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14-May-2010, 06:40 PM
Post: #1
Former Steam Engine Depot enters the Internet era
Website goes on-line 40 years after the closure of Lostock Hall loco-sheds

When it comes to 'reunions', the former L&Y Lostock Hall Motive Power Depot and the men who worked there surely must qualify for a place somewhere in the ‘Guinness Book of Records’!

It is certainly a fact that, not only does the now-closed and long-demolished steam shed possess (arguably) the finest and most comprehensive website of its kind anywhere on the internet, but also that many of the former men of both Lostock Hall and Preston depots must surely now be involved in perhaps the most frequently occurring of all ‘post-steam’ meet-ups and regular reunions between former work colleagues!

The fact that such events still occur at all, is the clearest possible indication of that brotherly spirit developed in particular by railwaymen, following years of unstinting service together, that had been rendered to the Railway. Along with old-fashioned skills, craftsmanship, loyalty and camaraderie between fellow workmen, efficient locomotive performance and consistently reliable steam motive power was produced, often in almost impossible situations. This had developed to form part of an unbroken tradition going back a century and more, but which had vanished forever when steam was replaced by an eternal quest for bland, boring, cost-saving efficiency.

Many of the surviving former employees of Lostock Hall Motive Power Depot are determined never to forget such times and all the friends that they made along the way! In response to numerous suggestions and following on from the landmark ‘40th Anniversary of the End of Steam Commemorations’ of 2008 – at which Lostock Hall was never far from ‘centre-stage’ and which created considerable local interest – the decision was made to set up a website to cater for all aspects of the shed itself.

The ultimate intention of is to provide a medium through which both former footplatemen and enthusiasts alike can indulge in their reminiscences and sheer nostalgia. The various pages already include details of the locomotives allocated to, and visiting, the depot down the years, these accompanied by many maps, diagrams and hundreds of photographs.

Nevertheless, by no means is this merely a site consisting of a collection of steam engine pictures, for the prime intent is to ensure that the human aspect assumes equal importance. Available on-line, there is already a complete staff register, as well as details of the footplate links and pictures of many of the personalities who worked at the shed down the years … these accompanied by not a few tales that, after so long, can now quite safely be told and with no chance of recriminations!

Support and encouragement from the professional railwaymen themselves is most evident in the contributions that have already materialised from a large number of actual former footplatemen and other shed staff – this clearly indicating the level of interest actually being shown in the project.

Nevertheless, the site is only in its infancy and clearly still lacks much historical information and photographs to fully document the complete story of the shed’s 86 years of life. Therefore, through the Leyland Forum, an appeal is now being made for donations or the loan of additional material.

Pre-grouping (pre-1922) and pre-nationalisation (pre-1948) items are particularly scarce, as are official locomotive diagrams and interesting anecdotes and reminiscences. Hopefully, the intention is to collate together all such material with the ultimate aim of producing a definitive history of Lostock Hall MPD, the publication of this perhaps eventually being planned to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the End of Steam.

Anyone who can assist in any way whatsoever is invited to contact the site by e-mail at alan(at), or to write to Mr. A.G. Castle, 2 Alderley Drive, Bredbury, Stockport, Cheshire, SK6 2PN. (Naturally, all loaned material will be returned immediately after copying.)

Likewise, any former railwayman who would wish to renew old acquaintances with former colleagues by attending any of the regular gatherings in Preston is invited to contact the website for full details, c/o the above e-mail address.

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14-May-2010, 11:44 PM
Post: #2
I will add this site to our links section.

Martin ~
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18-May-2010, 05:33 PM
Post: #3
What a turn up of the books, We moved from Wigan to Farington in 1935 when my father Tom was promoted to Driver at the Sheds, as a youngster I often went with him and cadged a ride on his footplate. The fact that he was a Loco driver enable me to cadge lifts on the parcel trains when going home on leave during the war.
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19-May-2010, 03:03 AM
Post: #4
Great website. Really good photos.
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31-May-2010, 06:44 AM
Post: #5
Really interesting site but i wonder whether anyone can help me. i used to live on Mayfield Ave ,off Todd lane South and our house backed on to quite extensive sheds. In fact I walked to school along the ginnel by these sheds but I am not sure that they are the main sheds referred to on the site. My geography of the area is getting very Hazy. I looked out on a signal box from my bedroom window. Sandy
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31-May-2010, 09:42 AM
Post: #6
Sandy, If you go towards the end of Croston Road (at the Pleasant Retreat/ Tardy Gate end) you could see the sheds and the great coal hopper behind the Railway Pub on the right hand side of the road. I well remember that when the hopper was demolished, every beam and girder was inches thick in coal dust and people in the vicinity were pre-warned not to hang out any washing that day.

As for the web site, I think it`s brilliant. I have been searching for an ex-neighbour`s name (Bob Barker), who was a driver there. His claim to fame was having driven HALF of the very last steam train operated by British Rail. This passenger train arrived from Euston and was split into two sections at Preston. One half went to Manchester and the other to Blackpool(I think).

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31-May-2010, 10:11 AM
Post: #7
Thanks Jim. I have fond memories of the steam trains. Me and me mate used to go to church in Preston every sunday morning via the train at Todd lane North station. The soot was awful but we used to stick our necks out the window and then get to church with smut all over us.Great fun. Did I mention that I only went to church for the choirboys!!!!! oops.. sandy
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31-May-2010, 09:29 PM
Post: #8
Sandy, Jim has decribed to you the sheds by the railway bridges where I used to go to order my coal- my grandfather started work as an engine cleaner in 1915 at Lostock Hall-later progressed to Engine Driver in the thirties. A large percentage of men in Lostock Hall worked on the railways.
I can't recall many details about where he drove the train to but I think it was Lancaster/ Carnforth. I used to watch his train go under the 'Moss' Bridge with its signal box on Todd Lane South waved to him on one side of the bridge then ran across to wave from the other.
Must admit I never called it Moss Bridge.
During the war I remember the knocker upper with his long pole caoming to wake him up for work and he used to bring back rabbits for my grandma as the crew set traps along the railway banks.
As for the sidings which you would have looked out at some of my family worked there before and after the war.
I walked to school down the 'stone steps' from Todd Lane along the narrow path to Moss Lane and would have passed Mayfield Avenue thousands of times.
The steps are still there -very worn -but the sheds are gone.
Gives me goose pimples now- I used to run home at dinner time while the air raid alarm was tested and try and get there before it stopped.
Cheers [Smile]
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01-Jun-2010, 02:21 AM
Post: #9
My neighbour who hails from Lostock hall was a fireman based at the sheds he finished work at motors 20 years ago so imagine it would be in the late 60's he has told me some stories but he's 60 now and like us all the memory is going
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01-Jun-2010, 07:11 AM
Post: #10
Oh Lynne. I do so remeMber the stone steps. Out house was virtually backed onto the end of them. It makes me laugh to think about the knocker-upper, because that was a phrase we still used as kids at school in Lostock -got Mum to knock me up at 8.oo for school. And when I came to Nz and casually asked a friend to knock me up at a certain time- well !!! they were shocked because nowadays it means something quite untowards shall I say. Funny how meanings of words change over time. Sandy
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