Industrial Railways


Ever since mankind settled in one place there has been a need to move large objects such as stone or wood for building, or later to move commodities, for example coal, or ironstone, in bulk, sometimes over long distances. Naturally the wheel, the horse drawn cart, and the boat, played an important part in transportation across land, and via rivers and waterways.

It is known from old manuscripts and prints from the 16th century that in Germany metal miners used crude wagons pulled by men or horses to bring ore to the surface, and when coal began to become exploited for its mineral value, then improved methods of transport became essential for this bulky commodity. Wooden tramways were known in Elizabethan times; simple wagons based on carts ran on crude timber rails. Increasing demand lead to further experiment, and in 1804 Trevithick’s locomotive ran on cast iron rails on the industrial tram road at Penydarran in South Wales. In 1813 Hedley’s “Puffing Billy” was in use at a colliery at Wylam in Northumberland. As he watched these engines at work George Stephenson was inspired to develop the locomotive to move increasing loads over longer distances reliably. Others pioneered steam, George Stephenson made it work; with his son Robert he laid the foundations of practical rail transport.

By displacing horse-drawn transport and the canal the industrial railway was the parent of the freight and passenger carrying trains we know today.



During the 19th century the pace of development of industry, commerce, mechanisation, and exports increased rapidly. The aim of Victorian entrepreneurs was to move goods at a profit; main line railways were built by private companies, and during that century the railways of Britain replaced the canals and developed into a interconnected network of main lines joining towns and cities, and branch lines connecting the sidings of factories and works to the main network. The notion of passenger transport was secondary to the profit of moving goods to market. Britain became “the workshop of the world.” At the end of the 19th century when Britain’s railways were at their greatest extent it is said that nowhere in the whole of the mainland of the British Isles was more than 18 miles from a railway line.

Ribble Steam Railway has a locomotive collection based on the industrial locos which worked in the sidings of factories, warehouses, and docks, usually away from the public eye.  The locos on display in the museum and those in steam were developed to work as economically and as efficiently as possible, just as their more distinguished passenger brethren were built for speed and style. Many of the locos had very long working lives, for example those made by Barclays of Kilmarnock and Hunslet at Leeds. Thousands were made both for the home and overseas markets. Many can still be steamed and perform useful work nearly 100 years after they were made, although most of the mechanical working parts will have been renewed or replaced over time.



The development of industrial railways generally followed that of the main lines. Larger, heavier, more economical locos appeared, together with many adapted by the makers for specific purposes or locations. The first flame-free fireless design for industrial use was produced by Borsig of Berlin in 1901 and quickly copied. Electric locos appeared in the early years of the 20th century, and the first practical diesel shunters in the 1930s.

Some industrial complexes were very large. For example the railway at the Beckton Gas Works in east London, which supplied gas to the Greater London area, had 70 miles of tracks in 360 acres, its own signalling system, 34 locos, and 1000 privately owned wagons to cope with the enormous input of coal to produce town gas. Closer to home the Manchester Ship Canal Co had an extensive network to service and maintain the canal; in Preston the Preston Dock Co had 28 miles of tracks and up to 8 locomotives in operation.


Unseen and uncelebrated industrial locomotives spent unglamorous years trundling up and down pushing or pulling wagons, making up outgoing, or dividing down incoming trains, or just standing about waiting to be told about the next job. They were usually quite well maintained, mostly by the driver and fireman; their crews often took great pride in their appearance, although the occasional neglected loco that was allowed to run down was, and is, a sorry spectacle. A 1989 survey revealed 11 steam locos still at work in private industry; 7 Barclays – one fireless, 1 Hunslet, 1 Peckett, and 2 by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns. The fireless Barclay was built in 1917. A tribute to good design and sound workmanship; we hear more than 100 examples of locos from this famous Scottish maker are in preservation today. Engine makers were proud of their locos and often attached handsome works plates to the cab sides to proclaim their origin.


Just as important as the locos that moved them were the goods wagons and vans that earned the revenue to keep industry in business. The first crude wagons were modelled on horse-drawn carts; these were replaced over time by higher capacity wagons when steam loco power replaced the horse. For many years the industrial scene was dominated by the 4 wheeled wagon, built of timber on a timber or steel frame and with a carrying capacity of 10-12 tons. As demand increased wagons became larger and heavier to carry greater loads and specialised wagons were developed for specific purposes, for example the bottom discharge hopper wagons which can be seen on our sidings. Plain grease lubricated axle bearings gave way to oil-filled boxes, and to roller bearings in the most sophisticated wagons. Simple hand applied brakes on each individual wagon became compulsory after 1887, but, incredibly, continuous train brakes applied from the loco were not generally adopted until after 1948 – hence the guard’s brake van.

Produced for Visitors To The Museum, Ribble Steam Railway.

