LOSTOCK HALL - LMSR Shed No. 23E (1935 - 1946)


1935 - 1946

In January 1935, the depot code changed from C27 - in the early LMS system of coding the ‘C’ denoted a depot on the

Central Division - to 23E, but now under the control of the parent depot of 23A Bank Hall in Liverpool.

During 1937 facilities at the shed were modernised, when a new 90ft concrete coaling plant was erected (identical, incidentally,

to those erected at around the same time at nearby Rose Grove and Lower Darwen, as well as at many other depots).  Being

provided with 2 hoppers, one was intended initially for low-grade and the other for high-grade coal - the latter obviously intended

for passenger engines and others destined for the more important freight duties.  The actual coal supply came directly from

fully-laden 16T wagons that were each individually raised to the top of the plant to then be rotated to disgorge their contents into the hoppers below.

Albeit taken in later BR days, these photographs do clearly illustrate the 1937-built 90ft coaling-plant and the 1938-built 70ft vacuum-operated turntable. Notice the recently emptied coal wagons on the right, awaiting collection by the shed pilot.

At the same time, an extra loco-finishing pit and a steel-construction ash-disposal plant were constructed – the latter, again being identical in design to others in the locality, possessed its own narrow-gauge railway to transport tubs, into which ash from the pits was manually shovelled.  The plant straddled an adjacent dead-end road with narrow-gauge tracks along both sides from which the tubs were raised in order to decant the contents directly into 16T mineral trucks waiting underneath.  Usually one or two additional empty wagons would always be waiting further down the same siding, ready to be filled. 

The following year, with much larger engines now requiring servicing at the depot, a modern vacuum-operated 70ft turntable was also installed, this being in roughly the same location as the earlier 50ft manually-worked example.

A mainstay of the allocation, from ever since the opening of the depot, were the various types of passenger tank engines. Large-bunkered Class 2P 2-4-2T No 10844 seen here was actually thought to be a 23D Wigan (L&Y) engine when photographed on Lostock Hall shed in around 1946, but could well have arrived in the area on a local passenger working from Liverpool, Blackburn, Southport… or even from Blackpool. In the original picture, the L&Y Loco classification code (“5”) can be clearly seen still affixed to the upper cab side, some 24 years after the Grouping!

Hughes LMS Class 5P 4-cylinder Baltic No 11116 was a far more interesting visitor to Lostock Hall depot in 1936 and, given that none of this much larger type of tank engine were ever allocated here, it had evidently also arrived in Preston on a local passenger working.  Actually being the tank version of the L&YR Class 8 ("Dreadnought" Class 4-6-0), the type naturally became known as "Dreadnought Tanks". As all of the class actually came to be built by the LMS in 1924 (albeit at the L&YR's Horwich Works), they were not allocated L&YR class numbers. Another 20 were ordered, but ultimately came to be turned out as further examples of the L&YR Class 8 - orders for yet another additional 30 being cancelled. Like the Class 8s, they were not particularly successful and, in 1938, No 11116 itself came to be one of the first to be withdrawn.

Now with also a growing number of Hughes and Fowler 0-8-0s, 'Crab' 2-6-0s and LMS 4F 0-6-0s making up the numbers, in a sadly ever-decreasing complement of otherwise ex-L&Y machines, the allocation had steadily grown after the Grouping to attain an amazing total of nearly 60 by the 1930s. 

During the Second World War, with much military traffic passing through Lancashire, demands upon motive power over the ex-L&Y routes naturally were particularly high and it is of some significance that virtually none of the surviving, but by now out-dated, Victorian-era engines still around came to be withdrawn until the end of the War. Indeed, a small number were to survive for a great deal longer!

Examples of the Aspinall Class 27, the standard goods engine of the L&YR in its original form with a non-superheated round-top boiler.  LMS 2F Nos 12156 and 12455 were but two of many finding themselves on the allocation over the years and are both seen here stood on No 8 Road at different times in around 1946. By 1948 they had moved away, to Newton Heath, but others of the type replaced them and soldiered on until at least 1961.

Nevertheless, at the cessation of hostilities, the depot tally fell to a mere 42 engines, with the by now ubiquitous Derby-designed Fowler 7F 0-8-0s outnumbering other types, all of the older L&Y versions of that wheel arrangement having been rapidly dispensed with. It really was a question of settling for the ‘lesser of two evils’, as the new arrivals soon achieved a reputation for developing hot-boxes during some of the lengthier journeys that they operated. 

Despite this, some 14 of the class were on the allocation as Nationalisation approached. They being ably assisted by a roughly equal number of former ex-L&Y Class 27 2F 0-6-0s, the arrival of the first modern 8F 2-8-0s was, however, just over the horizon.

 Unfortunately that’s all we have in this section for now, so before you continue on to the next page, please do consider the following. What you have just been reading is, of course, only a small part of the story of Lostock Hall MPD ….  all of it having been gratefully received from a mere handful of contributors who have so generously assisted us to-date.  There are obviously many more stories out there just waiting to be told … only these haven’t as yet been passed on to us!  Therefore, in order to start filling-in many missing pieces in this, still very incomplete, jigsaw, please do now consider making a contribution of your own. Items of information and scanned photographs would be most welcomed.  

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