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Locomotives that NEARLY made it

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Hicks19862, Apr 22, 2020.

  1. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    And in all these cases, how much was the difference between success and failure about the objective, and how much about the people involved? Possibly less so when you consider the locomotives, but the lines - why did Minehead succeed but not Ilfracombe, Didcot but not Dinting, etc.?
     
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  2. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    A lot of the early preservation schemes were set up intending to reopen lines as a normal public service. If the intention had been to reopen them as a tourist attraction from the outset, then perhaps different lines would have been chosen in some cases.

    The Meon Valley line would arguably have made a better tourist line than the Mid Hants for example. Ilfracombe rather than Minehead. I’m sure there are others.
     
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  3. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    What would the IOWSR look like if they had been able to stay at Newport station? Or if the Lakeside and Haverhwaite had been able to break out, SDR had kept Ashburton. Flip side, what would the WSR look like if they had had been reduced to say BL as a starting point and had to rebuild the line from scratch. Where would the FR be if they had not been successful in the court case against the CEGB? Where would the FR be if the Penrhyn Quarry locos were not available?

    I think the margins are very fine. Sometimes internal issues and sometimes external factors. A landlord who decides to do x,y,z, or a line that suffers from vandalism versus one that is too remote to attract arsonists.

    A clear vision also matters, I went to Didcot in the early 1980s and you saw a clear vision - and some stuff you didn’t see elsewhere like the TPO system in operation. I went to Carnforth around the same time and I wasn’t sure what it was about,

    what would the railway heritage world look like if there had been if Dai Woodham had been like Cohen’s or Cashmore’s or if Cohen’s and Cashmore’s had been like Woodham’s.

    Sliding doors abound.
     
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  4. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    The ski slope out of Ilfracombe would certainly have been an 'interesting' operational challenge for a heritage line! :)
     
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  5. Thompson1706

    Thompson1706 Member

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    The Flint and Deeside group had the Dyserth branch as an option before selecting Llangollen.

    Bob.
     
  6. torgormaig

    torgormaig Well-Known Member Friend

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    Are you sure about the ancient LSWR locos? Many of the withdrawn locos were not scrapped as they were reactivated to aid the war effort - T3 563 being a case in point. As soon as the war was over and they were no longer needed scrapping recommenced again.

    Peter
     
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  7. hyboy

    hyboy New Member

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    Can anyone confirm the story about 2937 Saint class Clevedon Court? I have heard two versions regarding it's purchase by Lord Elton on withdrawal from Hereford and delivery to his home, the real Clevedon Court. One version has it that it was unable to be turned in through the gates and so sent back. Another suggests Lady Elton was not amused and insisted that it could not stay! Certainly a near miss if true. I frequently pass Clevedon Court and would love to know.
     
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  8. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    That was my understanding as well - early in the war they were kept against an uncertain future. Certainly in 1939/40 there was a big fear of the potential destruction that could be wrought by bombing raids (“the bomber will always get through” was widely seen as self-evident at the time). It was probably only after about mid 1941 and the German invasion of Russia that it would have started to be apparent that actually conditions wouldn’t be quite so bad, though by then railway workshops were heavily involved in war work, so the normal capacity to scrap old locos and replace with new was still somewhat interrupted. So the old locos were kept at work, or at least in reserve.

    What that did mean was a lot of quite elderly pre-grouping locos made it through to 1946/47 still operational, but on the Southern at least there was a pretty ruthless purge from then until about 1951/2. The Wainwright J class 0-6-4T, the last surviving LCDR locos of any type, the last Stirling 4-4-0s, the last Adams passenger and mixed traffic tender engines, the last Stroudley D tanks and a host of others all went in short order immediately after the war - sadly, for the purposes of this thread, about 10 - 15 years before there could have been a realistic chance of saving any of them. We basically have the Adams T3 as the only survivor from that purge.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2020
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  9. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    It's not very common that I query anything in your posts, Tom, but I think you must mean the last Adams Tender Engines - or at least the Jubilees and any 4-4-0s that managed to last through the war. The last 0395 hung on until 1959s and tank locos such as the B4s, O2s and Radial Tanks saw in not only the 1950s but the 1960s.
     
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  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Yes sorry - typo. Meant the last tender engines. Now corrected.

    Tom
     
  11. toplight

    toplight Member

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    One thing that has always surprised me is that British Railways never kept a few steam locomotives themselves to run the occasional trip. Was there never any thought to doing so ? Also that perhaps something less official say a depot keeping one loco. For example Old Oak Common say keeping one Castle. ? Was that never considered by staff at the time ? In many countries too locomotives were plinthed outside depots or stations as a static reminder of the past. Why did it never happen here ?

    When you think the RAF and Navy both kept a historical flight and many old aircraft were statically positioned as gate guardians outside air bases. Why not something similar for BR ?

    The only time I can think of is when Bill Harvey shedmaster at Norwich kept the last B12 there long enough for the NNR to buy it.
     
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  12. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I think BR were desperate to shed its image of dirty old steam trains and anything that associated them with that had to go, even to the extent of preventing heritage railways from uing the BR logo on privately owned ex-BR locomotives.
     
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Can't answer the first part, but on the bit in bold: there were other examples of similar. One that comes to mind is that Dr Beeching (who lived locally) personally intervened to ensure that Fenchurch was kept in store after withdrawal until such time as the Bluebell could afford to buy it.

    Tom
     
  14. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    Dr Beeching helped SAVE a steam locomotive?!
     
  15. weltrol

    weltrol Member Friend

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    But British Railways DID keep three steam locomotives for regular trips. They ran on the Vale of Rheidol (and still do under private ownership now...).
     
  16. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    And painted them rail blue along with the arrows in indecision. A most bizarre sight.
     
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  17. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Member

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    Beeching seemed to like something about the Bluebell it seems. He opened Holywell Halt on a visit as part of one of the Blue Belle specials too.

    There seem to be quite a few tales of locos being kept behind by shed staff in hope that they would be saved.
     
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  18. toplight

    toplight Member

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    Beeching lived in East Grinstead so as it was local to him is probably the reason. As for shed staff keeping a loco it was always hoping someone would privately buy it but why not just keep it themselves ?
     
  19. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    Didn’t Beeching officially re open the South Devon Railway too (or whatever it was called then)?
     
  20. toplight

    toplight Member

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    I can understand that but it didn't mean they couldn't have kept say a few locos for themselves and still have pushed the modernisation. The RAF got modern planes but they still kept a few spitfires. Oliver Cromwell would have been an obvious one for BR to have kept being a BR design, last in use etc.
     

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