St Ives, Huntingdonshire, 1954


I found the St Ives article which featured in the June 2022 issue of Steam Days very interesting, especially as the photograph taken at Godmanchester reminded me of an incident told to me by an office boss of which the article author may have much more detail.

A train ran into a platelayers’ trolley on Godmanchester viaduct in the late 1950s. How it got there was a mystery as the local gang insisted the trolley had been left against the headshunt buffer stops rather than lifting it clear of the track.

Eventually the cause was put down as suspected vandalism. The permanent way trolley had a carrying handle in each corner to allow it to be lifted clear of the track and the wheelsets too (like weightlifters dumbells).

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Sometime after the incident there was nearly a repeat when the trolley was again left in front of the buffer stops but was noticed being pulled by an Ivatt 2-6-0 trip working engine along the yard. It was then found the guard irons on the tender were just the right distance apart to jamb tightly between and under the trolley handles trapping it.

The loco crew were unable to see it and it was thought the earlier collision occurred after the trip engine had shunted the trolley onto the running line, stopped sharply fly shunting the trolley onto the viaduct before setting off in the opposite direction light engine!

Dave Somers (by email)

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