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Paul Tansley and the Black Pad

There was always plenty to interest us on the Black Pad, the possibility of a rare loco from another region or 'copping' the last of a class you'd been waiting for, occasionally a bit of banter with the railwaymen who generally put up with us. There were exceptions though and we were not particularly welcome around the Depot area which was approached via a gap in the railings by the canal footpath.

The very few serious addicts who owned a camera (if only!) were treated better, such as Horace Gamble of Ratby who amassed a wonderful collection of the local scene at that time. Inevitably there were a very few older lads who got up to some irresponsible tricks. There was a resident shunting engine always present opposite the Black Pad, a little J69 tanker known for some reason as 'Banny' and one crew appeared to take a dislike to a few lads and would shout derisory remarks. Anyway, there was a shunter's hut opposite and somehow several detonators disappeared from thence; these were small explosive devices which could be clipped to the lines to indicate an emergency. Well one foggy evening 'Banny' returned to her waiting siding and set off a number of explosions much to the consternation of the crew and the signalman in the adjacent box (he would normally be responsible for setting detonators).

Generally though we younger lads were well behaved although there was the diversion of putting half pennies on the rails of the Burton line which made them penny size and a four inch oval nail became a quite handy throwing knife!
Some of us became fairly 'serious' spotters and I visited many Depots and Works if I could obtain an official pass. They were happy days and I am reminded every time a preserved train passes along the old Great Central.

Paul Tansley 4th March 2004

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This is page 18 of A journey down Memory Lane.
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Bridge 378 carrying Upperton Road in Leicester looking west. The two-arch skew bridge looks to be complete, but there is a pumping engine spilling water into the rive on the left.

Bridge 378 carrying Upperton Road in Leicester looking west. The two-arch skew bridge looks to be complete, but there is a pumping engine spilling water into the rive on the left.
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Upperton Road bridge crossed the London Extension and its sidings at Leicester Goods Yard. The main line itself passed beneath the double girder span visible to the left of the central iron section. Under construction in the foreground is the wagon repair shop, one of the few Great Central buildings that still stands today.

Upperton Road bridge crossed the London Extension and its sidings at Leicester Goods Yard. The main line itself passed beneath the double girder span visible to the left of the central iron section. Under construction in the foreground is the wagon repair shop, one of the few Great Central buildings that still stands today.
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View of the locomotive servicing facilities nearing completion at Leicester. The main locomotive shed would have been behind the photographer and slightly to the left.

View of the locomotive servicing facilities nearing completion at Leicester. The main locomotive shed would have been behind the photographer and slightly to the left.
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