Local locos

 Fowler 2-6-4 tanks based in the south Manchester area, with approximate dates. 'W' indicates that  the loco was withdrawn while at that depot.  Corrections and comments are welcome.




42304 1953-6 / 59-60

42318 1955-57

42320 1958-53

42322 1948-59

42348 1957

42350 1948-58

42351 1948-57

42360 1958

42363 1961

42365 1957-58

42369 1958-60

42380 1956-60

42391 1953-56

42395 1948-59

42396 1948-62

42397 1948-57

42398 1948-60

42399 1948-60 W

42400 1958

42401 1948-63

42402 1948-62 W

42416 1958-60



Trafford Park


42326 1958

42327 1965 W

42328 1960-61 W

42333 1960/61

42334 1965 W

42339 1960/61

42343 1965 W

42361 1960-61

42374 1965

42419 1956-60

42423 1955-56


Stockport Edgeley


42313 1963 W

42316 1958-63

42322 1959-60

42327 1963-64

42332 1948-56

42337 1960-63 W

42343 1957-65

42348 1961

42352 1948-53

42353 1958-57

42354 1948-59

42357 1958-61/63

42369 1963-64

42372 1959-62

42374 1963-65

42379 1960-61

42381 1961

42391 1956-62

42401 1963 W

42415 1959-60

42424 1963-64 W




42306 1946-62 W

42308 1955-56

42314 1961-62 W

42315 1946-61

42318 1948-50

42344 1954-56

42365 1948-57

42366 1948-56

42367 1948-56

42368 1948-57

42370 1948-62

42371 1948-62

42379 1960-63

42391 1962-63 W





42305 1948-59

42318 1952-53/58-61

42318 1948-55/57-58

42323 1948-50

42340 1960

42347 1959-61

42348 1957-61

42349 1948

42355 1948-61

42356 1948-58

42357 1948-58

42362 1958

42363 1950-61

42369 1948-58

42384 1948-61

42397 1958-59

42423 1957-58



For locomotive histories, we have used the marvellous 'BR Database' website, The allocation history of the whole class from 1948 is at this link:


The Fowler 2-6-4T on Wikipedia :


Further reading:


The parallel boiler, 2-6-4 tank engines. by David Hunt, Bob Essery and Fred James  
Didcot. Wild Swan, c2002 . 63 pp.  LMS Locomotive Profiles, No.3


Motive Power at Buxton Shed durinq the latter years , by David Young. Available on this website:



 A dozen Fowler 2-6-4T views

 From the MLS photographic archive. Compiled and annotated by Charlie Hulme.


 From their appearance in the 1920s, the 2-6-4 tank locos designed under Henry Fowler's regime at the London Midland and Scottish Railway were the passenger workhorses of the local services on that company's lines and continued to serve under British Railways until withdrawn from service as the diesel railcars began to take over from the late 1950s. In 1929 seven of them, 2365 to 2371, were delivered brand-new to Buxton Motive Power Depot, later to be joined by 2381. In 1942. 2379 was replaced at Buxton by 2306. British Railways, which took over in 1948, added a '4' to the front of the numbers.

Our first picture, taken by Brian Green on 9th May 1952, shows 42368 departing from Manchester London Road (now Piccadilly) with a train to Buxton, unusually formed of just three coaches. The cover over the signalbox was added to deflect falling bombs during World War II. The loco carries the  code '9D' on the smokebox, indicating its allocation to Buxton.


 42368 again, this time in September 1954 blowing off steam from its safety valves while heading from Buxton towards Manchester down the 1 in 60 gradient between Disley and Middlewood (Lower.) The first coach of the train is a corridor vehicle in the British Railways carmine and cream express train livery, never a common sight on this route.  The loco stayed at Buxton shed until the coming of the diesel railcars to the Buxton line in 1957, when it was transferred away, seeing service from a variety of other sheds, including a brief stint at Stockport Edgeley, before finally being sent to the scrap man in 1965.
The underpass seen below the train carries a farm track which is also a public footpath, now part of the Ladybrook Valley Interest Trail which runs from Cheadle to Lyme Park. Picture by 'N.K.H.'


