‘Those blasted little Great Western 2-6-0s!’

Your editorial in September’s Guide to Modelling caught my eye, particularly in regard to the steaming qualities of Great Western locomotives, and I hope the following excerpt from my Oakwood Press book about my father, entitled Dad Had an Engine Shed, will interest your readers.

Under the heading ‘Those Blasted Little Great Western 2-6-0s’, I wrote: “Life at 6B became more and more hectic in the late Fifties, but nothing was to prepare the shed staff for the onslaught that was to come early in 1960.

A couple of years previously the GW shed at Chester had been assigned over from the Western Region of BR to the London Midland Region, and this was unfortunately the precursor to its closure in April 1960 and subsequent conversion to a major diesel servicing depot for North Wales.

6380 of 84K Chester West shed (but showing a 6E plate which was a temporary shed number used between 1958 and 1960 when 84K came under LM control), awaits the green light with a Barmouth stopper on May 29, 1959. BR 2-6-4T 80092 stands in the relief road, possibly awaiting a Woodside working. It’s interesting to note the overall roof, shortly to disappear, and the 57xx Pannier in the Mold bay. Photo: R S Carpenter collection.

“The responsibility for servicing and ‘turning around’ the many ex-GW engines that came to Chester then became the responsibility of both Chester (6A) and Mold Junction (6B) sheds, the latter handling the bulk of the Salop-bound freight work.

“Chester shed, being predominantly a ‘passenger’ shed, handled the much lower volume of that traffic. Pressure was exerted on my father to take an allocation of Chester’s GW motive
power, but this as I recall was not well received by him who saw at first hand the parlous state that a lot of the freight locos had been allowed to get into.

Also, at a time when 6B’s allocation of ex-LMS locos was nearing 50, it made the whole matter untenable, so after much resistance, the ‘powers that be’ conceded to my dad’s reasoning and the culprits were sent off down the Western Region to various other freight sheds, Oxley being one of the main recipients.

His reward for taking on this extra burden was elevation to the status of a ‘Special B’ Shed Master, one step down from DMPS that carried a pay rise and upgraded the family travel status to First Class passes (six per annum).

Tony Robinson,

For the full letter and to read other letters, see the October edition of Modelling – available now!

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