The Bitumen Trail

The regular delivery of bitumen by train to Preston Docks provides a steady income for Ribble Rail, the commercial arm of Ribble Steam Railway, yet most knowledge of these workings is centred on the local delivery only. Fred Kerr looks at the background to these trains from loading at Lindsey Refinery to final use on the roads of Britain.

Above: The bitumen is loaded at Lindsey oil refinery in Lincolnshire where special equipment maintains the heat at 160 degrees Centigrade to ease loading; the temperature is maintained during transit by the insulated bodyshell of the tanks.

To many members of Ribble Steam Railway the bitumen train is noted because it arrives by train, is handled by Ribble Rail between the Interchange Siding and Total’s unloading point and provides a sight of commercial activity in the docks at Preston. There is little appreciation of the importance of Preston as a commercial point for bitumen or for its contribution to the sales of bitumen throughout Britain.
Bitumen is one of 35 products, representing 15% of the total output, produced at the Lindsey Refinery in North Lincolnshire which is now part of the industrial complex in the hinterland of Immingham Docks. The refinery was opened in 1968 and has built up its processing capacity to the present day level of approximately 10,000,000 tons of crude oil per year, or 200,000 barrells per day via two pipelines which connects the refinery to the 1,000-metre jetty five miles away at Immingham Dock.
Bitumen is a product derived from distillation of crude oil, using the residue left over after gas oil has been drawn off, which is subject to further processing to produce different grades of bitumen for use mainly for road surfaces or roofing. The basic product is produced at Lindsey but the site at Preston is responsible for the production of all the specialist products for markets throughout the UK.

This need to move the bitumen between the production centre at Lindsey and the sales centre at Preston may sound simple but is complicated by the need to keep the temperature of the material higher than 120 degrees Centigrade in order that it can be moved and retain its viscosity – under that temperature the material begins to solidify.
The transport of the bitumen therefore requires the use of specialist wagons; the current fleet of 30 was introduced into service during November 2010 and now operates as a pair of 15-wagon trainsets. Each wagon is loaded with 74 tonnes of bitumen at a temperature of 180 degrees Centrigrade to maintain liquidity; this is maintained throughout the journey by thicker insulation to reduce heat loss during  transport supported by a system of external heating coils which aids cleaning tank interiors and avoids potential steam leaks into hot bitumen.

In November 2010 the wagon fleet was replaced with a dedicated fleet of 30 specially designed wagons which operate in 15-wagon consists. The design of the new wagons included improved insulation to maintain high temperatures during transit and a new bogie design to reduce track wear and access charges.

A typical trainset begins its journey from Lindsey in the early hours after being loaded during the night.
Initially diagrammed for a heavy haulage Class 60 locomotive, the train is now hauled by a ubiquitous Class 66 locomotive as it leaves the refinery at 02:42 on its Trans-Pennine journey.
The train leaves the industrial complex via Ulceby to join the main Great Northern Rly Cleethorpes – Doncaster route at Brocklesbury where it continues via Barnetby [pass 03:14], Scunthorpe [pass 03:37] to Stainforth [pass 04:04]. Here it forks right onto the West Riding and Grimsby Joint Rly [later Great Central / Great Northern Joint] line to Hare Park [pass 04:59] where it takes the right hand fork to Wakefield Kirkgate where it passes at 05:09. The train now uses the old Lancashire & Yorkshire Rly [L&YR] route westwards through Healey Mills and Mirfield [pass 05:53] onto the Calder Valley route to Hallroyd Junction [pass 06:27] where it diverges right onto the L&YR Copy Pit route.
After passing the summit of Copy Pit at 06:41 the train descends to Gannow Junction [pass 06:54] where it joins the one-time L&YR Blackburn – Colne route. At one time this line made an end on connection with the Midland Railway Skipton – Colne line to provide a through Blackburn – Skipton transit but Beeching closures have now truncated the line at Colne. The bitumen now continues westwards through Rose Grove (one of the last steam locomotive depots to operate at the end of steam in 1968) [pass 06:56], Accrington [pass 07:02] and Blackburn [calls 07:12 – 07:21 to collect a shunter to uncouple / couple trains] before arriving at Preston Ribble Sidings at 07:46.

At this point the train descends to Strand Road level crossing, where Ribble Rail staff wait to pilot /  accompany the driver to the Interchange Sidings, and the train comes to a halt at 08:08.

