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Bradford-King's Cross portions

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Four more views of the service in the 1950s and '60s when ex-LMS 2-6-4Ts were in charge.

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A sunny morning in October 1956 at Halifax Town station as Fowler 2-6-4T No 42310 waits with a portion destined for King's Cross. Express lights are being carried but hard to see in the shade, likewise only part of a BR Mk.1 coach (in crimson & cream livery) in the portion was captured.

The loco spent all its BR days allocated to Huddersfield whose locos were not normally found working on the GN lines. Perhaps it was serving as station pilot or only taking the portion as far as Bradford Exchange?? Photo: Author's collection.

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My apologies for a lack of sharpness but this is an enlargement from what used to called an enprint, slightly smaller than postcard-size. It looks like the BR maroon period in the 1960s at Wortley South Junction as an unidentified Fairburn 2-6-4T (possibly 42639 or 42649 of Wakefield) takes the line to Bradford with a four-coach portion from King's Cross.

The signalman is acting quickly - he's already dropped the signals for this train and set them off for a following train into Leeds Central!

The all-BR Mk.1 formation is hard to make out but it seems to be:

TSO

2nd open

BTK

2nd brake

TSO

2nd open

  CK

1st/2nd

It looks like a 3-coach portion with a strengthening TSO on the front. Photo: Author's collection.

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When Leeds Central closed on 29th April 1967, the Bradford-KX portions were sent to Leeds City and, on Wednesday 11th June of that year, 42616 (Low Moor) is passing Wortley Junction on the approach to Leeds.

The carriages are a mixture of BR maroon and recently introduced blue & grey and the last one is hard to be sure of:

  CK

1st/2nd

BTK

2nd brake

TSO

2nd open

TSO

2nd open

It looks like a 3-coach portion with a strengthening TSO on the rear. Photo: D. Hardy.

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Seen at the buffers in Bradford Exchange station, Fairburn No 42141 waits to depart with a 3-coach portion for King's Cross. The date would have been between the loco's transfer to Low Moor in May 1967 and end of steam on this service on 1st October.

The formation is:

BCK

1st/2nd brake

TSO

2nd open

TSO

2nd open

The TSOs are in BR maroon, the BCK in blue & grey livery. Photo: Author's collection.

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Bradford-King's Cross portions

These portions were quite short and easily modelled and though covered in the book under West Riding Expresses and Through Coaches, there was only room for two illustrations of this working between Leeds and Wakefield. Here are some more for the post-WWII period. Long-standing practice was for the portions to run via Wakefield where they were attached/detached to and from Leeds Central-King's Cross expresses. The route was via Gildersome until that line closed, then via the triangle at Copley Hill. Express lights were carried.

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A rare find from c1949 shows Bradford Hammerton Street's N1 No 9482 climbing towards Ardsley on a fine summer's day with a King's Cross-Bradford portion detached at Wakefield. The loco was in this condition between 7/46-5/50. I suspect that this was a Saturday and the working has been strengthened by an extra coach, a pre-Grouping ex-GCR Parker going back to 1899 and now some 50 years old.

BCK

1st/3rd brake

Gresley 61'6"

TK

3rd

Gresley 61'6"

TK

3rd?

Ex-GCR 50' Parker

BTK

3rd brake

Gresley 61'6"

The Gresleys are post-1934 side-door designs on steel-angle trussing. It must have been a hot day for all the droplights in the leading carriage are down and there is no visible exhaust - a common sight when good coal was available, unlike today's steam specials. Note that roofboards are only being carried by the outer brake ends.

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By 1961 there were 8 portions each way during the week, normally 2 or 3 carriages long, strengthened occasionally. BR Mk.1 stock had been introduced but some ex-LNER stock was still appearing, mainly on the Saturday extras. As described previously, haulage had always been by a variety of locos but the last ten years saw reduction to two basic types, ex-LNER B1s and ex-LMS 2-6-4 tanks, although the latter actually comprised designs by Fowler, Stanier and Fairburn.

69474

The last of the old: the summer of 1957 is believed to have seen the last use of N1s from Bradford Hammerton Street on the working. It's Friday, 16th August 1957 and ex-GNR N1 69474 is attaching the Bradford portion to the rear of a Leeds Central-KX express at Wakefield Westgate. The two visible Mk.1 coaches are:

BCK

1st/2nd brake

SK

2nd

61011 Wakefield

Another scene at Wakefield, on 4th July 1959 with B1 No 61011 Waterbuck backing onto the train with the Bradford portion. Unfortunately quite a few loco-only pictures were taken like this and the only visible coach here is a Mk.1 SK or BCK facing the wrong way.

