw some of these at Annesley, including 70046, 70050 & 70054. Fitted with BR1D tenders with increased coal capacity (nine tons) and with water capacity of 4725 gallons I think these were seen to be suitable for out and back journeys from Nottingham to London. I understand, though, that these Brits were not always as economical as was needed, irrespective of them all having the largest tender available. Their brief fling finished w/e 8th January 1966 when all eight were transferred to Carlisle Kingmoor shed. Annesley loco shed closed on 3rd January 1966. The mainstay of the London passenger services then became the Stanier “Black 5” 4-6-0’s (many of which were transferred to Colwick loco shed from Banbury, after the Brits had gone).

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Fig 5: Of course, back in 1965, I was unaware of the niceties of what was going off – I was just pleased to have photographed 70050 ‘Firth of Clyde’ standing at Annesley shed on 17th October 1965, shorn of nameplates. Less than 3 months later and Annesley shed was closed. Photo Credit: Malcolm Rush. Colourised version

Annesley was an ex-GC depot, coded 38B until taken under the London Midland Region’s wing in 1958. It was then coded 16D, and later, in 1963, 16B. Unfortunately, the writing was on the wall for Annesley MPD. In early 1965 all the express freight and fish services were diverted to the Midland route via Derby. Three months later Woodford Halse yards were closed and that was the end of the famous Annesley – Woodford freight service (known as “runners”), the fastest unbraked freight service in Europe (and probably the world).

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Fig 6: Stanier Black 5’s at Annesley Loco Shed in 1965. Photo Credit: David K Dykes

Monday 14th June 1965 saw the partial closure of Annesley depot, leaving just sixteen sets of men to work the remaining duties with a handful of “Black Fives”. These were later supplemented by the transfer to Banbury (2D) of eight “Britannia” class 4-6-2’s, Nos.70045/46/47 and 50 – 54. These were frequent visitors to Annesley until its final closure on 3rd January 1966

It was in October 1965 that I paid my final visit to Annesley loco shed. I think, subsequently, I made a conscious decision never to return to the site as I didn’t want my happy memories to be overwritten by the razed to ground scene which would confront me.

Now, though, let’s go back to 1962 with a link to the Annesley Brits. My only brush with a railway policeman occurred at Annesley sometime between June and October. Travelling from Kirkby-in-Ashfield to Annesley by bus I met a lad from Merseyside who had a permit to visit this shed. Although 2 hours late he wasn’t at all concerned, and he invited me to tour the sheds with him, using his permit.

Every so often Annesley was the subject of a Sunday “raid” by a railway policeman – you could always tell when this was in progress because a group of spotters had formed near to the gate, uneasy about asking the shed foreman for permission to look around. This was so on that Sunday, but it did not matter – after all, there was a permit holder to hand.

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Fig 7: In the 1960s Shed Permits were like this. Although I was only 13 years old I had no trouble obtaining this Permit to visit Barrow Hill shed. Photo Credit: Malcolm Rush.

Additionally, we heard that my much-needed cop – 70048 ‘The Territorial Army 1908-1958’ was inside the shed! After collecting a few more willing spotters, our group started looking around the outside of the shed and collecting numbers. We were at the far side of the shed, near the “scrap” line, when a figure in black emerged from the shed buildings and raced towards us – it was the dreaded railway policeman. Unperturbed, though, the lad quickly produced his permit. The policeman scrutinised it carefully and then set about with a verbal attack, jabbing his fingers to punctuate and emphasise what he was saying:

  • permits were not valid after the appointed time !!
  • permit holders should always report first to the shed foreman !!
  • the stated number of people on the permit should always be present !!
  • etc……etc……

This seemed to carry on for an eternity and I was starting to panic. Never mind copping 70048 – I’d probably cop it from my parents!!

Looking around, I saw, not too far away, a gate at the back of the complex. Moments later, I found myself running flat out towards that gate. I was almost there when a voice from behind boomed out “Come back here you!!” Turning around, and with my heart in my mouth, I trudged wearily back to the group pondering on what fate awaited me. Nowadays we’d probably recognise that as “fight or flight syndrome” !!

Fortunately, after a good ticking off, the policeman allowed us to go. I was pleased it went no further but I was obviously disappointed that I hadn’t been able to see 70048!

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Fig 8: Ah, if only !!! 70048 looks well in the yard at Annesley shed. Photo Credit: David Amos collection.  

Moving forward 46 years to November 2008. I was then able to watch a reincarnation of  No.70048 when, as part of the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the Territorial Army, No.70013 ‘Oliver Cromwell’ was temporarily renumbered to 70048 and renamed appropriately at the Great Central Railway, Leicestershire. In fact, during this reincarnation, the engine carried two subtly different nameplates – the right hand one had the original years ‘1908 – 1958’ whereas the left hand one showed ‘1908 – 2008’, nice touch! (Figs 9 a and b)

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Figs 9a & b: Nameplates of 70013 masquerading as 70048 on 22nd November 2008, inside Loughborough shed. Photo Credits: Malcolm Rush

There was, though, one visibly obvious difference between 70013 and 70048 in that the original 70048 had been paired with a BR1D tender. This had curved upper fairings and had an increased coal capacity (nine tons) and water capacity (4725 gallons). 70013 is paired with its original BR1 tender having a coal capacity of seven tons and water capacity of 4250 gallons. Despite this detail difference I wasn’t complaining and I finally managed to see the biggest “Britannia” nameplates in all their glory!

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Fig 10: This photo of Annesley shed was taken in March 1965. Note the aerial ropeway in the background which carried the spoil from the nearby Newstead Colliery. The “scrap line” where I had my brush with the Railway Policeman is located to the left of the shed building. By this time there were no engines on that line – in less than a year Annesley shed would be no more. Photo Credit: Bill Wright (Barking Bill)

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Fig 11: This great photo of Stanier “Black 5” 4-6-0 No. 44862 was taken alongside Annesley shed on 28th March 1965. At that time it was a Willesden (1A) engine. I had copped this engine the previous day, at Kirkby-in-Ashfield MPD. Photo Credit: Bill Wright (Barking Bill).

Blog by Malcolm Rush

Posted by SB2K Admin – 25th September 2023