B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

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strang steel
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by strang steel »

London Fields question. In the 1970s and 80s while travelling east towards Stratford from Bethnal Green, there were some electric units parked at right angles to the main line on the left hand side, away from peak times.

I heard one spotter refer to those sidings as London Fields. Is that correct, and how were they accessed from the main line out of Liverpool Street?
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by Mickey »

strang steel wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:48 pm London Fields question. In the 1970s and 80s while travelling east towards Stratford from Bethnal Green, there were some electric units parked at right angles to the main line on the left hand side, away from peak times.

I heard one spotter refer to those sidings as London Fields. Is that correct, and how were they accessed from the main line out of Liverpool Street?
That sounds like Thornton Fields carriage sidings to me John on the left-hand side of the running lines just beyond Bow Junction travelling eastwards from Bethnal Green towards Stratford mind you I haven't been around that area since 1979-80.
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strang steel
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by strang steel »

Thanks Mickey.

Yes probably Thornton Fields. My memory is pretty ropey these days.
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days/thornton fields/North Woowich

Post by rockinjohn »

Hi all,yes london fields approx. area maybe a name change?mickey so many sidings/offshoots on that branch that ended up having L1's marking time before works o/haul after the Hertfords/Bishop Stortford line work,I walked/drove/rode (trolleybuses) alongside the North Woolwich branch the houses/streets worst than Holloway/Barnsbury &Essex Rd, a myraid of lines, some having their own shunter(BR) no wonder we couldn't cop all "30A"allocation! the one that puzzled me was Thames Wharf that had a late afternoon dep. 50+!Brit. hauled part of a 30A "Norwich" roster, mid '50's to all points North/NW passing Temple Mills on its way thru maybe March?sounds about right for 30A crews post war & mickey dont worry about your memory your doin allright every one forgets the odd pkt of peas/runner beans @ the supermarket after "her indoors"said what ever you do dont forget them!.jj
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by StevieG »

Mickey wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:24 pm
strang steel wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:48 pm London Fields question. In the 1970s and 80s while travelling east towards Stratford from Bethnal Green, there were some electric units parked at right angles to the main line on the left hand side, away from peak times.

I heard one spotter refer to those sidings as London Fields. Is that correct, and how were they accessed from the main line out of Liverpool Street?
That sounds like Thornton Fields carriage sidings to me John on the left-hand side of the running lines just beyond Bow Junction travelling eastwards from Bethnal Green towards Stratford mind you I haven't been around that area since 1979-80.
Mickey has it correctly strang steel. 'Your' sidings (being at "right angles" - a very distinctive and unusual orientation), were definitely known as Thornton Fields, on the left (North) side of the main line after Bow Junction and between Bow 'Midland' yard and the triangle of lines - Carpenter's Road/Channelsea/Stratford Central junctions : The sidings ought more correctly have been known as Thornton's Field, as there is history that, IIRC, something lie that the land was donated/bequeathed in some way by a Mr. Thornton to the GER.
It would have been too open to confusion for them to have been 'London Fields' as that was the name of the second station north of Bethnal Green on the Kings Lynn line, not far south of Hackney Downs station.
BZOH

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strang steel
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by strang steel »

Thanks Stevie, for the explanation.

However, that begs a second question; which is how those ECS sidings were accessed from the main line?

On this OS map

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/side-by ... 0&right=11

there is a spur from the line between Bethnal Green and Stratford with the sidings presumably at the point marked 'BS' on the map. However, this would have meant a lot of to-ing and fro-ing of EMUs in order to arrive/depart on a daily basis. Given the number of units sometimes in the sidings, I would have thought getting them all across the running lines would have been an operational nightmare.
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by Mickey »

strang steel wrote: Sat May 01, 2021 10:43 am Thanks Stevie, for the explanation.

However, that begs a second question; which is how those ECS sidings were accessed from the main line?
From what I recall John from my brief time on the loco at Stratford entering and exiting Thornton Fields carriage sidings was a totally unexciting experience. When I happen to know the area briefly during 1979 entering and exiting Thornton Fields carriage sidings was controlled by Bow Junction s/box a slightly imposing all brick built structure with a flat concrete roof and glass windows on the operating floor located on the Up side of the running lines with a junction outside the box heading onto a single line curve going around towards Gas Factory Junction on the LT&S line out of Fenchurch street anyway from a vague memory a train of diesel hauled ECS approaching Bow Junction along the Down Fast line would be simply 'turned off' the Down Fast line and into the carriage sidings or when exiting the carriage sidings once the exit signal was 'cleared' I speculate a train of ECS could either be routed along the Up Fast line towards Bethnal Green or be routed across onto the Up Electric line towards Bethnal Green but to be honest I wasn't all that familiar with 'the road' between Stratford and Liverpool street although I remember there was a lot of 'point work' around Bow Junction.
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by strang steel »

Thanks Mickey. That is very interesting.

Presumably, there were other carriage sidings out in the direction of Temple Mills. I only mention this because in my 70s spotting days, towards the evening rush hour ECS in the form of EMUs would appear from the lines to the north of the platforms.

As an illustration of what I mean, here is a photo of a Clacton unit (309) emerging from there.

101126 309601 stratford 11ː3ː88.jpg
101126 309601 stratford 11ː3ː88.jpg (77.86 KiB) Viewed 786 times
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by Mickey »

Stratford in the early 1970s was a interesting place and it made a change from Kings Cross because you would see different loco numbers from what you would usually see at Kings Cross in regards to the same classes of Brush type 4s (class 47s) & Brush type 2s (class 31s) and also EE type 3s (class 37s) that weren't seen on the GN area. Another fairly large number of roads were to be found in Channelsea sidings which were close to Stratford that may have had occasional trains of main line coaching stock in the shape of B.R.Mk1s stabled in those sidings.

