East Midlands Ranger, Aug 74

Mexborough and much more, Summer 74

The magic of your first rover, overnights, good weather, varied scenery, the usual highs and lows, a real East Midlands escape for 3 Luton “young ‘un’s”. This was primarily a “spooting” trip, but the power whether hauling our train, silent on depot, or thrashing through Donny on freight, was what we were chasing that  Summer of 74.

Day 1

Our East Mids Rover began with a classic overnight train, namely 1E03 0005 St Pancras-Sheffield from Luton with 45108 at the head of a good few Mk I’s compos and parcels stock. Limited doss followed, 45111 took us forward from Nottingham via Derby as booked.

The highlight of Monday was a couple of hours on the roadbridge spanning Tinsley Yard. Despite it being during the miners holidays, the amount of freight and variety in power in a real industrial setting was awe inspiring to us Southerners unused to steel plants and foundries spewing out noise, smoke and above all atmosphere! 1 of Tinsley’s unique class 13 paired gronks busied themselves shunting over the hump, the whole time, 08244 and 08861 were substitutes for a missing 13001. We weren’t expecting to see class 76 electrics here but 2 came in on empty steel traffic to be replaced by noisy 37’s or 40’s for the run further East. The adjacent shed saw a few loco moves too, but the locals advised that you “wouldn’t get round during the week,  easy at weekends though”.

Tinsley Yard pm (approx 2hrs)

08075, 08218, 08244/08861 (class 13 substitute), 08266, 08504, 08749, 13002,

20003/20130, 20060/20204, 

25015, 25101,

31127, 31167, 31302, 31304

37003, 37107



76021, 76048

Thanks to Nigel Tout for this image from Tinsley Control tower on August 6th 1974, a few weeks earlier than when we stood in amazement. More of Nigel’s phots at www.nigeltout.com

Double shunter 13003 is phooted by Nigel Tout on August 6th 1974. See more of Nigel’s photos at www.nigeltout.com

Day 2

Fortified by pie and chips from the local Sheffield chippie our overnight took us South on 1M10 2359 Sheffield-St Pancras to Leicester behind 45101. At 2 in the morning Leicester station was alive with BR and postal staff busy with mail and  parcels trolleys. There were no trolleys spare to sit on during our short wait for the 0005 ex St Pancras. This soon rumbled in with 45111 up front. We were asleep almost immediately as the next thing we knew was the guard banging on the compo door at 0430 to wake us at Sheffield. In a total state we boarded 78 on the Glasgow-Notts overnight just for more sleep. Refreshed of sorts, we returned to Sheffield and bought singles to Penistone as this was just outside the East Midlands Rover area. We had great anticipation of our day at Penistone, we’d been told back at Luton of “nose to tail pairs of 76’s” here. The Cravens DMU reversed at Darnall before going non stop through the empty, ghostly Sheffield Victoria before climbing out of the city under the “heavy” DC gantries on the main line through the Upper Don Valley. We were a bit disappointed on crossing just 1 up freight with the power hidden in a tunnel just North of Deepcar. My mate Andy boasting, “still think we’ll see 30 of em” (76’s).  

Well, we didn’t! After an hour of no trains at all at lonely Penistone, so often featured in photos or videos of umpteen 76’s we had seen zero! Andy challenged the nearby signalman enjoying the sun and peace of the moorland landscape, a single reply “tis ‘olidays” silenced us. Hurried timetable checks saw a further hour or so before we could escape and this really dragged. A Syphon” (37139) growled up light engine off the Wath branch and ironically just before we left 76043/021 passed on a Westbound freight. To say we were gutted was an understatement, it was a very quiet return rattle and roll back to Sheffield. Also the “paytrain” guard queried our 3rd member’s child ticket single request, “sort it out at the barrier” he snarled. At least this made us smile, as we had our Rovers to use there anyway and Paul was the youngest of our trio!

Things had to get better and an evening at Doncaster station saw us all happy again. Power viewed that evening included…

08093, 08100, 08401, 08444

31127, 31139, 31160, 31165, 31168, 31169, 31170, 31180, 31209, 31243, 31259, 31306, 31417

37013, 37108, 37157, 37249

40036, 40054, 40056, 40195


47135, 47222, 47223, 47271, 47309, 

47405, 47408, 47413, 47415, 47417, 47448, 47457, 47461, 47470, 47516, 47519, 47522, 47525, 47526,

55005, 55007, 55008, 55022

Day 3

A repeat chippie then M10 move. M10 once again arrived with 25 power tonight being 25074/25172 which, as expected, were removed for “peak” 66 hovering in the bay. The Leicester leap where tea was offered to us tonight by the friendly and curious station staff before 122 returned us back to Sheffield. With much smoke and fumes in the air we noted 20 plus cars of DMU’s in a single formation!, we joined the Retford bound set an hour or two before its departure time. More doss, my mate waking me for the power at Woodhouse:

08183, 08877, 31302, 31307, 76041, 76043, 76046 . Ex BR 2229 was also viewed en route,presumably at Kiveton Park colliery 

and Worksop:

08285, 20002/20091, 20061/20127, 20207/20203, 31298, 37110, 37122, 37123, 37172, 37221,  

Leaving Lincoln Central 47379 passed through on tanks, traffic this loco did all its life, a 7am visit to 40A Lincoln depot produced the following locos amongst many, many DMU’s..

03159, 37008, 37054 plus ex 08 snowploughs ADB 966507, ADB 966508

Later in the day on 47105 heading for Cleethorpes  I wandered if my mate was losing the plot through exhaustion. On returning from the “bog” he said “you know it says not drinking water” above the taps, well I’ve just drunk gallons”. I expected 47105 to be his last ever haulage, it wasn’t!  

