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Then and Now

Nine Elms Engine Shed (70A)

During 1967 I made almost weekly trips to Nine Elms shed. It was run down, dirty but huge. I was always surprised at the engine lurking at the back of the shed or at finding a new corner I hadn't discovered.

My first visit in 1967 was on the 11 March as there was a visiting engine being prepared for a rail tour - LNER K4 no. 3442 "Great Marquis". My last was on Sunday 10th September when the last two engines left, on their way to a scrap yard in South Wales.

It is tempting to make this page an album of the many pictures I have, but will focus on views that compare to the site today - plus a few personal favourites.

The Great Marquis
1966 and 1967 saw a number of visitors, brought to the Southern to work a variety of rail tours. KNER K4 class locomotive no. 3442 "The Great Marquis" had been overhauled and restored to LNER livery. In March 1967 it made a rare visit to London. On Sunday 12 March it worked a rail tour from London Victoria to Brighton, Chichester and Southampton. I saw it the day before at Nine Elms when it was being prepared.

The engine was owned by Viscount Garnock and he seemed to have employed his young family as engine cleaners!

Following his death in 1989 the locomotive was bought by John Cameron, the Scottish farmer who also owned the A4 pacific 60009 "Union of South Africa". 3442 continued working on the main line until a couple of years ago. By now it had reverted to it's former BR identity of 61994.

50 years after it's visit to the Southern Region, it's active service was over. Mr. Cameron was retiring and decided to retire his two engines, putting them in a farming and railway museum he is establishing in Fife. Whilst 60009 has a couple of years of life on its boiler certificate, it was the end of the road for "The Great Marquis". It has a crack in the inner firebox and it's boiler certificate has expired.

The pictures show 3442 at Nine Elms plus one at the Great Central Railway in 2011. This was the last time I saw her in steam.

New Covent Garden Market
Nine Elms locomotive shed closed on 9 July 1967 and the last two steam engines left for the scrap yard in September that year. Over the following couple of years the area was raised to the ground and the New Covent Garden Market built on the site. A recent visit enabled me to see how it had changed. The market covers the whole of the site towards Vauxhall station where once the old London & South Western Railway locomotive works were, and lately the Nine Elms South Goods Depot and locomotive shed.

The image here shows the current site with the position of key builds from the steam era overlaid. 

The red line is an approximation of the running line from Nine Elms Junction at the top, past the coaling stage and towards to turntable (bottom left.

The site of the turntable is shown with an oversize circle and today is covered with trees. I have marked out roughly where the running sheds were, based on the study of various maps. On the right is the new shed and on the left, the old one, the area that lost its roof during the Second World War being indicated with the unfilled box.

Just above the turntable is a short yellow line. This indicates the old entrance by Brooklands Passage.

Back in 1966/67 I thought the size of the running shed was large and the associated siding space taking up a great deal of land. In contrast, the current market buildings are huge. Just one of the six market halls is larger than the new shed!



One of the few signs of the old depot is at Brooklands Passage where the main entrance was located.

This shows the wall built where there were the two entry points (well actually, one was the entrance and the other the exit). Parts of the old wall are still there as the picture on the right shows.

Brooklands Road, and the Victorian housing that was there are no longer. That whole site being taken up by Lambeth College and the South Bank University.

This shows the detail of the pedestrian entrance. It's now bricked over but the column where the signs were fixed still remains - even at the same wonky angle. 

Below are a selection of pictures taken in 1967 and on the 10 June 2017 - 50 years later.

The site of the turntable is now covered by a number of trees and behind the car. The flats are still there but hidden behind the trees. A classic view in the 1960s was from the flats looking across the shed. Alas this view is no longer there.

The 1967 pictures show Bulleid Light Pacifics 34087 and 34025 (20 May 1967) and 34004 (10 June 1967). 

The 1967 shot features West Country class no. 34013 "Okehampton" outside the running shed. The 2017 is the same location today.

Both shots were taken on the 10 June - 50 years and an hour or so apart.

Another from the 20 May 1967 and Bulleid engines 34087, 34025 and 34102.

3 July 1966 and Standard Class 3 tank engine no. 82006 simmers in the yard. The grime on the engine hide the fact that it was painted in lined BR green livery. Today the same block of flats are there but it's vans and lorries parked where once there were railway sidings.

34037 arriving on shed on the penultimate day of steam - Saturday 8 July 1967. The large imposing coaling stage was located to the right of the engine.


Published 12 June 2017

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