423xx Dudley Hikk

Ex-LMS 2-6-4 tanks began taking a share of the workings in 1960 as this example passing Dudley Hill on the outskirts of Bradford shows. It's 10th August 1960 and the portion comprises two coaches (SK,BCK). The Fowler tank of 1927 with the original design of cab, would have been provided by Low Moor, possibly 42324. The more modern Fairburn tanks of 1945 were soon to dominate.

61161 Dewsbury

B1 No 61161 takes the Bradford portion away from Dewsbury on 11th August 1962. It's a high summer Saturday and this is an extra working, 8.25am from Bradford, hence the provision of four, mostly elderly carriages.

SK

2nd

BR Mk.1

CK

1st/2nd

Gresley 61'6"

BSK-SK

2nd brake (twin)

Gresley steel-panelled twin

It's a fine mixture, typical of a service only made up once a week, of teak-panelled, steel-panelled, and all-steel stock with a Gresley for the 1st class passengers. The twins had entered service in the late 1930s, including between KX-Leeds, as "steel quintuple sets" - a big subject, this, already covered in the chapter Secondary Expresses. The upshot for modellers is that Saturday workings can add a great deal of variety.

61189 Ardsley

B1 No 61189 Sir William Gray is passing Ardsley with a two-coach portion of Mk1s. September 1964. Unusually, a brake composite was not deployed:

CK

 1st/2nd

BSO

 2nd open brake

42142 Bramley

The penutimate year of steam in the West Riding, and now being photographed increasingly heavily, sees Fairburn 2-6-4T No 42142 with the Bradford coaches off the 10.20am from King's Cross on 30th May 1966. The location is near Bramley, almost half way along the revised route between Leeds and Bradford Exchange. This time, the brake composite was partnered by an open coach:

TSO

 2nd open

BCK

 1st/2nd brake

42574 Ardsley

Stanier 2-6-4T No 42574 passes Ardsley Station Jc with the Bradford portion for the 3.30pm Leeds-King's Cross on Saturday, 18th March 1967. The composition is a mixture of maroon (with the yellow band on the composite unusually well seen) and the recently introduced blue & grey livery beginning to appear. As was often the case, the brake-end was inside out:

BSK

2nd brake

CK

1st/2nd

TSO

2nd open

42073 Laisterdyke

A few miles out of Bradford Exchange, the large platforms at Laisterdyke that had once seen busier days, are passed at speed by Fairburn 42073 as it attacks the gradient out of the valley with a King's Cross portion (and not, incidentally as captioned on the print and alas often reproduced, "The Devonian [with chocolate & cream coaches] leaving Laisterdyke"). The date is Friday 16th June 1967 and two of the coaches are in the new blue & grey livery. It looks as if the two-coach set may have been strengthened behind the loco by a 2nd in maroon. Leeds Central had closed on 1st May and the portions were no longer being taken to Wakefield but Leeds City:

SK

2nd

maroon

BSK

2nd brake

blue & grey

CK

1st/2nd

blue & grey

42141 Bradford

With most of the climb out of Bradford Exchange to Laisterdyke at 1:50 and 1:58, passage in both directions was demanding. On 23rd July 1967, Fairburn No 42141 is descending carefully with the portion off the 1.20pm from King's Cross. The formation is:

SK

2nd

maroon

SK

2nd

maroon

CK

1st/2nd

blue & grey

BSK

2nd brake

blue & grey

42152 Bradford

The final picture of this series shows an unkempt Fairburn No 42152 lifting a 3-coach portion out of the City of Bradford which fills the entire panorama. To the left can be seen the enormous goods warehouse and Bradford Exchange's train shed, both high above the surrounding buildings. The date was Sunday, 1st October 1967 and the last day of steam on these workings. The coaches look almost as tired as the loco but they appear to be quite full, no doubt with enthusiasts making a sentimental last trip.

BSK

2nd brake

CK

1st/2nd

TSO

2nd open

Leeds Central and its workings: is here.

Queen of Scots: is here.

Yorkshire Pullman: is here.

White Rose: is here.

Copley Hill engine shed: is here

West Riding conurbation: is here.

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