Nostalgic Event At Laindon Station

A Steam Train Passing Through

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)

This morning, Saturday 14th December 2013 at about 8:30, several very keen train spotters assembled on the platform of Laindon Station to watch a rare but awesome sight:  a steam train rumbling along the track on the up line with a cloud of steam billowing from its funnel.    

Cameras began clicking as several photographs were eagerly taken and I attach two of ours to this article. I’m sure these will bring back many fond memories and I look forward to hopefully reading about some of them under ‘comments’.

We've given prints of our photographs to the staff at the station who say they will put them on the wall there.

The last regular steam trains stopped running in 1962 when diesel locomotives took over.

Apparently there's another similar event planned for some time next year.  I must look up the exact date and make a note in my diary.

Photo:A magnificent sight.

A magnificent sight.

Colin Humphrey

Photo:In Laindon Station and heading towards West Horndon.

In Laindon Station and heading towards West Horndon.

Colin Humphrey

This page was added by Nina Humphrey(née Burton) on 15/12/2013.
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Thanks for that Nina, fingers crossed for next year then.

By Andrea Ash (nee Pinnell)
On 18/12/2013

Andrea.   I’ve just checked the “Steam Dreams” website.   www.steamdreams.co.uk  There are two trains leaving from Southend next year.   Saturday 14th June from Southend to York.  Unfortunately only the Peterborough to York part of the journey will be by steam.  So when it goes through Laindon, it will be pulled by a diesel -  a big disappointment.

The other date is Saturday 15th March from Southend to Salisbury.  This ones goes from Southend, through Wickford and Shenfield stations,  however, the Company hasn’t yet confirmed whether it will be by steam or diesel.  I will check the website from time to time for updates.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 18/12/2013

I would loved to have been present so certainly next year I will keep a lookout for advertisements.

By Andrea Ash (nee Pinnell)
On 17/12/2013

If it is of any interest, I would like to enlarge on the diesel contribution to the hybrid service. On other lines such as the GN Main Line , the very large Deltic  locos were more than equal to the steam locos, but unfortunately this was not true of the LT&S.  The smaller of the Brush locos supplied from the Ripple Lane depot could not maintain the timings required for the peak service and were used  off peak where the loss of some minutes did not impede the next trains.  The then Operating Supt. (Mr.Dedman) issued an instruction that if it became absolutely necessary to use them in the peak it would have to be two locos in tandem.

I am sorry for Colin and friends that the train did not stop at Laindon as expected, it would appear that the train crew were not advised of the said arrangements, still the fact that it was routed via the middle road did allow some very good photos which may not have been possible if the train had passed at speed on the up line.

By W.H.Diment
On 17/12/2013

Hi William, First I have to confess to knowing almost nothing about the technicalities of railway operations so I can only report what was said on the morning by the staff.

The ticket office staff told us that the steam train was scheduled to stop at Laindon for about 7 minutes and it would be on platform 2, however as the train approached the station one of the staff who had joined us on the platform pointed out that the light at the far end by the bridge had changed to green, the train therefore passed through Laindon without stopping.  I must admit that this was disappointing because we were all poised to dash down to the halted train to take more pictures. However it was a tremendous thrill to see, smell and hear the engines as they thundered past albeit at a more leisurely pace.

By Colin Humphrey
On 16/12/2013

These are truly wonderful pictures of days gone by and I would ask Colin if the train was actually recessed in the middle platform to allow another train to pass by.  If not, it would seem that it was so routed for the benefit of enthusiasts, as  passage through the middle platform for the up road would involve the train being brought almost completely to a stand as the signal controlling the exit although signal box operated was also track circuit controlled and would not give a green aspect until the train within approx. 10 yards of it, this was necessary due to the very tight S bend on to the up line which could not be negotiated at speed. 

A small point about steam trains being superseded in 1962 by diesel is not strictly accurate, as from 1961 there was a "hybrid" service consisting of steam, diesel and electric trains.  It was on the 18th June 1962 when the service became wholly electrified.   I have an unusual photograph  prior to this of Fenchurch St. station showing a steam  and diesel hauled plus two EMUs, dated November 1961.  Unfortunately, it is copyright protected.         Gone are those happy days of "clickety-clack", cinders in the eyes if one looked out of the windows, lineside fires and waiting on Dunton  bank for the arrival of the fire brigade when the loco ran out of water.

By W.H.Diment
On 15/12/2013