LOCOMOTIVESThe 'Locomotive' section will attempt to record many of the various classes that were both regularly to be seen on Nine Elms shed through the years and those that were deemed to be either 'unusual' or 'guests' for various reasons that will be described where possible.
Let us first look at all the depots that existed, certainly the ones that I can remember, in the mid 1950's. The shed code system had been developed from the L.M.S. practise after nationalisation in 1948, it enabled a locomotive's home depot to be instantly identified by the code attached to the lower part of the smokebox door.
There were three 'A' classified South Western depots in the shed code table that were the primary section administration locations, namely '70A' - Nine Elms, '71A' - Eastleigh and '72A' - Exmouth Junction, plus all their subsidiary depots. As such it was previously unusual to see any '73A', '74A' or '75A' allocated engines with exception occasionally at Guildford, however towards the end of the 1950's other locomotives from both the Central and Eastern division depots became a more and more familiar sight on the South Western metals.
After the first members of the 'West Country' & 'Battle of Britain' class locomotives were 'rebuilt' many of them, when returning into traffic, were transferred away from their original Western section depots onto the Eastern section in particular, conversely the same 'original' Bulleid members of the classes were transferred and were to be observed, perhaps for the first time, in the West of England. Previously Eastern section allocated engines from Stewarts Lane, Bricklayers Arms, Dover and Ramsgate depots were now to be seen as far west as Weymouth, Plymouth and Padstow. There were indeed many other changes taking place during these times that I recall and as the momentum of modernisation gradually increased so did the practises of a lifetime of Southern steam operation begin to ebb away. Whatever they were still interesting periods of change and the chance to work on something different was always seen as a challenge during those times!
Eventually many of the locomotives that were displaced by the 1957/58 electrification program were then to be seen on various South Western sheds. Notably three 'MN's, a number of WC's, BB's, all the remaining Schools's and 'N15's namely 30792 - 30806 that had provided the backbone of the steam operation on the Eastern division, plus ten Standard Class '5' 4-6-0's No's 73080 - 89 that equally followed them. I recall climbing onto the footplate of ex-Stewarts Lane, Standard Class '7' No. 70014 'Iron Duke' at Nine Elms before it too was eventually moved away from the Southern onto the L.M.R. Others classes like the 4-4-0's 'L', 'L1' lasted briefly, whilst 2-6-0 'U's 'N's and their three cylinder counterparts lasted a little longer. Class 'W' 2-6-4T were earlier transferred locomotives along with some Class 'C' 0-6-0's. At that time such was the surfeit of locomotives many older classes were soon dispatched, scrapped and alas never seen again.
So with the background described above this was the situation as I remember during my time on the steam. I hope that in the coming months we can examine photographically many locomotives and the motive power events that took place fifty years ago. If you have any photographs of interest to add to this section please contact the firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2008 Jim Lester - Nine Elms Engineman
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