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London & North Western Railway Society
LNWR Mystery Photographs
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  • Mystery Number 8 – supplied by anonymous

    Show image of mystery phot  mobile/M008B.jpg

    Where is this platform? What is the engine? What sort of carriage? Where is the train likely to be going? But what of the assorted furniture; Water column, ornate lamps etc. What is the building behind the loco.

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  • Mike Williams — 29-Apr-2004 10.58 PM
    The loco is an LNWR “Special DX”Explain 'Special ‘DX’ 0-6-0 Locomotive Class' and the carriage an LNWR 30ft 1in parcels vanExplain 'Parcels Van' with five compartments to D425 (59 built 1889-1903). The yard lamp to the right looks typical LNWR, as is the water columnExplain 'Water Column'. The buildings behind look fascinating – certainly one to tax Harry’s mind!
    Harry Jack — 04-May-2004 12.27 AM
    It is Chester station, east end, looking NE. The interesting buildings in the background are the Railway Gas & Water Works (according to Ordnance plans) with Lightfoot Street to the right. The shed with the open door is an 'Engine Room' - perhaps with two old loco boilers within.
    Date is after 1895 because of the tender coal rails, but before 1909 because No 1571 was scrapped early in that year.
    Train is headed east - Crewe? Warrington and beyond?
    Mike Bentley — 07-May-2004 12.45 PM
    The DX at Chester was taken by D. H. Stuart. The building contains two train-heating boilers.
    Mike Williams — 08-May-2004 9.58 PM
    “the building contains two train-heating boilers”. Does this mean that carriages were stabled nearby and perhaps heated overnight before being coupled to a locomotive? Would be interested to know how this worked as I don't remember reading about it. Presumably if the whole boiler capacity was just for train-heating several trains could be heated at once? Was this a normal procedure at most large stations?
    Harry Jack — 03-Jun-2004 10.48 PM
    I’m a bit puzzled by Mike’s remark that this photo was taken by D H Stuart. I wouldn’t have thought he was old enough to have taken a photo as early as this one.
    Harry Jack — 04-Jun-2004 6.25 PM
    According to his obit notice in the Feb 1978 SLS Journal, D.H. Stuart was born in 1900. I suppose it’s possible that he took the photo, but if so it’s a wonderful shot for a precocious lad who was only 8 or 9 (at most) at the time. Later he was one of the last LNWR Pupils at Crewe, under H.P.M. Beames.
    Mike Bentley — 21-Jun-2004 10.49 PM
    I don’t know whether carriage-heating boilers were situated at all centres on the LNWR but it may well have been so. Certainly, this photo shows one at Chester and the building there housed two boilers.
    There was also certainly one at Buxton, because I have talked to the men who used to fire it and I also remember it working. It was not removed until work was due to start on the new diesel depot in 1956.
    It was situated on one of the two roads on the site of the old LNWR shed. A corrugated structure was built round it to provide some sort of shelter. The boiler itself was an old 17in Coal Engine boiler and worked at a boiler pressure of 60lb psi. It was an absolute nightmare to fire as its injector was an original LNWR type and was very temperamental. The fuel was a mixture of wood, scrap brought from Derby carriage works, and coal, and though the working pressure seems low it was very hard to maintain. Not only did it supply heat to 15-20 carriages but the pipe itself was so old that it had a number of small holes through which steam escaped.
    It must originally have supplied only the LNWR side of the station but at some time, probably in the 1920s and certainly by the late 1940s, it also supplied the Midland side. The pipe from it passed under the railway and the road to reach the Midland side. Steam escaping from the pipe rose through the road!
    The idea was to heat the carriages so that the train engine only needed to hook on and take them off to the station or wherever the train was to start from. When the system was abandoned about 1956, the train engine had to hook on an hour before departure. The weather was much worse in those days (whatever might be believed about global warming) and without the carriage-heating system the windows in the carriages would often have been frozen up inside and out. The system came into use every year on 1st October. A similar boiler was in use at Middleton for the winding engine.
    Mike Bentley — 30-Jun-2004 11.04 AM
    Harry Jack is probably right in his comment about D.H. Stuart. I recall now that my print of this picture came from a copy of a photograph in an album which once belonged to D.H. Stuart. The album was copied by the NRM at least twenty years ago. So most likely the photograph was not taken by D.H. Stuart but by someone else, and was obtained by him and put into his album.
    Tony Robinson — 13-Jul-2004 11.10 PM
    If members would care to look at Chester Image Bank they will see under photo ref “ch0017” a picture taken looking in the oposite direction, ie from Lightfoot Street.
    The large “carraige warming” building is on the right of the view. In later LMS and BR days this became the site of the water softening plant.
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