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LMS Route: Trent Valley Line

LMS Route: Nuneaton to Leamington (LNWR)

LMS Route: Nuneaton to Birmingham (MR)

Nuneaton Shed: lnwrnsh348

Looking towards the exit of Nuneaton shed with the branch line to Coventry on the left and Nuneaton No 1 Signal Box in the background

Looking towards the exit of Nuneaton shed with the branch line to Coventry on the left and Nuneaton No 1 Signal Box in the background. In the foreground ex-LMS 0-6-0T Jinty No 47594 is shunting locomotive coal wagons to the coaling plant, its 75 ton bunker needing regular topping up. Built by WG Bagnall in September 1928 No 47594 remained in service until July 1964 when it was withdrawn from Edge Hill shed in Liverpool to be scrapped during September 1964 by Maden & McKee of Stanley in Liverpool.

Peter Lee writes on the NLHG website, 'Classic trainspotting days remembered at Nuneaton shed. For those who can remember hanging out as school kids by the scout hut at the bottom of Glebe Road.

Coventry line to the left, Nuneaton No 1 signal box in the background. A rake of carriages. Nuneaton's shed pilot Class 3F 0-6-0T No 47594 was allocated to Nuneaton until April 1959. The shed pilot was used to shunt locos around the shed yard, or in this case position coal wagons into place for coaling locos during their turn around on the shed. Sometimes 47594 would be used for shunting in the north end goods yard.

The concrete cabin to the right of the picture was the Enginemen's "Bothy". The cabin was used for a "brew up" during rest periods and "snap time". An iron kettle was kept boiling 24 hours a day so that the enginemen could brew tea on demand. The stove being fired up 24 hours a day as well and the heat gave the "Bothy" a fairly "fetid" atmosphere especially in summer. One old engine driver, Ray Smith, remembers calling in there one day for a brew up found the cabin filled with enginemen having their refreshment. Ray had a filthy cold and in the process of sneezing put half the men in the "Bothy" "on the box". He was given the nickname "Virus" after that episode. Most railwaymen had a nickname, I guess it made it easier to check on who was where. "Where's 'Virus' today, Oh, he's on the Tamworth tripper", that sort of thing, and if he was on the Tamworth his day would have been interjected with a trip to the Albert or Lord Redesdale pubs, a favourite interlude for railwaymen on the Trent Valley trippers.

The former position of the turntable stood in the gap in the tracks just beyond the "Bothy". It was removed from the front of the shed to the back during the war to ease pressure on releasing engines from the yard. By going onto the turntable at the rear of the shed they could move off over the loop line at the back of the shed. War time conditions resulted in increased numbers of engines using the shed facilities and this led to frequent blockages (engines in the wrong position prior to release, for example).

Where the trainspotters are standing on the piece of raised ground on the left was an iron fence which fenced off a cinder path which led from there down to the station. This enabled railwaymen to walk back to the station. I remember running down this cinder path which was hardly wide enough for two men to pass as a kid (I guess I was trespassing). When electrification arrived installing the overhead gantries impinged on this path and instead of scrapping the fencing it seems to have been pushed back to the boundary of the houses and retained. In later years it was either replaced or covered with British Rail standard palisade fencing and on my frequent weekly visits to London always look out to see if I can get a glimpse of that old iron fence still trapped between the modern stuff and the garden walls as I pass by on the train. It brings back so many memories of my train spotting days in the good old days of steam.

The Glebe Road trainspotting viewing point was an all year round location for us as we had the whole galaxy of main line, Leicester line, Coventry line and the loco shed to entertain us, but in the summer we would go out to Ashby Junction and spot there as it was a nice bike ride, and we could see what was going on over the Abbey Street and Ashby lines as well. But there is no doubt this was our favourite place. Another memory is going to the grocers shop on the corner of Wheat Street and King Edward Road and buying a frozen "Jubbly". This was a triangular block of frozen orange juice which you could suck on and it lasted for miles. The problem was after an hour of sucking this orange ice block, your lips and face was liberally smeared with orange juice and this resulted in a good flanelling from our Mams when we got home.

Photograph Alan Cook Collection courtesy of Nuneaton Local History Group.