On 21st May 1949 sister loco 42367 was on the Midland section working a Chinley to Buxton (Midland) service. It had yet to receive British Railways branding, still carrying the initials of the LMS which had ceased to exist on 1 January 1948, and its LMS number 2367, which it retained until March 1950. Built at Derby Works in 1929, it stayed at Buxton until 1956 and was scrapped in 1962.

The train has just departed from Chinley; at the time there were four tracks as far as Chinley North Junction. Again we see the safety valves doing their work, as the firemen will have built up the fire for the climbing ahead. The bridge seen in the background carries a public path which is the access  to White Knowle farm, while the photographer was on another bridge to the east which the Railway had been obliged to provide simply to connect two parts of a field.


 42366, seen in the unusual location of Bangor Motive Power Depot on the occasion of the Carnarvonshire Rail Tour organised by the Manchester Locomotive Society and the Stephenson Locomotive Society on 5th May 1957. The train visited some interesting minor lines in the Bangor area, including the Bethesda branch on which it was assisted by 42356, seen behind. 42366 is taking water: the fireman can be seen standing on the tank top steadying the arm of the water crane.

42366 had been been transferred in 1956 to Stoke shed, whose code (5D) it carries on the smokebox door. It has received the then-new second version of the British Railways 'heraldic device, whereas 42356 retains the original 'unicycling lion' version.On the horizon, the modernist architecture of the Technical College catches the eye. The lattice footbridge leading to the station, and all the tracks in the picture,  have since been removed, but the actual loco shed building, off the picture to the right still exists in industrial use.


 In its last days as a Buxton engine, on 6th October 1956, 42366 climbs past Norbury  level crossing with a typical five-coach train on non-corridor coaches from Manchester to Buxton. The crossing-keeper's cottage provided by the Stockport, Disley and Whaley Bridge Railway Company was still in use at that time, but has since been demolished and the crossing-keepers travel to work.42366 ended its days at Chester depot from which it was withdrawn in 1964.


 Godley Junction on 23rd June 1951, with 42363 of Macclesfield shed on a very short goods train including a van which must have had a leaky roof as it has been covered by a tarpaulin. Some way from the village of Godley, this place was important for freight traffic as it lay  on the Great Central's Manchester Sheffield main line via the Woodhead Tunnel, at the point where trains from Yorkshire could branch off to travel via Apethorne Junction and Bredbury Junction to Stockport Tiviot Dale and on to Warrington. Sidings were provided here for the interchange of traffic between the two routes.
In 1951, electrification of the Woodhead route was under way: the gantries which would later carry the 1500 volt overhead lines can be seen in the photograph. Godley Junction would later become much-visited by enthusiasts, being the place where electric locos on westbound coal trains would be replaced by steam (and later, diesel) power. Alongside the station, the factory of Thomas Wall & Sons, makers of meat pies and sausages, which is still in business under different management and in new buildings. The line to Apethorne Junction became redundant when the Woodhead line was closed beyond Hadfield in the 1980s, and the station was replaced by a new one called Godley, near to the village. The original station, renamed Godley East, survived for a while, served by one train per week. Today there are few reminders of its existence.


 A favourite spot for photographers, Chinley North Junction with its array of signals. Hotographer J. Davenport had the advantage of the view from the signalbox when he  photographed 42306 hauling a Manchester Central Buxton (Midland) 'businessmen's train' sometime in the early 1950s. The carriages are a matching set of later-period  LMS- corridor vehicles, still wearing LMS Maroon livery.Behind is the hamlet of New Smithy, and in the background the lower slopes of the Kinder Scout massif.



It was a wet and miserable evening at Stockport Tiviot Dale station on 9th May 1962 when Gordon Coltas photographed 42306 on the 6.45pm Manchester Central to Sheffield Midland train. The unusual arched footbridge makes pictures of this station easy to identify. 42306 was one of three 2-6-4Ts retained at Buxton for these Midland line services after the diesel railcars took over most trains on the  Manchester Buxton ex-LNWR line; the others were 42370 and 42371.

