Morecambe Bay Stay

Along with some mates I spent a week in early September 1967 staying in a BR Camping Coach located  in former goods yard sidings at Hest Bank station on the West Coast Main Line and junction for the branch to Morecambe, with views of the adjacent Morecambe Bay.

Camping coaches at Hest Bank, one of which  was our home for a week in September 1967. A great location for railway enthusiasts plus a chip shop across the tracks!

BR's charges for use of these coaches were designed to require groups of people to travel by train to the stations where they were situated and they were also encouraged to make use of the railway to travel around the area during their holiday. Which being railway enthusiasts, we were quite happy to do. On our journey from Cheltenham on Saturday 2 September, we had one steam-hauled section, using the 10.55 Euston – Barrow between Preston and Lancaster, headed by 'Black Five' 44917.

There was plenty of steam activity at Hest Bank, mainly on freight and parcels workings, but with one or two express passengers still rostered for steam. We had settled into our Camping Coach in time to see the 13.20 Euston – Glasgow express roar past with 'Britannia' 70025 'Western Star' – it was the final working of this Summer Saturday only train and said to be the last scheduled non-stop steam run between Crewe and Carlisle, so well worth seeing.

A highlight during the week, on Monday 4 September, was the sight and sound of doubleheaded 'Black Fives' - 45345 and 45052 -  on the 17.45 Manchester and Liverpool - Glasgow express. It was normally a class 40 diesel which headed the combined parts – the one it brought from Liverpool, and one steam-worked from Manchester – northwards from Preston. Presumably on this occasion both parts had been steam. Being taken unawares, sadly I didn't get a picture.

An indication of the steam activity is shown by Monday 4 September, between 08.00 and 15.00 -  there were 19 steam freights; 3 parcels; 1 passenger; 12 light engines, probably mainly to and from Carnforth shed.  These included a good number of workings on the Morecambe branch. Loco types were: Black Fives; Stanier 8Fs; BR 9F; BR 75XXX; BR Britannias.  (On another day, there was a lone BR 73XXX.)

We used our Rover tickets to get around the north-west, visiting places between Manchester and Carlisle, including a trip on the Settle & Carlisle and along the coast line to Workington. 

There was a morning Barrow – Euston express which was steam as far as Lancaster, a 'Britannia' on the Monday and Tuesday. We decided to get up early on the Wednesday and catch a DMU to Ulverston in order to return on this working to Carnforth. And it was….well, not a 'Britannia', but 'Black Five 45295 with the usual six coach load. However  the loco got shifting - 33 minutes late off Ulverston, we arrived at Carnforth 26 late.

A memorable incident comes to mind– we had been out and about using our Rail Rover tickets, and caught the last train of the evening back from Preston. Now we knew this didn't stop at Hest Bank and we would have to travel through to Carnforth, then return by taxi to our Camping Coach. As one of our party was on crutches, we thought it worth trying to get the crew of the DMU to stop specially at Hest Bank to let us off. So we had a word with the guard, who said we should talk to the driver. We did and he said he couldn't stop, but would slow down sufficiently for us to jump off…. Which he did and we did, crutches and all, onto a platform in the midnight darkness!

70025 'Western Star' passes our siding at Hest Bank with the 13.20 Euston - Glasgow. Carlisle Kingmoor shed had pretty well
all the remaining 'Britannias' in September 1967 and they were on a number of workings during our week here.   
The previous Saturday, I had been on a separate trip and photographed this train ascending Shap bank with 'Black Five' 44711 on
10 coaches, banked by BR Standard 75039.

'Black Five' 45219 handles a Leeds - Morecambe parcels train through Hest Bank on 2 September, shortly to branch off the
West Coast main line for its destination. 45219 was a 55A Leeds Holbeck engine; the shed officially closed to steam at the
end of September and 45219 was withdrawn from service.

'Britannia' Pacific 70014 'Iron Duke' speeds through Hest Bank with a southbound parcels working on 4 September.

On 4 September another 'Black Five'  44993 heads towards Hest Bank station on one of the many freights which were still
steam-hauled at the time.

The 08.35 Barrow - Euston at Carnforth on 6 September 1967 with 'Black Five' 45295. We travelled on this from Ulverston,
were perhaps unlucky not to get a 'Britannia'.

On a day out from Hest Bank on 7 September 1967, we went to Workington and visited the shed, code 12D.
Dead locos on the left: 46452; 92093; 43002. In steam are 43008 and 43017, the latter familiar to us when it was at 21A Saltley.

On the Tuesday of our Hest Bank holiday, we went for a trip over the Settle & Carlisle line from Skipton. At the latter, we were
pleased to see 'Jubilee' 45593 'Kolhapur'
- one of only two 'Jubs' still in traffic - come in on a long train of,mainly, ore empties.
Less than two weeks previously, I saw it on the S & C with a summer Saturday passenger - see below. 
45593 was withdrawn at the end of September from 55A Leeds Holbeck.

More information about Hest Bank railway station is at

We had been in the area a  week before our stay at Hest Bank and here are three pics from that trip.

A brief look in at Preston Docks found one of its Bagnall 0-6-0ST shunting some coal wagons.
Before a trip earlier in 1967 I didn't even know that Preston had a docks, let alone that it had a fleet of steam locos
for shunting!

A poor picture, but I don't have many 'real' BR steam pics. This is Black Five 44711 powering up Shap Wells on the West Coast
main line on 26 August 1967 with Standard 4 75039 banking. The train is the 13.20 Euston - Glasgow which we photographed the
following Saturday at Hest Bank with 'Britannia' 70025.

Meanwhile on the Settle & Carlisle line the same day, the main attractions were Leeds Holbeck's 'Jubilees' on summer Saturday expresses. Below is 45593 'Kolhapur' at Appleby about to pass over the Eden Valley line from Penrith to Darlington. Classmate 45562 'Alberta' was seen earlier at Ribblehead viaduct on the 6.40am Birmingham - Glasgow.