Withdrawn 'Westerns' at Plymouth Laira, 1973

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by crosscity, 4 Aug 2019.

  1. crosscity

    crosscity Member

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    I visited Laira in the summer of 1973 and there were a few withdrawn 'Western' Class 52s without name- or number-plates. I have a photo of one of them which my notes say is D1045 WESTERN VISCOUNT. A number of websites tell me this loco was still running a year later (and there are photos to prove it). I'm wondering whether my photo is of another Western, as removing the plates, then re-instating them seems an odd thing for the depot to do.

    Can anyone shed any light on which Western this is?

    Note: the Western next to it (with plates) is definitely D1060 WESTERN DOMINION. The photo was taken on Wed 1st August 1973.
    Slide_0364.jpg
     
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  3. Ash Bridge

    Ash Bridge Established Member

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    Yes as far as I understand 1045 Western Viscount was withdrawn during December 1974, and this far from perfect Kodak Instamatic shot of mine taken at Newton Abbot appears to show it was still active on at least 8th Sept 1973. I think 9 examples had been withdrawn by the date of your Laira shot and I think 1032 Western Marksman could have been the first during May 1973. Bear with me as I've a few more notes to check from that time, I've just got to locate them first!

    Edit: This is nowhere near 100% accurate but it could be either 1018 or 1019 from what I can find so far using the process of elimination. If I find anything more positive I'll report back.
     

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    Last edited: 4 Aug 2019
  4. Ash Bridge

    Ash Bridge Established Member

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  5. crosscity

    crosscity Member

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    Your photo is convincing evidence that D1045 is not the one in my photo as there is only a week or so between the two.

    My original notebook was lost, but my slide index survived because it was kept with the slides. Other withdrawn Westerns I have got pictures of at Laira on the same day are 1020 and 1032 together, and 1004. You can see them here
    https://flic.kr/s/aHsmEJhCuN

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. I am grateful for any information.
     
  6. Clarence Yard

    Clarence Yard Member

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    It could very well be 1045 as a contemporary report in the Railway Observer states that it was removed from the scrap line, repainted and returned to service in early September. Incidentally, pictured 1060 never worked again.

    The only other candidates for a withdrawn Western at LA at this time would be 1039/42, 1018/9 having already been removed.
     
  7. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    That’s interesting. I was musing earlier that (D)1045 looked rather smart with even the valences looking shiny in Mr Bridge’s far from perfect photo (which is still far better than anything I’ve ever taken).
     
  8. Ash Bridge

    Ash Bridge Established Member

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    Yes that's really an excellent bit of info from Clarence Yard, 1045 looks spruced up rather than ex works which I dare say was as good as it got for the class 52s by that stage in their careers I suppose, with the exception of 1023 a year or so later.
     
  9. big all

    big all On Moderation

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    now my memories could be going :D
    but in the 70/80s they used to buff with paraffin to give a shine to very matt paint on special occasions :D
     
  10. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    It’s interesting to picture a parallel universe of 66045 in 2009 (yes ten years ago) being polished up with paraffin, or the paintwork being tidied up for a couple more years of service before the loco was actually scrapped as non standard* after less than twelve years of service...
    Can you imagine?

    * Non standard seems like the norm these days.
     
  11. crosscity

    crosscity Member

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    I have had a look on the Kindle app at 'WESTERN RUNDOWN', a book by Adrian Curtis' about the demise of the Westerns written by a railwayman close to the action. He says: "In the Autumn of 1973, things began to improve slightly. First of all, D1045 Western Viscount was restored to traffic after a long period out of use...". Perhaps my photo is of D1045 after all.
     

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