Saffron Walden Station Gallery 2: c1930s - July 1956

Saffron Walden engine shed c1930s. The tank to the right of the shed fed the two water cranes. One is seen on the left, the other is at the east end of the platform.
Copyright photo from Tony Harden collection

G4 8105 is seen alongside the water crane on the shed road in June 1936. This class of locomotive operated services on the branch in the 1930s. With just two years service left 8105 was built to a design by James Holden for the GER and classed as S44. This 0-4-4T was built at Stratford works in January 1899, entering service carrying the number 1105 and along with the rest of its class, passed to the LNER in 1923, where it received the number 8105 and reclassified G4. Withdrawal of the class started in 1929 with 8133 but 8105 lasted until 1938, one of the last three locos to be
withdrawn, the final one a year later.
Copyright photo by HC Casserley

Saffron Walden station looking south-east from Dixie's siding in June 1936 as two coaches wait for the return of their engine which is in the process of 'running round'. The goods shed is seen to the rear.
Copyright photo from Tony Harden collection

A view from South Road bridge,looking towards Ashdon and Bartlow. On the right the 40ft turntable, engine shed and water tower can be seen, while beyond these structures is the coaling stage and water crane. The coaling stage had fallen into disuse, with the usual coaling procedure being direct from wagons. The running line is that on the left. Three Class C12 4-4-2T locomotives are visible, the bunker of the third can just be seen inside the shed. It is somewhat unusual to see three locomotives at Saffron Walden but it might be due to extra wartime traffic, this view dating from 3 August 1941. Normally Saffron Walden shed had only two diagrams. The locomotive in the foreground is LNER No.4509 and this number was carried between October 1926 and May 1946. Two brakevans are seen behind 4509; the first cannot be positively identified but the second is an LNER 20 ton vehicle to Diagram 61. Introduced in 1929, the type went on to become the standard 4-wheel 20 ton brakevan of British Railways. The steps on the right were for staff access. Quite why wagons are spaced out on the long siding is unclear but it might be because wagon sorting is in progress; not immediately obvious is that the points beneath the second brakevan are set for the shed access road so shunting is obviously ongoing. The sidings seen here were single ended, so shunting of coal wagons could be a complicated procedure. The device towards bottom left of the image is a shunt signal and in the left background the post can be seen, but not the arm, of Saffron Walden's up home signal. No.4509 was to be allocated to Cambridge (which shed out stationed locomotives at Saffron Walden) on several occasions and ultimately became BR No.67367. She was among the final survivors of the class, ending up at Grantham shed from where she was withdrawn in August 1958.
Photo from Mike Morant collection

Class C12 LNER No.7385 is seen leaving Saffron Walden yard with a freight service for Cambridge, probably in early 1948. This 4-4-2T was built for the Great Northern Railway to an Ivatt design in December 1903 at Doncaster works with the number 1534. It was renumbered first 4534, then 7385 by the LNER finally receiving the ‘6’ prefix after nationalisation, although in this view it has yet to be renumbered. At this time it was allocated to Cambridge shed (31A). Like its sister, No.67375, this locomotive was transferred from Cambridge to March and then Bury St Edmunds. It, too, was withdrawn in April 1955 and cut up at Doncaster works. None of this class has
survived into preservation.

Photo by WA Camwell

An Audley End service awaits departure at Saffron Walden in 1949 hauled by C12 4-4-2T No.67375. The C12s were GNR locomotives originally intended for London suburban work but later mainly associated with Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire. Originally fitted with condensing apparatus, No.67375 was one of three sent back south to Cambridge for the Saffron Walden branch (Cambridge later received further examples) in 1948. At Saffron Walden, above, No.67375 displays the early and interim British Railways livery but still has its previous depot, Louth, on the bufferbeam. The locomotive was to remain like this for quite some time before 'Louth' was replaced with 'Cambridge' and bufferbeam depot names were ultimately replaced with smokebox shedplates. The train seen above is not a push-pull set, these not appearing on the branch until 1951 when the Palace Gates cast-offs were sent to Cambridge. The second carriage is the well-known clerestory vehicle E63525, described elsewhere, which remained on the branch until 1951 and is thought to have survived until 1952. Following the arrival of push-pull trains and the G5s in 1951, No.67375 was transferred away from Cambridge initially to March and then Bury St Edmunds from which shed it became a familiar sight on the Bury St Edmunds - Long Melford service. She survived until April 1955. While on the Saffron Walden branch, for some reason, but probably mere coincidence, No.67375 was the most photographed of the three class members which worked the line. The up starter signal, seen above, was on a short post for sighting reasons. No doubt its operation was of some fascination to young boys who could view it at close quarters on the platform. The small building adjacent to the signal box was the stationmaster's office. The advertisement on the right advises onlookers to purchase Veno's cough mixture - a product still available today. The correct spelling of the name is Veno's, with the apostrophe. Curiously it is, and always was, often misspelled without the apostrophe and either spelling could appear on printed and enamel advertisements.
Photo by WA Camwell

