The article that follows has been produced using the information very kindly provided by Douglas Carver:
Douglas recalls that 'I was a fireman at Evesham loco shed from 1954 to 1960. My father was the stationmaster at Winchcombe Station. I started on the railway as an engine cleaner in May 1953, aged 15, at Cheltenham Malvern Road engine shed. I became a passed cleaned in September of the same year on my 16th birthday, and then got my job as a fireman in February 1954 at Evesham. I then transferred to Bristol Saint Phillips Marsh in 1960, as a fireman, and then passed as a driver in 1969. My job at Speke Junction Loco (Liverpool) followed in the same year, and I remained there until I was made redundant at the closure of that depot in October 1993 after over 40 years service, of which the last 15 years I was a driver instructor.
The shed at Evesham was situated in a triangle between the western down main, the Midland up main, and the River Avon. The entrance to the shed was from the down yard, from the front road which stretched from the loading dock and through the goods shed to an exit to the down main alongside the loco shed. This connection was worked by Evesham North signal box which was about 300 yards north of the river bridge. Opening times were 0600 hours to 2200 hours, with all locos arriving or leaving the shed normally using this connection. The exception was locos arriving or leaving when the north box was closed, when they left by a connection from the goods shed onto the down main under the long bridge worked by Evesham South box. This box was on the London end of the down platform and was open 24 hours a day.
The entrance to the shed was from the down yard by hand-held spring points. There were three roads on the shed, one under cover with an inspection pit stretching the full length of the shed. There was also a pit outside the shed, the stop block overhung the river bank with a thirty foot drop to the waters below. Two engines could be kept under cover, usually a 5300 class and a 4600 class - the tender of the 5300 was outside on the block. Two outside roads between the Midland and the shed were used for stabling locos plus the coal wagon and ash wagon. There was a parachute water tank on the end of the pit and this could be used to fill the loco tank from the shed and the back road. At the time I was at Evesham there were five locos, with ten sets of men and one shed-man on permanent nights.
The locos based at Evesham were a 5300 class, a 2250 class and three 4500 class or 8400 class. Sometimes there was also a 4100 class or an 8100 class.
The duty of the locos and men:
I will start at the first from the depot in the morning.
0445 hours on duty, 0530 hours off shed. 2250 class, light engine to Honeybourne and then work trip to Evesham and shunt the down yard and then the up yard until about 1000 hours. Then light engine back to Honeybourne and change footplates with Honeybourne men: the loco went on to work the Cheltenham pickup, whilst the Evesham men worked the Honeybourne to Worcester pickup, shunting at Littleton & Badsey on the way, being relieved by Worcester men at Evesham at about 1200 hours.
0500 hours on duty, 0545 hours off shed. 4600 or 8400 class loco to Evesham carriage sidings and draw out the 0703 hours and 0800 hours passenger coaches, then leave the 0800 hours stock in the neck behind the up platform and draw the 0703 hours stock into the up loop. Then leave via the north end and run light engine to Honeybourne to be the No.5 banker, shunting and banking to Chipping Camden and Morton in the Marsh. At 1200 hours, light engine to Evesham to be relived by Evesham men for the Evesham pilot.
0500 hours on duty, 0545 hours off shed. 4600 or 8400 or 4100 class. Off shed via the south end and attach to the carriages in the up loop to work the 0703 hours all stations to Leamington Spa, arriving at 0814 hours. Then to the carriage sidings, followed by to the loco shed for coal, and then back to the carriage sidings to pick up coaches and attach three more for Stratford upon Avon. Then up to the station to depart at 0915 hours all stations to Evesham (sometimes a coach was attached to the rear off the London train for Stratford upon Avon, loading the train to seven coaches). Arriving at Evesham at 1020 hours, run round train, back into the up loop, then follow the London and depart at 1105 hours for all stations to Leamington Spa, arriving at 1205 hours. To the carriage sidings, on to the loco shed again for more coal, carriage sidings to attach to train, up to the station to depart at 1305 hours all stations to Evesham - arriving at 1409 hours to be relieved by Evesham men.
0515 hours on duty, off shed at 0600 hours via the north end with 5300 class, to work the 0800 hours all stations to Birmingham Moor Street with six corridor coaches. At Stratford upon Avon detached engine, then to the bay and attach to three coaches to work the 0845 hours all stations to Leamington Spa, arriving at 0915 hours. Then to the carriage sidings, detach coaches, then on to the shed for coal and turn engine, returning to carriage sidings to attach coaches and back up to the station, back into the bay, then depart at 1120 hours all stations to Worcester Shrub Hill - arriving at Evesham at 1240 hours where relieved by Evesham men.
0600 hours on duty, 0645 hours off shed with 4600 or 9400 class, to LMS yard for shunting duty, preparing trains, collect the fish off the Birmingham New Street, transfer wagons to and from WR sidings via exchange sidings, and banking trains out of MR station to the WR bridge. Relieved by Evesham men at 1330 hours.
