1955 electric working

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Muzer

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Hi all!

I'm working on a little project involving trains in 1955.

I'm curious about how electric workings worked with through passenger trains (I'm not interested in freight at this time) on the various electrified routes back then:

  • Through trains on the Woodhead Route — I know the wires had only really just been finished by this point. But my guess is that most through trains would have a loco change at Sheffield Victoria and at Guide Bridge to switch to/from electric traction? Can I assume that every train which calls at both these stations would use electric traction, and that those that don't call at Guide Bridge, say (and continued beyond Manchester London Road), probably would have been steam throughout? Or is it more complicated than this?
  • Trains using part of the Woodhead route, Sheffield to Penistone — my guess is they wouldn't have bothered with loco changes for such a short section, but I wanted to verify this as this was just an educated guess on my part.
  • Tyneside electrics — guessing the electrification was just for local passenger trains and they wouldn't have had locomotives for through trains?
  • Southern Region — I know that by this point there weren't too many long-distance routes electrified, and I certainly don't imagine they bothered with loco changes for through trains on short suburban sections. But what about through trains (like cross-country style services) that joined the then-completed routes like Brighton and Portsmouth? Would these have used a third rail locomotive or would they have remained steam throughout?
  • Out of Liverpool Street again I guess again the only electric services would have been local trains to Shenfield, since I believe only (what other companies would call) the slow lines were wired by then (wiring beyond that not coming until '56)?
  • Any other routes I've missed?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Bevan Price

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Hi all!

I'm working on a little project involving trains in 1955.

I'm curious about how electric workings worked with through passenger trains (I'm not interested in freight at this time) on the various electrified routes back then:

  • Through trains on the Woodhead Route — I know the wires had only really just been finished by this point. But my guess is that most through trains would have a loco change at Sheffield Victoria and at Guide Bridge to switch to/from electric traction? Can I assume that every train which calls at both these stations would use electric traction, and that those that don't call at Guide Bridge, say (and continued beyond Manchester London Road), probably would have been steam throughout? Or is it more complicated than this?
  • Trains using part of the Woodhead route, Sheffield to Penistone — my guess is they wouldn't have bothered with loco changes for such a short section, but I wanted to verify this as this was just an educated guess on my part.
  • Tyneside electrics — guessing the electrification was just for local passenger trains and they wouldn't have had locomotives for through trains?
  • Southern Region — I know that by this point there weren't too many long-distance routes electrified, and I certainly don't imagine they bothered with loco changes for through trains on short suburban sections. But what about through trains (like cross-country style services) that joined the then-completed routes like Brighton and Portsmouth? Would these have used a third rail locomotive or would they have remained steam throughout?
  • Out of Liverpool Street again I guess again the only electric services would have been local trains to Shenfield, since I believe only (what other companies would call) the slow lines were wired by then (wiring beyond that not coming until '56)?
  • Any other routes I've missed?
Woodhead - steam was not allowed to work through the new tunnel, but locos could be towed through the tunnel (dead, or in light steam) by electric locos. Initially electric locos worked all passenger services, but in later years (1960s), diesels worked through the tunnel on the Harwich / Manchester boat train services.
Services going to/from Manchester Central were steam between Guide Bridge & Manchester Central.
Freights to/from the CLC line via Stockport Tiviot Dale changed to/from steam, often at Godley Jn, or maybe at Mottram Yard.
(In both cases, after steam finished, it would be replaced by diesels,)

Tyneside. The only services hauled by locos were boat trains to Tyne Commission Quay. All the local passenger services were emus until replaced by dmus.

Southern - steam continued to work inter-regional services until replaced by diesels (often Class 33s initially)

Merseyrail - Southport portions of London services via Edge Hill remained steam hauled until replaced by dmu connections.
Liverpool Exchange - Services travelling beyond Ormskirk remained steam until replaced by diesels.
 

