am doing some research on NBL diesels and electrics and have been in touch with
FireScotland under the Freedom of Information Act. I can confirm that the fire
in D6127 occurred at Greenloaning station on March 29th 1962 (not the 27th as
you state on your website) – the fire tender at Auchterarder was alerted at 16:
27 and returned off duty at 18:52. The report stated that the fire was
contained to the engine compartment only of D6127 – unfortunately the second
locomotive wasn’t recorded.
January: The Stainmore line closes.
February: All the MetroVicks are transferred to Barrow.
March: Loaned LMR Type 2's begin to return from the Southern Region.
April: North British Locomotive Company declares bankruptcy.
May: Haymarket's BRCW Type 2's replace much steam on the Waverley Route.
June: D153 undergoes extensive crew training in Scotland.
July: D5133 loaned to Carlisle Canal, the first Clayton D8500 is delivered.
August: D2 used on high speed trials on WCML.
September: 165 Type 2's ordered, major Workshop rationalisation proposed.
October: D5059 & 5094 rescue an ECML express, working into Kings Cross.
November: D6507 & 5007 reach Yeovil Jct on a football special.
December: D5007 is the last LMR Type 2 on the SR, the 'Great Freeze' begins.
The New Year brought a number of service improvements across the system. One such was the L&Y Calder Valley line where new BRCW multiple units commenced with an hourly service between Leeds Central and Manchester Victoria, with a number of services extended to Harrogate and Liverpool Exchange. These upgraded services replaced all but two steam workings over this route and were able to cut ten to twenty minutes off the schedules even allowing for the services running via Bradford, the former practice of combining the Leeds & Bradford sections at Low Moor being eliminated. Three weeks later, and in complete contrast, Saturday January 20th witnessed the end of all services on the Barnard Castle - Kirkby Stephen - Tebay/Penrith route. The final passenger workings were in the hands of NE DMU’s, whilst an RCTS special ran on that last day behind 4MT 76049 & 3MT 77003. One wonders if any BR Sulzer Type 2’s ever ventured across this famous route.
Although out of service for some time pending the visit of the whole class for repairs, the D5700 Metro Vicks were transferred away from the Midland mainline to Barrow (12E) during February.
Transfers for the Peaks continued as older members were transferred away from Derby as new members arrived from Crewe & Derby Works. More loans continued to the ER & NER - D138 went to Carlisle (12B), D147 was borrowed by Corkerhill (67A) and D149 went to Barrow Road (82A). With D147 present for crew training at Corkerhill it was frequently used on an afternoon freight to Troon, returning with a workers train from Barassie to St Enoch. Later it would be used on an early morning St Enoch - Ayr parcels, then running light to Largs to work the 7.35am back to St Enoch. Bad weather again crippled the steam heating systems on the diesels out of St Pancras, allowing another fling by steam on the expresses. Some of the displaced Peaks ended up covering for the suburban DMU sets, providing the local commuters with some exhilarating mad dashes out to Bedford, two of the star performers being D47 & D49. With the NE/SW route used partly by the Midland line services in the Leeds area it was not long before a Barrow Road (82A) allocated Peak would find its way into Kings Cross as did D35 on January 9th working the 5.29pm Leeds - Kings Cross. Elsewhere the Peaks crept onto the Leicester - Peterborough East services, D125 on Dec 31st, D112 (Jan 7th) and D83 (Jan 9th) on the 12.18 Peterborough - Leicester.
The SR was accepting its final deliveries of BRCW Type 3’s, and receiving the first of its electro-diesels and new DEMU’s for the Oxted line. These additions allowed for the gradual return of the loaned LMR Type 2’s, the majority visiting Eastleigh Works for overhaul prior to heading north. Previous practice had been to test them on the Boat trains to London, however failures on these services were of a high profile, leading to the current batch of machines being trialled on freights instead. So tested on January 25th was D5011 on the 11pm freight to Nine Elms. By early March D5003/06 would be back on the LMR working out of Rugby. The previously mentioned pairs of BRCW Type 3’s handling the Uddingston cement trains suffered a spate of failures, contributing to several unusual steam/diesel combinations, so noted were 92044/D6513 (Jan 18th) & 60106/D6517 (Feb 10th).
