BRITISH Railways’ modernisation policy of replacing steam locomotives with diesel and electric traction has made rapid strides since the appearance of the eleventh edition of the " British Locomotive Shed Directory ". On the Great Eastern lines south and east of March, the lines of the former Great North of Scotland and Highland railways, and the Western Region lines in Cornwall the displacement of steam is now virtually complete. This has resulted in further alterations to motive power depot arrangements. The process of streamlining the commercial side has continued unabated, with the consequent closure of branch lines and small stations. In addition extensive property redevelopment in some parts of the country has altered street layouts, and urban omnibus arrangements. Hence the " British Locomotive Shed Directory " has once again been completely revised to take account of these factors to the date of going to press.

In Part One the main British Railways locomotive sheds are listed in order of oiiicial coding; sub-sheds are listed under their respective parent depots. Code designations are still being worked out for diesel depots; for ease of reference, these depots are listed after the other sheds in the same area. In some instances sheds are commonly referred to locally by altemative names. These appear in italics after the official title.

Certain sheds have been officially closed and decoded in recent years as a result of losing their permanent allocation of locomotives, but are still used for over-night or weekend stabling of locomotives from other depots. These have been included, as have the London Midland Region electric locomotive depots, which are under the jurisdiction of the Chief Mechanical and Electrical Engineer and are not officially locomotive running sheds. In consequence a number of locations are listed which have no permanent allocation of locomotives, and which do not appear in the oflicial list of sheds in the abc Locoshed Book.

On the other hand, the following have been excluded:
(a) Signing-on points where three-shifted locomotives remain during their working week.
(b) Stations, sidings, goods yards, etc., where diesel and electric locomotives are left adjacent to their point of duty. As modernisation proceeds such places are constantly changing.
(c) Sidings or disused branch lines in the vicinity of the main locomotive works where withdrawn locomotives are stored. This situation arises when the number of locomotives withdrawn exceeds the facilities for their disposal, and the current position should be ascertained at the works concerned.

Before the actual directions to the shed, the position of the shed in relation to the main line is quoted. This will prove invaluable when passing sheds on a railway journey and is also useful in giving a sense of direction if it is desired to approach the shed by a route other than that given in the directory. The directions to the shed are given from the nearest or most convenient station, and in some instances alternatives are shown.

The directions cited state the shortest route to the shed, except in a few instances where this would involve using a maze of alleyways which would be impossible to describe. In nearly all cases the names of the thoroughfares to be traversed are given, and the approximate walking time is stated to the nearest five minutes.

In the case of sub-sheds, directions are only given to the large and important ones. Others are merely noted under their respective parent depots. The locomotive works of British Railways are listed in alphabetical order in Part Two, and directions thereto are set out in the same manner as those applicable to the sheds.

In the large cities it is often inconvenient to travel to suburban stations to reach the sheds, and details of alternative methods of approach are given in Part Three, in which appear itineraries of Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester. In the first place directions are given to each shed in the area from the city centre; full details of the bus or other services involved are shown. Maps of the provincial city centres are given so that the place to board the necessary vehicle can be found at a glance. Most of the directions to the sheds in the London area commence with journeys on the Underground, maps of which are freely exhibited in Greater London. The value of Part Three, however, lies in the itineraries of the areas. Directions are given from the city centre to the iirst shed, and then from shed to shed without returning to the city centre until the last shed is reached. Precise details are given of all transport services involved. With the individual directions given to each shed from the city the itinerary may be taken up or left at any intermediate point.

While every care has been taken to ensure that the material in this book is strictly accurate, the publisher issues it on the condition that neither he nor the compiler shall be responsible for any loss, delay or detention, however caused. It should also be borne in mind that this Directory is only intended to give directions to the various sheds and works. IT IN NO WAY GIVES AUTHORITY TO ENTER THESE PLACES. Prior pemnission must in every case be obtained from British Railways or such other authority as is concerned. Unauthorised visits and trespassing on the railway not only render the offender liable to prosecution but also hinder railway employees and result in the facilities offered to railway enthusiasts being curtailed or suspended. Details of the addresses to which applications to visit sheds and works should be forwarded appear in Part Four.

The locomotives allocated to each shed are listed in the abc LOCOSHED BOOK (Ian Allan, 2s. 6d.) and described in greater detail, with illustrations, in the companion abc series of BRITISH RAILWAYS MOTIVE POWER (in five parts, 2s. 6d. each).

Finally I should like to thank the correspondents who have made constructive suggestions on the improvement of previous editions. As far as possible these suggestions have now been incorporated. If any mistakes should be discovered in this issue, I should esteem it a great favour if readers would point these out to me at c/o Ian Allan Ltd., in order that they may be corrected in the next edition.