Feature | Strangers at Holbeck


Most steam sheds saw only the predictable classes of locomotives for much of the time but all had the occasional unusual visitor.

In terrible external condition, one-timerecord-breaking LNER A3 Pacific No. 60096 Papyrusis on shed at Holbeck on April 9, 1962.

The one-time London Midland & Scottish Railway’s premier shed in Leeds was no exception and Gavin Morrison illustrates the variety seen on Holbeck shed in its last few years of operation.

As the LMR express locomotives were gradually withdrawn, and LNER Pacifics were transferred from the ex-North British shed at Haymarket in Edinburgh to the ex-Caledonian shed at St Margarets, they briefly found themselves reaching Leeds on expresses over the Waverley route and the Settle and Carlisle.

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The reason for the use of the Scottish Pacifics was due to the trouble BR was having with the train heating boilers on the new Peak diesels, especially on the Edinburgh-St Pancras sleeping car trains.

Preserved MR Compound 4-4-0 No. 1000 prepares togo off shed on September 4, 1960, to work an RCTS special to Carnforth and theCumbrian Coast, returning via the Settle and Carlisle. It passed Settle at wellover 80mph.

The author, who knew the shedmaster at Holbeck well, tried to get him to roster the LNER Pacifics to work trains back north in the daylight, but Regional Control at York always insisted they were sent light engine to them. It is not known whether any ever managed to work back via Carlisle overnight.

Towards the end and even after closure to steam on October 1, 1967, railtours and the early days of preservation resulted in even more exotic motive power finding its way to Holbeck for servicing or storage.

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