I did a 'shed bash' at Stratford loco with a friend in 1970-71 and we walked around the loco and I recall we saw about 5 Baby Deltics lined up on one road and there may have been several BTH type 1s (class 15s) also in the same part of the shed?.
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days/thornton fields

Post by rockinjohn »

Hi all thanks for all the in depth replies, think my main query related to not entrance and exit but what happened when entry was gained with those buffer stops pointing in the direction of the "main"& being dead end, what was deeper into the sidings to enable the stock to be stowed?, layout wise it appears no exit loop just the up&down, once entry gained,couldnt see much from passing down trains stock barring my view!& yes think I heard it termed "London Fields" maybe the pedestrian or road entrance @ the back warranted this name? even if title correct for the "running"sidings name,only other "steam day" carriage sidings(maybe stock had quick turnarounds after internal cleaning @ the "street"), I remember were alongside the Stratford Station sidings worked by an D22XX 0-6-0 shunter(seldom moved bit like the Highbury Vale shunter) in the direction of lines that led to Chobham Farm junc(think the BRS depot on Railway Land was called this next to 30A)/Leyton PW sidings & Branch before Temple Mills Yards.
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by StevieG »

strang steel wrote: Sat May 01, 2021 10:43 am Thanks Stevie, for the explanation.

However, that begs a second question; which is how those ECS sidings were accessed from the main line?

On this OS map

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/side-by ... 0&right=11

there is a spur from the line between Bethnal Green and Stratford with the sidings presumably at the point marked 'BS' on the map. However, this would have meant a lot of to-ing and fro-ing of EMUs in order to arrive/depart on a daily basis. Given the number of units sometimes in the sidings, I would have thought getting them all across the running lines would have been an operational nightmare.
As regards where Thornton Fields sidings were strang steel, I see several 'BS's around the area, so to hopefully be clear, on that very useful mapping from NLS that you posted, TF was the group of sidings mainly below (but some stretching higher) the 'Stratford' of 'Stratford Marsh'.
Their depiction on the map is only representative and there were many roads indeed in there; trains from/to the 'right-angle'-ish sidings buffer-stopped near the running lines, must presumably have had to draw into the long siding/s to the north before reversal and heading out via the curved connection with the Down and Up Cambridge Lines, but which IIRC, in turn fed into junction crossovers to the Main, Electric, and Fenchurch Street lines (the 'Fenchurch' was still a double track line to Gas Factory Jn. on my visits to Bow Jn. Box around 1970/71).

There were also further carriage sidings alongside Stratford station's Camb. line platforms; I think(!) named Stratford Old Yard : I'm unclear on whether they were electrified though.
BZOH

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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by Mickey »

As previously posted I can only recall ever going into Thornton Fields carriage sidings once during 1979 when I did a short stint as a secondman at Stratford loco and about all I can vaguely recall was going to make a can of tea before climbing back onto the loco a Brush type 2 and taking a train of ECS up to Liverpool street.

As far as carriage sidings go I was much more familiar with the carriage sidings in London on the Kings Cross area such as Holloway Down carriage sidings, Ferme Park Down carriage sidings, Bounds Green carriage sidings and Hornsey carriage sidings on the Up side of the running lines.

As a young teenage secondman at Kings Cross between 1974-75 it could be a bit daunting going to make a can of tea in Bounds Green carriage sidings and shyly entering the women's carriage cleaners mess room which would be occupied by women possibly aged between 25-50 year olds and trying to disregard the fruity language and comments being directed at oneself while making the tea ha ha ha...
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by strang steel »

Your memory of venturing into the 'ladies only' environment, Mickey; reminds me of the day I went for an interview at Gresley House, Doncaster which must have been around 1970.

I was still at school aged 18, and probably was dressed all smart in my uniform as my mother would have made sure I never went out looking scruffy. I was given a quick tour around the offices, and part of that meant walking through the typing pool which was a buzz of noise as I approached with a senior manager, but as we entered the room things seemed get much quieter and I could sense about 50 pairs of ladies' eyes following us around the side of the room. Most un-nerving.
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by Mickey »

Yeah good one John I can imagine the scene.

You may have all noticed that some of my time as a secondman at both Kings Cross and Stratford was spent going to into mess rooms or in a shunters lobby to make a can of tea which was actually quite an important task. A saying I recall when I was at Kings Cross loco was "Wet and warm" in regards to a drop of tea from a tea can in other words if it wasn't totally satisfying to drink (if it hadn't been brewed enough) your driver would usually say "It's wet and warm never mind" and take a mouthful!!.

Forget the tea one old driver at 'the cross' would often say to anyone he met out and about on the railway "Have ya got a pint in ya pocket?." which was obviously pre-Alcohol & drugs policy being introduced in 1991. :wink:
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days/austerity

Post by rockinjohn »

Hi seem to remember an article about Austerity 2-8-0's being wheel balanced for fast mxd goods workings(suppose they got rostered on summertime excursions/parcel trains also before the 9F's)some LNW goods workings long&fast, think they did the same along with some Stanier 2-8-0's,on one of these trial runs with an Austerity, an "inspector"noted a fireman drinking from a glass bottle on the footplate of a passing train, the inspector stopping his charge & informing@ the next station/signalbox to phone ahead & halt the train and investigate the crew (culprit) only to find that the bottle contained cold tea to slate the firemans thirst on a heavy cross pennine coal haul,better safe than sorry I suppose.jj
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