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GCR London Extension - Neasden engine shed

An overview beginning with the running shed:

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An edited version of the RCH map of 1914 showing the approaches to Marylebone (to the right) with the two joint lines - Met&GCR line and the GWR&GCR - coming together at Neasden where the marshalling yards and engine shed were located. Author's collection.

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The layout of the loco depot turned through 90 degrees for clarity. The 6-road running shed can be seen and the manual coaling stage with sand furnace alongside. Source: 25" OS, 1914-15, National Library of Scotland.

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General views

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A superb view of the newly built running shed. The back of the print states "1913" but I am pretty sure that it was about 10 years earlier. A Class 9H 0-6-0 (LNER J10) is coupled to a GCR 4w goods brake van (same as the D&S kit). Part of another loco can be seen - a Class 13 Pollitt "single", all of which were transferred to the CLC by 1904. Photo: LGRP.

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Another relatively early view with the clock in its original position high up over the running tracks as 0-6-2T (LNER N5) No 772 stands by the breakdown crane. Photo: Real Photographs

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The coaling stage and the sand furnace with one of Neasden's A5s, No 5372, still carrying lined livery, standing alongside The date would have been before 8/26 when side windows were fitted to the cab. Photo: Author's collection.

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A sepia postcard, reduced to b&w, with a partial view of the sand furnace in 1933 and C4 No 5263 (LEI) being prepared for a Down working. C. Golder collection.

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The locos

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A graceful as an Edwardian design could be, this is an example of Robinson's Compound Atlantics, Class 8D No 258, named The Rt. Hon. VISCOUNT CROSS GCB, GCSI . The GCR deployed the quartet on trains between Manchester and Marylebone and No 258 is absoluetly spotless, coaled up and ready to work back north again. Redsignated Class C5 by the LNER. Photo: F. Moore's Railway Photographs.

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By far the most numerous class allocated to Neasden was the Robinson 9N 4-6-2T suburban passenger tank (LNER A5) of which No 168 was captured in the shed yard. In the background is St. Mary's church. Photo: F.Moore's Railway Photographs.

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Sacre Class 12AT No 449 at Neasden in relatively early days. In 1921 it was converted for push & pull service and reclassified 12AM. Photo: F. Moore's Railway Photographs.

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Not the best of prints taken against the light on a murky day but useful for showing a Robinson A5 soon after the Grouping. No 6 had been completed by the LNER on 10.2.23 and probably turned out in ex-GCR colours and lining but with "L&NER" and the GCR number. It carried this livery for just over two years, becoming No 5006 in May 1925. Photo: LPC.

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The "Improved Director" D11 4-4-0s were divided between Neasden and Gorton for the long distance expresses between Manchester and London. This is No 5506 Butler-Henderson, captured in 1937 during a six-year spell allocated to Neasden. Photo: Les Hanson. <'p>

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The B3 class, variously nicknamed as "Faringdons" (after the first of the class) or "Valour" (after the Great War memorial name that was carried by the third member of the class), had a long association with Neasden, especially No 6165 Valour which was allocated there during most of 1931-38. Here it is sometime during that period, probably early on when the Doncaster chimney was being carried, in fully lined LNER apple green livery. Photo: Author's collection.

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A closer view of the nameplate, one of the most distinctive ever carried by a locomotive, which featured in Remembrance celebrations every year. Photo: Les Hanson.

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B3 No 6165 Valour on another sunny day at Neasden, in August 1937. A more sturdy and certainly more graceful chimney was now being carried. Photo: Les Hanson.

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"Pom-pom" J11 0-6-0s were the principal goods locos between Woodford and Neasden and No 6006 was at Neasden from 1933 to 1951 with a brief interlude at Woodford in 1936. Photo: Glass plate, author's collection.

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Originally classed L1, this undated view shows No 5339 which spent almost its entire LNER life at Neasden working freight traffic locally and to Woodford. Photo: Author's collection.

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One of the 0-6-2T pilots, class N5 No 5745. This one was at Neasden from 1922 until 1952 and was captured with the replacement Robinson chimney, probably in the 1920s. Photo: Author's collection.