More Peak transfers came in February with much shuffling between the Midland depots, but including loans of D141 to 26A, D148 to Gateshead (52A), D153 to St Margaret’s (64B) whilst D154 went to Finsbury Park (34G) on February 27th. Peaks were still occasional visitors to Kings Cross and were frequently used on the down ‘White Rose’ to get them back to the Leeds area. D154 also covered the 8.15 Kings Cross - Hull and 4.52pm return on March 27th & April 4th, these workings being used for crew training. The Edinburgh - Perth passenger turns were frequently covered by D153 after its arrival at St Margaret’s on February 5th. As a sign of things to come D8 was transferred to Toton (16A), the remaining members of the first ten Peaks would all be transferred here in March, so ending their brief forays on the WCML. Crewe Works were busy working on D53 - D67, having just outshopped their first Western, D1035.
A typical light duty for D5067 on March 8th was two coaches on the Leighton Buzzard – Luton Bute Street branch, passengers using the service did not reach double figures! Further north a mid-morning York – Edinburgh passenger was diagrammed for a Gateshead Type 2. Signalling work in the Tonbridge area on March 18th required the Type 2 hauled 4.5am London Bridge - Hastings to be diverted via Oxted, Uckfield & Lewes. Another lightweight local passenger turn, the 8.5am Carlisle - Hellifield and 11.58am return was being handled by Carlisle’s D138 on Saturdays only during March.
On April 4th came disturbing news with the announcement of the intended liquidation of the North British Locomotive Company due to insolvency. The reliability of the NBL Type 2’s was already causing major concerns to the operating authorities, the almost complete destruction by fire of D6127 on March 27th whilst working the 15.15 Buchanan St - Dundee, in company with a sister, at Greenloaning, only emphasized the problems these machines were experiencing. Three days later, another railway builder with little time left - BRCW, Smethwick unveiled D0260 ‘Lion’, surely a sign of things to come. On the Midland lines Cricklewood received the first of its BRCW Type 2’s, D5379, from May these were used in pairs on certain St Pancras – Nottingham services. A further sign of the end of steam around St Pancras was the demolition of the Cricklewood coaling stage during the latter half of April. Further south an unidentified Type 2 joined forces with D6536 in handling the up ‘Golden Arrow’ on April 14th, probably due to the failure of the booked electric locomotive.
Another fill in turn at Polmadie for LMR & ER Peaks laying over was their use on the morning freight to Ayr, noted at the end of March were D97 (24th), D127 (28th) & D49 (31st). Between March 24th & 27th the new power signal box at Perth came into use leading to much more through running of services between Edinburgh/Glasgow & Inverness, advantage of this was taken to run D153 throughout on a Waverley - Inverness service.
Gateshead’s Type 2’s now held a virtual monopoly on the local trip freights, frequently assigned to the Berwick, Carlisle, Thornaby & York workings. The Carlisle trips included two parcels workings, one of which returned on the 2.50am Carlisle - Newcastle passenger. They also frequently enjoyed outings on the 9.18am Newcastle (6.55am ex York) - Edinburgh, returning with the 2.25pm ex Edinburgh. From April 16 - 19 this turn was powered by D5147, 5097, 5104 & 5148. Further north the Inverness Type 2’s were now in full command of the services out of the Highland capital, with a number of them working throughout to Edinburgh. Steam in the Inverness area was now almost non-existent with the coaling plant already out of use, and only the Dingwall pilot, currently ex-WR Pannier Tanks 1646/49 was steam powered. These were also used to heat the TPO, though this function was under review.
During April D6 was transferred to Derby. Recent trials using D40 and D0280 on the Lickey incline led to the ending of banking duties for a number of passenger and freight trains, included passengers trains up to twelve coaches in length.
