The "Stanlow tanks" remembered

6O35 - 1155 SX COY Stanlow Shell Dep Sdgs - Salfords Oil sidings

6M34 - 0352 SX COY Salfords Oil sidings - Stanlow Shell Arr Sdgs

            Perhaps the "Stanlow tanks" were the most memorable freight flow locally. Particularly by 1983/4 when due to a shortage of electrics, the train usually featured 2 x 25 on a 2,000 tonne consist! The up loaded train of bogie tanks with aviation fuel for LGW passed the Leighton area around 1940 which often coincided with us returning from our regular "Cobbler" bashes. Sometimes our up unit would be routed on the up fast to get round 6O35, or sometimes our 310 would overtake the thrashing 25's which were on the up fast, whilst we were on the up slow!

At night, the hard working 25's exhaust portals were sometimes glowing red hot and quite often molten clag was emitted skywards. Day or night, it was the noise we remember the most, the hard working small Sulzers could be heard for 5-10 minutes before passing Leighton most evenings. There would be a brief silence as the locos entered Linslade tunnel, to the North of Leighton station, before the noise reached its cresendo as the train passed with the Sulzer chatter still audible 5 minutes later!

In the early 80's 6O35 was normally 2 x 86 in multiple and obviously the "Stanlow tanks" weren't then that spectacular on passing, as cans especially in their younger days rarely screamed like they do today on "liners".  The Northbound 6M34 empties were often a single electric and class 81-85 "roarers" were regular power.

On the Southern 2 x 33 would power the train to and from Willesden and 40's must have been very likely when they replaced the electric at Crewe.

May 84 - May 85 timetable extract..

6O35 - 1155 SX COY Stanlow Shell Dep Sdgs - Salfords Oil sidings

Stanlow 1155 (via Hooton (run round) , Chester), Crewe BH arr 1341 dep 1435,

Madeley 1450, Norton Bridge 1514, Stafford 1521, Colwich 1531, Lichfield TV 1551,

Nuneaton 1623, Rugby arr 1647 dep 1714, Northampton 1746, Hanslope Jn 1807,

Bletchley UGL arr 1824 dep 1932, Leighton Buzzard 1940, Tring 1953, Watford Jn 2015,

Wembley C 2032, Willesden No 34 arr 2037 dep 2100, Willesden yard arr 2110

(then via LOGL, Mitre Br Jn, Kensington O,Wandsworth Rd, Herne Hill, Crystal P, Norwood Jn, Redhill, Gatwick )    

6M34 - 0352 SX COY Salfords Oil sidings - Stanlow Shell Arr Sdgs

Salfords dep 0352, Mitre Br Jn 0543, Willesden Yard arr 0605 dep 1010, Watford Jn 1033,

Tring 1053, L.Buzzard 1107, Bletchley 1114, Hanslope Jn 1128, Northampton 1147,

Rugby arr 1214 dep 1302, Nuneaton 1328, Colwich 1416, Stafford 1422, Norton Bridge

1429, Crewe BH arr 1455 dep 1540, Stanlow 1735

Sample "Salford tanks" workings (through Leighton)

84003  6O35 230480 (to Rugby, failed!)

85004 assist failed 86030 ex Hilmorton 6O35 220580

86039/86323 6O35 120582

85037  6M34 150582

56053  6M34 180383

86329/86311 6O35 210683

25097/25215 6O35 250783

25249/25257 6O35 250184, fail Roade, 2 x 25 assist 250184

25212/25037 6O35 170484

25288/25282 6O35 020584

25078/25154 6O35 180684

A new Fawley Refinary - Gatwick fuel pipeline was finally commissioned in July 84 thus confining 6O35/6M34 to memory.......

Sample "Salford tanks" phot

18068425078n154webr.jpg 25078 and 25154 making the usual Sulzer racket that 6O35's 2000 tonne consist generates passes Leighton's old station on June 18th 1984. The lifted track bed of the former Dunstable branch can be seen on the right. "Slapton Ned"  in red top is logging the "rats" passing, a GPO  mail van is parked up behind the up slow station toilets for offloading mail, railman "Trevor" is having a nose at the train from the supervisors office, all add to a now classic early evening Leighton scene.

6O35/6M34 fondly remembered, any more "Stanlow tank" memories to share?

Return to Main Menu