Wednesday 25 February 2015

‘LOWER DARWEN’ on the Bufferbeam

We have few sightings of 76084 between May 1963 and May 1964. See our Sightings page for our complete record of reported sightings. You will see that 76084 was seen on Saltley, Birmingham (Shed Code 21A) outside Number 3 Engine Shed by Gordon Hopkinson in May 1964 as shown below.

76084’s Record Card has a note that she became the responsibility of Swindon Works in December 1963. At this time Horwich Works was running down its steam locomotive overhaul work and 8F 2-8-0 48756 was the last being despatched after overhaul on 4 May 1964. It seems logical that Swindon became responsible for members of the Standard 4 2-6-0 class since they built 2 Standard classes there but not this one.

Looking at Gordon’s photograph the centre driving wheel has the eccentric re-fitted as if 'in transit’, probably with the connecting rod, piston and cylinder cover stowed in the cab or tender. One possible reason she is on Saltley is that she was on her way to Swindon from Lower Darwen for repair. The huge gap in sightings of 76084 before this sighting suggest something was seriously wrong with her in this period.

Did British Railways management change their mind about Swindon and send 76084 up to Cowlairs instead for the repairs to be carried out?

Cowlairs Works was noted for painting the name of the home shed on a loco’s bufferbeam when it went through the works. Peter Winstanley, a 76084 supporter was puzzled by this on 76084, not being aware that she visited Cowlairs. However, Peter was going through the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society's (RCTS) book ‘Standard Steam Locomotives Volume 5’ recently after some other information when he came across more works visits data not covered in the earlier Volume 2 in the series. 

With regards to 76084 Volume 5 states the following: -

Visit Classification
Works Visited
Arrival Date
Departure Date
Light Intermediate
20 January 1961
17 February 1961
Non Classified
29 September 1962
12 October 1962
Heavy Casual
18 June 1964
9 July 1964
Light Casual
24 May 1965
29 May 1965
Volume 5 corrects any mistakes in Volumes 1 to 4 and details any additional information gathered about the Std Classes since Vols 1 to 4 were published.

So thanks to Peter’s eagle eye we now have a much more comprehensive works visits record for 76084. During her first visit to Cowlairs the front bufferbeam must have been adorned with her home shed 'LOWER DARWEN'. By 76084’s second visit in May 1965 she was a Sutton Oak engine but was only there too short a time receiving only a Light Casual repair to have that Depot's name stencilled onto the bufferbeam. Peter has provided us with a photograph (see previous blog articles) taken in July 1966 with the 'LOWER DARWEN' stencilling still in existence.

We are happy to perpetuate this (and her 3 front steps Overhead Wires warning flashes) on 76084 in preservation.

Thank you, Peter for providing us with previously unknown facts about 76084.

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