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Steam loco survival myths

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

  1. Steve B

    Steve B Active Member

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    Probably not a good idea to light any blue touchpapers until you know what is stored there...;)

    Steve B
     
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  2. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    that report was 16 years ago
     
  3. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Well-Known Member

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    I have seen it suggested that during the (1973?) oil crisis there was a suggestion that preserved steam locos could be used on the main line to save oil.

    Does anyone have any knowledge of this - I suggest its unlikely
     
  4. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    There you go ruining a good debate with mere facts :)
     
  5. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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  6. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Active Member

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    There doesn't have to be any ordnance as such left. Residues and fragments would be enough to be hazardous and worth keeping people out for their own safety. To say nothing of old tunnels blocked off, which are possibly unsafe either structurally or fumes.
     
  7. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    it's probably a cannabis farm
     
  8. aron33

    aron33 New Member

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    Like the tunnel in Wales was?
     
  9. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member

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    Don't know about the 70s but in 1981 a secret (but now declassified) Civil Service paper studied options for dealing with a possible miners' strike. With the risk of sympathetic train drivers refusing to move strikebound coal trains the report considered and rejected, in a few sentences, the possibility of recruiting strikebreaking train drivers from the ranks of preserved railway volunteers.
     
  10. 67379

    67379 New Member

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    Heapey has not been rail connected since the Boar's Head-White Bear-Cherry Tree line was lifted, as far as I know, no rails of any gauge went down the bunkers (though rumours persist of an underground connection to the old Royal Ordanance Factory at Chorley which certainly did) - so it would not be a likeley or practical candidate for storing locos under any circumstances. The road access is a lane and in poor order. A friend who is the son of somebody who farmed up there did find themselves confronted by armed soldiers in guard mode several years ago after the base had been closed for several years, but that was during the Gulf War when it may have briefly been re-activated for ammunition storage again. It has never been a potential site for loco storage, it was just that, as I said in my earlier post, the BR sidings there were used for withdrawn loco storage which may have fooled some people into thinking that the locos were being sent up there to be ferreted away underground. Not the case - they were all recoded later at scrapyards. I may pop up there later on my motorbike for a quick nose around, though!

    Mike

    Edit: Have now been up to Heapy for a look. The access road has a board up stating "Heapy Depot". This jogged my memory, I seem to think that this once said "BAe Systems" as well, Lancashire does still have a significant armaments/military aircraft industry. It was put up for sale a few years ago - I expected it to be bought for something like secure documents storage or something like that. Whoever has it now, it doesn't give the impression of being high security. An old farmhouse that was once inside the fenced area near the rail crossing has now been done up into somebody's posh house with both Range Rover and Porsche outside. The fenced area where the sidings were and where the locos were seen is still fenced but overgrown. You can still make out the level crossing from there into the main site. Significantly, the only way you could bring a steam loco in or out of the place would have been by rail as all the roads are too narrow, steep and twising for a low-loader to get there.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
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  11. 67379

    67379 New Member

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    Following on from that, after a quick Google, I found the following photo of a withdrawn L&Y loco at Heapey sidings, stored awaiting scrapping which eventually took place at the Central Wagon Company adjacent to the Springs Branch at Ince, Wigan. Can anybody read what is painted on the tender of the loco in front?

    [​IMG]

    Mike
     
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  12. Jimc

    Jimc Well-Known Member

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  13. 67379

    67379 New Member

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    Knowing that the locos came from Horwich works where they had been withdrawn, maybe it is the identifying stencil that they put on the major components to identify which loco they belonged to pending a strip down. I've seen a photo of an 8f at Horwich all marked up like that - cab, wheels etc. If the loco had actually been sent for an overhaul but had later been judged to not be worth repairing and withdrawn, presumably it would have been stencilled up prior to that decision being made. 55216 was an ex-L&Y A class 0-6-0 which it clearly is (as is the loco behind the saddle tank) though it does not appear on the list that I have seen of known locos scrapped at Central Wagon Co as was the saddle tank - it isn't, however, a complete list. You can see how stenciled markings like that would make somebody think that it was something in or going into military ownership, though, as the military put those sort of stencilled markings on most things that moved! They would have had an air of familiarity to many in those days following WW2 and of National Service.
     
  14. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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  15. Lplus

    Lplus Well-Known Member

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    Railmaponline shows connections up to three of the four tunnel mouths. It seems likely they did go inside for at least enough room to allow loading a few wagons.
     
  16. johnnew

    johnnew Active Member

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    Above - plausible as a debating issue.

    As a retired Emergency Planning Officer a minor contributory factor to the reserve myth may well be that this myth was getting constantly revived when ever training arose as the general populace, including some railway fans without detailed knowledge, overestimate what the pool of steam locomotives in preservation could achieve if forced to do so. This was certainly the case up to and including the last course I went on in 2008 where the option was still being fed in by instructors (who did by then fully know it couldn't happen on any significant scale and understood why) as part of making the delegates think and evaluate. Whether that remains the case since I have retired obviously I cannot comment on as I haven't kept up with EPO literature or been on any courses..

    I also suspect the biggest factor is a few beers and wishful thinking helping to keep the myth alive during late night nattering even among enthusiasts who know darn well it isn't true/doesn't exist.

    Edited. Typo or autocorrect now altered. Obviously overestimate was meant Not under!!!
    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016
  17. DismalChips

    DismalChips New Member

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    OK, then. The whole Steam Reserve thing has rather caught my imagination over the last few days and I've been reading a lot of the available theories (none of which, I hasten to add, hold water in my view). I do keep coming across this photo of a 9f, supposedly from the strategic reserve:

    http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/1274295286/med_gallery_6731_93_353725.jpg

    I don't doubt it's a photoshop, but a reverse image search doesn't reveal the photo it's based on. Anyone able to work out which loco it is and where it was taken?
     
  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    I suspect it might be based on two photos, one of the 9F and one of the wagons, rather than try and find an occasion when a 9F pulled modern wagons.

    I think this is the 9F:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/hisgett/4493417842/in/album-72157616724496136/ - Black Prince at Toddington. He's chopped the signal off...

    Tom
     
  19. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Could it be one of the occasions when 92203 pulled modern wagons at Merehead?
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    No, definitely two photos - the person doing it says "Image by Paul Burkitt-Gray based on photographs by Tony Hisgett and Matt Buck, published under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license."

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/53779131@N05/4975026379

    The 9F photo I linked to above is the one by Tony Hisgett that covers the front of the train, so someone just needs to find a photo by Matt Buck (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattbuck007) of the wagons!

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/hisgett/4493417842/in/album-72157616724496136/ is the 9F...

    Tom
     

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