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St Neot's ....1948

Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:39 pm
by Masdraw
I've recently found a handful (about 20) old prints amongst my late father's photographs which might be of some e interest to users of this forum. They were taken by a Mr Joe Doncaster at St Neot's in, I suspect, May 1948....at least I am certain of that month because two of the photos are of the locomotives involved in the exchanges of that year. Mr Doncaster was not a railway enthusiast as far as I recall, even with a name like that, but was interested in photography, and was a member of the St Neot's Camera Club. He worked in the Goods Office at the station, and when my father was working there in the early 1960's he gave him a handful of prints that he had taken back in 1948, as my father was certainly not shy about his interest in steam. I think that he may have been trying out a new camera or something similar, as I have no recollection of my father ever mentioning any further photographs.
The quality isn't brilliant and they were in their original form in some sort of colour, so perhaps he was experimenting with colour film that he was developing and printing himself. Some I have left in colour, others I have converted to black and white as the colours are rather odd.

Anyway, I shall post them here and would welcome any comments. My own knowledge is quite scanty, so I will not take offence at any corrections of observations that I might make. I have rather enjoyed looking at them, as photographs taken at St Neot's seem to be quite rare, it was, of course, where I first went trainspotting in the early 1960's, but by the time I was able to go out and about on my own steam had virtually disappeared.

The first is of K1/1 1997 'Maccailin Mor'. I was surprised to find that she was shedded at New England between October 1947 and November 1949 before heading off back to Scotland.

Re: St Neot's ....1948

Posted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:14 pm
by 52D
lovely shot of a lovely loco. only thing to improve this classes looks would be a Gresley style double curve on the footplate.

Re: St Neot's ....1948

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:55 pm
by R. pike
Nice picture. An important detail in shot is the guard rail over the shunting signal. These were placed to stop ropes snagging during horse shunting.

Re: St Neot's ....1948

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:07 am
by StevieG
R. pike wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:55 pm
Nice picture. An important detail in shot is the guard rail over the shunting signal. These were placed to stop ropes snagging during horse shunting.
Thanks for that pointer R. pike. I hadn't spotted that feature.
Now also seeing a few ribbed strips in the ground just behind that dolly : Some sort of footholds for shunters during their duties perhaps? (slightly reminiscent of semi - circles of footholds for pushing canal lock gates round.)

Re: St Neot's ....1948

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:22 am
by Mickey
R. pike wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:55 pm
Nice picture. An important detail in shot is the guard rail over the shunting signal. These were placed to stop ropes snagging during horse shunting.
Well spotted. If that ground signal in the photograph had still been at St Neots during the 1970-75 era I probably would have seen it?.

The loco is in very light steam and appears to be stationary?.

Mickey

Re: St Neot's ....1948

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:59 pm
by Masdraw
Mickey wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:22 am
R. pike wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:55 pm
Nice picture. An important detail in shot is the guard rail over the shunting signal. These were placed to stop ropes snagging during horse shunting.
Well spotted. If that ground signal in the photograph had still been at St Neots during the 1970-75 era I probably would have seen it?.

The loco is in very light steam and appears to be stationary?.

Mickey
I would never have guessed the information regarding the guard rail and the use of horses!
In the book 'The Secret Life of St Neot's Station' (by John Slack) it states that
two horses were required during the First World War but only one after. Directly quoting the book: 'These magnifcent Shire horses were used until 1960 at St. Neot's and the final' Charlie' (as they were called) is believed by locals to be the last working shunting horse on the Eastern region of BR.He was transferred to Newmarket station for a few years until his final job was to shunt his own horse-box, which was used to carry him to glorious retirement to a sanctuary at Clare Hall in Somerset'. The story also relates that the horse took himself back to the stables at the Station Hotel at the end of each working day, first visiting the public bar window, tap on it with his head and wait for a customary pint of ale to be brought out to him!

As far as the loco, I wonder whether this photo (and others that I will put up) show the loco on the 'pick-up' goods which I vaguely remember. Perhaps someone could confirm that it ran from Hitchin to New England calling at each station (Biggleswade, Sandy, St. Neot's and Huntingdon)?