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LNWR Mystery Photographs
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  • Mystery Number 185 – supplied by Ted Talbot

    Show image of mystery phot  photos/M185B.jpg

    Two engines to identify, but there is also the location and date ?

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  • Gary Wells — 02-Sep-2015 9.35 AM
    Herewith a wild guess to get the ball rolling.
    Location: Farnley & Wortley. Looking towards Leeds.
    Lines left to right: Down New Line, Down and Up Thornhill Jct lines.
    Jim Lodge — 02-Sep-2015 9.36 PM
    Definitely not in the Farnley and Wortley area (which I knew well in the 1950s and 60, first as a spotter, later as a railway employee). The only three track configuration in the area was briefly south of the shed and then under Gelderd Road. The down New Line was here descending quite steeply down to the Dewsbury lines from a curve from the west in another cutting.
    John McGiveron — 03-Sep-2015 8.16 PM
    Can't identify the locos, but the location could be in Westmorland on the WCML.
    Philip A.Millard — 04-Sep-2015 8.20 AM
    I can’t find any location in John Swift’s books to correspond with the photo. Why has the (down?) goods line got a distant signal, but not the main line? The first carriage is a 57ft 0in double-ended brake composite, normally employed as a through carriage, but no roofboards are fitted.
    Gary Wells — 04-Sep-2015 10.56 PM
    I cannot make head nor tail of the signals. If he main is a co-acting, fair enough, so why isn't the goods. The lower goods arm doesn't appear to be a 'birds mouth' so is it: co-acting at high level (pointless) or two full length route arms (top left etc). Framed between and behind the two skyscrapers appears to be the back of another subsidiary signal with possibly a vertical bar NLR style. I cannot see the expected distinctive LNW signal post caps.
    The chairs in the foreground appear to have two screws inside and one screw outside, although they are very indistinct. The keys would indicate the gradient rises to the right.
    Is the train definitely running on LNWR metals?
    The white smudge at the goods line vanishing point is a platform.
    Harry Jack — 11-Sep-2015 3.41 PM
    This is an Up train just south of Hest Bank station. The track nearest the camera is the single line to Bare Lane (and thence to Morecambe) which runs into the bay on the left side of the platform in the background.
    Ted Talbot — 04-Jul-2016 12.12 AM
    This photograph was taken by the Manchester photographer, G. W. Smith, who took a lot of photographs in the Middleton Junction, Manchester Exchange and Manchester Victoria areas, and is perhaps better known for his L&Y pictures than his LNWR ones. In the 1970s G. Dudley Whitworth had some of his negatives and kindly arranged for me to have prints from them. Later Neville Field acquired many of his negatives and the Manchester Locomotive Society now has them in its collection.
    Clues to the date of the picture are provided by the Claughton but they do not enable the picture to be dated precisely. The first ten of the class had square lower corners on the front buffer-beam (as in the picture of 2222 in Mystery 201). But in the autumn of 1913, after one of them fouled the platform at Bletchley, the lower corners of the buffer-beam were cut off, as seems to be the case in this photograph. Later a larger amount was removed and this became a standard feature of the class. However, this engine also has two sets of sandpipe windshields, as introduced on the third batch built in July-September 1916, but does not have the short handrail on the cab-side, introduced on Patriot in May 1920. So although these dating features can be clearly seen, they do not enable the photograph to be dated with any precision. So ‘about 1920’ is perhaps the best that can be done.
    Harry Jack has described the location perfectly, and the photograph of the up ‘Coronation Scot’ a few yards further south and from a higher viewpoint shows the topography very well but at a later date. This picture seems to have been taken from the ‘Coastal Road’ over-line bridge which was built in 1933 to carry a new road, the A5105, over the main line. This road links the A6 near Hest Bank with Morecambe promenade.
    The source of this information is Over Shap to Carlisle, The Lancaster and Carlisle Railway in the 20th Century by Harold D. Bowtell, published by Ian Allan in 1983. This is an excellent book with an amazing amount of detail on the line between Preston and Carlisle and can be thoroughly recommended. The footbridge in the same photograph was named the ‘Cinderella footbridge’ and was built in 1932. As Bowtell says, it was ‘charmingly named after the nearby children’s home’, which can also be seen in the picture.
