Sir: I enjoyed the ‘In Colour’ No 215. It brought back memories of two holidays spent in a converted railway carriage on a caravan site opposite and above the sheds at Aberystwyth.
This was in 1961 and ‘62. I, with my brother, went around the loco shed on the Sunday evening and all the locomotives were filthy. The following morning the ‘Manor’ for the ‘Cambrian Coast Express’ was spotless, even with white painted buffer heads. The cleaners must have worked hard that night.
The foreman told us that he was watching us carefully as a few weeks earlier, somebody had stolen the shed plate from one of the ‘Manors’. As there was no vacuum in the smokebox it would not steam. When they realised what the problem was they used a plate off one of the two ‘2251’ 0-6-0s stored at the back of the shed. Unfortunately it was not 89C, it was a different plate from, I think, the Cardigan area. When the station inspector at Shrewsbury saw it, questions were asked!
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In the article Birmingham to Lichfield (page 47), the Sutton Coldfield to Stirling car sleeper is mentioned. In the early 1960s a friend of mine would finish work, in Leicester on a Friday at 4pm, collect his family, drive to Sutton Coldfield and board the sleeper. He said it was cheaper to use it than booking a hotel in the Border Region for the night. He would arrive in Stirling at breakfast time fully refreshed and ready to start his holiday in the Highlands.