Power To The People

Coal fired power generating stations are out of favour in the 21st century, but in post-war years the UK's nationalised British Electricity Authority, later the Central Electricity Authority, then the Central Electricity Generating Board, was still building them. Being coal fired, they often used steam locomotives for shunting the extensive sidings laid out for the large amounts of coal traffic from UK collieries, sometimes nearby, sometimes further away, depending on the type of coal available and the fluctuating demands for power through the seasons.


If 'Austerity' 0-6-0ST became standard engines for the National Coal Board, then the Hawthorn Leslie/ Robert Stephenson
 & Hawthorns 0-6-0T type pictured above on 1 July 1967 were common in larger CEGB operations. These two were at the
enormous Hams Hall Generating Station, near Coleshill in Warwickshire, which at one time used no less than eight of these
powerful locos constructed between 1936 and 1955.
Before nationalisation of the power generation industry, the station was owned by City of Birmingham Electricity Services
and some locos carried the initials CBES, as with No.5 the second engine. But the front one had on its sidetanks the legend
'British Electricity Authority No.10 Midlands Division'.  The RSH tanks were painted green with red motion.


Even closer to the city of Birmingham was Nechells Generation Station. Below is RSH 7537/1949 shunting on 14 May 1969.
The locos worked traffic from and to BR exchange sidings at Washwood Heath.



With its extensive reliance on heavy manufacturing industries, the Midlands needed quite a number of Power Generating
Stations. Meaford was near Stone in Staffordshire; it had an 'A' station, first operated in 1948, and 'B' station which came
on stream in 1957. Two RSH 0-6-0T were used, MEA No. 1 7683/1951 and MEA No.2 7745/1952. Below is No.2 at work on a
cold 14 February 1970. Note the carefully applied name on the loco's tank:
'CENTRAL ELECTRICITY GENERATING BOARD MEA No.2 MIDLANDS DIVISION MEAFORD POWER STATION'.
Some of the wagons used were also fully lettered.
The station issued details of its locos which stated: ' The locos work on approximately nine miles of sidings which have
a minimum radius of 175 feet and a maximum gradient of 1 in 70.'
No.2  was sold in the 1970s to a tourist railroad in the USA, where it worked for some years, but is now dismantled and
there seems little liklihood of it ever working again.



It wasn't all RSH 0-6-0T. Back at Hams Hall, earlier locos supplied were these two 0-4-0ST, No 4 being Peckett 1738 of 1928
while No. 3 was Peckett 1736 of 1927, seen outside the loco shed on 1 July 1967. No.3 had been overhauled in the mid-1960s
and emerged in a royal blue livery. Hams Hall also overhauled engines from other Generating Stations - an RSH 0-4-0ST from
Freemans Meadow, Leicester ,was there on 1 July 1967, resplendent in red livery.



Over in the East Midlands was Castle Donington Generating Station, opened in 1958, situated on the banks of the River Trent,
about five miles south-east of Derby. RSH supplied the two steam locos in 1954, this time both were large 0-4-0ST, kept in
immaculate blue livery, and working into the 1980s. The picture above was taken on 7 March 1970.

In contrast to the Midlands' modern generating stations, the one at Stuart Street, Manchester, was originally commissioned
in 1900, though rebuilt in later years. Coal came from a nearby colliery by conveyor with the railway used for ash disposal.
Smaller locos were adequate and,against a background of cooling towers, this is Hudswell, Clarke 0-4-0ST 1672 of 1937,
spare to an RSH 0-4-0ST on 21 February 1970.  The loco came here from new and is nowadays preserved.

Uskmouth 'A' and 'B' power stations were built at Newport, Monmouthshire, in the 1950s and two new Peckett 0-4-0ST were
acquired for shunting. The one seen here on the evening of 14 June 1969  is USKMOUTH 2, Peckett 2148/1952. There was
another power station in Newport, used at peak times only by 1969,  which had one steam loco, a Hawthorn, Leslie 0-4-0ST.
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