At this point the train becomes the responsibility of the Ribble Rail staff to handle, thus the Class 66 now detaches from its trainset to run round and couple onto the second 15-wagon trainset which is now waiting to be returned to Lindsey for re-loading and return to Preston.
When the train of empties has been released from Ribble Rail and returned to the national network [usually accomplished within 45 minutes], it returns to Lindsey via the same route, stopping at Blackburn to drop off the shunter collected on the inward journey.
The current train timetable shows this train to operate on Tuesdays excepted thus giving 4 trains per week but it is shown as a “Conditional Service”  or “Q-train” which means that it will run as and when required.
Each train load consists of 15 wagons, each carrying 74 tonnes of bitumen, thus delivering a full load of 1110 tons of bitumen and this successful service is reported to save 100,000 road journeys per year.
Unseen it may be by many but this service is not only a vital source of income to Ribble Rail but has a vital role to play in the operation and maintenance of the UK’s road network.

My personal thanks go to Ribble Rail staff and Total Oil Press Office for assistance gathering info.

Fred Kerr

Trains and Boats and Birds

Commence the walk from the free public car park near Morrisons; thence proceed to the modern swing bridge at the dock entrance – not surprisingly a renowned haunt of steam railway photographers – to gain the signed Riverside Walk.   From there walk west past the curiously named ‘Bull Nose’ and the Rabble steam railway centre.  Thereafter the path gradually becomes less obvious but perseverance will lead you past a go-kart/motor cycle circuit and onto the confluence of Savick Brook nowadays known as the Millennium Link.   A raised embankment gives an interrupted view of the channel and marshes but do not venture out onto the exposed mud.  At the confluence it is recommended you walk inland to view the adjacent Ashton Marsh before retracing your steps to the Marina with further opportunities to view the Ribble, ideally at a different state of the tide

The walk takes in the Preston Dock Marina and a tidal section of the River Ribbble – where good bird watching may be enjoyed as far as the Millennium Link – the farthest point of the walk. At times the footpath runs parallel to the splendid Ribble Steam Railway; allowing good views of this operational railway and hence trains and boats and birds.

In October 1846, a railway branch line was constructed from the North Union Preston station to serve the Victoria Quay on the River Ribble, via a steep gradient of 1 in 29.  The line was extended to serve the new Preston Docks in 1882 and fortuitously the line continues to be used for commercial freight and is operated for public enjoyment by the Ribble Steam Railway’s dedicated team of enthusiasts.   Preston Dock owes its origins to the River Ribble and the real advances that were made by the time of the   Preston Guild (1882) in the social, economic and physical fabric of the town.  Preston has long been at the hub of the road and rail network, and is also the administrative centre of Lancashire County Council.  Preston Docks was opened for commercial trading during 1892 providing about 500 jobs by 1911 and helping to consolidate Preston’s key position in the transport sector. Furthermore the Albert Edward Dock was the largest single inland dock basin in the world.

During the construction of Preston Dock, a major archaeological legacy came from deep beneath the surface of the river bed yielding evidence of the wildlife and artefacts that existed pre-history.  A ‘head count’ of severed skulls comprised of 30 human skulls, over 100 skulls of red deer; several now extinct wild ox; two pilot whale skulls, a Bronze spear head and two dug-out canoes.  This collection has been immortalised in The Harris Museum at Preston. Research findings indicate that this material has probably accumulated since the time of the Bronze Age and the exact reason for its deposition at this point has yet to be ascertained.

Witnessing the activity of a busy commercial port with an assortment of vessels moored around the basin certainly engendered a very interesting day out. I well remember the dock in the 1950/60s and the fleet of ancient dredgers and the neat little steam tug boat ‘Lucas,’ that facilitated the import of bananas on splendid white vessels and the very first roll on roll off car ferries Empire Nordic, Empire Doric, Empire Cedric and others in the same fleet that were later superseded by the Bardic and Ionic Ferry. There was also a flourishing trade in timber and coal. Sadly, the land locked Port of Preston closed in 1981 when it became uneconomic to constantly dredge the Ribble between the docks and the estuary at Lytham. Many Prestonians will remember the former Isle of Man ferry, TSS ‘Manxman.’ This grand old vessel managed to circumnavigate the river when it entered the dock in 1981 to become a floating nightclub.  Sadly, in 1991 the owners decided to relocate the vessel and she was towed up the heavily silted channel to the open sea to Liverpool. Nowadays the Ribble is the domain of pleasure craft, although exceptionally, during 2010/11, a huge shallow draughter coaster the ‘MV River Carrier,’ was used to convey several giant transformers which were towed from Ellesmere Port to a riverside quay at Penwortham.  This will probably turn out to be the last large commercial vessel to visit Preston.  The dock has now been transformed into the Riversway Docklands and marina.  The marina itself provides moorings and dedicated facilities for large ocean going yachts and canal barges. The latter can now navigate the nearby Millennium link which successfully links the nation’s canal network.

There is a signed public footpath – Riverside Walk – which allows good views across the river and provides opportunities for bird watching, though the dock basin itself is always worth a look.  Bird watching on the river is both seasonal and tide dependent.  Understanding the specific requirements of individual species and the timing of seasonal occurrences is crucial when bird watching, especially for anyone wanting to take their bird watching to a more advance level and keeping a record of all that you see is one of the hallmarks of being a good birder. Habitat is crucial and the dock basin, a tidal river with associated salt marsh and exposed mud are exploited by gulls, terns waders and wildfowl. Numbers vary throughout the year and with the height and movements of the tide.

