British Railways The First 25 Years, Volume 12: London Eastern Region
This is the twelfth in a series of books, depicting the first 25 years of British Railways, and covers the Eastern Region lines, from the terminus stations at King’s Cross, Liverpool Street and Marylebone out along the main lines as far New Barnet, Ilford and Neasden respectively, the Metropolitan Widened Lines between King’s Cross and Moorgate and the North London Line from Hackney to Canonbury. It also includes the former Great Eastern Railway branches to North Woolwich, Chingford, Enfield Town, Ongar and Palace Gates, and the ex-Great Northern Railway branch to Alexandra Palace. We visit the three principal motive power depots serving the former Great Northern Railway lines, King’s Cross ‘Top Shed’, Hornsey and Finsbury Park, the massive complex that was the Great Eastern’s Stratford Shed and Works, and the Great Central shed at Neasden. We also take in the freight traffic around the marshalling yards of Ferme Park and Temple Mills. Express motive power out of King’s Cross was dominated by Pacifics while ‘Britannia’s shone for a decade on the Great Eastern. The Great Central enjoyed a few years of Gresley Pacifics before a long decline of its express services. All three termini saw extensive commuter traffic with 0-6-2Ts of different, but visually similar, designs employed on the services from King’s Cross and Liverpool. The Great Eastern “Jazz” was the most intensive steam-worked suburban operation in the world. The Epping to Ongar line saw ancient 2-4-2Ts operating a push-pull service until it was electrified in 1957, long after similar services to Alexandra Palace and Place Gates ended. Marylebone’s suburban services at nationalisation were worked by 4-6-2Ts but these were replaced by ‘L1’ 2-6-4Ts and then by LM&SR Fairburn and BR Standard 2-6-4Ts. Electrification came to the suburban lines from Liverpool Street in several stages, beginning in 1949 and completed in 1960 when the “Jazz” was replaced by electric units. A mix of DMUs and locomotive-hauled trains took over at King’s Cross. Dieselisation of main line services on both the Great Eastern and Great Northern lines began in 1958 and was complete by the end of 1963, whereas those on the Great Central ended in 1966 with run-down ex LM&SR 4-6-0s. King’s Cross saw four different Type ‘2’ diesel classes before standardisation on the Brush design. There was a similar result on the Great Eastern as the low-powered and unreliable designs were phased out. By the late 1960s the ubiquitous Brush Type ‘4’ had become the core express motive power, supported on the Great Eastern by the English Electric Type ‘3’ and in second place behind the small but iconic ‘Deltic’ fleet on the East Coast main line.
Hardback, 208 pages, black & white photographs
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Updated: 29 December 2023