Tiviot Dale station closed to passengers in 1967, and the buildings were demolished, but goods trains, especially those carrying coal from Yorkshire,  continued to run this way years afterwards, although the closure of the Woodhead line in 1981 reduced  its usefulness. The section through Stockport closed in 1980, supposedly temporarily during construction of the adjacent motorway, but when the works caused damage to the tunnel west of the station, British Rail were persuaded to abandon it west of a stone terminal at Portwood. By 2014, virtually everything in this picture has vanished, and it is hard to discern where the station stood.


 42306 again, in the more rural surroundings of Millers Dale Junction on 17th August 1959, taking the branch line towards Buxton (Midland). The branch has a straighter alignment than the main line to Manchester Central which curves off in the background, as the main line was intended by its promoters in the 1850s to run via Buxton.

The Buxton to Miller's Dale shuttle service was generally in the hands of diesel railcars by 1959, but a locomotive was needed to collect the through coach from London to Buxton which was detached at Miller's Dale. The through coach, the second in the train, was one of the BR Mk 1 Brake Corridor Composites especially built for just this kind of service. The 'BCK' was complete train in one coach, with a guard/parcels section, two first class compartments and three second class.  I recall travelling this way on a summer Saturday holiday journey in 1961: all 18 second class seats were occupied and we were compelled to travel in the non-corridor vehicle and change at Miller's Dale.42306, built in 1928,was withdrawn from Buxton shed at the end of 1962, after through working of London coaches ceased, despite having completed an overhaul at Derby the previous year.


42379 of Stockport Edgeley shed (9B) calls at Burnage on the Styal loop line with a local service from Manchester towards Wilmslow in 1960. 42379 spent a year and half based at Stockport before being moved to Tebay, Buxton and finally Newton Heath before withdrawal in 1964.

Burnage station, which was amid open fields when opened in 1910, a year after the Styal line itself, was by this time surrounded by inter-war housing estates. Perched on an embankment, it never had goods facilities, and the original station was a basic wooden affair. Like many other stations in the area it was rebuilt as part of the Manchester Crewe electrification scheme, the buildings being made using the CLASP industrial building system. The cement mixer on the platform hints that work  is not quite complete.

The overhead electrification seems to be complete: perhaps this steam train was running during weekend engineering work. Picture by Alan Gilbert.


 Gordon Coltas photographed 42391 at Reddish South station on 22nd May 1962. The relatively late date and the short train suggest that the railcar set allocated to the Stockport Stalybridge shuttle service  has become unavailable and a 'scratch set' with one of the station pilot locos has been assembled at Stockport to take over. I recall a similar occasion some years later, around 1966, when I was on Stockport Edgeley station watching trains and  a 'Black 5' 4-6-0 appeared with two coaches; I rushed to get a ticket and made the return journey to Stalybridge. Thinking back, this may have been my last journey behind steam on a BR main line service train.

The picture is full of interest. The station lay on a four-track line and once had two island platforms, but by this time only the one on the slow lines was in service, and looking a little neglected, but the wishing well in the station garden looks in good order. To the right is the works of the Standard Railway Wagon Company, established here in 1933. In 2014 there is just a single track the one on which the Stockport-bound train is pictured - no buildings, and one passenger train per week. Yet the station has a very active Friends Group.

42391 was allocated to Stockport Edgeley (9B) at the time, but very soon afterwards was transferred to Buxton from where it was withdrawn from service in March 1963.


 An oddity to finish with. 42349 at Manchester Central station with a set of suburban coaches which appear to have come into contact with another train. The picture is undated, but must date from the period that the loco was allocated to Brunswick shed, Liverpool between 1953 and 1959.

The third coach in the picture looks derailed, so the mishap must surely have occurred in the station area, but there seem to be no reports in the local press matching the circumstances. Any information will be welcome.

Last update September 12th 2014. Comments welcome: