The following article and pictures appeared in the Spring 1994 Edition of the East Midlands Freight Staff Magazine and have been reproduced with Brians permission. Click on photos to enlarge.

FAREWELL BRIAN Retirement reflections of Brian Beers, Training Supervisor.

My Railway career began on 11th August 1952, and there has since been many significant changes including the famed ‘Beeching Plan’ and its effect locally, the demise of steam giving way to diesel and the introduction of Trent Power Box in 1969 which closed hundreds of manual signal boxes thus rendering hundreds of signalmen redundant. Note that in those days they were called signalmen since female staff were very few and far between. As I look back, I try to think what happened to them all.

Going back to my days as a Junior Porter (Control Reporter) located in Trent Station South Signal Box, I can well remember reporting for duty in August 1952 to the Station Manager referred to us then as the ‘Station Boss’. A Mr Dennis was ‘the boss’ and a year or so later, I have a vivid memory of him paying a visit to the signal box to shake hands, with tears running down his face as he had been compelled to take early retirement due to ill health. As a sixteen year old lad, this left a life-long impression on me. After two years National Service with the Royal Engineers (Railway Operating), I returned to BR in January 1958 to take up my signalling career and always working in the Trent area. I was finally placed as a Signalman at Sheetstores Junction in the mid sixties having been displaced from my previous position as Signalman at South Trent Junction following the closure of Trent Station in early 1968. Little could anyone realise today that this was once the site of a fairly large station. On closure, I witnessed its demolition and by the end of March, all traces of its existence had gone. My own signalbox Trent South, was closed on 26th May 1968. I was then utilised as a flagman while the signal box was demolished before my eyes and by 2nd June all traces of it too had disappeared.

With the introduction of Trent Power Box I was made redundant but the next five years proved enjoyable as I was employed as a Guard at Toton. Once more, I have a vivid memory of working from Toton to Lloyds Sidings (Corby Steel Works). These services were usually worked by two class 20 Diesel Locos, with up to 90 loaded 16 ton Mineral Wagons. The first 10 or so wagons would be vacuum fitted to provide brake force whilst the remainder of the train was loose coupled. It really was a case of ‘right away and hold tight.’Alas all this traffic is now long gone with the demise of the steel industry as well as the Erewash Valley Collieries which we serviced.
Moving into the Control in the 1970’s both at Nottingham and Trent PSB, I was witness to the demise of the Nottingham Control Office to its final closure in the early 1980’s. My next position was then taken up as a Supervisor at Toton. I can recall when Toton Upside Hump shunted most of the arriving traffic and the East and West Yards still being operational. Speedlink services called at Toton in those days as indeed it was a Speedlink Yard. Sad to say that traffic slowly declined leading to the eventual demise of the Speedlink services and the closure of both the East and the West Yards.
I took up my final position as Training Supervisor for my last four years prior to early retirement. I enjoyed these final years immensely since it gave me the opportunity to get out and about the East Midlands Freigh area and to meet staff in all grades. I would like to thank all staff and colleagues too numerous to name, for all their assistance and support. I can now reflect on how my old ‘Station Boss’ must have felt way back in the early 1950’s when he shook my hand. May I take this opportunity to wish you all the best wishes for the future and every success for Trainload Freight South East.

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