Last Saturday, London’s Old Oak Common rail depot opened its doors to the public, offering a close up look of a facility that has been servicing trains since 1906.
A large collection of steam, diesel and electric locomotives were on view, along with merchandise stalls, miniature railway, demonstrations and more.
Here’s some photos from my visit:
A line up of Great Western/Western Region locomotives through the years.
Nicknamed “bubble cars” for some unfathomable reason or another, sixteen Class 121 single-car driving motor vehicles were built from 1960, and these could rattle along at a top speed of 70 mph.
Loco number 14 901 began its BR life as D9524 in December 1964, before being donated to the Scottish Railway Preservation Society at Falkirk in 1981.
Random photographers seemed to spontaneously cluster to capture certain shots, and any poor soul who happened to walk across their field of view could expect to hear much disgruntled tut-tutting.
This is more like it – a Great Western Railway 0-6-0 pannier tank.
Built at Swindon in 1937, this is preserved example of the near-ubiquitous locos that spent their lives working many of the minor branch lines on the former GWR system, particularly the South Wales valleys.
The wonderful LNER Peppercorn Class A1 locomotive Tornado, the first steam engine built in the United Kingdom since Evening Star in 1960.
Built by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, a charitable trust founded in 1990, the engine recently ran at 100mph during trials conducted on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) between Doncaster and Newcastle.
BR Standard Class 7 70013 Oliver Cromwell, which was built at Crewe Works in 30 May 1951.
Built between 1960 and 1965, diesel-electric British Rail Class 37 locomotives can still be seen running on the rail network – they’re known as ‘growlers’ or ‘tractors’ on account of the racket they make. I love ’em!
The beautiful lines of the GWR 6000 Class 6023 King Edward II locomotive.
Built at GWR’s Swindon Works in June 1930, the engine spent most of its working life on express passenger trains to and from Devon to London Paddington before being sent to be scrapped at the Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry Island in 1962.
The engine rusted away there until 1985 when restoration began, and – happily – it finally moved for the first time under its own power in 2010.
The sleek new lines of the latest GWR fleet.
The only surviving example of a GWR 1500 class 0-6-0PT shunting engine, 1501 was built at Swindon by the Western Region of British Railways in 1949.
Snapping the locos.
There was plenty of stalls selling all sorts of railway-related merchandise.
The queues for the food stalls were immense.
I felt sorry for this solo performer who sang in front of just one spectator.
Mind you, credit has to go to the DJ at the depot, who unexpectedly played superb reggae and ska all day long.
British Rail Class 08 0-6-0 diesel electric shunter 08836.
Steam and diesel.
Built in 1908, steam Railmotor No 93 was in action giving rides on a short stretch of track.
Visitors could look around the maintenance sheds.
Attending to the miniature railway engine.
Checking out the model trains.
An overall view of the site from the road above.