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Steam loco survival myths

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by John Petley, May 7, 2015.

  1. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    We know that somewhere underneath Lindal sidings in Cumbria lies Furness 0-6-0 No. 115 and that there are some 8Fs under the sea, which ended up there because boat carrying them to somewhere (in the middle east?) during the second world war was sunk. These statements belong to the realm of fact, but there are plenty of myths about alleged loco survivals. I've listed a few below and would be interested to know the origins of these myths, as some of them seem to lack any evidence to substantiate the stories:-

    1) The "Strategic Reserve". This featured twice in Steam Railway some years back and there was even talk of its location - a secret siding which branches off from the GWR main line in the depths of Box Tunnel. The articles featured interviews with railway staff who allegedly saw mysterious locos in transit, but it just seems like pure fantasy and a big wind-up

    2) Buried, not scrapped at Doncaster. Another piece of Steam Railway sensationalism. Apparently, some locos recorded as cut up at Doncaster were actually buried in a big hole! The land including the hole in question was up for redevelopment so as this story appeared at least 5 years ago, we would have known by now if the builders had unearthed a cache of grubby but intact V2s and B1s. Again, it seems very hard to find any fact on which this story was based.

    3) The engine drivine into a remote shed that is still there. I believe the location for ths myth was somewhere in East Anglia. Some engine was driven down a remote branch or siding into this building and there it has sat ever since. The rails have since been taken up, apparently. Anyone know any more about this one?

    4) The second O2 boiler. Not a full loco, but I have heard this tale on a couple of occasions - a fireman at Ryde depot apparently bought the boiler from a condemned O2. Given the relatively small size of the Isle of Wight and the enthusiasm of the IoWSR to track it down if it really existed, this must rank as pure myth, but it's an odd story to make up.

    5) The mystery entries in the Ian Allan spotters' books. Why, until about 1974, did steam locos 30089 and 75048 feature in the preserved steam section at the end of the Ian Allan Combined Volumes? The former, I recall, was "preserved at Battersea by local authority" and the latter was to be preserved by the SRPS. Given that this combined volume appeared several years after the end of steam, how come these errors were perpetuated for so long? - especially as (to my knowledge) the Local Authority in Battersea never planned to buy a steam loco and the SRPS have never mentioned 75048. Most odd

    6) The 2-6-4T underneath Scratchwood Services. There has been a thread on this loco on this forum. It was No. 42325 and was used in a filming contract. Strong evidence suggests tha tthe loco was cut up on site once the film was completed, but rumours that it has been buried in a big hole persisted for quite some time.

    7) The Adams 0395s lost at sea. They allegedly went down in World War 1 when SS Arabic was sunk. Like the 8Fs some 25 years later, they were in transit - for use overseas. Unlike the 8Fs. the Railway Magazine found strong evidence that the ship in question didn't have any 0395s on board after all, but this myth seems to have lasted some 80-90 years before being debunked.

    Any more myths would be interesting, but any info on how these myths originated would be even more interesting
     
  2. david1984

    david1984 Resident of Nat Pres

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    The suggestion a certain ex Lyton & Barnstaple machine is rusting away in a Brazilian jungle somewhere.
     
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  3. Jimc

    Jimc Well-Known Member

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    Didn't 3) actually happen on a Welsh narrow gauge line? Although its long since been retrieved.
     
  4. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    Don't know if there is a survival myth as such, but a couple of Terriers went to the La Plata tramway in South America and were supposedly seen quite late (1930s?) and there is no definite confirmation they were ever scrapped. Probably just faded away, but it would be nice to think they slumber on just waiting to be discovered - meanwhile chatting away with Lew about the old days back in the home country ...

    Tom
     
  5. Lplus

    Lplus Well-Known Member

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    I remember number 3 from many years ago - I think it was said to be somewhere in the Kettering area...

    Might have been a B1?
     
  6. david1984

    david1984 Resident of Nat Pres

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  7. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member

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    3) - A Fox-Walker SG loco called Margaret was left in a shed at Kidwelly tinplate works after going OOU in the 1940s until preserved in the mid '70s. Probably not 'forgotten' though.
     
  8. savagethegoat

    savagethegoat New Member

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    How about the railcars buried in a quarry her in Northern Ireland? I think they were GNR(I) AEC units
     
  9. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    Numbers 52 and 57 if my memory serves me right. Their fate is unknown and survival must be a very long shot, but yes, I agree - if someone chopped through some dense undergrowth in Argentina and found two more Terriers, it would be rather amazing. Trouble is, the Argies might suggest swapping them for the Falkland Islands - a bit of a high price, even for two Stroudley masterpieces. :)
     
  10. John Webb

    John Webb Member

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    Re 6) - loco under Scratchwood services. Impossible - the site of the filming was Scratchwood sidings, sited just south of the Elstree tunnels on the slow line side (East), roughly where the motorway crosses the railway, and so rather North of the service area. (The site is still in use for rubbish disposal/recycling but is no longer railway-connected.)

