Malcolm Grant emailed us, after reading the May 2022 edition of Steam Days.
The evocative article (May 2022) by Bruce Laws of an Ipswich Land Transport Society trip to London sheds in April 1963, and the accompanying superb selection of London area shed photos, brought back a myriad of memories from my youthful days when this was a regular event for me at that time.
Some sheds, for instance Top Shed at King’s Cross and at Stratford, were really just too difficult to get into without a permit, whereas others, such as Old Oak Common, seemed not to be overly concerned about ‘trainspotters’ in the shed, and at the time I remember many railwaymen being very supportive, and even shedmasters, if a request was made politely and they were persuaded that you were a careful and responsible person, would sometimes give their permission depending on what was happening in the shed and the potential risks involved.
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Although very difficult to get in for safety reasons without a permit at Stewarts Lane, shed staff seemed to be very helpful in allowing observation from the safety of the access footbridge from a side entrance, which gave wonderful views of not only the shed and its happenings but traffic in and out of Victoria and freight trains passing by the shed, as well as loco-hauled trains in and out of Waterloo. This was also the case at other sheds such as Southall and Hornsey where public railway footbridges gave the same superb views of shed and line movements.
The generosity and kindness of many railway staff was something I remember so well as my lifelong hobby of trains and their operations turned into a career with London Transport, so much of which was engendered through Saturdays enjoying London bus operations and visits to locomotive sheds, stations and many other railway observation points all around London, where of course we were spoilt for choice! Thank you for such an interesting and historical magazine which I always look forward to receiving.