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Russell Coffin Collection - Part One

Go to Russell Coffin Collection - Part Two

Russell Coffin was a ‘Nine Elms Engineman’ without doubt, and an extremely talented one at that! All the people that I have spoken to recently have repeated the same view of him as a man of stature, both physically and mentally. I’m told he was highly regarded by many of the Nine Elms locomotive driving fraternity with whom he worked whilst a fireman at the depot. His opinion on a railway matters would be sought such was his standing amongst his peers, indeed he was equally a fine engineer and actually built a miniature ‘Bulleid’ pacific with original designed chain driven valve-gear. I was fortunate enough to meet him and form a friendship in the latter part of his life. Always interesting to speak with, it was always a pleasure discuss locomotive related matters. He told me that he had taken a number of photographs in the late forties and early fifties at Nine Elms, some that actually included the ‘Exchange Trial’ locomotives that were to be seen at that period.

It was the intention to have these photographs on loan, then photo-copy them and put them on the Nine Elms website, however fate took a hand before this happened and sadly Russell passed away at the age of ninety.

Russell was always concerned that his album of photographs might be disposed with after his demise and was keen to have them recorded for others to appreciate what he had witnessed through his viewfinder. Clearly I believed that the opportunity had passed-by, been lost and gone forever! Not so, I’m glad to report, thanks to the intervention of the Sutton Model Engineering Club! Fortunately his album had been passed on to them for safekeeping and somehow they became aware of my past association with Russell.

As such Eric Upchurch made contact with me and personally delivered the album that can now be shared with so many in the ‘Gallery’ section of the Nine Elms website as intended.

'Thanks Russell'

Jim Lester - 70A

It is our intention to present Russell Coffin's Collection in installments over the next few months. The caption with each photo uses Russell Coffin's own wording. Most of the original photographs are only 2x3 inches, so the image quality should be judged accordingly, but some computer photo work has been done to the online version. Please keep watching the Nine Elms website as further photographs are added - Shedmaster.

Here is a typical page of the original album.

All the following photographs are copyright © Russell Coffin Collection - courtesy Sutton Model Engineering Club

LMS 'City of Bradford' 46236 at Nine Elms for the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials. 22nd June 1948

SR Merchant Navy Class 35020 at Nine Elms for the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials.

LNER A4 'Mallard' at Nine Elms for the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials.

LMS Royal Scot 'The Hussar' with WD tender at Nine Elms for the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials.

SR Merchant Navy Class 35019 at Paddington, 1948.

SR Merchant Navy Class 35019 at Kings Cross, 1948.

SR West Country Class 34004. Test trips all over at Perth loco, on the last trip from Inverness. 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials.

SR West Country Class 34006 at Marylebone, after a test trip 10th June 1948. Driver Jack Swain and Bert Hooker is firing.

LNER A4 'Mallard' on the pit at Nine Elms during the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials.
Ron Petrie adds that 'Mallard' is on the "Merge" and the loco behind is on No.2 pit road going towards the turntable.

SR West Country Class 34006 with LMR tender, 1948.

ER Class B1 at Gorton for the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials. Dick Ball and mate on their regular engine. Our pilotmen from Leicester to Manchester on preliminary runs.

SR West Country Class 34005 with LMR tender at Nine Elms for the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials.

35017 near Belle Isle 1948 Trials.

LMR 'City of Bradford' with WD tender passing Vauxhall, 25th June 1948, test trip. 1948 Trials

Royal Scot 'The Hussar' with WD tender passing Loco Junction with 1050 Waterloo, test trip 15th June 1948.

34006 with dynamometer car at Gorton Loco, 9th June 1948.

35017 with dynamometer car backing into Kings Cross past the loco (shed).

35020 with LMR tender waits at Waterloo for the road to Nine Elms, 1948

35017 runs past Finsbury Park en route to Kings Cross - Russ on footplate.

35019 at Nine Elms Old Shed with LMR tender for 1948 Trails.