The returning Type 2’s from the SR were used to replace steam on the Birmingham - Coventry - Rugby locals, D5003/05/11/17 were allocated to Rugby for this purpose, though machines from Willesden frequently filled in. For the steam fleet at Rugby this had a major impact leading to the retirement of its unrebuilt Patriots, with (45505/10/15/17/37/38/41/42/48) condemned during July/August, being quickly dispatched to Crewe for breaking up. These moves left only two unrebuilt Patriots in service, 45543/50 at Carnforth, although their continued use would be short-lived, with storage coming effective September 10th.
In Scotland the Waverley Route saw a major shift of power from steam to diesel from May 7th. All Edinburgh - Carlisle passenger services were now in the hands of Haymarket’s BRCW Type 2’s as were approximately half of the freights, with double heading being quite frequent. The 6.44am Waverley - Carlisle, 1.40pm return and 5.57pm back to Carlisle and the next day’s 9.20am to Waverley were diagrammed for one locomotive. The 2.43pm Edinburgh - Carlisle and 7.44pm return required another machine whilst the 10.20pm Edinburgh - Carlisle postal and 3.50am return was normally doubleheaded. Some heavy trains were noted in this period, on May 18th D153 still on allocation to St Margarets handled fifteen coaches. Peak availability on the ‘Waverley’ had improved considerably, only two failures being recorded during the month, on the 14th & 28th. About a dozen freights were also diagrammed for diesels, these moves created a reduction in the steam fleet at Carlisle Canal shed.
A number of the loaned Peaks were returned to the LMR in May, though D155 was loaned to Trafford Park (9E), D146 to New England (34E) & D153 to St Rollox (65E). Brand new D166 was delivered to Gateshead (52A). During Easter availability of the diesels out of St Pancras was good, but there were enough extras to allow a good number of steam locomotives to reach St Pancras, mostly Jubilees & Standard and LMS Class 5’s. The arrival of more Peaks from Derby Works to Toton in the D140 - D150 series allowed, alongside D1 - D10, the dieselisation of the power station turns to Repton & Willington and freights from Toton to Wichnor & Washwood Heath. Corkerhill’s D147 seemed to have no fixed duties at the beginning of May, being used on many of the local turns. Observations at Sheffield Midland on April 20th revealed that just under half of the express passenger turns were still being handled by steam. Much further north a number of the Peak diesel turns out of Carlisle were temporarily covered by steam power. Peaks were now reaching Edinburgh via the ECML on the 9.18am Newcastle - Edinburgh & 2.25pm return, noted were D22 on April 28th and D148 two days later. Elsewhere in Scotland the ‘Condor’ working was now frequently worked by Peaks rather than Type 2’s, May 23rd’s up working had 25 platefits hauled by D85. Deltic availability during April/May was not good leading to the EE Type 4’s and Peak’s (along with much steam power) covering the Deltic turns. D154 which had been used frequently on the Kings Cross - Hull turns took over a number of Cambridge duties when uprated D5835 took over the Hull turns.
D0260 Lion was loaned to the WR at Wolverhampton (Stafford Road 84A) from May until September. It was noted working trials between Wolverhampton & Shrewsbury prior to working the 7.25am Wolverhampton - Paddington and return 12.10pm Birkenhead as far as Wolverhampton, then the 3.35pm to Paddington and return 7.10pm to Shrewsbury as far as Wolverhampton, starting May 14th. On May 17th it failed on the last turn at Harbury and did not work the following day’s turns.
During June Peak transfers remained minimal although interestingly D2 was loaned to Crewe (5A) until the middle of August and D6 went to Saltley (21A), remaining there until late July. The arrival of more new Peaks from Derby Works to Gateshead saw a number of other loaned Peaks move on to other ER or LMR sheds, as did the two Peaks (D147 & D153) loaned to the Scottish Region. D153 had for almost two months included the 7.40am Edinburgh - Perth in its workings. The start of the summer timetable found more Peaks diagrammed into Scarborough, including the 12.30 SO from Chesterfield, worked by D33 on June 23rd and D34 the following Saturday, the 7.00am York - Scarborough parcels was also diagrammed for a Derby allocated Peak.
