All photos by the author unless otherwise credited.
Reminiscences of the 70s and 80s at a very historic spot by Jeff Nicholls
“TheRe’s a DelTic jusT gone pasT!”
One early autumn morning playtime in 1979, without even knocking, two nine year old boys swept breathlessly into the staffroom at my school.
“Mr Nicholls, Mr Nicholls, there’s a Deltic just gone past!” one of them blurted out. Before he could elaborate, the headmistress had swept them, just as breathlessly, out and marched them into her office for one of her ‘special’ lectures.
The school where I taught, and still do, is about a quarter of a mile, as the crow flies, across the fields from the world famous Liverpool-Manchester railway of George Stephenson, Rocket and Chat Moss fame; indeed it lies near the western edge of the famous bog. I knew the line was there but wasn’t really all that interested, though I had noted that locomotive hauled trains passed by at regular intervals. Since the passing of steam I’d not taken too much notice of the railway scene, though I would always stop and watch any train anywhere hauled by any form of motive power.
After consoling the two traumatised boys, I found out that they had heard the Deltic first no surprise that - and then seen it heading west past school. I knew enough to know that it must have been a Trans Pennine express heading for Liverpool, and that it would eventually return. It had gone past at about 10:45 and would, therefore, return at about 13:30, so they told me. A little judicious rearranging of the timetable (you could do that in pre-National Curriculum days) found us on the school field, allegedly doing PE, but with a grandstand view of the line. Sure enough, bang on cue, that Napier drone could be heard and the 13:05 Liverpool-York roared past in the usual cloud of bluish white Deltic smoke.
Over the next few weeks that Deltic roar was heard several times more, once even on the 12:05 from Liverpool, passing us at about 12:30. This demanded investigation; 12:30 was during my lunch hour.
A Bit of History Kenyon Junction was one of the first, if not the first, major railway junctions in the world. Here in 1831 the Kenyon and Leigh Junction Railway joined the Liverpool-Manchester Railway, a large station and goods yard being built. The station was a mile or so from the nearest large habitation and was always more of an interchange than a local station. Closing to
TOP: 40 106, the last Class 40 in BR green, hauls a rake of 16 ton mineral wagons past Kenyon Junction on the 22nd February 1982. The house on the left once belonged to the stationmaster.
ABOVE: 47 192 hauls 6201 Princess Elizabeth through Kenyon Cutting in readiness for Rocket 150 on the 17th May 1980.
And what was the most unusual thing I saw? Without a doubt, it was the pair of light 33s I spotted from my classroom window one afternoon, heading from Manchester towards Liverpool.