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Leeds Central and its workings

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The station nameboard c1960 and J50 No 68984, one of the final quartet that
served as station pilots.

There used to be two main line stations - Leeds City (previously called "Leeds New") and Leeds Central and it is the latter I shall be looking at here. Perhaps because I spent many a Saturday there... The service covered GNML expresses to King's Cross and via Harrogate to Newcastle and Glasgow, as well as the secondary services in the West Riding. I already have several related topics and it's going to be hard to avoid some overlap:
- Bradford King's Cross portions
- The West Riding Conurbation
(see links below).
- GNML Expresses, Pullmans and their formations were written up in the book so I shall only be posting additional/fresh pictures that link with services to and from Leeds.

As far as possible, the pictures will be in chronological order.

Some general views

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Looking out of the station in the 1930s. In the left middle distance, sidings lead to a small goods yard. The station signal box is further back. The under-slung signals were a feature of the station, to give good visibility along the whole length of the platforms, and at this stage they were still ex-GNR somersaults. In between each of the platform faces there was a third road, with an inspection pit. It could be used to store stock, or allow a train engine to be released and run round the carriages to proceed to the engine shed at Copley Hill (the depot will be a separate subject).

Large Ivatt Atlantic C1 No 3280 had brought the 7-car "Queen of Scots" Pullman in from King's Cross and, having given the departure for Glasgow a helpful push, is now dropping back. The loco at the head cannot be identified but would probably have been a Raven C7 Atlantic. The C1 was at Copley Hill between 1932-36. Photo: SLS.

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A4 No 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley stands at the buffers after arriving with an express from King's Cross. Beyond is the station concourse. The overall roof extended half way up the platforms. 25th February 1960. Photo: G.W. Morrison.

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The transition from overall roof to awnings along the platforms shows well here, and the sidings on the northern side of the station where parcels traffic was handled. Thompson L1 No 67742 is acting as station pilot, drawing away two Pullman cars. These are the two Saturday strengtheners to the "Queen of Scots". An English Electric Type 4 (later Class 40) had brought the train in and waits at the buffers. Saturday 28th September 1963. Photo: E.G. Pearson.

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A 1956 view across most of the platforms with a bogie CCT in the parcels bay. Copley Hill's N1 No 69430 seems to be drifting by after having worked in with a local train, and the crew have forgotten to place a light on this end of the loco. Photo: R.S. Carpenter.

42052

Many years later a view from the western platform shows the massive LMS goods warehouse adjacent to the station. Fairburn 2-6-4T No 42052 pulls out with the empty stock of an express for the carriage shed and sidings at Copley Hill. They were not normally used as pilots. January 1965. Photo: Author.

D9016 Leeds

The station throat seen from below the signal box. Deltic D9016 Gordon Highlander is in charge of a West Riding expres - IE10, the 12.14pm Leeds Central-King's Cross. Carriages from Bradford will be attached en route at Wakefield. However, the roller blind has failed; it was quite a common occurrence and it is displaying a previous working: a Newcastle-KX express. As a result, double lights per the Express code are being carried, one over each buffer. 1965. Photo: Author.

61250

And finally, looking out from the station throat as B1 61259 A.Harold Bibby coasts down the gradient with its safety valves blowing off and a four-coach express, the daily working from Grimsby. To the right are the goods lines into into the considerable goods warehouses. January 1965. Photo: Author.

The station pilots

During LNER and BR days, a quartet of J50 tanks was based at Copley Hill to act as pilots - at the station, the carriage sidings, and around the engine shed. The class had several variations going back to the original GNR design and, in BR days, three different types were allocated at the same time.

J50/1 No 68892

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My apologies for the dark nature of this view but good pictures of this loco are hard to find. Indeed, in this undated picture GNR-built No 68892 is seen with what looks like a 51E Thornaby shed plate, before it reached Copley Hill. Note the open grate-style extension of the coal bunker. If anybody has a picture of 68892 at Leeds, please get in touch! Photo: Author's collection.

68896

A view of J50/1 No 68896 in the shed yard at Annesley in 1958 is useful for showing the short bunker on this early design and the tall extension. Photo: Author's collection.

J50/2 No 68925

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This was an example of another GNR-built variation, classed J50/2 by the LNER, and is seen in the shed yard at Copley Hill soon after arrival in the 1950s. A new shed plate has yet to be fitted. Photo: K. Swain.

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The same loco seen in 1959, now with a 56C shed plate, stands (according to the photographer) at Copley Hill with the corridor tender of an A4 ahead of it. I wonder if the location was actually Doncaster Works? Photo: R.W. Hinton.

