A3s on the GC after September 1957

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robertcwp
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A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by robertcwp » Sun Jun 23, 2019 1:51 pm

A discussion recently on a Facebook group suggested that A3s were still to be seen at work on the Great Central London Extension after the last of the class had been officially transferred away in September 1957 and at least until Spring 1958. It has been suggested that Neasden borrowed some from King's Cross, for example. Engines noted included 60105, 60108 and 60109 although 60109 was a Doncaster engine until mid-1958 and 60105 was a Grantham engine.

Can anyone shed any more light on this, please?

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Re: A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by williewhizz » Mon Jun 24, 2019 3:25 pm

I don't personally recall ever seeing a published photo purporting to show any A3 operating a regular scheduled service on the GC dated after Autumn 1957, though that's not by any means to say it didn't happen of course.

I'm curious, though, as to why Neasden Shed in particular would even still be trying to borrow them at this late time, when [see my post 28 May on the 'Master Cutler' thread] all but one of that shed's A3s had officially gone well before the end of 1956, with only Gay Crusader apparently left in situ until Q2 of 1957.

It would be interesting therefore to know why these engines effectively disappeared from the 'London' end of the GCLE with that one exception and yet continued to work from Leicester for over a year longer. Was there perhaps some change in the operating pattern of the expresses around this time that meant Neasden no longer needed such powerful engines, but Leicester still did?

[N.B. the sources of the data for my earlier post and the attached chart were: http://brdatabase.info and
'Ninety Years On: The New Book of the A3 Pacifics' (P. Costa, Irewll Press)]

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Re: A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by JASd17 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:40 pm

Robert,

Could Tommy Knox help with this?

John

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Re: A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by robertcwp » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:34 pm

JASd17 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:40 pm
Robert,

Could Tommy Knox help with this?

John
Good idea.

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Re: A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by Pyewipe Junction » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:03 am

Wasn't the GCML transferred to the LMR from 1 January 1958? To me, this looks very much like the ER reclaiming their locos before the LMR got their hands on them and, as a consequence, was the first step in the degrading of GCML services. After then, the only big ex-LNER locos on the GCML were a few V2s shedded at Leicester until 1960.

I've always wondered why the GC persisted with A3s and didn't get something more suitable for its undulating route, such as A2s. It is not generally remembered that after WWII GCML trains were generally quite heavy, at least eleven coaches, which may not seem heavy by ECML standards, but the stretch between Sheffield and Manchester was a killer. During the1948 trials, all the 'mixed traffic' locos failed miserably, except for the West Country (which ran in early). It always amuses me to see photos of a B1 on a GCML 'express'.

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Re: A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by robertcwp » Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:48 pm

Pyewipe Junction wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:03 am
Wasn't the GCML transferred to the LMR from 1 January 1958? To me, this looks very much like the ER reclaiming their locos before the LMR got their hands on them and, as a consequence, was the first step in the degrading of GCML services. After then, the only big ex-LNER locos on the GCML were a few V2s shedded at Leicester until 1960.

I've always wondered why the GC persisted with A3s and didn't get something more suitable for its undulating route, such as A2s. It is not generally remembered that after WWII GCML trains were generally quite heavy, at least eleven coaches, which may not seem heavy by ECML standards, but the stretch between Sheffield and Manchester was a killer. During the1948 trials, all the 'mixed traffic' locos failed miserably, except for the West Country (which ran in early). It always amuses me to see photos of a B1 on a GCML 'express'.
By 1958, the Woodhead route had been electrified for several years. I recall reading somewhere that there was an issue that prevented any pacifics apart from A3s (and the original A1s) from working over the Met & GC Joint line with 4th rail electrification between Rickmansworth and Harrow. I can't remember what the issue was though.

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Re: A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by Pyewipe Junction » Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:33 am

robertcwp wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:48 pm
Pyewipe Junction wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:03 am
Wasn't the GCML transferred to the LMR from 1 January 1958? To me, this looks very much like the ER reclaiming their locos before the LMR got their hands on them and, as a consequence, was the first step in the degrading of GCML services. After then, the only big ex-LNER locos on the GCML were a few V2s shedded at Leicester until 1960.

I've always wondered why the GC persisted with A3s and didn't get something more suitable for its undulating route, such as A2s. It is not generally remembered that after WWII GCML trains were generally quite heavy, at least eleven coaches, which may not seem heavy by ECML standards, but the stretch between Sheffield and Manchester was a killer. During the1948 trials, all the 'mixed traffic' locos failed miserably, except for the West Country (which ran in early). It always amuses me to see photos of a B1 on a GCML 'express'.
By 1958, the Woodhead route had been electrified for several years. I recall reading somewhere that there was an issue that prevented any pacifics apart from A3s (and the original A1s) from working over the Met & GC Joint line with 4th rail electrification between Rickmansworth and Harrow. I can't remember what the issue was though.
I don't see how the Woodhead route would necessarily have affected the use of Pacifics. In fact, with a smart engine change at Sheffield, the journey time should have been quicker. Electrification to Rickmansworth was completed before WWII so I don't understand the point you are making. Royal Scots and Britannias worked through to Marylebone in the early '60s.

