Friday, 10 October 2014

76084 Recreating Great Central History

One of the key points of heritage railways is their recreation of the lines' history. Sometimes the locomotive classes worked on that line in normal service, sometimes they did not.
   The 76000s -BR Standard Class 4s -did work along the old Great Central main line. So although 76084 itself worked around the North West others could be found on the GC 50 to 60 years ago. A photo in a recent "Steam Railway" shows 76036 ready to leave Marylebone with a two coach parcels train for the GC main line in April 1963. Looking at my copy of the thorough RCTS "British Railways Standard Steam Locomotives" Volume 2 shows more of them working on the southern end of the GC plus others working along the route of current heritage GCR. In fact 76036 was one of ten (76035-76044) delivered to Neasden shed in mid 1954 which were used on suburban and parcels trains between Marylebone -Aylesbury plus goods trains between Neasden -Woodford Halse and Aylesbury -Quainton Road. In June 1955 76035 was now at Woodford Halse shed and was seen on Leicester Central -Marylebone semi-fasts. By the summer of 1958 76035 -76044 could still be seen on semi-fast passenger trains from London -Leicester, Neasden - Woodford Halse goods and Marylebone -Aylesbury suburban services. After Neasden shed closed in 1962 76035 -76043 moved to Cricklewood shed on the MIdland Division but continued to work on the GC line. On July 17th 1962 76037 replaced ailing B1 61106 on the six coach 12.25 pm Nottingham Victoria -Marylebone at Woodford Halse then "easily kept time reaching a maximum of 81 mph down the 1 in 105 gradient between Amersham and Chorley Wood." By 1964 76035/37/39/41/89 were based at Willesden which was now responsible for locomotive workings on the Marylebone line.
   What about 76000s running along the line forming the present GCR between Loughborough -Leicester North (Belgrave & Birstall)? Daytime Marylebone -Sheffield Victoria or Manchester London Road expresses were replaced in 1960 by Marylebone -Nottingham semi-fasts which were regularly hauled by Standard 4s "which were capable of fast running" in tight timings. This seems to have lasted several years.
    So when you see 76084 on the Great Central on a weekend this October or, better still, ride behind it, you will be riding behind a member of a locomotive class which worked along there in  the 1950s and 1960s.

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