J50/4 Nos 68984, 68988

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The final batch of LNER-built J50s was delivered in 1938-39 and featured a commodious hopper-style bunker. Here is No 68984 at work at Copley Hill Carriage Sidings in 1961. Photo: Author's collection.

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This time it's 68988, on the same duty at the same location. August 1961. Photo: Colour-Rail BRE225.

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A slightly later view of No 68988 parked in front of the offices at Copley Hill. This was a common place to leave a pilot when it was not required but rare to see it facing this way. 1963. Photo: Author.

68988 model

Before leaving the J50s, here's a model that I made a great many years ago of everybody's favourite, 68988. At the time, all that was available was a K's kit for the J50/3 (same bunker as J50/2) but I reworked that part, adding other details along the way. I even commissioned the smokebox door number and shed plate. But I was too young to build a proper chassis, please don't look too closely! It's just a memento, really. :)

Other tank engines

After the J50s were withdrawn, in 1963, the duties were taken over by B1 4-6-0s, but there were some interludes first with other types.

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In 1963 when Scarborough shed closed to steam, its Riddles 82xxx 2-6-2Ts, Nos 82026-29, were dispersed. They all ended up at Guildford but, along the way, No 82026 was tried at Copley Hill for a short while and is seen here at the carriage sidings. Photo: Author.

Later the same year, Thompson L1 2-6-4Ts were dispersed from the Darlington area and several ended up around Ardsley. As shown above, No 67742 was another brief trial at Copley Hill. Fairburn 2-6-4Ts had arrived a few years earlier and while they did occasionally shunt carriages, also shown above, their main use was for the Bradford portions.

The Queen of Scots - BR steam

This Pullman worked Glasgow-Edinburgh-Leeds Central-King's Cross and back using two opposing sets and Peppercorn A1s from Copley Hill were to dominate the southern leg between Leeds and King's Cross. As usual, all the pictures are in chronological order. For the sake of completeness I have included the odd picture between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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A4 No 60017 Flying Fox rolls into Wakefield Westgate with the Down "Queen of Scots". The date has been estimated as "c1949". The livery, with BRITISH RAILWAYS on the tender, would have been blue. Peppercorn A1s from Copley Hill were to take over both Up and Down workings to London and four of the locos had been delivered in 1948, a fifth in 1949, and several more in 1950, but on this occasion, a King's Cross loco was in charge. It looks like a Saturday with school-children stopped in their tracks as the train approaches. Photo: SLS.

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It's June 1950 and Gateshead's A2 60526 Sugar Palm still has its rimless chimney as it heads north near Darlington with the Down train. Gateshead and Heaton normally provided the locos between Newcastle and Leeds. Photo: Photomatic

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Heading south, Haymarket's A2/3 No 60519 Honeyway is passing Craigentinny with the Up "Queen of Scots". It was the solitary example at Haymarket and for a while was on this duty with other Pacifics. The loco received BR green livery in July 1950 and the picture may have been taken soon after. Haymarket locos normally ran as far as Newcastle. Photo: Photomatic.

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Another Haymarket Pacific, A3 N0 60100 Spearmint, has the up train on 3rd August 1951 near Burnmouth, on the last few miles in Scotland before crossing the border into England. The eight car formation that ran through to King's Cross shows well. Photo: E.R. Wethersett.

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A picture with a blank back featuring Peppercorn A1 No 60119 Patrick Stirling. It's a misty day but I think this is about a mile south of Copley Hill/Wortley South Junction. The loco is pretty clean and what looks like a 37B (Copley Hill) shed plate is being carried: Patrick Stirling was allocated there between 11/48 and 12/55. May I suggest "c1954"? Photo: Author's collection.

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Peppercorn A1 No 60130 Kestrel attacks the severe climb out of Leeds Central with the King's Cross bound "Queen of Scots" on Saturday 21st July 1956. This loco was moved around quite a bit and at the time it was allocated to Ardsley, coming to Copley Hill the following year. Clearly visible behind the tender are the two strengthening cars which only operated south of Leeds. Photo: B.K.B. Green.

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Copley Hill's Peppercorn A1 No 60123 H.A. Ivatt swings past Beeston Junction on the outskirts of Leeds with the Up "Queen of Scots" c1960. Again, the two extra cars are behind the tender, but the main train is one car short. Photo: Eric Treacy.

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The final phase with steam haulage had BR Mk.1 Pullman cars (except for the brake ends) and is seen passing Bishopbriggs on the outskirts of Glasgow on 20th May 1961. The loco was Haymarket's A3 No 60057 Ormonde. Photo: S. Rickard.

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To be continued...

West Riding conurbation: is here.

Bradford to King's Cross portions: are here.

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