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*This is another blog that will be fleshed out with more and more pictures as I have the time. When it’s completed, this message will disappear*

When I was passing through Peterborough station last month I realised I’d been visiting and taking picture’s around the station for over 30 years, making it ideal for a memory lane blog. In that time the stations changed tremendously, both in terms of trains seen passing through as well as physically, with the expansion and rebuilding of the station itself

So, here’s the start of my memories, with images taken back in BR days, in 1990.

It’s the 12th March 1990 and the pride and joy of Stratford depot in East London 47007 is heading South from New England sidings with empty 4-wheel tank wagons used on the Fletton flyash trains. The loco was named after the depot (at the depot) in November 15th 1986. It remained in service until October 1991 when it was finally withdrawn. It was scrapped at Booth Roe in Rotherham in February 1994.
On the 8th June 1990 Class 08 number 08528 shunts Civil Engineers wagons outside Crescent Rd wagon repair shops which can be seen to the right of the loco. Peterborough was home to several of these shunting engines for use in the yards around the station. The wagon works closed many years ago but it’s grade 2 listed as it’s believed to be the only surviving timber wagon workshop in Britain – albeit the wooden frame is hidden behind asbestos cladding!

There used to be extensive freight sidings at Peterborough, including an old hump shunting yard called New England which was to the North-East of the station. The sidings still survive to this day but they’re mostly disused and overgrown as the days of hump-shunting and wagon-load traffic are long gone. At the far end of the sidings used to stand a lone signal box. It was already dilapidated and abandoned when I took this picture of it on the 12th March 1990. Its full name was “New England East Shunting Cabin A”. It disappeared a few years later. I always thought this would have made a good cabin for a preserved railway somewhere.

Now let’s move forward to 1996…

It’s the 19th September 1996 and a row of Class 31s sit in the loco sidings at the North End of the station. These locos would be stabled here most of the week until they were required for engineers trains at the weekend. As a consequence, they suffered from appalling reliability!
This shot was taken on the same day in 1996 as the previous shot. Peterborough has a small, one-road locomotive depot which was used for fuelling and inspections, the shed provided at least some protection from the elements but little in the way of facilities. The locomotive in the foreground was already withdrawn and dumped at the depot to provide a source of spares to keep other Class 31s running. Such engines were known as ‘Christmas Trees’.
A slightly different angle to the last pictures shows 37885. 37057. 37054. 37220 and 08529 stabled by the shed. 37885 was running in grey undercoat prior to having the new privatised EWS red and gold livery applied that’s carried by two of its sisters.

Also taken on the 19th September 1996 was this image of one of the single-car Class 153 units that used to work along the GN/GE joint line from Peterborough to Doncaster via Sleaford and Lincoln. If I remember correctly this ran every two hours. It was certainly a Cinderella service. Nowadays the route’s benefitted from a massive £270m investment (see this blog) plus the recent opening of the Werrington dive-under to turn it into a vital freight artery. Even the passenger service has been extended with the 153s being replaced by 2-car trains.

Let’s take another leap. This time to 2002.

Here’s power car 3311 leading a ‘North of London’ Eurostar set that was on hire to GNER to operate their ‘White Rose’ service between London Kings Cross and York. These sets had originally been built to operate through services from Europe to the North of England, but the services were cancelled and never ran. GNER was suffering from a stock shortage so in 2000 they hired in 2 of the sixteen car sets, some of which then had GNER livery applied. In 2002 They added a third train which ran from Kings Cross to Leeds. The leases expired in December 2005 when the sets were handed back to Eurostar and the trains disappeared from the East Coast Main Line.

Here’s 325012 calling at Peterborough with 1S04, the 16.01 London – Edinburgh mail on the 23rd May 2002. The city had always been an important hub for Royal Mail trains, hence the bridge just above the train which was used to take mail across to the large RM depot out of shot to the left of the picture. Sadly (and bizarrely), Royal Mail opted out of using rail the following year, although a change of heart in 2004 saw these trains return, but only to the West Coast. It was only in June 2013 that one service a day ran on the East Coast again, but by that time the Royal Mail facilities at Peterborough had contracted and sights like this became history. Now the London – Newcastle mail and return working both fly through the station just after midnight without stopping.

I’ve many more pictures to add, which I’ll do as time permits…