Modern Britain

When the class, of which No.75078 is a member, was introduced in 1951 they were designated  as  British Railways ‘standard class’ 4. The ‘standard classes’ were to be the face of ‘Modern British Railways’, and 75078’s big sister, No.70004 William Shakespeare was exhibited at the Festival of Britain, held in the same year. In 1963 I began working on them, out of Waterloo, on trains carrying the very same headcode – Waterloo – West of England, and No.75078 was one of the ones I worked on.

One of the services we used them on were the ‘stoppers’ to Basingstoke, Woking and then ‘all stations’. They were nippy little engines and would gallop away from the stops and flew along quite happily with full regulator and 25% cut-off. I don’t know if anyone ever bothered to time these stoppers but we had a lot of fun seeing just how quickly the intermediate sprints could be done.  The first one was Woking to Farnborough which included the pull up to MP 31 but, a bit of a dip down into Farnborough as compensation.

The distance from Woking to Farnborough is almost 9 miles and passing times of 11 minutes, give or take,  for WC/B-o-B were regularly achieved with around 350 – 375 ton trains. A stopping time would, of course, be slower, and a smaller engine would, likewise, be a tad off the pace.  Quite by chance one of my runs with the 02.45 papers was recorded on 22/05/65, the locomotive was B-o-B No. 34086 219 Squadron, our start to pass time was 11mins.20secs and we went through Farnborough at 70mph, the load was 350 tons. We completed the start to stop Woking – Basingstoke journey in even time 23.5 miles in 23.45

If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it:


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