Day 4

The same Leicester overnight then down Burton and Tamworth way before an afternoon at Doncaster and an evening at Chesterfield. The Chesterfield station staff   were renown for keeping younger enthusiasts under control. After we sat on a trolley and got are books out we were initially asked to leave the station and “go by the wall”. Our claims of having “valid tickets” and “not being sure” which train we were going back on” saw a compromise in us being allowed to stay, but on the down platform rather than the island platform which was closer to the freight lines. Still at least we didn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of being put in the dreaded “spotters compound”. The evening power is listed below, for us the highlight was 44006, albeit only on a light engine move, but it made a change to see one moving rather than sitting silent on Toton, most of the passenger traffic was “Peak” powered, more power variety on the ample freight action, on this grey Chesterfield evening.


20139/20041, 20147/20067, 20213,

25012, 25023, 25033/25035, 25090, 25152, 25254,

31137, 31213, 31296




69, 70, 95, 97, 121, 128, 132, 45003, 45007, 45011, 45012, 45108, 45117, 45133,


1715, 47131, 47149,

Day 5

An overnight to, yes you’ve guessed it. Much of the day was then spent at Doncaster raking in the MGR traffic. We ventured down to Scunthorpe but we soon returned as “only 8 locos were there”.


08397,20026,20029,31149,31242,31275,40059, 121

Despite the  “miner’s holidays” this was a better day for those elusive Knottingley 47’s with the long hours at Doncaster producing:

47279, 47301, 47371, 47372, 47373

25002 and 25083 were an interesting “mixed pair” too. 25002 was one of the original Eastern “nb” rats very rare down Luton way but a Tinsley regular at Donny. 

Day 6

As we left Derby, Leicester bound, we again thought my mate was losing it as at 1am on a dark Derby night he claimed to have seen a “Hymek”. We told him “no way”, but he was adamant “definitely a Hymek, you could tell by the grills”. So we were all wide awake as we passed Derby on the return journey and there was much early morning apologising as we recorded the following at Derby around 0330.

121, 40017, 25121, 47459, 08456, 20014/20090, 20192/20088, 20199/20006, 25269 plus 7076 and 7096!.

Nobody else outside Derby believed our Hymek claim all day though! They were Research Centre bound we found out months later in a mag. 

The afternoon saw enjoyable shed visits to

41C – Wath

08047, 08048, 08049, 08050, 08865, 25019, 25002/25083, 25084, 25213, 31197, 

37037, 37086, 37105, 37136, 47285, 47294, 76002, 76018, 76020, 76023, 76025, 76036, 76044, 76047, 76049, 76050, 76051,

41E – Barrow Hill

08141, 08267, 08331, 08509, 08868, 08870, 08871, 20025, 20033, 20065, 20119, 20201, 20213, 25247, 31252, 37121, 37139, 47281, 47305, 47312, 

Both depots were deserted of staff, Wath had lines of locos in holding sidings, Barrow Hill ouzed atmosphere with a fine collection of power round the turntable and a line of gronks outside. Even the bus back to Chesterfield was a noisy beast as well!

Day 7

We knew this was going to be a rough night as there was no Leicester overnight and us two survivors of our trio were dog tired and in dire need of a bath! At Derby we unintentionally fell asleep in the waiting room and were waken by a BTP constable who put us on the last train North. Back at Sheffield station around 3am we found a waiting room on the up island platform and joined a few other travellers for what proved to be the best sleep we had all week! 

We were awoken many hours later, by a loud Southern English accent shouting, “oh no, tramps” as some irate woman decided not to sit in the waiting room! We laughed and then tramped across to the bus station for the bus up to Tinsley.

The depot was packed, lines and lines of exotic Eastern power, a fitting end to the rover.

41A – Tinsley

08033, 08075, 08076, 08115, 08208, 08218, 08223, 08266, 08335, 08386, 08504, 08507, 08729, 08877, 08880, 08887, 13002, 13003  

20003, 20004, 20022, 20023, 20058, 20061, 20062, 20069, 20127, 20130, 20132, 20170, 20202, 20208, 20209,

25004, 25013, 25014, 25018, 25021, 25025, 25033, 25085, 25091, 25108,

31260, 31302, 31305, 31308, 31318,

37017, 37101, 37103, 37115, 37119, 37122, 37126, 37169


36, 46, 103, 131, 135,

46014, 46031, 46051, 46053

1874, 47138, 47166, 47304, 47489

After that it was a Leeds-Pancras service home, Nottingham kicked out a very reasonable 47322 for the last loco haulage leg of the trip. An unforgettable week was finally over.

Tinsley Phot Spot

10 years later I was on the “Dore-Mat” tour with 13001 snaking her way through Tinsley Yard’s through roads. The bridge we stood on as kids in the Summer of 74 can be seen in the distance.  

Tinsley depots lines of power in Feb 84

Barrow Hill phot spot

4 months earlier John Williams was at Barrow Hill and captured the atmosphere of the depot nicely with 20023, 25012, 20092, 20130, 20205 and 20060 stabled on April 20th 1974

5 selected haulages from the rover

37126 1310 Scarborough – Sheffield

40146 0815 Kings X-Leeds

45101 1M10 2359 Sheffield – St Pancras

47220 0658 Cleethorpes – Kings X

122/47322 1M21 1043 Leeds-St Pancras (122 to Nott, 47322 Nott-Bedford)


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