Muzer

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Woodhead - steam was not allowed to work through the new tunnel, but locos could be towed through the tunnel (dead, or in light steam) by electric locos. Initially electric locos worked all passenger services, but in later years (1960s), diesels worked through the tunnel on the Harwich / Manchester boat train services.
Services going to/from Manchester Central were steam between Guide Bridge & Manchester Central.
Freights to/from the CLC line via Stockport Tiviot Dale changed to/from steam, often at Godley Jn, or maybe at Mottram Yard.
(In both cases, after steam finished, it would be replaced by diesels,)

Thanks for this! And I suppose then that if a train wasn't booked for a passenger stop at Guide Bridge it would have to stop there anyway as an operational stop for the loco change? And what about trains from Sheffield turning right at Penistone or v/v — I assume they would have been steam throughout?

Tyneside. The only services hauled by locos were boat trains to Tyne Commission Quay. All the local passenger services were emus until replaced by dmus.

You sure about this? Only I found another thread that allegedly has a video of a steam train arriving into Tyne Commission Quay and it doesn't look to be electrified. https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/tyne-commission-quay.111739/ . Apparently the separate Newcastle Quayside branch *was* electrified but this was freight-only.

Southern - steam continued to work inter-regional services until replaced by diesels (often Class 33s initially)

Merseyrail - Southport portions of London services via Edge Hill remained steam hauled until replaced by dmu connections.
Liverpool Exchange - Services travelling beyond Ormskirk remained steam until replaced by diesels.
Cheers, pretty much what I expected :)
 

30907

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Hi all!

I'm working on a little project involving trains in 1955.

I'm curious about how electric workings worked with through passenger trains (I'm not interested in freight at this time) on the various electrified routes back then:

  • Through trains on the Woodhead Route — I know the wires had only really just been finished by this point. But my guess is that most through trains would have a loco change at Sheffield Victoria and at Guide Bridge to switch to/from electric traction? Can I assume that every train which calls at both these stations would use electric traction, and that those that don't call at Guide Bridge, say (and continued beyond Manchester London Road), probably would have been steam throughout? Or is it more complicated than this?
Manchester London Road was electrified in 1954, and was/is a terminus, so nothing went further :) while as you say trains to Central changed engines at Guide Bridge.
  • Trains using part of the Woodhead route, Sheffield to Penistone — my guess is they wouldn't have bothered with loco changes for such a short section, but I wanted to verify this as this was just an educated guess on my part.
Timetables for the Huddersfield line don't allow for changing engines at Penistone, and the layout wouldn't have made it eas
  • Tyneside electrics — guessing the electrification was just for local passenger trains and they wouldn't have had locomotives for through trains?
Yes - there were a couple of small locos for the Newcastle Quayside goods branch, but that's all.
You are right about TCQ.
  • Southern Region — I know that by this point there weren't too many long-distance routes electrified, and I certainly don't imagine they bothered with loco changes for through trains on short suburban sections. But what about through trains (like cross-country style services) that joined the then-completed routes like Brighton and Portsmouth? Would these have used a third rail locomotive or would they have remained steam throughout?
The SR had three mainline electric locos, with varied duties, principally the Newhaven boat trains. The only possible working in the 1950s on an inter-regional services would have been Redhill-Brighton-Eastbourne-Hastings, which required 3 separate locos - and any one leg might have been electric. The first regular working I know of wasn't till 1965 when the Brighton to Plymouth through train was diverted via Portsmouth, allowing one of the electrics to be used part way; otherwise, there were no convenient points to switch electric to steam.
  • Out of Liverpool Street again I guess again the only electric services would have been local trains to Shenfield, since I believe only (what other companies would call) the slow lines were wired by then (wiring beyond that not coming until '56)?
Correct, and after that to Southend.

  • Any other routes I've missed?
No. There weren't any other main line electric locoselec/routes back then.
 

randyrippley

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In 1955 the Southern only had three electric locos, and they seem to have been used mainly on freight and Newhaven boat trains
 

Muzer

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Manchester London Road was electrified in 1954, and was/is a terminus, so nothing went further :) while as you say trains to Central changed engines at Guide Bridge.
Yes, sorry, I know that, and I should have been more precise with my wording — I meant trains that go to a place other than Manchester London Road.
 

