Withdrawn locos - how would you know

Andy873

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Hi,

The subject of when is an engine is withdrawn or not seems to vary depending on the situation (as far as I am told), but the question is this:

If in 1967 as a spotter you were looking at Rose Grove (Burnley) MPD, how would you know which engines were withdrawn or not?
Were they marked in some way?
Kept outside in all weathers?
And how could you get that close to the MPD, ask nicely perhaps?

Basic questions again from me, sorry.

Thanks,
Andy.
 
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neilmc

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When I was spotting in 1967 I didn't very much bother one way or the other, I just wanted as many numbers as possible - of course, you could note the active or withdrawn status later based on the monthly withdrawal reports which were printed every month in railway magazines.

Looking at locos on a shed, some pointers I can recall were:

- sidings away from the main shed buildings which held a row of locos all looking rather forlorn
- coupling rods removed for easy transit to the scrapyard
- sacks on chimneys
- coal removed from tenders

Although when the shed was on its last legs often there would be withdrawn locos actually still in the shed.

Again in the 1967/68 era, we simply walked in and around the shed and were almost never stopped, indeed right at the end of steam there could be more enthusiasts than actual employees at the depot! Nobody in authority cared very much, they probably would be out of a job anyway within weeks.
 

scarby

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I don’t know about 1967 but when I took up spotting in the 1970s all withdrawals were listed monthly in the Railway Magazine and I imagine they were in 1967 too.

So I put a black line through withdrawals in the Combined Volume but still underlined them if ‘copped’.

Obviously if they were withdrawn before the book’s publication they were absent in the book - in fact if withdrawal was shortly before publication there would be a blank gap in the list. Also some were marked as stored, which in those days usually meant they’d had it.

Same principles for knowing what is withdrawn would apply to this day I guess.
 

delt1c

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Under BR withdrawn stock had a white circle with an X in it painted on them,
 

Peter Mugridge

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Under BR withdrawn stock had a white circle with an X in it painted on them,
Only if actually condemned; if something was withdrawn but intended for departmental use ( or even preservation ), that symbol would not be applied.
 

6Gman

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Technically, I suspect a loco was "withdrawn" when somebody in an office (Crewe, Swindon, York) deemed it so.

On the ground this might, or might not, have a direct impact.

So a loco that was officially withdrawn might still be used; and a loco officially "in service" might be parked to one side unused for months before being withdrawn!

And given that there would be a delay of several weeks before withdrawal was recorded in any railway magazine there'd be little chance of enthusiasts actually being aware.

For a brief period in the 70s the Western Region had a scheme where you could subscribe to their official notices. I subscribed for a year so if a loco was withdrawn (or had its boiler isolated, or was reallocated) I would know within a week or two.
 

plarailfan

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Some withdrawn locomotives were actually, in quite decent condition and on occasion, have been re-instated to cover an upturn in traffic, or to cover for a shortage of, otherwise serviceable locomotives, on shed, awaiting parts etc.
The withdrawn loco may only have worked a day or two and then gone back on shed to await its fate. Diesel locomotives have often been put back into service in this way during the late 1970's and early 80's and then to a lesser extent, during the late 1990's when EWS were hiring a variety of locomotives out to Virgin cross country. Actually, I suppose it's a possibility, that some RES livery class 86's could have been withdrawn and then re-instated for a short period, just to help Virgin out of a pickle !
 

Taunton

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"Withdrawn" was actually an accounting exercise, when it was taken from the asset register and given a residual value (ie estimated scrapman/resale proceeds). It also took the loco off the shed inventory, which various other things (eg number of permitted staff) were dependent on. Some shedmasters were more keen than others at marking locos up as surplus.
 

Harvester

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Some withdrawn locomotives were actually, in quite decent condition and on occasion, have been re-instated to cover an upturn in traffic, or to cover for a shortage of, otherwise serviceable locomotives, on shed, awaiting parts etc.
The withdrawn loco may only have worked a day or two and then gone back on shed to await its fate.
It was probably fairly common for locomotives at steam sheds to work on for a few days (after withdrawal) until the paperwork reached the shed. But sometimes engines could be out of use for months after withdrawal, and then be reinstated. An example of this was when the Southern Region reinstated ten locos (Bulleid Pacifics and BR Standards) in December 1966, that had been withdrawn the previous September. They were to be used on extra Christmas parcels traffic, but some were used to replace unavailable Brush Type 4 diesels on Waterloo-Bournemouth workings. They must have been in reasonable condition when withdrawn.
 

70014IronDuke

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Again in the 1967/68 era, we simply walked in and around the shed and were almost never stopped, indeed right at the end of steam there could be more enthusiasts than actual employees at the depot! Nobody in authority cared very much, they probably would be out of a job anyway within weeks.
Ha ha!

I specifically remember Rose Grove shed on the morning of Saturday 03/08/68 - the last day of regular steam workings - was like the end of the 1923 Cup Final (? The one with Bolton and the policeman on the horse). I go there around 10.00 in the morning. There must have been 300 -400 enthusiasts there, crawling all over the place.

IIRC, there were actually some enthusiasts sleeping in a tent in the rough ground at the back of the shed! (That might have been somewhere else, but I think it was 10D.)

Utterly bizarre! The scene should be in that thread 'weird rail-related dreams' - but it wasn't a dream, it was the real world.

