Printout of a story from The Last Main Line:

Paul Tansley remembers the War Years on the GCR

I have a LNER 'Stock book' covering the approximate years of 1941 - 46; I would have been about twelve years old when I wrote out all that information and it was not an uncommon task for train mad lads in those days - there were also three other companies to do!
We got most of the information from Ian Allen spotters books which were our bible and later might join a locomotive society as I did; this would give information on movements and, perhaps more sadly important at that time, the scrapping of many elderly locos which had been kept on during the war years.

Living in Briton Street (West End) in sight of the G.C. I was lucky enough to see many of the splendid locos of the 'Robinson era'. He designed most of the engines to be seen on the Central from 1923 onwards including the beautiful 'Atlantic's' (4-4-2) known as 'Jersey Lillies'. My class record in the Stock Book shows that I managed to see all but two of the 26 locos, all at Leicester and several were in fact 'shedded' at Leicester Locomotive Power Depot.
Many locos had names which I always found fascinating such as the 'Directors' class D11 with its ' Gerard Powys - Dewhirst' - what an imposing name. 'Butler Henderson' which survived and actually ran on the present G.C. in the nineties until its firebox began leaking and is now a static exhibit at the National Railway Museum in York requiring a vast amount of money for restoration.

The other surviving Robinson is a class 04, 2-8-0, freight locomotive, we called them 'Rods' because many of them saw service with the Railway Operating Division during the Great War. The survivor was restored at Loughborough after a great effort by readers of 'Steam' magazine to find necessary funding and I can see it from my front window overlooking the deep railway cutting at Birstall trundling by most weeks - isn't that great?

Photographed outside the shed at Woodford, this handsome engine is the 4-4-0 Class 11A main line locomotive No. 852, designed by Harry Pollitt in 1897 and later modified by John Robinson.

Photographed outside the shed at Woodford, this handsome engine is the 4-4-0 Class 11A main line locomotive No. 852, designed by Harry Pollitt in 1897 and later modified by John Robinson.

Great Central Railway, 8B class 4-4-2 'Atlantic' type locomotive, No. 1085. It was designed by GCR Chief Mechanical Engineer John G. Robinson and was one of a batch of five built for the company by the North British Locomotive Co. of Glasgow.

Great Central Railway, 8B class 4-4-2 'Atlantic' type locomotive, No. 1085. It was designed by GCR Chief Mechanical Engineer John G. Robinson and was one of a batch of five built for the company by the North British Locomotive Co. of Glasgow.

Class 8K (later O4) heavy freight 2-8-0 which was introduced in 1911. This particular example is the last survivor of the type in this country. The locomotive is part of the National Collection but is on loan to the Great Central Railway in Loughborough where it carries its British Railways livery and number 63601.

Class 8K (later O4) heavy freight 2-8-0 which was introduced in 1911. This particular example is the last survivor of the type in this country. The locomotive is part of the National Collection but is on loan to the Great Central Railway in Loughborough where it carries its British Railways livery and number 63601.