In winter cormorants and the occasional shag visit the dock basin and the former may also be seen flying along the channel, perching on the markers of the Ribble navigation or standing on the mud with their wings hanging out to dry. Great crested grebes occur from time to time both in the dock basin and on the river.  On approaching the quay check the wintering gull flocks. The regular black headed gull flocks should be scrutinised for Mediterranean gulls.  Most of the gulls will take bread allowing a close inspection.  Scrutinise the larger gulls perched on the pontoons, most will be lesser black-backed greater black-backed, herring and common gull but check for anything different including rarer species that visit the dock occasionally. For example a single ring billed gull which is a scarce visitor from North America made the Trans Atlantic crossing and successfully docked at Preston a few years ago and during the winter of 2010/11 a first winter immature Iceland Gull from the Arctic equally found the dock basin to be a safe haven. This special winter visitor was content to forage for food on or just below the surface of the water and was also supplied with copious amounts of bread by visiting bird watchers from near and afar.  Despite the name, Iceland Gulls breed in Canada and Iceland and although rare in Lancashire, especially Preston, are relatively common winter visitors to the North West coast of Scotland.

The man made islands have been positioned in the dock to provide a secure nesting site for terns which may be seen flying over the basin and river channel from April into the summer.   Common and possibly Arctic terns can be seen flying over the dock basin and river channel but these two are hard to distinguish apart and are thus colloquially known as comic terns. Black terns and little gulls on passage during spring and autumn are also possible.   Along the Riverside Walk section of the route do not forget to check any trees, bushes, rough ground for any unsuspecting rarity that might just be lurking.  Also check the old tide lines for wintering meadow pipits, linnets and rock pipits and at passage periods for rock and meadow pipit, pied and white wagtails.  During March look out for a ground hopping relatively common little migrant with bags of character and a conspicuous white rump which identifies it as a wheatear en route from Africa to upland breeding sites. The name is misleading and wheat is an aberration of white and a reference to the bird’s conspicuous white rump which is diagnostic and prominent in flight

As you progress along the river side footpath dense low stands of bramble are ideal for whitethroats, listen out for their scalding sounds and song especially during late April.

Linnets are still fairly common and the resident kestrel may be seen hovering over rough ground looking for small mammals. The remains of a large wooden pier are often  frequented by cormorants strategically perched whilst assessing the fishing potential or resting between feeding.  At low tide with much sand still exposed there is usually a good selection of waders visible including oystercatcher, dunlin, curlew, redshank and in autumn small numbers of less common passage migrants such as greenshank, spotted redshank and even rarer species. During spring and autumn common sandpipers draw attention by their distinctive call and characteristic flight as they fly low over the surface of the water and perch with characteristic posture. When the tide starts to flow wildfowl and waders are pushed onto even smaller areas of mud and salt marsh adjoining the river channel. The attention then shifts to the channel where there are usually numbers of Canada geese, mallard, shelduck, teal, wigeon,  goosander, a few goldeneye and great crested grebe

A good vantage point is at the confluence of the millennium link and the adjacent Ashton Marsh, where the habitat of rough ground and willow scrub predictably harbours returning willow warblers from late April as well as numerous rabbits. The river, canal and coastal creeks are possible haunts of the kingfisher, which are sometimes seen outside the breeding season using posts as fishing perches. Black tail godwits haunt the edge of the river, marshes and adjacent fields. Grey herons are commonly seen on the river and the  Millennium Link and within two kilometres of the confluence build huge nests and raise their bizarre looking youngsters at a tree top heronry.  By late April and May flocks of migrating whimbrel are instantly identifiable by their repetitive and are appropriately known by country people as ‘May Birds’ a reference to the spring migration of this northern wader.  Besides typical coastal waders there are often numbers of shelduck, mallard, teal, lapwing and passage golden plover on the marsh, high tide time is usually easy to detect as calm descends on the assembled roosting flocks. This can of course, be quickly shattered by the sudden appearance of a merlin or a local peregrine which nests on the spire of  St. Walburge’s Church, Preston. Peregrines provoke instant panic in the massed ranks of smaller waders, creating a magnificent spectacle as the flocks weave and turn at great speed as the falcon attempts to out fly or stoop on its intended prey.


Alstom Transport – Preston

Alstom Transport (formally GEC Alsthom) is a French company and at this Preston site, traction control systems are designed and manufactured for trains systems throughout the world. Also is site is the UK’s base for Customers Service operations world wide.