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Not sure about 1955, but the Southern Region had three third-rail electric locos. I think that their main work was on goods, but they did work Newhaven Boat Trains.

The two locos at Newcastle did not, I believe, work any passenger trains as they were restricted to the Quay line.
 

O L Leigh

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Out of Liverpool Street again I guess again the only electric services would have been local trains to Shenfield, since I believe only (what other companies would call) the slow lines were wired by then (wiring beyond that not coming until '56)?

Although it was just the “local” Shenfield services at this time, I believe that all lines were wired out that far and not just the Electric (slow) lines.
 

Muzer

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Don't forget the Metropolitan electric locos (Sarah Siddons etc) between the City and Aylesbury via Baker Street. Engine change at Rickmansworth I think.
Ah yes, cheers. I assume it was only trains that went to Baker Street and beyond that used those locos — I doubt anything to Marylebone would have?
 

tbwbear

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Was steam allowed in the new Thurgoland Tunnel ( between Sheffield and Penistone) after electric working began ?

I know they let steam work through in the interim before the scheme was completed.
 

Bevan Price

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Thanks for this! And I suppose then that if a train wasn't booked for a passenger stop at Guide Bridge it would have to stop there anyway as an operational stop for the loco change? And what about trains from Sheffield turning right at Penistone or v/v — I assume they would have been steam throughout?



You sure about this? Only I found another thread that allegedly has a video of a steam train arriving into Tyne Commission Quay and it doesn't look to be electrified. https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/tyne-commission-quay.111739/ . Apparently the separate Newcastle Quayside branch *was* electrified but this was freight-only.


Cheers, pretty much what I expected :)
I think that at that time, almost every train called at Guide Bridge. Later in the 1960s, there was a Summer Saturday train from the East Coast that ran into Manchester Victoria via Woodhead. I had a 4F 0-6-0 for the last section.

Tyne Commission Quay - yes you are right about steam locos on the boat trains.
 

RT4038

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Tyneside. The only services hauled by locos were boat trains to Tyne Commission Quay. All the local passenger services were emus until replaced by dmus.
Steam trains (plus latterly DMUs) worked local passenger trains Manors-Newbiggin, on the electrified line as far as Backworth. Similarly Sunderland-South Shields steam/DMU trains ran on the electrified line between Tyne Dock and South Shields.
 

Taunton

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Bear in mind that these lines electrified for passenger multiple units generally had various freight services, hauled by steam. Parts of the Tyneside system, for example, likely had more steam locos passing some stations than electric services. Among other things the substations would support the lightweight emu service but not heavy freight haulage.

The Southern electric areas, such as the Brighton line, had a surprising number of steam locos retained for freight and any longer-distance services with hauled stock. The well-known "London to Brighton in 4 minutes" film from 1953 shows it passing steam services throughout.

The Woodhead ban on steam locos was particularly inconvenient as Gorton loco works west of it in Manchester did all the heavy overhauls for the former GC section to the east, and indeed from other parts of the onetime LNER as well, all of which had to be hauled to and fro as a daily operation.

All four tracks on the GEML were electrified from the start, notwithstanding that the expression for the tracks the local trains ran on changed from "Suburban" to "Electric". Many of the original 4-track structures are still in use there. Peak period local electric services would come back for a second load empty and nonstop on the fast lines.
 

edwin_m

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Steam trains (plus latterly DMUs) worked local passenger trains Manors-Newbiggin, on the electrified line as far as Backworth. Similarly Sunderland-South Shields steam/DMU trains ran on the electrified line between Tyne Dock and South Shields.
Also to note that the ECML was electrified between Central and Benton so faster electric trains to the coast could use this route avoiding Jesmond and Gosforth. But nothing going further north was electric.
 

