Nothing stays the same

We were delighted to welcome 35 members and non-members to our meeting on 6th April to hear from Mike Corbett on his fascinating, varied railway career. We were treated to many behind the scenes from Mr Corbett’s postings at depots from Finsbury Park to Chart Leacon and Wolverton Works.

Our evening started at Finsbury Park where Mr Corbett was the Senior Diesel Inspector which at the time was home to eight racehorse named Deltics. A posting to the Liverpool Street division saw the unusual use of 47155 minus its bogies being used as a stationary generator set at West Thurrock Power Station. Mr Corbett related the sinking feeling when the loco refused to start when first in place, a fault that was soon rectified, it went on to clock up 1000 hours.

Later roles included Area Manager at Lincoln and then a move to Norwich Carrow Road, which was adjacent to Norwich City’s ground. The move of depot to the current Crown Point was covered in detail, featuring the construction of the new sheds and the official opening by BR chairman, Sir Peter Parker. 1983 saw the first depot open day at Crown Point, the first of several such events at Mr Corbett would oversee.

From Crown Point, a period at Chart Leacon followed, learning to deal with Southern Region slam door units of CEP, VEP and CIG varieties. Of most interest to our members was Mr Corbett’s posting at Wolverton Works. The Class 86 became the first locomotives to be overhauled here in 114 years during Mr Corbett’s tenure. His role also included looking after the Royal Train, and managing successful open days, which were well illustrated.

Post-Wolverton, Mr Corbett has worked for all three ROSCOs and was the project director for TPWS. His most recent project was the refurbishment of the Class 442 units for Southern/Gatwick Express, work that was undertaken at Wolverton. These units would more recently return to Wolverton to be stripped of components before scrapping when a further overhaul by South Western Railway was abandoned.

An enjoyable evening was warmly received by our audience, and we all got a glimpse behind the scenes thanks to Mr Corbett’s well-chosen selection of photographs.