    Bowtell goes on to describe how the ‘Bare Lane single track (for Morecambe trains to and from the north) comes alongside as the WCML reaches the shore of Morecambe Bay’. Hest Bank station was closed on 3rd February 1969, the down platform being quickly removed and the single track from Bare Lane being extended over its site late in 1970. The up platform disappeared later. For years, up trains for Morecambe had had to run past the box (then on the up side, south of the platforms) and set back across the down main line to the south-facing bay platform, departing thence for Morecambe. If too long for the bay, they were backed through the slip to the down main, and then left for the Morecambe branch. At last, in July 1934, a facing crossover was installed, which was certainly helpful in BR days, when Duchess’ Pacific locomotives were liable to work Glasgow-Morecambe trains on summer Saturdays.
    Note additional photo with larger version.
    George Huxley — 06-Oct-2016 8.42 PM
    It seems to me that the position a short distance to the South of Hest Bank station is correct. The ringed arms on the left direct trains into the left (top) or right (lower) side of the platform when they come from Bare Lane. Between the tall posts what seems to be the rear of another ringed arm can be seen. I do not know how this signal is to be interpreted.
    Reg Instone — 21-Oct-2016 5.43 PM
    I am totally in agreement with Harry, Gary and George that this is Hest Bank. I would have struggled to identify it until Harry pointed this out!
    I cannot quibble with anything that Ted has written either, except that the "Cinderella" footbridge (bridge 11b at approx. 2m64c) is already in situ on the O.S. 1:2500 plan of 1930, so must have been constructed a little earlier than Harold Bowtell thought. On the 1910 revision the footpath crosses the tracks on the level. I'll try to find the Parliamentary authority for the Right of Way to be diverted; there must also be a TC Minute to authorise the expenditure. This plan was revised in 1930 although not published until 1932, and can be viewed here:
    https://www.old-maps.co.uk/#/Map/346634/466227/12/101104
    The Coastal Road, with its overbridge (bridge 11a at approx. 2m55c), was under construction on the 1930 plan, although the completion date of 1933 must be correct. In the "Coronation Scot" photo taken from this bridge the 2 3/4 milepost (from Lancaster) is clearly visible.
    Regarding the signals, the post and arm for the Down Main may have always been co-acting, or may have been altered thus after the construction of footbridge 11b (which would have interfered with the sighting), I am not sure. The Branch to Bay and Branch to Down Main arms (ringed arms) did not need to be co-acting as trains would approach these always at a low speed, and early sight was unnecessary. Incidentally, ringed arms were not just used for Slow Line or Goods Line signals, but in any situation where the arms relating to parallel lines needed to be distinguished. At places such as Willesden, Rugby, Crewe and Preston, where there were multiple running lines, the arms tended to be alternately no rings - rings - no rings - rings for each line.
    The up direction ringed arm mentioned by Gary and George matches the "S.P." marked on the plan, and would be the Bay to Up Main starting signal. There should be a lower arm for Bay to Branch but this is not readily visible on the photo. The Up Main Inner Home signal (and the box) is hidden by the train, and the Up Main Starting is just out-of-shot to the right.
    By 1938 the Down Home signals had been replaced by arms on a gantry a little further south. not far from the footbridge. No doubt this improved the sighting. The Signal Sighting Form for this has not come to light, but the gantry was probably brought into use on 29 July 1934 when TC 3030 was commissioned on the Down Main, extending for 200y in rear of the Down Home signal. This would be necessary because a train standing at the signal would not be in clear view of the signalman. It would appear to be part of the same work mentioned by Harold Bowtell, including the installation of the facing crossover. This also must also have been authorised by the LMS TC.
    Finally, the new "BR type 15" signalbox was brought into service in December 1958, and initially would have operated the same layout as its predecessor.
    This doesn't help at all to date the photo, but I hope it adds to the history of the place, and understanding of details in the photo!
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