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GCR London Extension - Neasden area

A more complex area that it may seem, this is where lines from the north converged and three functions were located: marshalling yards, carriage sheds and the loco depot. This is a start, really, a full work-up will follow:

1 - Introduction
2 - The engine shed
- GCR and LNER locos
-- Express passenger
-- Mixed traffic
-- Freight
-- Passenger tanks
-- Pilots
- Post WW2 and BR days

1 - Introduction

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An edited version of the RCH map of 1914 showing the approaches to Marylebone (off the map to the right) with the two joint lines - Met&GCR line and the GWR&GCR - coming together at Neasden where the marshalling yards and engine shed were located. Author's collection.

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2 - The engine shed

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The layout of the loco depot turned through 90 degrees for clarity. The 6-road running shed can be seen and the manual coaling stage with sand furnace alongside. Source: 25" OS, 1914-15, National Library of Scotland.

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A superb view of the newly built running shed. The back of the print states "1913" but I am pretty sure that it was about 10 years earlier. A Class 9H 0-6-0 (LNER J10) is coupled to a GCR 4w goods brake van (same as the D&S kit). Part of another loco can be seen - a Class 13 Pollitt "single", all of which were transferred to the CLC by 1904. Photo: LGRP.

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Another relatively early view with the clock in its original position high up over the running tracks as 0-6-2T (LNER N5) No 772 stands by the breakdown crane. Photo: Real Photographs

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The coaling stage and the sand furnace with one of Neasden's A5s, No 5372, still carrying lined livery, standing alongside The date would have been before 8/26 when side windows were fitted to the cab. Photo: Author's collection.

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A sepia postcard, reduced to b&w, with a partial view of the sand furnace in 1933 and C4 No 5263 (LEI) being prepared for a Down working. C. Golder collection.

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GCR & LNER locos

I shall eventually present the Links and how the locos were allocated to them over time - through GCR, LNER and BR days - but this is major task and, for now, it's easier to subdivide in a more general way:

Express passenger

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As graceful as an Edwardian design could be, this is an example of Robinson's Compound Atlantics, Class 8D No 258, named The Rt. Hon. VISCOUNT CROSS GCB, GCSI. The GCR deployed the quartet on trains between Manchester and Marylebone and No 258 is absolutely spotless, coaled up and ready to work back north again. Redesignated Class C5 by the LNER. Photo: F. Moore's Railway Photographs.

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The "Improved Director" D11 4-4-0s were divided between Neasden and Gorton for the long distance expresses between Manchester and London. This is No 5506 Butler-Henderson, captured in 1937 during a six-year spell allocated to Neasden. Photo: Les Hanson. <'p>

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Simple categories can have shortcomings! When first built, the GCR 9P (LNER B3) variously nicknamed as "Faringdons" (after the first of the class) or "Valour" (after the Great War memorial name that was carried by the third member of the class), was used on expresses on the GCLE but Atlantics and Directors took over and these 4-6-0s were displaced, to Immingham and, for a while, the KX-Leeds Pullman. Of those that stayed on the GCLE, two at Neasden were used selectively on the heavy late night express, the 2.32am newspaper express and a morning express as far as Leicester and an Ordinary Passenger back. By 1939, some were at Woodford. Click for full size image in a pop-up window. Use 'X' to close

The B3 class, had a long association with Neasden, especially No 6165 Valour which was allocated there during most of 1931-38. Here it is sometime during that period, probably early on when the Doncaster chimney was being carried, in fully lined LNER apple green livery. Photo: Author's collection.

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A closer view of the nameplate, one of the most distinctive ever carried by a locomotive, which featured in Remembrance celebrations every year. Photo: Les Hanson.

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B3 No 6165 Valour on another sunny day at Neasden, in August 1937. A more sturdy and certainly more graceful chimney was now being carried. Photo: Les Hanson.

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Mixed traffic

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Several GCR 9Q (LNER B7) 4-6-0s were at Neasden for the fast freight traffic and this one, No 461 was deployed from new in 1921 and is seen soon after on 11th May 1922. It became No 5461 and stayed until the mid-1930s. Photo: LGRP.

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No 5460 had arrived as No 460, served a similar length of time and is seen in 1933. Photo: author's collection.

