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LMSS Masthead

Fostering Interest in Research & Modelling of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway

LMS Directors Tour Of Inspection of Northern Division Workshops and Motive Power Depots

June 11th, 12th & 13th 1945


This is the concentration locomotive running shed in the Polmadie area, with sub sheds at Hamilton, Greenock (Ladyburn) and Greenock (Princes Pier).

Some 280 engines are allocated to the district, of which about 180 are located at the main depot.

The total staff employed in the area amounts to 1,650 and is distributed as follows :-

Paisley12- -12
Greenock L.1181522155
Greenock P.P.5761073

This is one of the largest sheds on the L.M.S. Railway and whilst this shed is of fairly modern design, having been rebuilt subsequent to the amalgamation of the Railway companies in 1923, the layout of the locomotive yard is not in accordance with modern practice and the existing facilities are not sufficient to meet up-to-date requirements. A scheme has, therefore, been approved and work has been started on modernising the layout of the depot.

Under the new arrangements the sequence of disposal operations will be as follows :-

  1. Turning, if necessary.
  2. Coaling, by a mechanical coaling plant with three bunkers on three roads, on one of which roads there will be a choice of two classes of coal.
  3. Watering.
  4. Ashpit duties, incorporating the removal of ashes from the smokeboxes, fireboxes and ashpans.
  5. Stabling in the shed for maintenance duties and preparation for next turn of work.

With the present layout the sequence is as follows :-

  1. Ashpit duties.
  2. Coaling.
  3. Turning, if necessary.
  4. Stabling on the shed.

Water is taken on leaving the shed to start the day's work.

The existing coaling plant is of steel, having two bunkers of 150 tons capacity, capable of coaling four engines at one time. It is of a type necessitating the use of end-door wagons, together with the provision of a turntable to direct the contents of the wagons into the appropriate bunker. The coal put on engines at this depot is approximately 3,500 tons per week, or 500 odd tons per day.

From this depot some of our largest engines work through to London, a distance of 400 miles, the enginemen being changed once en route.

Most of these long distance special train engines are coaled by hand at a small stage at Eglinton Street, i.e. near Glasgow Central Station, where some 450 tons per week are put on the engines.

When Polmadie Depot is modernised and facilities are available for taking the proper class of coal there, the coaling of engines at Eglinton Street will be discontinued.

The existing ashpit arrangement consists of two pits, each 120 ft. in length, which can accommodate four medium sized engines at one time, but this is really inadequate for present requirements.

The engine turntable is a modern 70-ft. diameter one, of the Mundt type, fitted with a vacuum tractor, but is somewhat awkwardly placed at the west end of the locomotive yard, and is to be re-positioned in the new scheme.

In a 24-hour period about 200 engines are dealt with on the depot, a number of which belong to other depots, arriving merely for coal and ashpit duties.

The shed is of the single-ended type, with 14 roads, to which are attached the usual offices and amenities, together with a machine shop and an up-to-date repair shop which is served by two 35-ton overhead travelling electric cranes.

There is a sand drying plant, capable of supplying the district with dry sand, in which dry sand is elevated, by a conveyor to an overhead storage hopper.

A 30-ton steam breakdown train with riding and tool vans is also attached to the depot. Provision is made in the riding van for cooking and supplying hot meals to the breakdown staff, and in the tool van are wire ropes, jacks, ramps, oxy-acetylene cutting apparatus, lighting appliances, first aid equipment, etc.

Machine Shop

Suitable machine tools have been provided at the depot to facilitate the examination and repair work for the whole district, which includes the three sub-depots to which reference has already been made.

The equipment provides a large wheel turning lathe in the fitting shop, whilst in the machine shop proper there are axlebox boring lathes, screw cutting centre lathes, planing and drilling machines, hydraulic press for removing bushes from coupling rods, etc. and usual facilities for white-metaling and brazing.

Suitable accommodation is provided for the Boilersmiths and Blacksmith.

A well equipped store is provided within easy reach of both repair bays and for running repairs in the running shed proper.

An electrically driven air compressor provides air for the Blacksmith's hearth and Fitters' pneumatic tools.


Considerable difficulty is experienced owing to the type of ventilation which is provided at this Depot.

The question of improving the ventilation is actively in hand with the Civil Engineer as the presence of smoke in the Shed does not permit the staff to effectively carry out their duties and is not conducive to efficiency. The smoke also finds its way into the offices and this has been the subject of complaint from the clerical staff.



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