It was 1967, and steam on British Railways was rapidly running down and out. The Southern Region was having its last fling on the Bournemouth main line, and only the north-west had steam in any quantity. The previous year I had been terribly disappointed when my parents didn’t allow me on a school railway club trip to the Leeds area. My best friend at the time even caught the last A4 Pacifics. I was not amused.
I was allowed on the next outing to Crewe and Stoke. Perhaps my protests were to good effect, and I was a little older! The highlight for me was entering an old roundhouse at Stoke and coming across the last 3 LMS ‘Jinty’ 0-6-0T’s.
However, the lines of locomotives at Crewe South shed was pretty imposing. Lots of BR standard 4-6-0’s and Britannia Pacifics, with a number of LMS ‘Black 5’ 4-6-0’s, 8F 2-8-0’s and 2-6-0 Moguls. And even a 2-10-0. Not the best photos – it was a foul, grey, day I recall, but looking at them now brings back some good memories.
The following year, I would visit Nine Elms shed, to see the last Southern locos at home. This would be followed by another school trip to visit Eastleigh works, catching the last of the LSWR 4-6-0’s and USA 0-6-0T’s on the scrap line. We then went north to Oxford behind an unrebuilt Bullied Pacific. Changing there, we were diesel hauled to Rugby, (a two tone green Class 47, I recall) and then came back to London Marylebone behind an LMS Black 5 4-6-0. Marylebone was the last London terminus to have a steam hauled passenger service, but this is often forgotten.
Unfortunately, all my photographs from these trips were mangled by my rather basic camera. I would love to still have a record of two special days.