Another fabulous photograph by Peter Collins sees an unidentified Class 37 head south through Manningtree Station towards London Liverpool Street some time in the early 1970s. If the head-code is to be believed it is 1F23, so if anybody can identify the service I would be most grateful. The Type 3 is passing a northbound service that has called at the Manningtree station on its way north, probably to Norwich.
The photograph captures British Rail in the 1970s, a time when operating practices remained pretty much as they had been during steam days. Mail and parcels are waiting to be be loaded on the next London bound train; whilst commuters are gathering on the platform seats for that train too. Looking at the way people are stood back from the platform edge I assume that the Type 3’s train is non-stop through the station; as most of the Boat Trains between Harwich Parkeston Quay and London were.
A driver is making his way up the platform towards Platform 1, where the local trains between Manningtree and Harwich Parkeston Quay departed from. The next service to Harwich will have connected with the train in the northbound platform to allow London passengers connections to the coast and intermediate stations.
My initial research leads me to believe that Manningtree (can anybody confirm this?) was still a signing-on point for train crew in the 1970s. Harwich was a busy port with regular shipping services for passengers, vehicles and freight to several European destinations. The rail operations that supported the flow of people and goods through the port of Harwich were intense, and this is reflected in the photograph taken by Peter Collins.
This picture captures my earliest memories of rail travel, a shame then that some 40 years later freight traffic is almost non-existent (having being replaced by the Port of Felixstowe), and the loco-hauled Boat trains are no-more.
See more of Peter’s photographs at Lineside Photographics.