billh

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I think that at that time, almost every train called at Guide Bridge. Later in the 1960s, there was a Summer Saturday train from the East Coast that ran into Manchester Victoria via Woodhead. I had a 4F 0-6-0 for the last section.
The Manchester Victoria train changed engines at Midland Junction near Ardwick,at least for some years. I remember seeing an EM2 near there one Saturday morning , late 50s. Engine changing at Guide Bridge was a complicated affair, particularly for west bound trains. The steam loco went to wait at Cock Lane 'box on the Stockport line, the train arrived , the electric uncoupled and crossed to the slow lines at Stockport Junction, the steam loco ran back onto the train and departed, usually for Manchester Central.Meanwhile , the electric ran back through the station and went into the newly constructed loco stabling bay at the east end of platforms2 and 3, under the control of Ashton Junction 'box to await the next east bound train. While all this was going on, the station was blocked to other traffic, local dmus , emus and freight. Not a very efficient way of working, 3 signal boxes involved!
 

Grumpy

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The Manchester Victoria train changed engines at Midland Junction near Ardwick,at least for some years. I remember seeing an EM2 near there one Saturday morning , late 50s. Engine changing at Guide Bridge was a complicated affair, particularly for west bound trains. The steam loco went to wait at Cock Lane 'box on the Stockport line, the train arrived , the electric uncoupled and crossed to the slow lines at Stockport Junction, the steam loco ran back onto the train and departed, usually for Manchester Central.Meanwhile , the electric ran back through the station and went into the newly constructed loco stabling bay at the east end of platforms2 and 3, under the control of Ashton Junction 'box to await the next east bound train. While all this was going on, the station was blocked to other traffic, local dmus , emus and freight. Not a very efficient way of working, 3 signal boxes involved!
I wonder if it might have been possible/easier to change the locos for the Victoria train at Ashton Moss(between Stalybridge and Miles Platting) as electric locos worked there on freight.
 

52290

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The Manchester Victoria train changed engines at Midland Junction near Ardwick,at least for some years. I remember seeing an EM2 near there one Saturday morning , late 50s. Engine changing at Guide Bridge was a complicated affair, particularly for west bound trains. The steam loco went to wait at Cock Lane 'box on the Stockport line, the train arrived , the electric uncoupled and crossed to the slow lines at Stockport Junction, the steam loco ran back onto the train and departed, usually for Manchester Central.Meanwhile , the electric ran back through the station and went into the newly constructed loco stabling bay at the east end of platforms2 and 3, under the control of Ashton Junction 'box to await the next east bound train. While all this was going on, the station was blocked to other traffic, local dmus , emus and freight. Not a very efficient way of working, 3 signal boxes involved!
In 1955 when I was 11 my dad took me on a trip from Leyland to Doncaster. He had worked at Doncaster Carriage works before the war and wanted to see his old landlady, I just wanted to go trainspotting on Doncaster station. We traveled to Manchester Victoria and the walked over to Man Central where we caught a train to Sheffield Victoria. We were hauled as far as Guide Bridge by a Gorton K3 which was swopped for an EM2 for the trip over Woodhead. From Sheffield it was a B1 on front. I made lots of cops that day. We returned by the same route. It was my first trip behind an electric loco with which I was quite impressed.
 

30907

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Ah yes, cheers. I assume it was only trains that went to Baker Street and beyond that used those locos — I doubt anything to Marylebone would have?
Marylebone was never electrified.
Was steam allowed in the new Thurgoland Tunnel ( between Sheffield and Penistone) after electric working began ?
Unavoidable, as trains towards Huddersfield weren't electric hauled.
 

Taunton

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Unavoidable, as trains towards Huddersfield weren't electric hauled.
But did any trains from the Huddersfield line go south of Penistone? I believe they didn't until Woodhead was closed and they were extended into Sheffield instead, and later still diverted via Barnsley. The line north of Penistone was the onetime L&Y, and in BR days was the North Eastern Region, run quite divided from the Sheffield-Penistone-Manchester line.
 

30907

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But did any trains from the Huddersfield line go south of Penistone? I believe they didn't until Woodhead was closed and they were extended into Sheffield instead, and later still diverted via Barnsley. The line north of Penistone was the onetime L&Y, and in BR days was the North Eastern Region, run quite divided from the Sheffield-Penistone-Manchester line.
Not many - Marylebone-Bradford and various holiday trains.
 

PeterC

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Bear in mind that these lines electrified for passenger multiple units generally had various freight services, hauled by steam. Parts of the Tyneside system, for example, likely had more steam locos passing some stations than electric services. Among other things the substations would support the lightweight emu service but not heavy freight haulage.

The Southern electric areas, such as the Brighton line, had a surprising number of steam locos retained for freight and any longer-distance services with hauled stock. The well-known "London to Brighton in 4 minutes" film from 1953 shows it passing steam services throughout.

The Woodhead ban on steam locos was particularly inconvenient as Gorton loco works west of it in Manchester did all the heavy overhauls for the former GC section to the east, and indeed from other parts of the onetime LNER as well, all of which had to be hauled to and fro as a daily operation.

All four tracks on the GEML were electrified from the start, notwithstanding that the expression for the tracks the local trains ran on changed from "Suburban" to "Electric". Many of the original 4-track structures are still in use there. Peak period local electric services would come back for a second load empty and nonstop on the fast lines.
On the approaches to Liverpool Street the northern pair are the Suburban Lines. Was that the former name for the Electrics as well?

By the 60s there was a lot of switching of Shenfield and Gidea Park services between the Electric and the Main with some ru ning fast from Romford in the peaks.
 

30907

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On the approaches to Liverpool Street the northern pair are the Suburban Lines. Was that the former name for the Electrics as well?
Suburban trains historically used the northern pair of lines through Stratford (the old station being the V-shaped bit - remember the Epping and Fairlop lines were part of this pre WW2). The new(er) platforms at Stratford with interchange to the Central line, and the Ilford flyover, were part of the electrification package.
 

MichaelAMW

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The Manchester Victoria train changed engines at Midland Junction near Ardwick,at least for some years. I remember seeing an EM2 near there one Saturday morning , late 50s. Engine changing at Guide Bridge was a complicated affair, particularly for west bound trains. The steam loco went to wait at Cock Lane 'box on the Stockport line, the train arrived , the electric uncoupled and crossed to the slow lines at Stockport Junction, the steam loco ran back onto the train and departed, usually for Manchester Central.Meanwhile , the electric ran back through the station and went into the newly constructed loco stabling bay at the east end of platforms2 and 3, under the control of Ashton Junction 'box to await the next east bound train. While all this was going on, the station was blocked to other traffic, local dmus , emus and freight. Not a very efficient way of working, 3 signal boxes involved!
According to my 1957 timetable, there were only three trains a day from Sheffield to Manchester Central, so at least changing engines at Guide Bridge wasn't a frequent event.
 

billh

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I wonder if it might have been possible/easier to change the locos for the Victoria train at Ashton Moss(between Stalybridge and Miles Platting) as electric locos worked there on freight.
That could have been possible, the engine change at Ashton Moss South,rather than North. A steam loco could stand in the sidings and the engine change be on the main outside the National engine works. The OA&GB line from Guide Bridge was slow with a couple of sharp curves, not well suited to express trains. Some of the Ashton Moss sidings were electrified and freights arrived by electric and departed with steam and vice versa but many trains were worked by steam throughout from ,eg Godley or Dewsnap. The line was de-electrified in 1971. I have no knowledge of passenger trains changing engines at Ashton Moss.
 

6Gman

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I have the EM2 diagrams for 1957 in front of me, and they show the following loco changes at Guide Bridge:

WESTBOUND arrivals at G Bridge
0933 (0645 Leicester-Mcr Cen)
1213 (0924 Hull-L'pool)
1340 (0800 Harwich-L'pool)
1928 (1613 Hull-L'pool)

EASTBOUND departures from G Bridge
1051 (0930 L'pool-Hull)
1443 (1315 L'pool-Harwich)
1808 (1630 L'pool-Hull)
2310 (2240 Mcr Cen-Marylebone)

There may, of course, have been some EM1-worked services but it looks like 4 passenger trains each way spread over 24hrs - the Harwich, two Hull and one to the GC Main Line, as it were. So pretty few and far between!

Thanks for this! And I suppose then that if a train wasn't booked for a passenger stop at Guide Bridge it would have to stop there anyway as an operational stop for the loco change? And what about trains from Sheffield turning right at Penistone or v/v — I assume they would have been steam throughout?
The basic passenger service was Sheffield to Manchester London Road with an electric loco throughout. Freight traffic would change locos as necessary at Mottram, Godley, Ashton Moss; no need to change locos at Guide Bridge. I suspect the eight trains listed above were most - perhaps all - of those that required a loco change at Guide Bridge.
 
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Bevan Price

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I have the EM2 diagrams for 1957 in front of me, and they show the following loco changes at Guide Bridge:

WESTBOUND arrivals at G Bridge
0933 (0645 Leicester-Mcr Cen)
1213 (0924 Hull-L'pool)
1340 (0800 Harwich-L'pool)
1928 (1613 Hull-L'pool)

EASTBOUND departures from G Bridge
1051 (0930 L'pool-Hull)
1443 (1315 L'pool-Harwich)
1808 (1630 L'pool-Hull)
2310 (2240 Mcr Cen-Marylebone)

There may, of course, have been some EM1-worked services but it looks like 4 passenger trains each way spread over 24hrs - the Harwich, two Hull and one to the GC Main Line, as it were. So pretty few and far between!


The basic passenger service was Sheffield to Manchester London Road with an electric loco throughout. Freight traffic would change locos as necessary at Mottram, Godley, Ashton Moss; no need to change locos at Guide Bridge. I suspect the eight trains listed above were most - perhaps all - of those that required a loco change at Guide Bridge.
Yes, at that time, EM2s worked many of the Manchester London Road to Sheffield Victoria services, including the few that still ran through to London Marylebone, with steam south of Sheffield.
 

30907

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And what about trains from Sheffield turning right at Penistone or v/v — I assume they would have been steam throughout?
Yes, but there was only one - the South Yorkshireman at 4.50pm from Marylebone (and a summer Saturday one from Poole).
Penistone-Barnsley remained steam till closure, don't know about the very few Sheffield-Penistone stoppers.
I have the EM2 diagrams for 1957 in front of me, and they show the following loco changes at Guide Bridge:

WESTBOUND arrivals at G Bridge
0933 (0645 Leicester-Mcr Cen)
1213 (0924 Hull-L'pool)
1340 (0800 Harwich-L'pool)
1928 (1613 Hull-L'pool)

EASTBOUND departures from G Bridge
1051 (0930 L'pool-Hull)
1443 (1315 L'pool-Harwich)
1808 (1630 L'pool-Hull)
2310 (2240 Mcr Cen-Marylebone)
Apart from summer Saturday trains, that was it for Guide Bridge loco changes. As you say, nearly everything was just Victoria-London Rd.
 

edwin_m

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I have the EM2 diagrams for 1957 in front of me, and they show the following loco changes at Guide Bridge:

WESTBOUND arrivals at G Bridge
0933 (0645 Leicester-Mcr Cen)
1213 (0924 Hull-L'pool)
1340 (0800 Harwich-L'pool)
1928 (1613 Hull-L'pool)

EASTBOUND departures from G Bridge
1051 (0930 L'pool-Hull)
1443 (1315 L'pool-Harwich)
1808 (1630 L'pool-Hull)
2310 (2240 Mcr Cen-Marylebone)
You have to wonder why a train only going to/from Manchester gets a loco change and then a tour round the south of the city to use Central, when it would have been tens of minutes faster if using London Road.
 
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Bevan Price

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You have to wonder why a train only going to/from Manchester gets a loco change and then a tour round the south of the city to use Central, when it would have been tens of minutes faster if using Piccadilly.
Because some were through trains (or connectons) to Liverpool Central.
 
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