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Re: A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by robertcwp » Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:48 am

Pyewipe Junction wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:33 am
robertcwp wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:48 pm
Pyewipe Junction wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:03 am
Wasn't the GCML transferred to the LMR from 1 January 1958? To me, this looks very much like the ER reclaiming their locos before the LMR got their hands on them and, as a consequence, was the first step in the degrading of GCML services. After then, the only big ex-LNER locos on the GCML were a few V2s shedded at Leicester until 1960.

I've always wondered why the GC persisted with A3s and didn't get something more suitable for its undulating route, such as A2s. It is not generally remembered that after WWII GCML trains were generally quite heavy, at least eleven coaches, which may not seem heavy by ECML standards, but the stretch between Sheffield and Manchester was a killer. During the1948 trials, all the 'mixed traffic' locos failed miserably, except for the West Country (which ran in early). It always amuses me to see photos of a B1 on a GCML 'express'.
By 1958, the Woodhead route had been electrified for several years. I recall reading somewhere that there was an issue that prevented any pacifics apart from A3s (and the original A1s) from working over the Met & GC Joint line with 4th rail electrification between Rickmansworth and Harrow. I can't remember what the issue was though.
I don't see how the Woodhead route would necessarily have affected the use of Pacifics. In fact, with a smart engine change at Sheffield, the journey time should have been quicker. Electrification to Rickmansworth was completed before WWII so I don't understand the point you are making. Royal Scots and Britannias worked through to Marylebone in the early '60s.
I was picking up on your comment from earlier "but the stretch between Sheffield and Manchester was a killer" as that would not have mattered by 1957. I don't know exactly what the issue was either but have read in several places that the other pacific classes were banned from the Met & GC joint. Why this was so when, as you note, Britannias and Royal Scots, as well as A3s and V2s could run over the line, is a mystery to me.

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Re: A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by 65447 » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:06 pm

Just postulating, but could it be a matter of inadequate clearances/electrical isolation distance between parts of the underframes and the live rails with certain classes?

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Re: A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by Pyewipe Junction » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:20 am

Don't forget that GCML expresses also used the Joint Line, which didn't involve the use of LT tracks.

Locos that used LT tracks normally had to be fitted with trip cocks (ie: the ex-GW 57xx tanks used as service locos). However, I imagine trip cocks were in use long before 1957.

Unless someone has some inside information, then the withdrawal of A3s must remain a mystery. It's not as if they were sorely needed on the ECML and the LMR initially did nothing to provide anything of equivalent power. I'm not normally a conspiracy theorist, but the LNER/ER left the GCML in a very poor state, when there were possibilities to offer fast interval services to Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield, plus the opportunity to open up the West Riding market from Huddersfield and Bradford, instead of making everyone go via Leeds. If only Sam Fay had been alive!

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Re: A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by burnie » Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:53 pm

There's a picture of 60102 hauling the South Yorkshireman in October 1958 in the book "From the footplate" by Robert Robotham, the image was taken at Aylesbury.

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Re: A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by burnie » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:08 pm

Once the GC was handed over to the London Midland line there was a deliberate plan to run the line down to make it easier for closing, as a young spotter it was great seeing so many different locos, but in truth they were in very poor condition. In the 1950's I could read the locos cab numbers as they passed my bedroom window, in the 1960's this was not possible, even with a telescope. there were a few former Eastern region locos running after 1957, but south of Leicester it was usually V2's or B1's or a rare K3.

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Re: A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by robertcwp » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:00 pm

burnie wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:53 pm
There's a picture of 60102 hauling the South Yorkshireman in October 1958 in the book "From the footplate" by Robert Robotham, the image was taken at Aylesbury.
The same photo appears in a different book where it is dated 1953 which, given the train formation, is much more likely to be the correct date.

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Re: A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by Pyewipe Junction » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:00 am

burnie wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:08 pm
Once the GC was handed over to the London Midland line there was a deliberate plan to run the line down to make it easier for closing, as a young spotter it was great seeing so many different locos, but in truth they were in very poor condition. In the 1950's I could read the locos cab numbers as they passed my bedroom window, in the 1960's this was not possible, even with a telescope. there were a few former Eastern region locos running after 1957, but south of Leicester it was usually V2's or B1's or a rare K3.
On 1 January 1961, Woodford Halse had 23 ex-LNER locos allocated out of a total of 48, including 11 K3s.

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Re: A3s on the GC after September 1957

Post by burnie » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:55 am

One of my few regrets is not visiting Woodford Halse, I only travelled north of Leicester by train on the GC, those K3's must have been working south as I don't recall seeing many around Whetstone, though there were odd Eastern region locos that worked from the north that changed at Leicester before returning home again. Once Annesley lost most of it's old Eastern freight locos it was usually just 9f's and 8f's that worked the freight, especially the coal "runners", ROD's became extinct south of Leicester then.

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