The history of this factory goes back over 100 years.
In 1898 the Electric Railway and Tramway Carriage Works Ltd. (a subsidiary of a partnership of two Glasgow merchants, W. B. Dick and John Kerr, formed in 1875) took over premises formerly occupied by the North of England Carriage and Iron Co. (1867-78) on the east of Strand Road. The works grew developing a world market for electric urban tramway systems.

Drive machinery for the vehicles had to be imported from the United States, and shortly after the move to Preston a second company was established along the west side of Strand Road (this is the factory shown above). The English Electric Manufacturing Co., also had close links with Dick Kerr’s and in 1905 changed its name to the United Electric Car Co. In 1918 the English Electric Company was formed through the merger of Dick Kerr’s with a number of related interests, to form a company with a capital of f5m. For a short time in the late 1960’s it was owned by an AEI, English Electric Company and GEC amalgamation and in 1969 GEC Power Engineering Limited was established.In the late 1980’s it became GEC Alsthom and now Alstom.

Already considerable by 1914, the Preston works expanded enormously during the First World War, and by 1918 employed eight thousand people. In addition to munitions the firm with its experience of producing light wooden tramway bodies, began the manufacture of aircraft with the Felixstowe F3 flying boat. With the formation of English Electric. the Preston works reverted to the manufacture of traction and ancillary equipment, but in 1922 aircraft production was resumed: the Wren made its first night from Ashton Park on 5th April 1923. The firm supplied Blackpool’s famous trams between 1933 and 1939 and the last trams produced at Preston were despatched to Aberdeen in 1940. Dick Kerr’s benefited enormously from re-armament in the late 1930s. providing a tremendous boost to the Preston economy. Manufacturing at the east works thus evolved from tramcars to flying boats and ultimately to jet aircraft. In 1964 it was taken over by BAC. Similarly the west works was to progress to the manufacture of heavy electric locomotives.

Preston Corporation tram 1925. This tram is on Tulketh Rd. at the corner of Powis Rd. The first electric tramcar in Preston was manufactured by Dick Kerr and ran on a system which eventually included 38 double deck and 10 single deck cars.

This photo (circa 1925) shows men working in the foundry manufacturing castings using sand box casting techniques. This photo is of particular interest to me as this shed later became the machine shop in which I worked from 1977 to 1990. I remember that when ever any digging for foundation work was being carried out in this shed the remains of the cast iron sand boxes were sometimes found and below these pebbles and sand were often found which may of been from the river bed, the river Ribble was diverted when the docks was built.
I also recall the smell of cutting oils which were used in the machining processes, and after a days work the odour of this oil was in your clothes.

This photo (circa 1994) is of the same shed viewed from the opposite end. Today this shed is part of the Machines manufacturing business unit and has been totally reorganised with only a few newer computer controlled machine tools. Due to the technological advances in A.C. motor drive systems there is not the same demand for large D.C. traction motors and therefore the smaller less complex A.C. traction motors are now manufactured and assembled in this one shed therefore requiring less floor area. Preston site also manufactures traction control equipment, auxiliary converters, and is the base of the UK’s Customers Service operation.


1830 to 1840 Privately owned carriage building business in ‘East’ Works

1863 North of England Railway Carriage and Iron Company Incorporated.

1878 Liquidation – Premises remained empty.

1896 New occupant – The Electric Railway and Tramway Carriage Works Limited.
(developed five acres of the site – West Works) with a capacity of 800 vehicles per annum

1898 to 1903 Equipment Syndicate Limited of Manchester built a factory which occupied both sides of Strand Road.
(The Dick & Kerr families were part of this syndicate)

1903 Dick Kerr and Company.

1905 Changed name to ‘United Electric Car Company’

1914 to 1918 During the war years, both the Preston factories were engaged in defence work.

1918 Changed name to ‘English Electric Company’.

1964 Aircraft building side was separated off to the British Aircraft Corporation – British Aerospace, They closed their Strand Road site in the early 1990’s.

1967 to 1968 AEI, English Electric Company and GEC amalgamated and GEC Power Engineering Limited was established.

1989 GEC Power Systems merged with Alsthom of France from which GEC ALSTHOM Traction Limited emerged.

1998 A new company formed called Alstom, which is floated on the stock markets in June 1998, with both GEC and Alsthom reducing their share of the company. Preston site is part of the Alstom Transport division.

Trainspotting 1961

A short family break in Blackpool in early September 1961, gave the opportunity for some North of England rail travel and trainspotting. Had I known that in the very near future, a considerable proportion of the Blackpool tramway system would vanish, perhaps our plans would have been different. But having travelled from Birmingham to Blackpool by rail, my brother and myself devised an itinerary that included Blackpool shed, a trip to Carlisle, and an evening football match between Blackpool and West Ham United.

