Easter Monday Excursions 1960
At approximately 11:30 a dmu travelling from Manchester Victoria to Bacup via Heywood and Bury Knowsley Street, struck a platelayers trolley somewhere between Mills Hill and Castleton South Junction. No further information ever came out, whether it was vandalism or the platelayers fault. The dmu was somehow worked to Castleton down loop and taken away by Black Five 44734.
The 10:30am Liverpool Exchange to Newcastle (45698) was delayed 55 minutes at Mills Hill, The 10:10am York to Victoria (61338) was badly delayed at Castleton station.
Services resumed after approximately an hour. No trains diverted. No trains cancelled. The morning programme of seventeen excursions all ran as planned.
There were six evening excursion workings. The total of twenty three excursions were worked by 11 Crabs, 9 Stanier 5MTs and 3 B1s. Highlights were a Reidinger Valve gear Crab 42824 on a Sheffield to Blackpool, a Darlington B1 61018 on a Lightcliffe to Belle Vue and an Immingham B1 61366 on a Bradford to Belle Vue.
Photo 1 The Crabs were very common locomotives on excursions in this area in 1960. Most of the class spent their whole life in their original condition but five of them were fitted with experimental "Reidinger Rotary Valve Gear". These locos were allocated to sheds in the Midlands and rarely strayed into the Castleton area. On Easter Monday 1960, one of these machines number 42824 was used on a Sheffield to Blackpool excursion seen approaching Castleton station.
Photo 2 Who remembers the Belle Vue pleasure gardens, zoo, speedway track and amusement park in East Manchester? They were very popular so much so that excursion trains were run from Yorkshire stations at Bank Holidays. In this photo B1 class number 61018 is in charge of an excursion which started at Lightcliffe and called at all stations in the Halifax area. It is seen at Castleton South Junction.
Photo 3 Not far behind the excursion from Lightcliffe was a train from Bradford also bound for Belle Vue. The locomotive was another B1 class, number 61366, which was allocated to Imminhgham shed, a rarity in this area.
Photo 4 Shortly after 1130 on Easter Monday morning a dmu from Manchester Victoria to Bacup via Heywood struck a platelayers trolley near Slattocks. This caused delays of almost an hour. This photograph shows Newton Heath Black Five number 44734 which was sent out to rescue the dmu. It is seen leaving the loop at Castleton South Junction towing the dmu back to the shed.
Richard S Greenwood