Hall Royd Junction Signal Box Nameboard
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Deltic DP1 in transit from Liverpool to Leeds: January 1958

it did happen, but not actually here...

English Electric built a prototype locomotive for type testing by British Railways. This was the famous Deltic or DP1, and was initially deployed on the West Coat main line running from London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street.

Subsequently - and famously - it was tried out on the East Coast and allowed the regional authorities of the day to purchase a fleet of 22 3,300 horse power locomotives which then revolutionised services on the line from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley.

It follows that if DP1 was in Liverpool in January 1959 and was then transferred to York that it would have to use a Trans-Pennine route to make the move. Sadly, although it ran through Manchester Victoria, the selected route was via Standedge, and not Hall Royd, although there is only about 10 miles between the two routes.

The evidence for this is a photograph reproduced in one of the Bellcode Books in Railway Memoroes No. 13 'Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Batley' by Robert Anderson. On page 83 there is a photo of the prototype Deltic having just passed through Longwood Station. The photo shows a train consisting of two vans of spares and consumables, with an LMS brake van at the rear. The caption records that the lco would perform platform clearance tests at Leeds City en-route. 

The Bachmann model sponsored by the National Railway Museum is a stunning item: I missed the first batch but to my great joy a second batch was produced with a slightly weathered version offered.

As always with these things, having bought a stunning model, trying to justify it on a layout with a hopelessly wrong geography is all part of the fun. However, in this case, it could so easily have happened...

 

Deltic DP1 approaches the model Hall Royd Junction in January 1958 enroute from Liverpool to Leeds, with spares and consumables contained in two vans. The train is right, but sadly in real life it went via Standedge...
Deltic DP1 approaches the model Hall Royd Junction in January 1958 enroute from Liverpool to Leeds, with spares and consumables contained in two vans. The train is right, but sadly in real life it went via Standedge...

Of course, from a model railway point of view there is good news... and less good news. The good news is that it is very short and will easily fit in one of the fiddle yard roads normally dedicated to DMUs. Secondly, it models a very unusual train, and gives a solid reason for its appearance in the middle of the Pennines.

The less good bit is that it can only run in one direction (Manchester to Leeds) and really can only appear once per operating session! However as the current set-up has a return loop at the Manchester-Burnley end, we have to turn a blind eye on the positioning move which sees DP1 run from Millwood Tunnel and take the line to Copy Pit...