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Another mixed traffic 4-6-0 seen at Neasden was the GCR Class 8 (LNER B5) often nicknamed "fish engines" of which No 6071 had quite a long stay at Woodford from 1928-39 and may have worked Up to Neasden yards with a through freight in the 1930s. It has been turned and coaled and is ready to work back again. Photo: author's collection.

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Freight

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J10 and "Pom-pom" J11 0-6-0s were the principal goods locos between Woodford and Neasden and No 6006 was at Neasden from 1933 to 1951 with a brief interlude at Woodford in 1936. Photo: Glass plate, author's collection.

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Originally classed L1, this undated view shows No 5339 which spent almost its entire LNER life at Neasden working freight traffic locally and to Woodford. Photo: Author's collection.

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Ex-GCR 2-8-0s were not not very common at Neasden and this example from Woodford catches the evening sun in the 1930s. It had entered the company's service as an ex-ROD loco and served at Woodford for a year in 1927 and then for a longer spell, from 1928-1940. A great deal of coal has been taken! This loco was later rebuilt as a Thompson O1 and served at Annesley until 1962. Photo: author's collection.

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Passenger tanks

Tender locos at Neasden were much photographed but the allocation was dominated by tank engines:

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Sacre Class 12AT No 449 at Neasden in relatively early days. In 1921 it was converted for push & pull service and reclassified 12AM. Photo: F. Moore's Railway Photographs.

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By far the most numerous class allocated to Neasden was the Robinson 9N 4-6-2T suburban passenger tank (LNER A5) of which No 168 was captured in the shed yard. In the background is St. Mary's church. Photo: F.Moore's Railway Photographs.

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Not the best of prints taken against the light on a murky day but useful for showing a Robinson A5 soon after the Grouping. No 6 had been completed by the LNER on 10.2.23 with a side-window cab from the start (the earlier ones were converted). It was probably turned out in ex-GCR colours and lining but with "L&NER" and the GCR number. It carried this livery for just over two years, becoming No 5006 in May 1925.

Neasden was to have quite a few tank engines for its various duties and just visible on either side are two others - a Sacre 2-4-0T and an 0-6-2T. Photo: LPC.

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F1 2-4-2Ts at Neasden

The MS&LR built 2-4-2Ts for suburban work between 1889-93, originally designated GCR Class 3, later LNER Class F1, and they served successfully around Manchester for quite a long time, much as ex-GER 2-4-2Ts served out of Liverpool St. When suburban traffic started at Marylebone it was handled by larger tank engines, initially 4-4-2Ts and then 4-6-2Ts.

During LNER days a small number of F1s was allocated to Neasden but little has been recorded about why? The picture is complicated by allocation of normal F1s and those equipped for push & pull working, commonly called "auto fitted" which I have highlighted in yellow in the spreadsheet below:

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The stand-out allocation was for an F1 on the Aylesbury-Verney Junction branch, hauling an ex-GCR 12w motor coach (as they were called). F1 No 5594 had the longest spell, from 1929-37, with an interruption during the summer of 1930 when it was shopped at Gorton and F1 No 5575 stood in. There was no service on a Sunday and the loco would return to Neasden for servicing. The connection between the loco and motor carriage was of GCR origin (in 1922) and a mechanical arrangement that was not easy to part so the whole train probably came on shed.

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This undated photograph from c.1930 was taken at Aylesbury (not Verney Junction as previously taken off the back of the print - so many captions are faulty) and shows F1 No 5594 paired with the ex-GCR 12w motor coach. This GC service was more complex service than is generally realised (there's a dedicated chapter coming up) and as far as I can tell this was the early evening 5.5pm to Wendover and back. Photo: author's collection.

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This view of No 5594 standing free of the motor coach was probably taken in 1937 when the loco was retired from this duty and replaced by an ex-GER F7 (No 8307). In the process, the LNER's simpler vacuum operated system was introduced. The F1 went to Gorton where the mechanical equipment was removed and the loco was no longer used for such services. Photo: Photomatic.

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A puzzle remains as to why every so often, Neasden was allocated a non-auto fitted F1. Here's an example:

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This picture of F1 No 5589 was taken by Henry Casserly and dated 27th August 1927, which was in the middle of its allocation to Neasden at the same time as auto-fitted No 5575 was there. The only explanation that I can offer is that it was a back-up in case the auto-fitted loco failed, or for that matter, if the carriage failed. Both would have had to be withdrawn and an alternative service provided by Neasden, of a loco-hauled train with an ordinary carriage or two. This cover only lasted for a couple of months but was supplied again between 1933-37, terminating when the ex-GER F7 took over.