    The film concerned was "The Password is Courage", from 1962. Two scenes were filmed at Scratchwood Sidings, and others at Cricklewood and Radlett. (Although the whole film was supposed to be taking place in war-time Germany with British POWs doing sabotage!) There is a photo in "Horton's Guide to Britain's Railways in Feature Films"; there is also a quite detailed description of the railway scenes. Curiously, Huntley's book "Railways on the Screen" makes no mention of this film whatsoever.
     
  11. SteveA

    SteveA New Member

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    3) was supposed to be an LNER Sandringham B17 somewhere near Kimbolton.
     
  12. cymroglan

    cymroglan Member

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    I genuinely heard a version of the strategic reserve story from my Dad who died in 1969, which gives a cut off date. He was a driver in North Wales and he and his mates were convinced that locos of the best quality were mysteriously disappearing from the scrap line (at Llandudno Junction?). This was a time of Cold War anxiety, and the strategic reserve story made a kind of sense. Not for one minute am I suggesting that it actually happened, but when Steam Railway first published their characteristically tabloid splash, it rang a bell with me, as this thread has now done!
     
  13. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    There were a number of Class 26s or Class 27s and some coaches, all insulated with the "nasty stuff", cocooned and buried in Scotland. I seem to recall that one plan for Northern Ireland was to place similarly afflicted vehicles in a tunnel on a closed line and brick it up. I can't honestly remember whether it was said to have been done as well as or even instead of the quarry! 18 carriages were definitely buried at Crosshill Quarry, Crumlin.

    Steven
     
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  14. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    I heard first hand from a policeman that he had seen a 9f towing two others west along the North Wales coast line, near Colwyn Bay, one night in 1975 ... His theory was that they had been stored at the old chemical works at Rhydymwyn and had to be moved when the remains of the Mold to Denbigh line were closed, to a secret location in the Valley area or on the Amlwch branch. Must have been true; he was a policeman :)
    The empty shell of 27043, along with a railcar, and some DMU bodies, was buried at Mount Vernon tip, Glasgow.
    This was mentioned in The Railway Magazine many years ago; supposedly 61633 Kimbolton Castle.
     
  15. Bramblewick

    Bramblewick Active Member

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    Also the last surviving Park Royal railbus, the asbestos-ridden body of which survived in departmental use until the 80s before being buried.
     
  16. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    I believe that an Austerity o-6-0ST disappeared, complete with driver, down a mine shaft somewhere near Wigan. Also, some 1-4-0s en route from N.B. Loco Co to France were lost off S.W. England.
     
  17. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator Friend

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  18. ssk2400

    ssk2400 New Member

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    Going back to number 2 my father in law was a demolition contractor at Doncaster works , working for Bombardier , and he said to me about 7/8 years ago he had been approached by several older employees from Doncaster works , about large amounts of scrap being buried at Doncaster , he wanted to excavate but was refused permission but the ex employees were adamant about large chunks of locos being buried but no complete locos
     
  19. Jason Cottage

    Jason Cottage New Member

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    Brunel Broad gauge 7'2; Locomotives still inside workshop in Ponta Delgada, Azores
     
  20. Sir Nigel Gresley

    Sir Nigel Gresley Active Member

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    Not again!

    Having worked at MoD Corsham (Basil Hill Barracks), I have done the official "Tunnel Tour", and failed to find any GWR Granges. (My first office there was 200ft underground!)
    As a matter of interest, the underground siding enters the complex from the north side of the main line, and the bricked-up entrance is visible from a down train just as it enters the tunnel (if the HST is going slowly enough), and vice versa. When inside the complex, passing HSTs are quite audible. The siding enters as single track, and splits to serve two short parallel platforms, ending after about 200m at buffer stops. I believe that, during WW2, the trains for Box Hill were marshalled at Thingley Junction, and taken the 3 or 4 miles by a small diesel loco, on a separate parallel track on the north side of the main line.

    Locos "hidden away": This happened all over East Germany; they were "ostensibly" kept as Mobile Heating Units by enthusiastic Lokleiter (Shedmasters). Hence, the majority of steam running on German museum lines are ex-DR. I believe this was the case with 61572, and there is a loose similarity with 62712.

    In the 1970's the ÖBB (Austria) overhauled a number of 52s and stored them at, amongst other places, Strasshof (now a museum), where they rusted away, and most were eventually scrapped.
    I believe this also happened in Scandinavia.
     

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