From steam age daydreams
Thomas goes main line
Not quite ‘live from Loughborough’ – this photograph is from the GCR’s Autumn gala in 2014. However, all things being equal, on Saturday, I hope to be at the 2015 Winter gala enjoying scenes like this, there might even be a bit of snow, putting the icing on the cake.
Based on earlier designs, by Samuel Waite Johnson, who was the Chief Mechanical Engineer to the Midland Railway from 1873 to 1903, these 0-6-0Ts, classified 3F, have been immortalised as ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’. They began to enter service, on the LMS, from 1924 onwards, under the auspices of Sir Henry Fowler, not Sir Topham Hatt. However, as time passed, they saw service not only on the LMS but around the country.
In 1958, according to my Combined Volume, there were 417 of these engines still in service. My shed book for 1960 shows these much loved and ubiquitous little tank engines spread around the country from Bath Green Park on the former Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway to Swansea (Victoria) and its sub-sheds Gurnos, Llandovery, and Upper Bank, a Midland Railway out-post in Wales. In Scotland numbers of them were shedded at Polmadie and Corkerhill in Glasgow as well at Hamilton 66C, and in 1955, No. 47541 was up in the Highlands at Inverness. Sticking with 1960, No. 47429 was based at New England (Peterborough), and Nos.47306 & 47311 were at 30A Stratford in East London, and No.47312 was based at 33A Plaistow, the Ex-London Tilbury & Southend Railway depot. Even former North Eastern strongholds like York and Starbeck had an allocation. The locomotive in the photograph, No.47406, was, in 1960, shedded at 24L Carnforth, just as she had been in 1955 when Carnforth was 11A.
Today, No.47406 is a resident at the Great Central Railway’s Loughborough MPD where she was returned to steam, from ‘scrapyard condition’, by Roger Hibbert and his team.
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