Readers' letters - January 9

Mark occasion with a plaque

I’m a historian specialising in railway and engineering history. My reason for writing to you is to point out an historical and unique event which took place on Preston station on the evening of August 3, 1968. Steam traction on the old British Railways system was drawing to an end, so all the railway enthusiasts, including myself, were experiencing a string of ‘last ones’.

Perhaps the most poignant ‘last ones’ occurred at Preston station on the above mentioned date.

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Black Five locomotive, 45212, from Lostock Hall engine shed, left the station with the 8.50pm train to Blackpool South. The driver was Bob Barker and the fireman, Ray Duckworth. An electric storm of flashbulbs was unleashed to the accompaniment of a fusillade of detonators as the penultimate steam-hauled passenger train headed northwards into history.

The crowds then gathered at the south end of the station to witness the departure of the 9.25pm train to Liverpool exchange. The locomotive was another Black Five from Lostock Hall 45318 with driver, Ernie Heyes and fireman, Tony Smith. This train received much the same send-off as the previous one.

As I watched the red tail light of the end coach disappear into the twilight, it was difficult to believe that this was the last officially scheduled, steam-hauled passenger train to run in accordance with a British Railways timetable. It was the end of an era which began at Rainhill some 140 years before, and it all ended at Preston.

I have written two letters to the customer relations department at Virgin Trains, which owns Preston station, with a view to erecting a plaque somewhere on Platform Four to commemorate the historic events which took place some 48 years ago.

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So far I have had no reply. There is, however, plenty of time, as I would like to see a plaque on the station to coincide with the 50th anniversary in 2018. It appears I have approached Virgin with an unusual request, staff seem to have only been trained to handle problems. Would any readers have any ideas how to get this information through to them? We already have plaques for the free wartime buffet and the Preston Pals.

R. Gregson



Time to start fracking

It is reassuring to know that the Advertising Standards Authority, after a 14-month investigation, has so roundly condemned the Friends of the Earth for their blatant false claims regarding fracking.

Whilst conducting its investigations, the Advertising Standards Authority consulted extensively with all the appropriate regulators, including the Environment Agency, before arriving at its conclusion that Friends of the Earth should not repeat its false claims regarding fracking now or in the future.

In the UK, we have an outstanding framework of consultation with residents and acknowledged experts before arriving at planning decisions and now is the time to carry out the permission granted to establish once and for all the viability of fracking to ensure our energy supplies for the future.

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It would be greatly to the benefit of local residents if Friends of the Earth would join a Community Liaison Group, consisting of both supporters and detractors of fracking, together with local councillors, to oversee the operation of the fracking sites to ensure that Cuadrilla and the regulators carry out their duties in accordance with the planning permissions granted.

The futures of our next generation are too important to be put at risk by wild statements from Friends of the Earth and trust that they will heed the advice of the Advertising Standards Authority in this matter.

Bernard Whittle OBE

via email


Create jobs and energy

I see that work has started on the proposed fracking site on Preston New Road.

No doubt there will be a further clamour of objections based on more unfounded “facts” following the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) actions with Friends of the Earth and the acceptance by Friends of the Earth that their various claims about the dangers/damages have been accepted as unfounded.

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The ASA took more than 14 months to come to their conclusion, and it was based on extensive research and discussion with many independent academics and experts. So the ASA has not reached their conclusions lightly.

Risk and danger are all around us every day in every aspect of the lives of our families and ourselves, but we can mitigate against their effects by taking sensible precautions.

All companies in this country need to take precautions to ensure the safety of their staff, customers, and users of their various products and I am confident that Cuadrilla, and the various regulators, will take steps to identify and mitigate potential risks.

So let us now settle down and let Cuadrilla and the other fracking companies, overseen by the various regulators, start creating new jobs, and producing an indigenous supply of low cost energy.

Name and address supplied


Have you lost this picture?

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On Tuesday, December 13, I found a small photo (pictured above) that had been dropped, I presume by the owner.

The photo was of military personnel who appeared to be in tropical uniform.

The picture will have been taken during the Second World War, 1930s to 1940s.

I recognise this as my father has similar photos of that period.

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The owner of the photo will be distressed at its loss, as it must have meant a great deal in terms of memories of that time for it to be carried with them on their person.

My father was very protective of his military days as he got older.

Those memories and photos were very important to him, as I am sure this photo will be to its owner.

Would it be possible to assist in some way, to try and reunite this photo, with what I presume to be an aged person now, or the family?

My respect for these gallant people has urged

me to contact you for assistance.

Viv Culshaw

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals

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n Please contact the Lancashire Evening Post on 01772 554537 if you recognise

the photo.


Searching for Jeanette Moss

I am trying to track a friend who moved house in 2015. I couldn’t send her Christmas greetings this year as I had lost her new address.

I did put three notices in your paper on Thursday, Friday and Saturday before Christmas Day. It has not been fruitful yet, so I was hoping you could put this letter in your letter pages.

It’s for Mrs Jeanette Moss, last known address in Poulton Street, Preston. Jeanette has two daughters. One, Natalie, is going to make her a nana in March this year.

So if any of your readers know of my friend, could you let her know I am sorry I missed her this year? With many thanks.

Maureen Sharrocks