Our outward journey on 4th September involved 45599 Bechuanaland from Birmingham to Stafford, English Electric type 4 no D297 Stafford to Crewe, Black 5 no 45237 Crewe to Preston, and 2-6-4T no 42652 from Preston to Blackpool South.
Locomotives of interest seen on the journey included 45670 Howard of Effingham, 46256 Sir William A Stanier FRS, 45544 (un named Patriot), 45669 Fisher, 45567 South Australia, 45617 Mauritius, 45722 Defence, 45680 Camperdown, 46161 Kings Own, 45705 Seahorse, 45584 North West Frontier, and 45661 Jervis.
In the late afternoon, we caught a tram from our South Promenade hotel as far as the Manchester Hotel, walked down Rigby Road, under the Railway bridge, turned right, and there we were beside Blackpool South shed.

45559 British Columbia     45642 Boscawen
45571 South Africa     45661 Vernon
45574 India     45689 Ajax
45580 Burma     45705 Seahorse
45638 Zanzibar
44733     44894     45312     42705     42148     42625
44745     44947     45336     42783     42296     42657
44778     45101     45435
44806     45102
Total 27

Our day started on the 9.00am Blackpool Central to Liverpool Exchange, upon which we travelled to Preston. The loco was Black 5 no 44767. We arrived at Preston at 9.44am. For our trip to Carlisle we had a choice of Jubilee 45628 Somaliland on the Manchester to Glasgow, due out 10.26am, or the following Liverpool to Glasgow, Rebuilt Scot no 46102 Black Watch, due out 10.32am. They were side by side.
No contest, we chose 46102.

CARLISLE STATION: 12.30pm to 4.05pm: 5th SEPTEMBER 1961      
46102 Black Watch called 12.32/12.38 on the 9.30am Liverpool to Glasgow (11)
D26 called 1.17/1.24 on the 10.35am Leeds City to Glasgow (11)
45371 departed 1.25pm on Parcels/Vans
60089 Felstead departed 1.28pm on the 1.26pm Carlisle-Edinburgh Waverley (6+v)
45737 Atlas called 1.39/1.46pm on the 9.25am Crewe/Manchester to Aberdeen (12)
D316 passed 2.24pm on the down Royal Scot (8)
45138 arrived 2.25pm on the 11.55am Hellifield to Carlisle (3+8m)
46121 Highland Light Infantry departed 2.50pm on the 2.50pm Carlisle to Glasgow (4)
45363 departed 3.01pm on a Carlisle to Stranrear service (3)
60090 Grand Parade departed 3.22pm on a service to Edinburgh Waverley (4)
46253 City of St Albans called 3.40/3.46pm on the 11.15am Birmingham to Glasgow (2v+9)
44763 called 4.00/4.08 pm on the 11.25am Birmingham to Edinburgh (7+7v)
D31 called 4.13/4.17 on the down Waverley (9)

46223 Princess Alice arrived 12.30pm on the 10.10am Glasgow to Euston  (11+3v)
46240 City of Coventry departed 12.40pm on the 10.10am Glasgow to Euston (11+3v)
D20 called 12.46/1.08pm on the 10.05am Up Waverley (9)
72007 Clan Mackintosh arrived 1.05pm on the 9.00am Perth to Euston (9) Loco change
D9 departed 1.13pm on the 9.00am Perth to Euston (9)
45716 Swiftsure called 1.13/1.21 on the 11.00am Glasgow to Liverpool (11)
70050 Firth of Clyde called 1.24/1.30pm on a Glasgow to Manchester service (7)
44955 arrived 1.39pm on a Edinburgh to Manchester service (11) Loco change
45655 Keith departed 1.48pm on a Edinburgh to Manchester service (11)
72006 Clan Mackenzie arrived 2.55pm on Empty stock working (5)
60068 Sir Visto arrived 2.58pm on the 12.05pm Edinburgh Waverley to Carlisle (4)
D307 called 3.19/3.22pm on the up Mid-Day Scot (8)
46226 Duchess of Norfolk arrived 3.51pm on a Perth to Euston service (14+2v) Loco change
D2 departed 4.02pm on a Perth to Euston service (14+2v)
46227 Duchess of Devonshire called 4.06/4.18pm on the 1.45pm Glasgow to Liverpool (10)

We returned to Preston with 46227 Duchess of Devonshire on the 1.45pm Glasgow to Liverpool Exchange. An extremely unusual working for a Stanier pacific. D2 on the preceding Perth to Euston service failed near to Carnforth, and we stood for 65 minutes at Burton & Holme whilst things were sorted out. So we were not into Preston until 7.52pm, 82 mins late. We returned to Blackpool behind Black 5 no 45078, arriving rather later than we envisaged. Nevertheless a  fascinating day. Wouldn’t it be splendid to do it again. So we did.

