[Source: Nick Catford]

Uxbridge Vine Street Station Gallery 3:
Mid 1950s - July 1962

Uxbridge Vine Street station some time in the mid-1950s. A lady on a platform bench is momentarily distracted from her newspaper by the photographer as an ex-GWR autotrailer stands at the platform but, it would appear, no locomotive is present. The carriage at far left is unidentified but the design of its door and the position of the handrails suggests it is another autotrailer. Track diagrams suggest the siding, left, once extended further but was truncated during the alterations of 1933. The platform with angled corner, once part of the goods facilities, is certainly a later alteration as is the brick hut upon it and the impression is that it has become a fuel facility for road vehicles. To its left stands a British Railways lorry which would have been in the attractive crimson and cream livery, although the actual red shade used is a matter of some debate. The autotrailer at the platform would have been in BR carmine and cream livery; the giveaway being the cream carried down below the windows and windscreens while the carriage on the left was probably still in GWR brown and cream.
Photo from John Mann collection

Collett 6100 Class 2-6-2T, one of the so-called 'Large Prairies', No.6128 stands at the bufferstop at Uxbridge Vine Street when the locomotive was allocated to Slough. The 6100 Class was the mainstay of suburban services out of Paddington until ousted by DMUs and No.6128 had most likely arrived at Uxbridge from Paddington. Class members employed on these services were fitted with tripcocks (the apparatus was mounted between the second and third driving axles) for working over London Transport tracks at Paddington - a movement no longer possible today. The nearest carriage is attracting some attention as the locomotive crew look on. The carriage is a BR Mk1 suburban, introduced in 1954 so this will be the earliest possible year for the photograph while the latest date would be August 1960 when No.6128 was sent to Kidderminster. She returned to the London area, this time at Southall shed, for a brief period late 1964 - early 1965 but this of course was too late for her to put in an appearance at Vine Street. There is another locomotive in this photograph, sharp eyed readers may have spotted. An 0-6-0 Pannier Tank is at the rear of the train, ready to draw the stock out of the platform in order to release No.6128 as no run-round facilities were provided. The exact procedure is not known and would probably have depended upon the time of day; No.6128 may have coupled to the other end of the train and returned along the branch in service or the Pannier may have shunted the stock into a siding for stabling with the two locomotives leaving the branch on goods or parcels trains or light engine.
Photo by BV Holland

Sometime in the later 1950s an ex-GWR diesel railcar in carmine and cream livery arrives at Uxbridge Vine Street. As always, a decent selection of goods vehicles are present while at far right can be seen the end of the wall which once supported the trainshed roof. The trainshed had dated back to broad gauge days and such structures were common features on Brunel's broad gauge network. The railcar is probably No.W27W, one of the batch assembled at Swindon during the Second World War. The railcars were highly successful, when, that is, they were not catching fire, and are sometimes considered the basis from which the BR DMUs of the 1950s were developed. However, 'developed' is arguably as good as it gets as the GWR railcars were structurally and mechanically significantly different to the BR DMUs. There were 38 GWR railcars in total, which included a pair if twin sets (which mostly ran with an ordinary carriage, converted, in between) and two parcels cars. Nos.1 - 17 were the earlier streamlined cars which gave rise to the 'Flying Banana' nickname. No.18 was an experimental one-off, being a streamlined car but fitted with proper buffing a drawgear to allow the hauling of trailers. No.18 was to form the basis of the more angular and arguably better looking Swindon cars such as that depicted here. The angular design was probably the result of wartime constraints although streamlining was a 1930s fad which was quickly outmoded, not least due to more important considerations during wartime and subsequently.
Photo received from Brian Dove