D47 had the misfortune to fail at Ayr on July 6th and enjoyed the sea air for three days until towed away to Glasgow.
During July D5133 was loaned to Carlisle Canal (12C) shed for crew training, frequently working the Silloth branch alongside Canal’s LMS 2-6-4T’s. Its stay was brief, returning to Longsight (9A) by month’s end. The Birmingham - Yarmouth service was again in the hands of Type 2’s, previously Rugby Class 5’s had handled this service, the Type 2’s had also ventured onto the Marylebone parcels trains. At the end of July the first of the Clayton Type 1’s, D8500 was released from Clayton’s of Hatton, making a trip to Marylebone on July 26th. These new machines were intended for the ScR. Also noted on July 26th was the loan of D173 from Gateshead to Edge Hill, it was added to the 9.42am Newcastle - Liverpool, piloting D243. D170 would follow on September 8th, this time piloting D290 on the 3.16pm Newcastle - Liverpool, the Peaks were to take over some of the Trans-Pennine workings from the start of the winter timetable.
On August 9th high speed trials were carried out between Manchester & Euston using a track recording coach, two BR standard corridor vehicles, one with BR standard bogies and one with Commonwealth bogies. Electric traction was used between Manchester and Crewe, here D2 took the train forward to Euston, 100mph running was approved at certain locations. These tests were to determine which sections of track required upgrading prior to the introduction of electric services. D2's engine had been uprated to 2,500hp, with the gearing suitably adjusted to permit the higher speeds. In earlier trials on the Euston - Liverpool route seven coach trains, weighing 230 tons had covered the 193 miles in 156 minutes, with a maximum speed of 105mph, when the load was reduced to three coaches 110mph was reached. D2's engine was derated back to 2,300hp during February 1963. On August 14th D140 was tested with a brake tender and coal train over the Midland mainline, later D154 & D43 continued on these tests.
The impact of the major influx of new diesels and railcars and the shrinking of the rail network and its services led to a review of the organization of the railway workshops. The plan, announced on September 19th proposed a reduction in the labour force from 56,000 to 38,000 with a number of workshops scheduled to close. For the BR/Sulzer Type 2’s this plan had major implications as the closure of both Darlington & Stratford were proposed. Both were overhauling the Type 2’s, whilst Darlington still had an order for new machines, having just laid the frames in August for D5176! This new construction followed on from the completion of their latest batch of Class 08 shunters ending with D4185. Both workshops would loose about 1,700 jobs, with Stratford’s Type 2 work going to Doncaster and Darlington’s work spread between Glasgow, Derby & Crewe although Darlington would not close for four more years. Shortly after this announcement came the placing of orders for another 165 BR/Sulzer Type 2’s, destined for the LMR, whilst another 100 English Electric Type 3’s were ordered for the WR. The frames for the first of those Type 2’s were laid down at Derby during September, following the completion of D193, the last of the BR/Sulzer Type 4 order. Across at Crewe Works the first of the Brush Type 4’s, D1500, had arrived for weighing on September 6th, it quickly returned to Brush at Loughborough.
The winter timetable starting September 10th brought substantial accelerations for the services out of St Pancras, particularly on the Manchester services worked by the Peaks. The first couple of weeks found the new timetable working well, the twelve coach trains not proving much of a challenge for the big Type 4’s. On the Up ‘Nottingham Pullman’ the press entourage were treated to a run of 114 minutes behind an un-identified Peak. On the Liverpool - Newcastle services D166/170/173/174 were active on four diagrams, they frequently took ten minutes off the Leeds - Manchester section timings, other members of the Gateshead allocation would join them and timekeeping was of the highest order, despite a one day rail strike on October 4th. For the winter timetable over the Waverley route diesels held firm on the passenger workings but more freights reverted back to steam power.
