More pictures of historical significance are presented in this post (28th April 2010) - those of a class 2MT 2-6-2 locomotive heading a supply wagon and guards van on the Winwick Hospital branch line in the 1960's. The two pictures were supplied by Ray Whitfield, the photographer was first-time blog contributor, Gerry Drought.
When a World War II ambulance train, with wounded soldiers from the front line on board, travelled to Winwick, it was shunted into a dead-end spur with a run-around loop. The train was then hauled tail first into the hospital's reception yard where the wounded were offloaded.Following the war the branch line reverted to a peace time role, facilitating the deliveries of coal and stores to the hospital and the return of empties. Trains were commonly hauled by GER, Holden 4-6-0s (later LNER B17s). During World War II and later, native LNWR/LMS locomotives were in use.
The branch line was kept in use until the 1960's; in the final years Ivatt push 'n' pull, class 2MT 2-6-2 tank locomotives from Sutton Oak or Dallam were seen heading the hospital trains, as in Gerry's pictures. The line could be clearly observed just yards from our current group's vantage points on Old Alder Lane Bridge. The hospital closed its doors for good, in 1998.
I am indebted to Eddie Bellass for these notes and for others that he has kindly forwarded. I am also grateful for his map showing the route of the line. If you are interested in Eddie's complete set of Winwick Hospital branch line notes, I will forward them to you if you email me.