A Sunday Diversion       by Ken Millward

With photographs from the John Hilton Collection.

The idea for this short article came to me whilst I was involved with editing the captions for John’s print collection which is in the care of the society.  It’s obvious that John was a prolific photographer around this period and I imagine his job as a signalman with British Railways gave him ‘inside information’ of operations such as this.

The 20th of May 1962 was a Sunday and then, as now, it was the preferred day of the week to carry out essential engineering work on the infrastructure of the railway system.  The main difference however, from the perspective of the travelling public, is that nowadays the default alternative service provision tends to be the infamous ‘bus replacement’ that we have all come to know and love.  Rewind back to 1962 and we can see that this wasn’t necessarily the case then.

On this particular Sunday a line possession was in force between Hyde Junction and Godley Junction on the ex GC route between Manchester and Sheffield. This necessitated diverting traffic via Woodley and Apethorne Junction instead of the direct electrified route through Newton.

(Above) A diagram of the locations featured in the article.

(Above) The first image shows Fairburn tank No 42248 passing through Hyde North station with the 2.40pm Manchester to Leicester service.  It has left the Woodhead route and is now on the diversionary line to Woodley where another locomotive will come onto the rear of the train and continue to Godley Junction via Apethorne.  Hyde North was called Hyde Junction before being re-named in September 1951.  Note the overhead wires of the ex GC route in the background.

(Above) The 2.40pm Manchester to Leicester has now arrived at Godley Junction after reversal at Woodley.  Standard Class 4 No 76087 has been in charge of the train for this short leg.

(Above) 27006 ‘Pandora’ pulls into Godley Junction with a down express from the Woodhead line at the start of its diversion procedure.  Is the gentleman holding the camera familiar to anyone?  Perhaps John Hilton was accompanied by another Society member on this day.  (It turns out that he certainly was, this gentleman is none other than W.A. Camwell, an MLS member at this time). 

(Above) 76087 takes over from 27006 to take the train on to Woodley on the next stage of its journey to Manchester Piccadilly.

(Above) Another locomotive involved in the days activities was this Fairburn tank No 42249.  The scrap metal business in the background identifies the location as Woodley.  Both of the Fairburn tanks  referred to in this article were allocated to Gorton at this time.  Heaton Mersey was the home depot for the Standard Class 4.

My thanks go to John Hilton for granting me permission to use his photographs

Last update December2019. Comments welcome: