Locos working from various depots under BR

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alexl92

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Wasn't sure exactly how to title this post so let me explain:

As I understand it, under BR each depot had an allocation of locos/multiple units, for which it was responsible, but it was not uncommon for a loco to travel to a different region, be shedded at a TMD in that region and work some of their services for a few days (or longer) before either returning on a longer range service to their own region/depot or head to another one.

In other words, a Heaton 47 could end up working around South Wales for a bit, or a 37 from Scotland could end up in the midlands, for example.

It seems that BR had a fairly relaxed attitude to where their locos were - and each depot would just use whatever came to them and look after it accordingly too.

I don't know if that's an accurate picture of the real situation but it's what I've understood from various magazines etc... so here's my question:

Whilst that principle could not directly be applied on today's railway as a result of franchises and the different manufacturers/maintenance contracts/classes of units that work across the country... was that a better use of resources than today's system with specific depots for certain trains in some cases, etc?
 
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455driver

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That's about it, basically if a good loco was on a straight forward out and back diagram from its home depot it wasnt unusual for it to be swapped when it was 'out' for a bad one, that depot then had a good loco for a few days until it needed an exam and was then sent back to its home depot.

Stratford (from example) used to keep their locos under close scrutiny and they didn't stray far or get 'borrowed' very otten.
 

TheEdge

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Stratford (from example) used to keep their locos under close scrutiny and they didn't stray far or get 'borrowed' very otten.
I've heard various stories (possibly even from on here) about Stratford getting uppity about "loosing" shiny grey roofed engines that got allocated to the Harwich boat trains.
 

D6975

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I once saw a nice shiny SF allocated NSE livery 47 at Elgin on a freight.
I'm sure SF were well chuffed!!
 

DownSouth

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... was that a better use of resources than today's system with specific depots for certain trains in some cases, etc?
The railways have moved on since then.

Instead of having jack-of-all-trades locomotives which could do an average job at hauling anything, different services instead use more specialised vehicles which do one job very well and which are therefore most efficiently maintained as a fleet.
 

fowler9

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The railways have moved on since then.

Instead of having jack-of-all-trades locomotives which could do an average job at hauling anything, different services instead use more specialised vehicles which do one job very well and which are therefore most efficiently maintained as a fleet.
I don't think that is strictly true. A lot of the specialised vehicles I use up on Merseyside are a massive compromise. On a local Northern services I could get anything from a 142 to a 156. London Midland could offer either 3+2 or 2+2 unit on a relatively long distance service to Birmingham. East Midlands use 158's from Liverpool to Norwich, which Northern use on some services (Not in to Liverpool), they also occasionally use 156's which I can also use on my service from West Allerton to Lime Street. Trans Pennine Express use the 185's which aren't exactly perfect as either commuter or inter city stock.
 

fowler9

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Further to what I said before back in the days of jack of all trades locos when one failed something more exotic would often turn up to drag the train. I had 56015 from Runcorn to Crewe and plenty of none ETH 31's, 37's and 47's out of Lime Street. Now if a 350 or a 185 fails you just get no train.
 

RichmondCommu

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Further to what I said before back in the days of jack of all trades locos when one failed something more exotic would often turn up to drag the train. I had 56015 from Runcorn to Crewe and plenty of none ETH 31's, 37's and 47's out of Lime Street. Now if a 350 or a 185 fails you just get no train.
The problem is if you are paying leasing costs on a train (which of course BR never did) you need to make sure that you get the most out of that train. TOC's cannot afford 'just in case' trains

Whilst the 70's and 80's were great fun for spotters (and I was one of them!) none ETH locos on a cold winters day would have left a lot of people feeling very cold.
 

fowler9

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The problem is if you are paying leasing costs on a train (which of course BR never did) you need to make sure that you get the most out of that train. TOC's cannot afford 'just in case' trains

Whilst the 70's and 80's were great fun for spotters (and I was one of them!) none ETH locos on a cold winters day would have left a lot of people feeling very cold.
You are right of course but aren't some TOCs paying leasing costs for stock that has already paid for itself and is life expired? (I may be wrong). Also weren't the locos used to drag failed trains just ones that were available without having to pay another company money to use them as opposed to being just in case trains? (Again I may be wrong).

The 70's, 80's and some of the 90's were good for spotters, rail enthusiasts etc. As for having none ETH locos on a cold winters day, it must surely be better than no train. To be fair the same can be said of using 142's.

I almost forgot in my list of locos in to and out of Lime Street pairs of 20's. Obviously going further back there were Peaks, 40's and Deltics and the odd 25. Them were the days. Ha ha.

I am probably guilty of having slightly rose tinted spectacles on but at the same time I don't think the trains now are all clean, on time, faster and with more seats.

On the odd occasion I pop to Crewe for example I only go for an hour or so now. I don't go to spot, just to have a look. You can pretty much guarantee what is going to turn up on every train. Nothing is going to happen on the old diesel depot. I know the train there and back will be a 350 or a 390 and if it isn't one of those it will just be cancelled.
 
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12CSVT

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Locos would always return to their home depot for heavy maintenance regardless of where they ended up on the network.

Apologies for being pedantic but a class 47 would have been based at Gateshead rather then Heaton. Gateshead TMD is of course long gone.
Heaton had an allocation of 37s in the 1990s.
 

455driver

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I've heard various stories (possibly even from on here) about Stratford getting uppity about "loosing" shiny grey roofed engines that got allocated to the Harwich boat trains.
Oh there were lots of teddy throwing when a silver roof went walkabout.

They used one on the first NightRider service (anyone else remember that?) and didnt get it back so that was the last time an SF 47 was used on that service. :lol:
 

cjmillsnun

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Oh there were lots of teddy throwing when a silver roof went walkabout.

They used one on the first NightRider service (anyone else remember that?) and didnt get it back so that was the last time an SF 47 was used on that service. :lol:
Mk2s Blue lights... ;)
 

BestWestern

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So who was responsible for allocating these locomotives their work on a daily basis? So for example would a home depot simply allocate a loco an 'outward' job on a tuesday morning and then wait until another depot eventually sent it back? What system, if any, existed for tracking where something went, even if only to call it in when an exam was due if nothing else?
 

158722

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Locos would always return to their home depot for heavy maintenance regardless of where they ended up on the network.



Heaton had an allocation of 37s in the 1990s.
AFAIK, Heaton never had any 37s allocated to it, certainly in the 1990s. Heaton has been a unit and coaching stock depot since the 1960s. If you are thinking of the Infrastructure pool locos used on the ECML electrification, they were all IM based locos, outbased in the North-east.
 

Taunton

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There were very few Class 47 allocated anywhere in Scotland in the 1960s/70s, and yet they were regular performers on Glasgow to Aberdeen, or the GSW line via Kilmarnock, etc. These must have been regular arrangements, otherwise places like Aberdeen would not have had any power for their services.
 

Bonemaster

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AFAIK, Heaton never had any 37s allocated to it, certainly in the 1990s. Heaton has been a unit and coaching stock depot since the 1960s. If you are thinking of the Infrastructure pool locos used on the ECML electrification, they were all IM based locos, outbased in the North-east.
It would have been around 1994 ish at the time when the Infrastructure locos were provided by Intercity, Regional Railways and Network South East. Heaton had some Regional Railways ones I believe. Then when Loadhaul was created they all moved to Thornaby from memory.
 

RichmondCommu

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So who was responsible for allocating these locomotives their work on a daily basis? So for example would a home depot simply allocate a loco an 'outward' job on a tuesday morning and then wait until another depot eventually sent it back? What system, if any, existed for tracking where something went, even if only to call it in when an exam was due if nothing else?
Isn't that what TOPS was designed to do?
 

Bevan Price

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There were very few Class 47 allocated anywhere in Scotland in the 1960s/70s, and yet they were regular performers on Glasgow to Aberdeen, or the GSW line via Kilmarnock, etc. These must have been regular arrangements, otherwise places like Aberdeen would not have had any power for their services.
Haymarket had a batch of about 8 Class 47s in the 1960s, with Class 40s used on many other services to/from Aberdeen. Others reached Edinburgh on ECML services, and could get "borrowed" for internal Scottish services. Until electrification, Class 47s also reached Glasgow (Central) on some WCML services (those not booked for 50s).
 

158722

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It would have been around 1994 ish at the time when the Infrastructure locos were provided by Intercity, Regional Railways and Network South East. Heaton had some Regional Railways ones I believe. Then when Loadhaul was created they all moved to Thornaby from memory.
They were never allocated to Heaton though.

