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Alford signalbox and Alford bound train.
Picture added on 01 March 2009
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This delightful scene, which would gladden the heart of any railway enthusiast like myself, is shown as being photographed in 1950 but in fact it belongs to a far earlier decade which I would guess to be the early years of the 20th century, probably the Edwardian era, although the train itself dates from the 1880's. It's a great pity that colour photography wasn't available then as it would show the tank locomotive to be in the lovely clean livery of the Great North of Scotland Railway (GNSR) with the gleaming brass oval numberplates on its tank sides. The old style 4 and 6 wheeled carriages behind it would be painted in varnished purple lake for the 4 wheelers and varnished cream and partly crimson lake for the three 6 wheeled vehicles. The GNSR passed into history in 1923 when it became part of the LNER during the grouping of the 4 major companies but tank engines had earlier ceased to haul Alford passenger traffic in 1912 when the turntable was extended to take the larger tender locomotives. The signals shown are also of the original GNSR wooden post type with the spiked steps up the side to allow for maintenance but those were replaced by steel lattice post types long before 1950. Of particular significance is the absence of the coal merchant's siding which was a later addition but was in situ long before 1950. It was laid from a point just before the water tank beside the loco shed in the background and ran parallel to the line which the train is running on then terminated at a buffer stop in the right foreground where the pile of sleepers is located. The siding had facilities alongside for unloading the wagons and bagging the coal. The coal merchant's depot building was to the right of that and was a large wooden structure with a corrugated iron roof which housed the delivery lorries, coal and other equipment. I believe that the coal was delivered to Alford by rail until final closure and the delivery business was latterly owned by Ellis and McHardy. The Alford branch closed to passenger traffic shortly after nationalisation on the 31/12/1949 and the locomotive shed in the background was earlier reduced to a roofless ruin following an earlier fire that same year. It was finally demolished along with the signalbox and other station structures after final closure of the line on 31/12/65 when the last goods train left Alford.
on 08 March 2009
With regard to the pile of sleepers to the right of this picture, I would say that it was taken in the latter part of the nineteenth century. There is little doubt that these sleepers were used to build the Permanent Way Workers hut as it was built slightly to the right of where they are stacked. See Photo No 896 taken in 1962.
on 10 May 2013
Correction. See Photo No 869.
on 10 May 2013
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