Sometime during the later 1950's ex-GWR diesel railcar No.W27W sits at the bufferstop at Uxbridge Vine Street and, if the reflections are anything to go by, her carmine and cream livery is immaculate. New to traffic on 6 November 1940 as GWR No.27, she was from the batch Nos.19 - 33 which, at least when new, were identical - there otherwise being many variations among the broader railcar fleet. No.33, incidentally, was later rebuilt as a single-ended car to replace one of those from a twin set which had been destroyed by fire. Batch Nos.19 - 33 seated 48 and the interiors were quite spartan although not untypical of most non-First Class stock of the time. Seating, however, was comfortable and leg room was more than adequate, thus compared to much of the rolling stock we have to endure today, with its bus-like interiors, the GWR railcars were comparatively luxurious. During the period 1960 - 1962 the GWR railcars could be seen on the Vine Street branch working turn and turn about with the then new BR single-unit railcars, later Class 121. The same applied to the Staines West branch. Withdrawal of the GWR railcars was a protracted affair. The first to go was fire victim No.9, one of the streamlined cars and new in 1936, which burned out at Heyford on 24 July 1945 and was withdrawn from stock in May 1946. Otherwise withdrawals, including other fire victims, commenced with No.2, new in 1934, which bowed out in February 1954. The final six survivors, all of which were Swindon cars, went in October 1962. Most if not all the late survivors ended up wearing BR DMU green livery, apparently of varying shades (BR was messing around with various shades of green at the time), complete with lining and 'speed whiskers' which although a little drab actually quite suited them. No.W27W was not among the final survivors. She was to bow out in August 1960, still wearing carmine and cream livery. She was recorded as being dumped at Southall, her final shed, in December 1960 with windows smashed and in the company of nine others of which some were withdrawn and others still in service. Fuller details were Nos.W27/8/34W withdrawn and Nos. W21/4/5/30/1W plus twin set W33/8W still in service. The final cars to remain in service until October 1962 were Nos.W20/2/3/4/6/32W. Three have survived into preservation, Nos. W20W, W22W and earlier streamlined car W4W whilst at the time of writing at least two of these wore GWR livery and one of them, No.4, is a static museum exhibit and has not
run since withdrawal in July 1958.
Photo from JE Connor collection

Uxbridge Vine Street station in July 1960, showing the platform canopy which had replaced the dilapidated trainshed in 1932/3. Two of the angled BR totems can be seen on the right with further examples beneath the canopy. On the platform, what appears to be a large pile of mailbags waits on the platform. The short platform on the right was never used by passengers and seems to been used mostly for parcels traffic; in later years one of the Gloucester Motor Parcels Vans could often be seen at the platform. There was a corresponding platform on the left, but this was cut back as part of the 1933 alterations. The remains of it are here hidden by the railcar, which is one of the 1941 cars assembled at Swindon. It is said that this batch of railcars broke away from the streamlined styling of the original design due to wartime constraints but may have as much to do with the fitting of proper buffing and drawgear which was lacking on the streamlined cars with the exception of No.18 which in essence was an experimental one-off which although to the earlier streamlined style (No.18 was built in 1937) did have a slight hint of what was to become the 1941 style about it. With the possible exception of No.1 which was somewhat underpowered having but a single engine, the GWR diesel railcars were highly successful, that is unless they were catching fire - something they had a penchant for doing, and the final examples lasted in service until October 1962. The railcars shared Vine Street duties with the BR-built railcars and it was not uncommon to see a BR single unit crossing an ex-GWR railcar at Cowley. The number of the railcar seen in this view was unrecorded but by knowing the date of the photograph and which railcars were still active at Southall shed at this time it would be one of four; Nos. 21, 27, 30 or 31.
Photo by David Pearson

Goods clerks Winnie Ward and Brian Hicks at the door of the goods inward office after it has been relolcated from the goods shed to the station c1960.
Photo by Charlie Randell