37083 is an example of one which was a regular around the North-east in the early 1990s - always Immingham at the time, in varying sector pools, as per:
http://www.c37lg.co.uk/fleet.aspx?strnumber=37083
 

Clarence Yard

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Up until the early 1980s the allocation of locos to diagrams was monitored and controlled by Divisional and Regional Controls. There would be liaison with depots and yards, the main ones having a foreman whose job included making sure the required loco got on the right train.

If a working was a conditional one, rather than mandatory, there was always the potential of an unbalanced working and if that occurred then the job in control entailed getting the locos back in balance. Often it would work the other way and locos would be borrowed at short notice, creating an imbalance.

Add to this the requirement to get a loco back to it's home depot for a B (or greater) exam on the correct day and the power controllers had a real job to do. TOPS simplified things a bit but the main issues listed above still had to be dealt with but with less people involved.
 

12CSVT

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They were never allocated to Heaton though.

37083 is an example of one which was a regular around the North-east in the early 1990s - always Immingham at the time, in varying sector pools, as per:
http://www.c37lg.co.uk/fleet.aspx?strnumber=37083
According to the 1994 'Platform 5' book 37045/059/063/128/202/217/272/285 were based at HT (RBJN Regional Railways Infrastructure weekend pool). 37139 was also HT (RBJH pool).
 

158722

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According to the 1994 'Platform 5' book 37045/059/063/128/202/217/272/285 were based at HT (RBJN Regional Railways Infrastructure weekend pool). 37139 was also HT (RBJH pool).
I stand corrected, seems they were based there for 6-8 months. That passed me by! Given the state of those locos at the time, I'm guessing 'maintenance' of them involved fuelling, watering and trying to get them started on a Friday! Really interested to know what happened with them there...
 

theblackwatch

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I too have no recollection of Heaton's Class 37s, but a look at my 'Shed by Shed' book shows they were allocated there from July 1993 to March 1994.

Another thing worth mentioning is shunters. A Class 03 or 08 would disappear off to works for several months and return to its home depot, rather than going elsewhere. I remember 08540 (which was normally York station pilot) going to Glasgow for overhaul, and coming back several months later. During this period, 08748 was loaned from Neville Hill and acted as station pilot.
 

Taunton

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There was a period when the London Midland Region did away with depot allocations for main line diesel locos, and they were just "Midland Lines" or "Western Lines". In practice not a lot changed, the locos still kept to their previous work and were maintained principally at Toton or Crewe respectively, as they had previously been. It must have been some back office organisation for loco assignment.
 

RichmondCommu

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Another thing worth mentioning is shunters. A Class 03 or 08 would disappear off to works for several months and return to its home depot, rather than going elsewhere. I remember 08540 (which was normally York station pilot) going to Glasgow for overhaul, and coming back several months later. During this period, 08748 was loaned from Neville Hill and acted as station pilot.
Just out of interest why were the class 08's and 03's away for such along time? Surely it wouldn't have made sense for the shunters to be hanging around the works for all that time?
 

DiscoStu

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I too have no recollection of Heaton's Class 37s, but a look at my 'Shed by Shed' book shows they were allocated there from July 1993 to March 1994.

Another thing worth mentioning is shunters. A Class 03 or 08 would disappear off to works for several months and return to its home depot, rather than going elsewhere. I remember 08540 (which was normally York station pilot) going to Glasgow for overhaul, and coming back several months later. During this period, 08748 was loaned from Neville Hill and acted as station pilot.

Was the several months away simply because it took it that long to get there and back? :D
 

306024

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Up until the early 1980s the allocation of locos to diagrams was monitored and controlled by Divisional and Regional Controls. There would be liaison with depots and yards, the main ones having a foreman whose job included making sure the required loco got on the right train.

If a working was a conditional one, rather than mandatory, there was always the potential of an unbalanced working and if that occurred then the job in control entailed getting the locos back in balance. Often it would work the other way and locos would be borrowed at short notice, creating an imbalance.

Add to this the requirement to get a loco back to it's home depot for a B (or greater) exam on the correct day and the power controllers had a real job to do. TOPS simplified things a bit but the main issues listed above still had to be dealt with but with less people involved.
The loco controllers at Liverpool St used to take a pride in trying to make sure the prized Stratford 47s didn't stray off diagram. Much micky taking if you came in and relieved a controller who had let one escape to foreign lands. As a mere junior seeing how these controllers juggled the power requirements was fascinating, especially with the mix of air/vacuum stock and electric/steam heat. The loco moves at Liverpool St alone were complex, but were fun to diagram once you'd fathomed out the best moves.
 
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