'City of Bradford' heads the ACE 1050 Waterloo prelimary trip 14th June 1948 passing Loco Jn.

35017 in Nine Elms loco fitted with LMR tender. 1948 trials.

West Country locos (34004 leading) on the pit at Nine Elms 1948.
Ron Petrie comments 34004 with a MN (look at nameplate) behind is on the "Merge" looking towards the turntable.

ER dynamometer car on turntable at Perth Loco - 1948 Loco Exchanges.

34004 at Perth General Station 1948 Trials.

Crew of ER dynamometer car at Perth Loco - including Jack Swain. 1948.
Ron Petrie adds the fifth from the left looks like Danny Knight the Southern Motive Power Inspector.

LMR Scot 'The Hussar' at Nine Elms.

35005 with mechanical stoker passing Nine Elms with Down express.

35019 at Kings Cross. Driver G.James, Fireman G. Reynolds.

'Mallard' and crew at Nine Elms 1948.

34005 enters St Pancras 1948.

34006 passes B1 en route to Manchester dropping down from Woodhead Tunnel.
Nigel Whitwell has commented: ...that is not a 'B1'. At present I cannot say what it is though - others may have a better idea than I (I don't think it is a 'J39' which was my first thought). Any ideas anyone?
Roger Carrell has written from Australia: ...that it is a J39 approaching 34006. No outside cylinders, boiler type, twin lubricators, sanding rod vanishing into splasher, plus various other features were ‘dead-giveaways’ apparently!

35010 with broken cylinder casting.

Getting 'em ready in Nine Elms Loco.

My regular engine 35021 passes Wimbledon with 3pm Waterloo - Exeter.
Jim Lester writes about the platform/canopy behind 35021:
During the loco days it was known as the 'Volunteer Siding', this alluded to trains that were dispatched from there with volunteers during the 1914 - 18 world war. There was an access ramp at the side that many a young lad would never see again. During the summer in the late fifties passenger rolling stock would be berthed there on Saturdays and we would go out 'light engine' to Wimbledon, sometimes with an 'Arthur' or a 'Schools' and work the empties to Waterloo. Once that train departed it was out and back onto another train, perhaps bound for Salisbury - West of England or a Lymington, quite a slick working!

Vernon Howard adds:
I remember this siding during the later 50's in constant use with the unloading of Italian wagons full of Lambretta scooters and when shunting we would often have to collect them when empty, and replace them with the full one's standing in the top end of the yard, this often took some time to complete due to awaiting the road to cross from the downside to the up and back.

34106 at Waterloo.

Leader class 36001 at Eastleigh Works yard 1950.

Leader class 36001 at Eastleigh Works yard 1950.

Leader 36001 at Eastleigh 1950.

WC 34019 as oil burner 1948 at Nine Elms.

LN 30864 in light green livery 1949.

30855 on pit Malachite Green Nine Elms.

34056 'Croydon' in light green 1949.

Adams 'High Flyer' at Nine Elms.

LBSC 'Terrier' at Nine Elms.

Stroudley A1X at Nine Elms 1951.

Bert Hadley and 'Paddle Boat'.

Driver Hopkins and Russ on 6pm freight Nine Elms to Eastleigh.

Bert Hooker on 21C20 ?1948.

Bert Full on T9 number 119.

Fred Batho and me on 35014 - my last trip before driving 1954.

Driver Bert Full on 21C105.

Tom Arnold Snr and Jnr on 859.

Bill King and mate 34010.

Bert Full

Bert Full and Fireman Russ Coffin on 21C105 in 1948.

Two young firemen at Nine Elms with 786 'Sir Lionel'.

Russ Coffin at Ivry depot near Paris.

Russ Coffin at Erstfeld, Switzerland.

Shunting at Raynes Park 1947.

Driver Arthur Lay and Fireman Fred Whittle on 4P LMR tank at Waterloo.

Go to Russell Coffin Collection - Part Two

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