On Saturday 10 February 1962 a Gloucester RC&W Motor Parcels Van (MPV), with van attached, waits at Uxbridge Vine Street. These MPVs, which became Class 128, are described in another image caption so details need not be repeated here. What is worth a mention, however, is the rather peculiar 'double V' on the gangway doors. It is believed some, but not all, of these vehicles received this embellishment which might have had better visual appeal if the waistband lining had not been continued across the doors. These 'Vs' were an early form of warning device and were commonly known as 'speed whiskers'. It is likely the 'double V' arrangement was experimental rather than a change of policy regarding standard livery. Eventually the gangway doors on these MPVs and other units with end gangways were painted yellow and if the rest of the body was still in green the effect was arguably even more unsightly. We are offered, here, a close-up view of a pair of Vine Street's angled totems. Logic says this was done to catch the light from the gas lamps above them but one wonders if, at certain times of the day at certain times of the year, these totems caught the glare of the sun and thus became unreadable. The arrangement might have been practical insofar as the gas lamps were concerned but the aesthetics were rather peculiar.
Photo by Michael Perry

Uxbridge Vine Street goods yard on 23 March 1962 with an unidentified and filthy 0-6-0 Pannier Tank, accoutrements of the fireman's trade on the rear of the bunker, going about its business shunting goods vans and what appears to be a couple of bogie vans of some description. The goods shed stands in the left background while the outer end of the station platform is visible on the right with gas lamp and BR totem, apparently rather lop-sided, also being visible. The space between the locomotive and the wire fencing was once occupied by a siding serving a dock, long since removed by this date.
Photo by Chris Totty

With tail lamp in place and correct headcode displayed, Pressed Steel Co. single-unit diesel railcar No.W55023 waits, apparently in vain, for passengers prior to departing on its short journey to West Drayton. This scene was typical of Vine street during the off peak periods, even way back in Great Western days. The year is 1962, the same year as would witness the end of branch passenger services. Railcar W55023 ended her revenue earning days on Bletchley - Bedford services, on which she survived into the 21st century, and had been repainted into a representation of original livery but with small yellow warning panels and high intensity headlights. She had also by then received circular buffers and carried unit number L123. No.W55023 had also spent time in South Wales and happened to be operating services to Cymmer Afan on the day that line closed in 1970. Otherwise much of her working life was in the London area, mainly based at Reading. She is now in preservation and, at the time of writing, was at the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway.
Photo received from Matt French

Vine Street station forecourt in July 1962, eight weeks before closure to passengers. Two shops are seen on the left, Burr and Gibbons is a coal merchant and Maison Lucena iks a ladies' hairdressor. The housing beyond the station is still standing.
Photo by Chris Totty
A forlorn-looking Uxbridge Vine Street, looking along the platform towards Cowley and West Drayton in July 1962, a few weeks before withdrawal of the branch passenger service. As was the case right up until total closure, goods (and parcels) traffic at Vine Street was quite busy although, coal and mineral traffic aside, many smaller wagons such as those seen here could spend a lot of time idle and when they were in traffic a lot of labour intensive shunting and marshalling was usually required along the way. Thus what may appear to be healthy traffic was not necessarily financially viable, hence Dr Richard Beeching recommended abolition of wagon load traffic in The Reshaping of British Railways aka The Beeching Report. The recommendation took many years to fully implement but it was the final nail in the proverbial coffin for Uxbridge Vine Street. In the distance stands Uxbridge Vine Street signal box, the only one on the branch discounting West Drayton West which controlled the junction, which of course included the Staines West branch, with the main line. The signal box seen here was a 1920 replacement for a smaller 'box which stood on the Up side of the line. Today the dual carriageway Hillingdon Road occupies the site of the goods yard, right, and turns eastwards to cut through the site of the platform just ahead of the camera.
Photo by Chris Totty

Looking north towards Vine Street station from Whitehall Road in July 1962. The Vine Street goods yard was sited on both sides of the line. The goods shed can be seen in the distance on the west side but the yard crane is seen here on the east side. According to the RCH Handbook Uxbridge had a 3-ton capacity crane but by the 1950s this had been upgraded to a 5-ton capacity crane.
Photo by Chris Totty

Click here for Uxbridge Vine Street Station Gallery 4:
July 1962 - Last Day




[Source: Nick Catford]

Last updated: Monday, 08-Jul-2024 11:39:06 CEST
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