Quite by the way, the F1s were originally built with round-topped fireboxes and this was the only loco to retain it into LNER days. The earlier chimney is pleasing, too. Photo: H. Casserley.

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Pilots

N5 0-6-2Ts were the normal locos used for shunting around Neasden and Marylebone and a GCR-period view of No 772 with stove pipe chimney is shown above, these follow:

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An early LNER view of N5 No 5745. This one was at Neasden from 1922 until 1952 and was captured with the replacement Robinson chimney, probably in the 1920s. Photo: Author's collection.

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A nice albeit undated later view of one of N5 No 5945 standing by one of the distinctive water columns and a brazier to ward off winter frost. This example was at Neasden for a long time: initially from 1924-29 (then at Woodford for three years) and back to Neasden for another twenty-odd years, 1932-54. Photo: author's collection.

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Another of Neasden's N5s, No 5945, was photographed in 1937, now carrying the final version of chimney, unglamorously nicknamed the "flowerpot" style. In the background, carrying the same style is a J10. It is sometimes thought that only modern GCR designs were deployed on the London Extension but that was clearly not the case. Photo: Les Hanson.

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After WW2 and BR days

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This N5 parked by the Shedmaster's office was originally No 5745 and at Neasden for 30 years, from 1922 to 1951. It gained a Thompson number in 1946 and a BR prefix as E9283 in December 1948. Photo: Real Photographs.

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There were many ex-GCR N5 0-6-2 tanks at Neasden for use as pilots but this one, No 69257 had been equipped in 1942 for push&pull working as a back-up for the C13s on the Chesham branch and was moved around the London area for such services. Its final spell at Neasden was from late 1954 until withdrawal in December 1959. It was captured in 1957 under the shear legs with ex-LMS Fairburn 2-6-4T No 42222 behind and Thompson L1 2-6-4T No 67792 in the smoky distance. Photo: contact print, author's collection.

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After the Metropolitan surrendered its steam-hauled suburban workings to the LNER in the late 1930s and a push&pull service was started on the Chesham branch, auto-fitted ex-GCR 4-4-2T C13s were allocated to Neasden and one of the first to arrrive was No 67420. Undated photo: E.Lowden.

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C13 No 67416 arrived in March 1951 and was photographed on a fine morning on the sidings to the east of the running shed. December 1952. Photo: A.E. Durran.

The C13s were withdrawn in December 1958 under LMR auspices and replaced by ex-LMS 2-6-2 tanks.

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Several Thompson B1 4-6-0s were, for a while, allocated to Neasden but No 61153 was not one of them. It was a Sheffield Darnall loco and its appearance at Neasden on Sunday 31st May 1953 may have been on an excursion to London for the week of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

May I add that the print is unsigned, which may have something to do with the fact that it's covered in darkroom dust and almost completely black - the sort of trial print that normally goes in the darkroom bin while establishing the right conditions. It's taken a fair bit of repair with Photoshop to get a presentable image!

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After WW2, Neasden's B17s were replaced by Gresley Pacifics such as No 60111 Enterprise, although not for all that long. It arrived around 20th February 1949 with a singe chimney and was sent to Leicester around 27-3-55. Photo: Jeremy Suter collection.

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A BR-period picture from May 1953 shows a visitor from Woodford Halse, V2 No 60859, which was at WFD for three years between 2/51 and 1/54. Behind it is a named B1 of which 61009 Hartebeeste was briefly at Neasden at the time. Photo: Author's collection.

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Another undated photograph shows the shed yard with two Thompson locos, an L1 and a B1, and a visiting ex-NER B16, No 61475, almost certainly from York where it had a twenty-year spell after WW2. It could have worked through with an excursion for a match at Wembley or reached Woodford with a fast freight and then been borrowed. Photo: Author's collection.

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Several Riddles 4MT 2-6-0s were sent new to Neasden in 1954 and this is No 76036 a few years later. The date would be post 1958 when the shed was was transferred from the ER to the LMR and recoded from 34E to 14D. Photo: author's collection.

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Other locations on the GCLE:

Marylebone - is here.

Calvert - is here.

Catesby Tunnel - is here.

Nottingham Victoria - is here.


To be continued...

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