1230 hours on duty, relieve 0500 hours men off Honeybourne No.5 banker at Evesham up sidings, attach shunt truck and shunt up and down sidings and MR exchange sidings. Relieved at 2000 hours by Evesham men.
1300 hours on duty, relieve Evesham men off 1120 hours Leamington Spa. Depart at 1320 hours to Worcester Shrub Hill where, on arrival, back coaches into the bay and turn engine via Worcester Tunnel Junction and Rainbow Hill Junction. Attach to coaches in the bay, depart tender first to Henwick to run round, then to Worcester Foregate Street. Depart at 1627 hours on all stations to Leamington Spa, and on arrival at Stratford upon Avon change footplates with 1400 Evesham men off the 1609 hours Evesham to Stratford upon Avon. Then attach to 1730 Birmingham Moor Street departing at 1815 hours, all stations to Evesham arriving at 1845 hours, then back coaches into carriage sidings and return the engine to shed and dispose. The Christmas special parcels, departed from loading dock at 1915 hours to Worcester Shrub Hill, attached one van to the London train, then light engine to Evesham and dispose on shed.
1330 hours on duty, relieve Midland shunt engine, shunt until 1900 hours, then engine to shed. Then relieve 1200 hours men on WR shunt engine in the up sidings until finish, then engine to shed and dispose.
1345 hours on duty, relieve Evesham men on 1305 hours Leamington Spa at 1409 hours. Put coaching stock into the neck behind up platform, then engine to shed to clean fire of clinker, off shed when finished, attach to coaches into up platform at 1600 hours, depart at 1609 hours all stations to Stratford upon Avon where, on arrival at 1640 hours, back coaches into the west sidings. Then into the cold store loop and wait the arrival of the 1627 hours Worcester Foregate Street at 1735 hours; then change footplates, departing at 1745 hours all stations to Leamington Spa, arriving at 1814 hours, then to the carriage sidings, then on to the shed to turn the engine on the turntable, top up coal, pick up coaching stock, back up to the station. Depart at 1920 hours on all stations to Stratford upon Avon, arriving at 1950 hours, then back train into the canal sidings until 2230 hours (part clean fire or drag clinker to the back of the fire box). Depart Stratford upon Avon at 2245 hours on all stations to Evesham (Littleton & Badsey to set down only). Upon arrival at Evesham at 2315 hours, stable coaching stock in the carriage sidings, then into the down yard via the goods shed, then over to the Midland down yard to turn the engine on the Midland turntable, then back to the Western sidings and to the shed. (Saturdays only: 1420 hours all stations to Worcester Shrub Hill, then empty stock back to Evesham, then carry on with the 1609 hours to Stratford upon Avon as per weekdays.
Those were the jobs worked by Evesham men in the 1950's. There were a few variations with summer or winter workings - these were not very often and I will fill in the details at a later date. Sometimes Evesham men were called on to work Sunday engineering trains, but otherwise did not normally work on Sundays. Some of the times quoted above may not be 100% accurate as nearly fifty years have passed since then.
In about or 1958, the 0905 hours Leamington Spa to Evesham terminated at Honeybourne Junction, arriving at 1010 hours and departing for Leamington Spa at 1115 hours, then returned with the 1305 hours to Evesham. The service was altered again later: on arrival at Honeybourne Junction the 1345 men booked on at about 1000 hours and travelled as passenger to Honeybourne and relieved the men off the 0905 hours Leamington Spa (who travelled back to Evesham as passengers), worked 1115 hours all stations to Stratford upon Avon, left the train in the bay platform, went to shed for coal and to clean the fire of clinker. Then worked the 1345 hours all stations to Worcester Shrub Hill, stabled the coaches in the bay, light engine to Evesham, then worked the 1609 hours to Stratford upon Avon, stabled the coaches in the west sidings, then light engine to Evesham shed. I cannot remember what happened to the other turn: coaches were left by Worcester men for our early workings but I cannot remember what happened to the other late turn passenger.
The side walls were of brick and about 18 to 20 feet high and about 18 feet apart, with a pitched roof resting on timber frames with a slate roof covering. The floor was of blue engineering brick with the track on top, and with an inspection pit in between. There was a smoke channel with chimneys out of the roof, wooden ends and wood doors at each end, with windows in the side walls. The shed was about 60 feet long.
On the left side, facing the LMS line, were the cabin and stores which were made of brick with a sloping roof. The entrance doors were from inside the shed. The cabin was about 10 ft x 8 ft with wooden seat lockers on three sides, a coal stove with oven at an angle in one corner, a small desk by the window, the notice boards on the left side on entering, coats on the right, and a push-button telephone beside the door. The telephone was used for ringing off shed or contacting Worcester if short of men or if a loco had failed.
Next door to the cabin was the stores where the oil cotton waste and gland packing tools were kept. Outside on the end of the stores was the toilet. There were no washing facilities so all washing was done in a bucket with water from a loco. In very hot weather after cleaning a fire we young firemen used to get a shunting pole and pull the chain on the water tank and have a shower'.