On September 24th D5087 hauled the Cricklewood breakdown crane to Bedford North to assist in the recovery of Ivatt 2-6-0 43121 which had derailed itself and some wagons, blocking the northern entrance to the station and the entrance to the railcar holding sidings! Two days later D148 tested on a 1,250 ton Wellingborough - South Bank, Middlesborough iron ore train, complete with dynamometer car. Restarts were carried out at Manton and four other places to Clay Cross. Late September also saw Gateshead’s V3 tanks re-assigned to the Durham banking duty following the unsuccessful use of Type 2’s on this working.
The 4.55pm Newcastle - Kings Cross on October 23rd saw its locomotive, D279 encounter mechanical problems coming to a complete stop at Holme. Here D5059 & 5094 were removed from a freight and triple headed the train into Kings Cross, running some ninety minutes late.
Almost a year after the interesting sortie by D5009 & 6523 working a football special to Bristol, November 3rd saw D6570 & 5007 (the last LMR Type 2 remaining allocated to the SR) take a twelve coach football special from Dartford to Yeovil Junction. The train ran via the Dartford Loop, Nunhead, Factory Junction, Clapham Junction, East Putney & Wimbledon. Steam locomotives 76018, 31619 & 9732 were used on the short leg from Yeovil Junction to Yeovil Town and return. On the outward run a ‘race’ ensued on the four track mainline between Winchfield and Hook with the special challenging the 9.30am Waterloo - Bournemouth headed by 34064. Regrettably a permanent way slowing cut short the spirited running for 34064.
A shortage of Deltics on November 15th found the 7.50am & 9.40am Newcastle - Kings Cross being handled by D173 & D177 respectively. At Haymarket D178 was used for a while for crew training.
During November 1962 the last of the Type 2’s returned from the Southern Region, with D5007 being reallocated to Willesden (1A). They were still common visitors south of the Thames, one consistent trip worked was a morning parcels from Willesden to East Croydon. As a precursor of the winter to come heavy snow fell in mid November causing major delays to the Scottish expresses. The first week of December brought heavy fog to many parts of the country, the smog effect in London killed several hundred people. The lengthened journey times led to difficulties in rostering men and machines, on the Midland the DMU suburban service being hit particularly hard with steam substituting for the struggling railcars. On December 4th & 5th the availability of the DMU’s was so poor that Stanier Class 5’s and Type 2’s from the Moorgate services had to fill in on the Bedford/Luton locals. The position was not made any easier by the failure of road/air transport during this time, leading to increased traffic for the railways. In the midst of all of this D5084 trialled on the Bedford - Hitchin freight service, apparently none too successfully, although this working quite frequently loaded to over fifty wagons of coal and brick. Bedford shed therefore held onto a number of its serviceable 3F’s until better replacements could be found. Things were little better on the Great Northern line out of Kings Cross, diesel failures required juggling of scarce resources. On December 3rd D385 failed on the 2.05 Kings Cross - York/Hull, rescued by V2 60817 at Tallington, the V2 later took over the 5.15 Colchester - Glasgow, from Peterborough after D246 froze up on shed. The next day D353 failed at Westwood on the 10.25pm ex Newcastle, rescued by 90073. Peterborough also saw the failure of D286 on the 10.20am Kings Cross - Leeds, replaced by V2 60854. None of this was helped by the derailment of coaching stock at New Barnet! On the WCML certain long distance services, especially the overnight sleepers were running from four to eight hours late.
Returning to Doncaster Works for scheduled repairs were ER members of the BR/Sulzer Type 2’s, one of the first noted was D5066 seen in the Plant on December 9th. With Stratford targeted for closure their work would be partially picked up by Doncaster.
The week up to Christmas had been sunny but frosty, however it was on Boxing Day that the ‘Great Freeze’ set in, with heavy snow accumulations beginning, upto 18 inches falling in the south. Boxing Day found Gateshead based D178 on crew training at Hawick. On December 28th & 29th came a major storm with heavy snowfall, for those venturing out to witness the last services from Brecon on December 29th the weather was quite a challenge.
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