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BRITISH RAILWAYS ILLUSTRATED SPECIAL No.1 - Steam to Diesel on the Southern

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BRITISH RAILWAYS ILLUSTRATED SPECIAL No.1 - Steam to Diesel on the Southern

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Editor Chris hawkins

Loco Town, South London

British Railways organised its sheds – to be designated Motive Power Depots – on the LMS model established in the 1930s. This in theory had a ‘concentration’ depot at the head of a Motive Power District with an ‘A’ code and subordinate ‘garage’ depots. Repairs and maintenance would be, literally, concentrated on the ‘concentration’ depot while the ‘garages’ served in a way that their title suggested, with much less attention carried out. Even on the LMS, however, anomalies abounded, in which the ‘A’ shed possessed little in respect of repair facilities while nominally ‘garage’ sheds were much better equipped and so it is little wonder that while, on the pages of the Ian Allan abc, the sheds of every Region seemed to arranged precisely alike, the codings often meant little more than that. Each Region had its shed codes organised on the LMS model but as for the activities at the sheds themselves, these went on much as they had done under the Southern, GWR, LNER and indeed much as they had done on the pre-Group companies that had preceded them. So it was that in London 73A ‘East’ met 70A ‘West’ curiously within a short stroll of each other, in a somewhat down at heel corner of London near to the Thames.

The old LSW lines and the terminus at Waterloo were served by the ancient and rambling premises at Nine Elms while the principal shed for the old Brighton and Chatham sections had emerged as Stewarts Lane. More or less the entire range of Southern locomotives could be found at one time or another in this closely confined area of Battersea and it is principally through the mirror of this remarkable London ‘locomotive town’ that it’s possible to illustrate the variety of Southern Region steam in the early 1950s, finishing up this BRILL Special with the Southern’s very own main line diesel fleet.



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INTO THE BLUE

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INTO THE BLUE

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As an unashamed trainspotter of the ‘urchin’ generation of the 1950s/1960s, as my steam favourites disappeared my life became a natural progression to other activities. Any shabby railway photographs of that time, taken with poor equipment and inadequate expertise, were confined to shoe boxes or discarded. By the time a decent camera was acquired, all but the fag end of steam presented itself, and just a handful of green or maroon diesel pictures were the result. Then, after pursuing the End of Steam ‘15 Guinea Specials’ (around Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumberland, in a Ford Zodiac, would you believe?) no more railway pictures were taken. That is until the early 1970s, when after my mother’s untimely death and my distraught father’s return to his Yorkshire roots, as part of his recovery he and I went back to the places he’d taken my brother and me to watch trains; but this time I did the driving. By then I’d acquired a reasonable 35mm camera (a Pentax K1000 – the best ‘budget’ camera in my opinion) and I decided to take some ‘decent’ railway pictures. But I was astonished at how relatively little the railway infrastructure had changed. Though the flat crossing and South signalbox had gone, Retford still had a forest of semaphore signals, the level crossing gates at Botany Bay were still hand-operated and Black Carr Junction still looked exactly as it had done nearly two decades before. Thus was reborn my interest in photographing railways.

More distant horizons were contemplated and, over the next fifteen years or so I sought out more and more subjects. Though not geographically comprehensive by any means, much of the subject matter was concerned with the steam-age infrastructure and the classes of locos coming to the end of their lives. Teaching as a career allowed me the freedom of extended holiday periods to pursue my interest. My wife accompanied me on ‘holiday’ visits (say, a week in Southern Scotland) as did my two sons as small boys when we holidayed together as a family. Singular days out were in the company of like-minded friends, where four of us would pool petrol and take turns in our cars to visit our chosen locations. When the Pentax finally gave out, a second-hand Nikon F with a photomic head was acquired. Film was originally Kodachrome but then my preference changed to the faster Fujichrome. All the pictures presented here were taken with the Pentax or the Nikon, though later still I graduated to a Pentax 6X7 – surely the finest film camera for taking railway pictures ever produced, but that is another story.

There will be a little overlap in the chapters and readers will be able to deduce which pictures were taken on the same day, but the various themes are appropriate. Sadly, but entirely in keeping with my indolence and lack of foresight, the taking of any contemporary notes with the taking of the pictures was non-existent, so the captions are written entirely from memory. Thus, if there are mistakes then the responsibility for those is entirely mine.

Author: Tony Wright


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British Railways Illustrated YEARBOOK

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British Railways Illustrated YEARBOOK

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The first British Railways Illustrated YEARBOOK including some of your favourite subjects from our other magazine, Railway Bylines too, celebrating a quarter century of transport publishing from IRWELL PRESS. What’s within is a flavour of the varied magazines and books we produce, a sprinkling of special material from the past with updated notes married to new pictures, new angles on one or two favourites from books and magazines; some insights and a few reflections.

CONTENTS 4 Old London By the Sea, 20 Clover and Leaf, 22 IRELAND - North and South, 26 Thirties File, 28 Take a Hike, 30 British Built, 32 Stranger in Town, 34 Britannia Ruled, 36 Steam Across the Regions, 44 The Last Years of Industrial Steam, 48 Counties Late in the Day, 51 War Report, 52 Modelling Moment, 53 Beatties Home and Away, 56 Scottish Sentinels, 58 Up in the Hills, 66 Deltics in Demand, 68 Sixties Scottish Steam on Shed.



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THE STEAMING SIXTIES : STEAM ON SHED

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THE STEAMING SIXTIES : STEAM ON SHED

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In the 1960s Hugh Ramsey toured the engine sheds of Britain recording the everyday scene to be had with the locomotive in its lair. Join us on his journey and glory in the days of steam.

Colour throughout - card back - 80 pages



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THE STEAMING SIXTIES - A Decade of British Railways in Colour

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THE STEAMING SIXTIES - A Decade of British Railways in Colour

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THE ALL NEW EDITION - SUMMER 2011

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The 1960s was the great decade of change on our country's railways. At the beginning it was a steam railway through and through; by the end steam had completely disappeared, swept away by a tide of diesels and electrics. The railway that we know today had come into being and the old noisy, slow, smoky one that was somehow altogether more enchanting, had gone forever. This ALL NEW edition of THE STEAMING SIXTIES chronicles this last great decade, played out against a backdrop of the Beatles, winning the world cup, the mini and the end of Empire. This is what it looked like, in glorious colour; the smoke, the steam, the sounds almost...



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