Enough to give a modern day H&S officer a triple heart attack.

To get back totally on topic - there was no certain way. If the loco had its motion removed, however, it was a pretty good bet.

Thanks for jogging the memory. Rose Grove, what a place that morning!
 

6Gman

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This thread has reminded me that I was briefly - if indirectly - involved in this process in my days in Long Term Planning. Each month as amended loco diagrams were issued a sheet (I think it was referred to, perhaps unofficially, as a "balance sheet" - but not in the financial sense!) was prepared which reflected those changes. I should have kept one! ;)

This would have the Classes across the top and the various depots down the side. Each "cell" would have a plus/minus figure so, for example, a line might read Toton: 20 minus 3, 25 minus 1, 45 plus 1, 47 plus 2. At the foot there would be an overall figure for the region.

This sheet would then inform reallocations for that date (so if Toton was +1 on 25s and Springs Branch was -1 a loco would be reallocated) and any overall minus figures would allow withdrawal. I assume someone else selected the locos for withdrawal, on the basis of engine hours, condition etc - we* just notified them of the totals.

* By "we" I mean our office; it was way above my pay grade! :D
 

Andy873

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Thank you all, your replies are extremely helpful not just for me but I am sure for future generations.

For those of you who don't know this story here it is:

As a tiny boy I saw an 8F go past my grandfather's house one morning.
I have spent over five years tracing this engine, turns out it was 48218.
It being used as the demolition train helping to lift the final down line and it was
sometime around mid August - end of September 1967.

Amazingly, there is a photo of it right where / when I saw it, but was not dated - hence the research.

48218 was officially W/D 30/9/1967, and it is possible what I saw could have been a little later than the
W/D date but for various reasons I am very sure I am correct on mid August - end of September 1967.

48218 was spotted at Rose Grove 9th Sept 1967 and was already listed as W/D.

There are only two photographs available and I can't see any markings on the engine to suggest it is already a withdrawn engine, but who knows?

So you see why your memories / experiences might be valuable to future generations.

So once again - a very big thank you.
Andy.
 
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thesignalman

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I remember visiting Carnforth about a week after steam had finished there in 1968 and there was a 2-6-0 in steam shunting the other withdrawn locos. Somebody having a final fling, I suppose, but that was definitely a withdrawn loco in use!

From memory, now-preserveed 46443 (or was it 46441?) was present but it wasn't that which was doing the shunting.

John
 

Neptune

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I remember a visit to Hammerton Street in Bradford in about 1984. There were lines of withdrawn DMU’s (mainly 104’s from memory) and they had a white cross with a white circle around it with ‘COND’ (condemned) written alongside.
 

neilmc

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I remember visiting Carnforth about a week after steam had finished there in 1968 and there was a 2-6-0 in steam shunting the other withdrawn locos. Somebody having a final fling, I suppose, but that was definitely a withdrawn loco in use!

From memory, now-preserveed 46443 (or was it 46441?) was present but it wasn't that which was doing the shunting.

John
This where recollections are valuable, there were meant to be no operational locos after Sunday 4th August 1968 apart from those rostered for the final tour the following weekend. so this alters the historical record of last steam workings if it can be verified!
 

Clarence Yard

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I remember a visit to Hammerton Street in Bradford in about 1984. There were lines of withdrawn DMU’s (mainly 104’s from memory) and they had a white cross with a white circle around it with ‘COND’ (condemned) written alongside.

“The hot cross bun” (as we used to know it as) was a carriage and wagon marking that did get applied to a few locos but that wasn’t usual. Locos tended not to be marked up as the chances of them being used without authority (from on the depot itself or by control) were nil.
 

Lloyds siding

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This where recollections are valuable, there were meant to be no operational locos after Sunday 4th August 1968 apart from those rostered for the final tour the following weekend. so this alters the historical record of last steam workings if it can be verified!
It was a few days after 03/08/68 that I was making a journey from Liverpool to Manchester on the Chat Moss line. There were the usual steam shunters on the non BR sidings serving the collieries and power stations....what I had not expected to see was a steam loco on the main line pushing three other engines (minus their coupling rods as mentioned) in the direction of Liverpool...presumably all bound for the scrapyard.
 

341o2

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It was probably fairly common for locomotives at steam sheds to work on for a few days (after withdrawal) until the paperwork reached the shed. But sometimes engines could be out of use for months after withdrawal, and then be reinstated. An example of this was when the Southern Region reinstated ten locos (Bulleid Pacifics and BR Standards) in December 1966, that had been withdrawn the previous September. They were to be used on extra Christmas parcels traffic, but some were used to replace unavailable Brush Type 4 diesels on Waterloo-Bournemouth workings. They must have been in reasonable condition when withdrawn.
You beat me to it, and there were also incidents on the WR mainline to Paddington, which in theory was supposed to be 100% diesel in 1965, however diesel failures sometimes meant an officially withdrawn steam loco would be used as a replacement because there was nothing else to haul the train. sometimes the steam loco was in steam to run to the scrapyard

Apart from flawed axles with the Westerns and Hymeks, there were unexplained failures until it was realised that the ledge above the instrument console was handy for the tea can, and as the train ran, hot sweet tea would dribble onto the electrical circuits
 

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