This time our run round the coast on the 9.00am from Blackpool Central was with a Caprotti Black 5, no 44743, a Bank Hall (27A) engine. At Preston, a huge dilemma faced us. Side by side were Polmadie Scot no 46104 Scottish Borderer on the Manchester to Glasgow, and 72002 Clan Campbell on the Liverpool to Glasgow. What a choice. Another gleaming 66A Polmadie Scot, or a Clan pacific, a class that we had never travelled behind.
72002 won the day, with some misgiving. I had read that the Clans were modest (putting it politely) performers, and so it proved. With an 11 coach train, we struggled up Grayrigg, and stopped for a banker at Shap. So we were not into Carlisle until 12.29pm, 10 minutes late. On the journey we saw 46248 City of Leeds, 45635 Tobago, 45729 Furious, and 45713 Renown.
This time we decided to spend less time on Carlisle station, and make for Kingmoor.

CARLISLE : 12.30pm to 4.10pm: 7th SEPTEMBER 1961      
Northbound services of interest were the 1.26pm Carlisle to Edinburgh Waverley, with 60068 Sir Visto, the 9.25am Crewe to Aberdeen, 72005 Clan MacGregor taking over from an English Electric type 4 diesel. And 46222 Queen Mary, working north on the 2.50pm Carlisle to Glasgow stopping service. Southbound, 46230 Duchess Buccleuch gave way to 46248 on the 10.10am Glasgow to Euston. 72007 arrived on the 9.00am Perth to Euston, giving way to an English Electric type 4.72000Clan Buchanon worked the11.00am Glasgow to Liverpool, 46140 The Kings Royal Rifle Corps the following Glasgow to Manchester, and 60099 Call Boy the 12.05pm from Edinburgh Waverley.
We headed for Kingmoor Shed , where we knew that we unlikely to obtain permission to go round,  but worked on the principle that whilst we were walking to the foreman’s office, to ask, we would see a fair amount in the process. It worked, for we actually noted 23 numbers before being told “no”. And in view were the then stored Stanier pacifics, 46201 Princess Elizabeth and 46210 Lady Patricia. The only other named loco we saw was 72009 Clan Stewart. But it was well worth the trip. Strangely I cannot recall whether we walked or bused.

So it was back into Carlisle in good time to catch the 1.45pm Glasgow to Liverpool service. What would be working it this time. Hopefully a Polmadie Scot. No such luck. Another Clan, this time 72001 Clan Cameron. With very generous schedules as far as Lancaster and a load of 10 coaches, the loco held it’s own, though 31 mph up to Shap was hardly inspiring. But on the Lancaster to Preston section, with a 25 minute schedule for the 21 miles , 72001 never exceeded 63 mph, and dropped three minutes.
So my conclusion of the Clan class was that they were indeed poor machines. I could never really understand why they were ever built.
On the return journey, we saw 46125 3rd Caribinier, 46133 The Green Howards, 46109 Royal Engineer, 45696 Arethusa, 45584 North West Frontier, 45710 Irresistible, and 45507 Royal Tank Corps.
And another Black 5 run to Blackpool concluded another excellent day.

Friday was going home day, and we had decided on the 9.55am Blackpool Central to Crewe service, where we would have a snack and a drink, before continuing back to Birmingham on the 11.40am Liverpool to Birmingham.
The plan worked well. Black 5 no 45205 took us to Crewe punctually, and Unrebuilt Patriot no 45547 took us on to Birmingham, arriving a few minutes late following signal checks either side of Stafford.
My notes of what we saw on the return journey have unfortunately been lost…….

Painting By Numbers

Looking at all those old photographs of railways in the days of steam may have made you think that it was all drab grey or black and white. This was not the case as each Railway Company had its own liveries, not only for its engines, but for stations, signal boxes, goods sheds, offices, right down to its platform trolleys and notice boards.
The only childhood memories of colour changes on the railway that I can remember was passing through different regions and noticing the station totem signs. Maroon for LMR, Orange for NER etc. I thought it may be interesting to look back at what each company in our region had chosen for its stations.

The LMS clearly did not see imposing a new corporate image in its stations as a priority, as until 1936 it continued to use the pre group colour schemes, gaining a reputation for shabby & run down looking stations in the process. However, the paint schemes now followed the Civil Engineers areas, so the Western division would have seen any ex FR, NSR stations etc that were repainted appearing in LNWR colours. The former MR area and Scotland continued as though the grouping had never happened.
When it did get around to introducing a company livery, it used either ‘Deep Cream’ or ‘Portland Stone’ as the base with one of three colours for the doors, metalwork, etc. One was a mid brown, one a red very similar to the shade used on loco’s & coaches, and one was a mid green which was confined to very rural stations & was little used.
Poster boards were always black with the beading and lettering picked out in white. Station signs were also black with white lettering.  The ‘target’ nameboards were yellow with black lettering.
An official paint scheme for signal boxes of light stone & brown was introduced in 1931, though until 1933 signal boxes could be painted to match the station buildings. In that year the Signal & Telegraph Dept. took over the responsibility for painting signal boxes, and thereafter thay were all painted stone & brown. The interior was brown to dado level, stone above, with the inside of the roof & the window frames in white.  Despite the above, some boxes on the Central Wales were painted green & cream in 1937!
On Electrified lines a ‘Golden Brown’ was used alone or with the cream as it stood up better to ‘electric dust’.