Saffron Walden station frontage in October 1954, looking towards Bartlow. Some British Railways noticeboards are prominent and that on the left appears to be displaying a timetable. The angle of this view is misleading; the building on the right with the conical roof protrusions was on the opposite side of the tracks to the station building. The building is a malthouse and the protrusions are the kilns with cowls on top to aid ventilation. In the left background bridge No.2117, South Road can be seen. It still stands at the time of writing and is identified as 'AEB 2117', meaning Audley End to Bartlow, bridge 2117. For many years Eastern Counties bus service 112 from Cambridge terminated outside Saffron Walden station and continued to do so long after the station closed. The reason was simply a way of turning the buses ready for their return journey, buses having 'gone round the block' after unloading in the High Street.
Photo from DK Jones collection

Saffron Walden station on 2 October 1954. At this time, the service was operated by the Class G5 0-4-4Ts and the original, to the branch, push-and-pull sets. On the extreme right is Foundry Siding and on the extreme left part of the dock can be seen, which also served the cattle pens. South Road bridge can be seen beyond the station. The Saxby & Farmer 32-lever signal box was the only one on the branch, those at Bartlow and Audley End being junction boxes and not responsible solely for the branch. Saffron Walden box and the signal on the end of the platform were sensibly designed to provide good sighting both for signalmen and train crew. It should be remembered that train guards are also required to check signals and cannot give the 'right away' to drivers until the applicable signal is 'off'. Illumination of the railway at Saffron Walden was a strange affair. Originally gas lit and supplied by Saffron Walden gasworks on Thaxted Road, in the 1930s the LNER installed electric lighting but apparently only within the station building and one lamp towards the Bartlow end of the platform. The remainder was to stay gas lit to the end. It is known that at least one fluorescent lamp casement of the type widely introduced by BR in the 1950s and bearing station names (see Audley End) was produced for Saffron Walden. This is thought to have been produced in error and confusion in some far away BR office over the odd mix of gas and electric lighting at Saffron Walden may explain why.
Photo from DK Jones collection

An unusually quiet Saffron Walden station looking towards Audley End in May 1956. The goods shed doors are closed and the platform is deserted so perhaps it was a Sunday. The high service frequency of the Audley End - Saffron Walden section on weekdays meant there was always some sort of activity. One BR totem is visible, on the wall between the noticeboards, but the GER running-in board is still present. The photographer is standing on what was known as either Foundry Siding or Bell Siding, usually the former. The origin of the 'Bell Siding' name is obscure; Saffron Walden did once have a bell foundry, Graye's, but that was centuries before the railway existed. Foundry Siding was, with the arrival of the diesels, the usual home for the out-stationed Cambridge diesel shunter between duties. Directly ahead but partly out of view was Dixie's Siding. The points on the right are interlocked with the signalling, hence the shunt signal between the tracks, while the points on the left are operated by the simple lever seen ahead of the shunt signal. Barnard Brothers granary is on the left'.
Copyright photo by RM Casserley

A push-and-pull service from Bartlow is seen at Saffron Walden station July 1956. The yard crane with a capacity of 1 ton 10 cwt is seen at the end of the goods dock. Another two-car push-and-pull set is seen in the goods siding.
Copyright photo by HC Casserley

A push-and-pull service for Audley End is awaiting departure from Saffron Walden station in July 1956. The loco is class G5 0-4-4T No.67279. This train was about to enter the siding on the left and its locomotive detached and sent to the engine shed for servicing. The train would be replaced by the second push-and-pull set and locomotive which can be seen waiting just beyond the bridge in the distance; its movement being under the control of a ground signal and, with another train at the platform, protected by the station's down starter signal. Note the gas light on a cast iron standard. Another is seen on the cattle dock with a further one adjacent to the engine shed road. In 1935 the LNER provided electric lighting but only in the station building, the remainder of the station and environs remaining gas lit. The foundry siding is seen opposite the station and the photographer is standing at the start of Dixie's siding.
Copyright photo by HC Casserley

Click here for Saffron Walden Station Gallery 3:
c1950s - April 1961




[Source: Nick Catford & Darren Kitson]

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