Locomotives crossing the Tees Railway Bridge c1966

I have been following comments about the ‘Lost Thornaby Riverside‘ and unearthed a couple of photographs looking in the other direction. They are of trains crossing the railway bridge and would have been taken from what is now the middle of the A66. In the photograph of the diesel hauled freight the Victoria Bridge is visible in the background. In the other photograph a large building is visible near the Victoria Bridge; was this a flour mill? Perhaps some of your readers might be able to tell me.

For those with a railway interest the locomotives are a class 25 D5181 and the steam loco is a WD no.90470 both taken on 5th March 1966.

Photographs and details courtesy of Garth McLean.

14 thoughts on “Locomotives crossing the Tees Railway Bridge c1966

  1. If I could ever see or even find it again of course, I have some 8mm cine-film of this venerable and ancient reinforced-concrete structure being blown-up (almost certainly 1970/71). I had set-up with my new acquisition on the Stockton side of the Tees in some old wooden sheds fairly near to St Johns Railway Crossing, when a young policemen appeared and bade me to move. I politely challenged his view and he said that he could not make me, but that I needed to understand the risks involved. (I did, but who could possibly miss a shot like this!? However, this massive tomb did not collapse after the bang, but simply leaned-over gracefully towards the river.


  2. In the photo showing the diesel loco. In the background at the end of Victoria Bridge is a large building which was the offices for Head Wrightson ? Used to be a set of steps down from the bridge to the pub and in later years there was a Saab garage (Alexander’s?) and access to the station


    • Hi Ken, My dad used to take his car to Alexanders for repairs in the 1960’s when the owner would have been Bob Alexander, I believe. I think the garage is still there and still called Alexanders


  3. Just called nine’rs, or austerities, although the newer 9F’s built during the 1950’s, were also “niner’s”, but usually called Aussie Blinks, because they were fitted with smoke deflectors. The locomotive pictured like all the others was built during the war cheaply for short wartime service. The LNER purchased two hundred in 1947, from the war department, and a further five hundred were loaned to other railway companies, although the Southern railway didn’t take many. British railways purchased these five hundred in 1948, prefixing there number with a 6, in accordance with the LNER 1946 renumbering scheme, adopting the prefix 9 in 1948/49. They did well considering they were built for short war time service. They could be heard from great distances due to their noisey bushes, and were nearly always dirty, with cab numbers invisible even from close up. I remember well “visiting” Thornaby shed about 1960, on Sundays, and walking along the rows of these massive loco’s. Thornaby had one of the largest allocations of these engines in the North Eastern region.


  4. The diesel is propelling a brake tender, they were to provide additional braking power for the diesels. When hauling trains that were not fitted with the ‘automatic brake’ that was operated from the loco, the diesels could pull more weight than they could stop, hence the necessity for the brake tender, which was a steel body full of concrete or scrap steel, mounted on two redundant coach bogies and could be braked from the loco. No-one thought to preserve one of them, but Railway Vehicle Preservations (RVP), based at the Great Central Railway, have built one which is about to go into service. To see more on this go to http://www.rvp-ltd.org.uk/projectx/
    The WD locos got their name from the Government War Department who had them built to aid the war effort during WW2. They did have a characteristic ‘clank’ from the valve gear which always announced their arrival.


  5. As an old train spotter, I’ve been trying to remember what we called these big, dirty powerful engines with 90000 numbers. There were quite a lot of them and weren’t very interesting when they turned up… we called then an “Austerity”. I assumed they were built after the war when the term meant something.


    • I’ve heard them called ‘Aussies’, ‘WD’s’, ‘Dub dees’ and even ‘wuff n’clank’. Perhaps other readers might know other nicknames.


  6. Yes Garth that is the Clevo flour mill and the pre A66 riverside brings back some memories as kids we used to sneak across that bridge to catch newts and frogs in the ponds left by the blasting


  7. Yes its the Clevo flour mill I remember it when I lived in Bickersteth Street 1954 to 1964. 5 when it was demolished with Whitehall Terrace I guess the Clevo has gone as well now not sure I’m not all in favour of progress


  8. Yes! It’s Clevo Flour Mill. As a late teenager my wife worked there as a steno. for only a few weeks, but had to leave because the dust was affecting her breathing.


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