Steam at St Margarets in the Fifties

In issue 249, I enjoyed Gavin Morrison’s retro look at Holbeck shed’s last years of service in the 1960s.

My memories of this atmospheric Midland Railway ‘Cathedral of Steam’ are from a decade or so earlier when steam ruled the rails and ex-Midland and LMS locomotives dominated.

In my school days when I had rare visits to Leeds, thanks to cheap day return tickets from Durham or Newcastle, the shed was still in the Midland Region of BR and bore the code 20A. I recall great photos in the magazines of the time by the late Bishop Eric Treacy who could really capture the smoky atmosphere inside Holbeck sheds.

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Turntable line-up at St Margarets in 1954. DAVID TROUT

Top link power was provided by rebuilt Royal Scots and Jubilees – I can’t recall ever seeing even a Britannia there. Lesser passenger trains still relied largely on Midland Compounds and 2P 4-4-0s and of course, the ever-present Class 5s.

In my trainspotting days, the thought of ex-LNER Pacifics working the Settle and Carlisle route would seem impossible.

David Trout,
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