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Another of Neasden's N5s, No 5945, was photographed in 1937, now carrying the final version of chimney, unglamorously nicknamed the "flowerpot" style. In the background, carrying the same style is a J10. It is sometimes thought that only modern GCR designs were deployed on the London Extension but that was clearly not the case. Photo: Les Hanson.

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The N5 0-6-2Ts were the normal loco used for shunting around Neasden and Marylebone and this one, parked by the Shedmaster's office, was originally No 5745 and at Neasden for 30 years, from 1922 to 1951. It gained a Thompson number in 1946 and a BR prefix as E9283 in December 1948. Photo: Real Photographs.

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F1 2-4-2Ts at Neasden

The MS&LR built 2-4-2Ts for suburban work between 1889-93, originally designated GCR Class 3, later LNER Class F1, and they served successfully around Manchester for quite a long time, much as ex-GER 2-4-2Ts served out of Liverpool St. When suburban traffic started at Marylebone it was handled by larger tank engines, initially 4-4-2Ts and then 4-6-2Ts.

During LNER days a small number of F1s was allocated to Neasden but little has been recorded about why? The picture is complicated by allocation of normal F1s and those equipped for push & pull working, commonly called "auto fitted" which I have highlighted in yellow in the spreadsheet below:

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The stand-out allocation was for an F1 on the Aylesbury-Verney Junction branch, hauling an ex-GCR 12w motor coach (as they were called). F1 No 5594 had the longest spell, from 1929-37, with an interruption during the summer of 1930 when it was shopped at Gorton and F1 No 5575 stood in. There was no service on a Sunday and the loco would return to Neasden for servicing. The connection between the loco and motor carriage was of GCR origin (in 1922) and a mechanical arrangement that was not easy to part so the whole train probably came on shed.

Caption corrected and extended.

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This undated photograph from c.1930 was taken at Aylesbury (not Verney Junction as previously taken off the back of the print - so many captions are faulty) and shows F1 No 5594 paired with the ex-GCR 12w motor coach. This GC service was more complex service than is generally realised (there's a dedicated chapter coming up) and as far as I can tell this was the early evening 5.5pm to Wendover and back. Photo: author's collection.

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This view of No 5594 standing free of the motor coach was probably taken in 1937 when the loco was retired from this duty and replaced by an ex-GER F7 (No 8307). In the process, the LNER's simpler vacuum operated system was introduced. The F1 went to Gorton where the mechanical equipment was removed and the loco was no longer used for such services. Photo: Photomatic.

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A puzzle remains as to why every so often, Neasden was allocated a non-auto fitted F1. Here's an example:

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This picture of F1 No 5589 was taken by Henry Casserly and dated 27th August 1927, which was in the middle of its allocation to Neasden at the same time as auto-fitted No 5575 was there. The only explanation that I can offer is that it was a back-up in case the auto-fitted loco failed, or for that matter, if the carriage failed. Both would have had to be withdrawn and an alternative service provided by Neasden, of a loco-hauled train with an ordinary carriage or two. This cover only lasted for a couple of months but was supplied again between 1933-37, terminating when the ex-GER F7 took over.

Quite by the way, the F1s were originally built with round-topped fireboxes and this was the only loco to retain it into LNER days. The earlier chimney is pleasing, too. Photo: H. Casserley.

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BR period

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A BR-period picture from May 1953 shows a visitor from Woodford Halse, V2 No 60859, which was at WFD for three years between 2/51 and 1/54. Behind it is a named B1 of which 61009 Hartebeeste was briefly at Neasden at the time. Photo: Author's collection.

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Another undated photograph shows the shed yard with two Thompson locos, an L1 and a B1, and a visiting ex-NER B16, No 61475, almost certainly from York where it had a twenty-year spell after WW2. It could have worked through with an excursion for a match at Wembley or reached Woodford with a fast freight and then been borrowed. Photo: Author's collection.

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Other locations on the GCLE:

Marylebone - is here.

Calvert - is here.

Catesby Tunnel - is here.

Nottingham Victoria - is here.


To be continued...

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