Photos by Alan Brown - 17 January 1970

Approaching Chestertom Junction with a service DMU from St. Ives.

Looking north at Chesterton Junction signal box

Passing Barnwell Junction station. The track on the right is a surviving remnant of the Mildenhall branch. Following track lifting, this remnant was retained to serve an oil depot located just west of the former Fen Ditton Halt. Wagons were tripped by a Cambridge pilot loco. In 2014 the track remains in situ but disconnected at Barnwell Junction.

Coldham Lane signal box

Cambridge North signal box

Mill Road Junction signal box. By the 1970s it had long since been abolished and was latterly used as a store. Mill Road was originally crossed via a level crossing (as was Coldham's Lane) and the crossing was replaced by the bridge in the 1880's. The box sits on what was once the road and was built at roughly the same time as the bridge (most likely immediately after the bridge was opened). It replaced an earlier box located on the up side and south of the former level crossing.

External view of Cambridge station.

An Ipswich service waits at platform 5

The 13.10 DMU service to St. Ives at platform 5.

Station pilot D3634 is seen on the right with DMU 51213 in tow. D3634 was one of the less numerous Class 10 Blackstone/GEC shunters. A Stratford loco for much of its life, it was transferred to Cambridge c.1969 and then to Doncaster during 1971 from where it was withdrawn during November of that year. D3634 was said* to have been sent to Cambridge to assist with the extra work involved in lifting the Stour Valley line and the, then, surviving stub of the Saffron Walden branch at Bartlow. In practice, however, the tracklifting trains were generally operated by Class 31 locomotives.
Note the track-level shunt signal. At Cambridge these signals had rubber arms in order to avoid damage resulting from issues of limited clearances. * From a chat with a Cambridge driver in charge of D3634 while it was stabled in Coalfield Sidings (behind Platform 3).

Gresley buffet E9132 built at York in 1937 is seen on one of the King's Cross 'Buffet Express' services. Gresley buffet cars were a familiar sight on these trains into the 1970s with E9131E, E9132 and E9135E plus others as well as Thompson E1706E all appearing from time to time. All, including the Thompson, received blue/grey livery. The Gresley cars, at least, later moved to the Western Region following the King's Cross suburban electrification. The 'Cambridge Buffet Express' operated only every two hours; there was two rakes of stock with one based at each end of the route. At other times the service was DMUs or loco hauled Mk1 corridor stock, minus buffet, or non-gangwayed suburban stock.

Class 31 5628 arrives at Cambridge.

Cambridge South signal box. On the right can be seen the railings of the now-demolished Cambridge cattle market. It's not clear from the picture but a single track once branched off at this point and turned eastwards before heading northeast behind the former GNR loco shed to eventually join the original route of the Newmarket line. From the track layout point of view, this track could thus be used as a station avoiding line for traffic to/from the [original] Newmarket line. It is not known if it was ever used as such and ultimately it became just another siding in the midst of what was to become the large goods yard east of the station.

Cambridge MPD 30-ton steam crane.




[Source: Nick Catford]

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