London Underground cranes
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Author:  Rob Morel [ 31 Jan 2011, 16:13 ]
Post subject:  London Underground cranes

I've noticed in an old fleet book that London Underground crane C604 dating from 1925 (30t capacity) was listed as a breakdown crane, a similar capacity crane C606 dating from 1931 just as a pway crane (both Ransomes & Rapier).

These two much higher capacity than the rest of the fleet( all below 10t) and the next issue of the fleet book doesn't show c604 as a BDC.

Any images or tales to support the listing of C604 in Breakdown use?

Couldn't manage a photo (although c606 appears on OTP website) but instead pilot unit shown during Emergency Response Unit training at Stanmore sidings open day:

Author:  Roger Cooke [ 31 Jan 2011, 16:55 ]
Post subject:  Re: London Underground cranes

C.604 was built for the Metropolitan Railway in 1925 by Cowans Sheldon (works no. 4475) as a 20-ton capacity crane (MR running no. unknown), but was rebuilt to 30-tons capacity in 1930. Passed into LT stock in 1933, it was renumbered C.604 in 1937 and was eventually scrapped in South Wales in 1965.

C.606 was built for the Metropolitan and District Railway (London Electric Railway) in 1931 by Ransomes & Rapier (work no. D.3688) as a 30-ton capacity crane and probably originally carried the number C.188. It was renumbered C.606 upon being taken into LT stock. It was kept for many years at Lillie Bridge Depot and then was later based at Neasden. It also featured a unique arrangement of propping girders, which could be fitted either conventionally or by means of stirrups to the top of the carriage, thus permitting their use alongside station platforms.

Unfortunately it was converted to diesel-hydraulic operation between 1976 and 1968 by Cowans Sheldon, after which it was never the same again (the conversion has been recorded as "unsuccessful") and by 1982 it was OOU and was scrapped in 1986.

Brownlie ("Railway Steam Cranes") has confused the order and running numbers of this crane with those of order number D.3742 (running number C.607).

Bruce ("Workhorses of the Underground"*) states that the crane "became seriously defective in 1982 . . . . It was therefore decided to arrange for its replacement with a Cowan & Sheldon [sic] 7 1/2 ton crane". No further details on why or how it "became defective" are provided unfortunately.

The crane (in happier days) featured in an article in the December 15 1931 copy of The Locomotive magazine, which reports it was purchased primarily for bridge construction for Western extension of the Picadilly line and had to meet strict restrictions on structure gauge (tube profile), curvature and axle loads. In addition to the stirrups, the crane had hinged buffers to improve portee.

* As an aside and nothing to do with cranes, when I bought my copy of this book it was actually advertised as "Workhouses of the Underground", which suggests something rather different!

Author:  Rob Morel [ 31 Jan 2011, 17:34 ]
Post subject:  Re: London Underground cranes

Many thanks for the reply Roger, the only other large capacity crane I've seen on 4th rail metals was an exhibition at Ruislip Depot in July 1980 featuring one of BR's telescopic cranes from Wigan during a Fellowship of Engineering exhibition - ADRC96713 - I think, although "just in 4th rail land" the BR/LU boundary not being far away.
Workhouse/workhorse etc!

Author:  Chris Capewell [ 01 Feb 2011, 15:11 ]
Post subject:  Re: London Underground cranes

A little more on them .........

1 M&GC later MR C178 later LPTB 604 St 20/*30T 4+4W CS 4475/25
*reb.1930, scrapped 1965
Photo Brownlie, ‘Railway Steam Cranes’, Fig.44
Photos/Paragraph - J.Graeme Bruce, 'Workhorses of the London Underground', Capital Transport 1987.

C188 later C606 LER/LPTB St 30T 4+4W D3688/1930 tested 9/31
Bridge / Breakdown type, reb. to DH 1976-78 by CS, oou 1982, scrapped 1986
Photo Brownlie 'Railway Steam Cranes' Fig.11
Photo - Suffolk Archives - HC427/Vol. 3629-4408: neg. 3810-11, at works.
Photo - Suffolk Archives - HC427/Vol. 3629-4408: neg. 4394-5, at work on Met.DistrictRly. 2/32..
Article/Photo - Locomotive, 15/12/31, p.426.
Photos/Paragraphs - 'Workhorses of London Underground', J. Graeme Bruce, Capital 1987

DC189 later C607 LER/LPTB St 10T 6W D3742/31 tested 9/31 scrapped 1962
Photo - Suffolk Archives - HC427/Vol. 3629-4408: neg. 3846-48, at works.

Author:  Roger Cooke [ 17 Nov 2011, 15:33 ]
Post subject:  Re: London Underground cranes

Some interesting further information has come to light concerning the fate of the unfortunate C606. Bruce, in "Workhorses of London Underground" (mentioned above) records that the conversion to DH power was "unsuccessful" and the crane was withdrawn and scrapped in 1986.

New information has come to light from a highly reliable source that reveals that conversion was in fact successful but that the crane was seriously damaged in an accident at Lillie Bridge depot very shortly after the conversion was carried out, apparently by being shunted into a shed road which could only accomodate tube profile stock and not surface stock. The damage was so severe that after examination by both LTE and CS engineers the crane was considered beyond economic repair, and consequently it was broken up at Neasden in 1978.

So the rumour that the conversion was somehow deficient can be set to rest.

Author:  David Morgan [ 14 Sep 2013, 21:42 ]
Post subject:  Re: London Underground cranes

With reference to Rob's original question.

The BR SR Central Section Sectional Appendix dated 1st October 1960 contains a section on Breakdown Cranes with a sub section headed "Cranes from other operating districts and regions" below which there is a table headed "When necessary the following steam cranes may work over this district -".

The table is split into columns headed Motive Power Depot, Number and Capacity, the last two entries are - Lille Bridge (L.T.E.), C.606, 30 and Neasden (L.T.E.), C604, 30.

A footnote to the table reads - Lille Bridge and Neasden (L.T.E.) cranes are only authorised to work between :-
Victoria to Horsham via Balham and Mitcham Junction.
London Bridge to Horsham via Mitcham Junction and Streatham.
Balham to East Croydon via Selhurst.
London Bridge to Earlswood via Forest Hill, Redhill and Quarry Line.

Did the cranes ever see use on the SR or were they perhaps cleared for such use if required during the Second World War following which the movement authorisations were just repeated in subsequent editions of SR / BR operating instructions ?

Author:  Chris Capewell [ 17 Sep 2013, 13:36 ]
Post subject:  Re: London Underground cranes

This question could be raised on DistrictDaves LT forum.
Would you be happy for me to start a string on it, or do you belong and will do?

Author:  David Morgan [ 17 Sep 2013, 20:51 ]
Post subject:  Re: London Underground cranes


Feel free to raise the topic elsewhere - I have yet to encounter the forum you mention so will have to have a look.


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