With the southern end of England's east coast mainline becoming steam-less in 1963, the North East tour organised by the Bournemouth Railway Club during Easter 1964 came at just the right time for me. There were still several existing loco classes I hadn’t seen and almost all were shedded on the NE Region. As it turned out, this three-day feast of steam was perhaps one of the most productive spotting ‘bashes’ I had ever been on.
During our northbound passage from Kings Cross, behind Deltic D9007 ‘Pinza’, the first point of interest was Peterborough where we were just able to note Black Five 44894, A3 60106 'Flying Fox' and WD 90723 on New England Shed. Steam was banned south of Peterborough.
No doubt the cry 'Philistines!' might go up from current traction enthusiasts who would give their right arms to travel behind a Deltic, but that was the way it was - steam was still king to enthusiasts in the mid sixties despite the 40s, 30s, 25s, 45s, 20s and 55s.
From York we sped north to Darlington behind another Deltic, and after spending the night at a rather seedy hotel in Stockton-on-Tees we made our intrepid way northward along the coast, stopping off at Seaham to view NCB industrial locomotives. The station was also fascinating with almost constant Q6 and J27 coal train activity. I have a funny shot of the fireman on one J27 (see pic) who decided to sling his arm and leg over the side (in Harry Worth style) when he saw my camera!
Sunderland shed gave us 2 B1s, 5 Q6s (see Q6 pic below), 2 J27s and a WD. Then, on our way to Jesmond for the night we stopped off at Tyne Dock which had 9 Q6s, 2 J72s and 8 9Fs on shed. The 9Fs were all fitted with Westinghouse air pumps for their work on the Consett iron ore trains. Percy Main (13 J27s and a V3) came next, then North Blyth (9 Q6s and 11 J27s) and, finally, Newcastle Central where we were almost too exhausted to note B1s 61014 ‘Oribi’ and 61257, and V3 67691.
Darlington hosted 51 locos consisting of two beautifully turned out standby A3s 60036 ‘Colombo’ and 60045 ‘Lemberg’ (see pic), 4 Ivatt Class 4s, 3 Stanier & Fairburn 4Ts, 3 V2s, 7 B1s (one newly overhauled), 11 K1s, 2 J27s (one newly overhauled), 12 J94s, 1 J72, 1 Standard Class 5, 1 Standard Class 3, and 4 WDs. It was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky, but with a fast Kodak Tri-X film in my camera the photos turned out grainy with hard contrast.
If any of my blog visitors would like detail number lists from the sheds visited don't hesitate to get in touch.