The LNWR used a cream or light stone with either dark or light brown as the paint scheme for all its buildings.  Window frames were painted white, with the cream or stone used on planking & canopies & the brown on metalwork, timber framing & doors.
Poster boards were painted black with a blue enamel plate fixed in the top panel, lettered with the company name in full on two lines.  Station signs were black with white lettering as were cast iron notices.

The L&Y official paint scheme for buildings has not been recorded. However, it is known that a mid brown shade was used for doors, framing, metalwork, etc, with a lighter shade referred to as a ‘tan’ or a light buff for planking etc. Window frames were painted white.
It has been suggested that canopy valencing may have been painted alternately in buff & white, but this seems most unlikely in an area so prone to be affected by smoke from locomotives. If valencing was striped the buff & brown would seem a liklier combination. After World war one the whole of the valencing was painted in the buff.
Poster boards and station signs were black with white lettering & beading.

It is thought that the Furness used a pale cream and a red called Madder Lake.  The Madder Lake was quite translucent, and as the company used a red oxide based undercoat this tended to show through as the Madder Laker aged giving a brownish tint to the red.
The cream was used for the underside of canopies, areas of planking and for signal box window frames, but the red was used for much else, including possibly station window frames.
Poster boards were presumably painted in the Madder Lake, with either cream or white lettering, or possibly in black with white lettering.
A 1962 article on Lakeside station by W. Hardin Osborne refers to light buff & dark red paintwork on the wooden parts, but this probably refers to LMS or even BR colours.

The Midland used an attractive colour scheme of a very pale cream colour for planking, awnings etc, with a dark brown for framing, metalwork & such like. This was enhanced by the use of a deep red for all doors, no doubt the same colour as they used on loco’s & coaches.
Poster boards were black with white lettering spelling’ MIDLAND’.  Station signs & cast iron notices were deep blue with white lettering.
Midland signal boxes were painted a bright chrome yellow when new to make them easy for drivers to see, but this faded to a buff colour; the framing on the box was painted brown and the nameboard was white on blue.
The well known diagonal station fencing was always creosoted, never painted cream as you see on some model layouts.

The LMR was given an appropriate dark red to go with the BR cream, pretty much like many LMS stations were already wearing, though the BR cream was a brighter shade than the LMS colour. The official 1960 BR painting specifcation gave the colours as BS381 ‘Gulf Red’ and BS381C ‘Light Biscuit’.
The paint looked very matt in finish, and the red soon became dirty and faded.
Poster boards were painted red, with white lettering, as were station signs & notices.

In the pre group period, when a building was painted the painter had a bucket, some white lead mixed with linseed oil & turpentine & some pigment, which he added to the white on site before he began work. Naturally, he didn’t always get the mix exactly the same, so colours varied; shades of buff were common, as were creams which used less pigment with the white. These were often set off by shades of brown; these were the cheapest and longest lasting colours so the railway companies, always watching the pennies, used them widely.  Darker colours used red lead as a base, which was just as toxic to the poor painter. The colours dried matt, and altered hue in the rain as well as fading with age and becoming dirty.
It is important to remember that in Victorian days the number of pigments available was quite limited, and those available at a reasonable price were even more limited, so it is not surprising that some early station colour schemes look rather drab to modern eyes. Reds in particular were translucent and the colour of the undercoat had an important influence on the top colour.
In fact, the Victorian paint served its purpose very well; it was hard wearing, colour fast and unlike modern oil based paints did not tend to crack & peel away from the surface underneath. Unfortunately, because of the lead, it was also very poisonous.
In the 1920’s, coinciding with the grouping period, ready mixed paints in brighter shades were becoming more readily available at an affordable price, allowing the Southern, for instance, to use a bright chrome green on stations, though these paints were still lead based.
In 1924, a cwt. of red lead cost £2.16.9, Light Stone £2.18.0, Light Brown Oxide undercoat £2.5.0 , Dark Brown Oxide undercoat £2.5.0,  White £3.0.0 , Light Brown paint £2.8.0, Dark Brown £2.8.0,  Black £2.10.0, and Royal Red was £6.0.0. These were the colours used by the LNER; the Royal Red was for signal arms & the targets on level crossing gates. Whether these prices are for ready mixed paints or for pigments to be mixed with red or white lead is not recorded, but being sold by weight it sounds like pigment in powder form.