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Report - Exploring by Engine, Liverpool Docks, July 1971

Bovine

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
A while ago I submitted a report about exploring Waterloo Dock Goods Yard with a steam engine. This is the other part of the exploring, which is now forty years ago!
In 1971, a small industrial steam locomotive was restored in the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board's Princes Dock Old Loco Shed. Permission was granted to steam test it, prior to moving it to a preservation society, so on a Saturday morning in July, it was barred outside and steam raised.
Watched by officials, short test runs and adjustments were made, then they departed, leaving us with a deserted chunk of docks. Using the loco, we explored the British Rail Goods Yard, but then decided to go everywhere that we could! All the Dock Railway lines were closed, so there was no fear of meeting another train!
It must be true, cos here are the pics!

t162PrincesDockMDHBMay1971Small.jpg

Raising steam

t161PrincesDockMDHBMay1971Small.jpg

First test run (more atmospheric in B & W)

t47PrincesDock051971Small.jpg

On the dock railway main line

t107PrincesDockShedLpool071971Small.jpg

Changing lines, shed in background

t53PrincesDock071971Small.jpg

The thing in the foreground is an old sand dryer for the engines rail sanding gear, used to get a grip.

t72TesttrackfromPrincesDock071971Small.jpg

Lets have a trip to the Pier Head!

t82Pierhead071971Small.jpg

You can't park that thing there!

t74riversidelinePrincesDock071971Small.jpg

On Princes Dock Swing Bridge, The gangplank of the naval vessel was in our way and the captain only agreed to move it if we gave him a go on the engine, - but he wouldn't let us have a go of his boat!!!

t83PrincesDocklocoShed071971Small.jpg

The Engine Shed, with all the trimmings

t86PrincesDocklocoShed29071971Small.jpg

Before demolition, after the engine had gone.
 

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The Bogieman

28DL Member
28DL Member
#2
Strewth, I was on the footplate firing all day! I'm in a couple of the pics. Only managed to get one photo so to see these after all these years is brilliant. Have often told the story to my wife and kids. There's a lot more to tell... Whist we were running up to Clarence Dock power station and back, HMS Mersey came in and put her gangplank across the rails where we needed to go- across the bridge to where the spare coal was dumped. We slowly drew to a halt by the gangplank and got down and oiled around. After a while, 'scrambled eggs' appeared on deck with a look of astonishment. Next thing he was down on the quay. 'Is my gangway blocking your progress?' 'I'm afraid it is, Sir' 'Pity about that then... (Pause) Tell you what, I'll move my gangplank (pause) if you'll let me have a drive of your engine!' Done!! We got our coal and then proceeded down the track into Riverside Station - the last ever train into there. We then held up traffic on the Dock Road and went across and part way up the tunnel to Edge Hill until Rosie decided we'd give the signalman a heart attack if we went any further. We continued giving friends cabrides for the rest of the day and were just about to drop the fire when one of 'scrambled egg's ratings appeared. 'Scuse me gents, Captain's compliments, would you come aboard for a drink?' We went, with blackened faces and 'scrambled eggs' came up to say we'd fulfilled his childhood dream. There was however something else we could do for him, had we any steam left? Yes, just about and only nutty slack left for the firebox. We ended up running back and forth from HMS Mersey to Princes Dock Entrance for the rest of the evening giving cab rides to VIP's including ladies dressed in their best long frocks... On what a day to remember. Brilliant!!
 

Cuuvin

28DL Colonial Member
28DL Full Member
#4
Tis a pleasure ta see the old machines alive again ! :thumb thanks for the pics and story ! :D
 

dweeb

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
#7
Jeez... what a different place the world was then. I envy you for what you have seen in those days. But I suppose any member on here that's 18 and under feels the same way about the asylums. I guess we all get our fair share of epic in our lifetimes.
 

Coxieboy

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#8
Liverpool waterfront in the 70's I can smell the doughnuts...... not all history is exploring old buildings, nice & different report.
 

skgogosfan

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#9
Thanks for posting - I loved this little history story! The things you could do years ago! :) Try this today and you'd probably need a wad of paperwork and all sorts of permissions,and the HSE would probably still have a fit lol! The docks looked *so* different back then - you wouldn't recognize them today,sadly.

Dave.
 

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