Depot & Stabling Point Guides

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Information about the location of locomotive depots and where those depots locomotives were stabled, was extremely useful to spotters.  The first such guide appeared in 1947 under the title 'British Locomotive Shed Directory' and included details of the locations of steam locomotive sheds and how to reach them. Similar such guides focusing on steam locomotive sheds continued until the mid 1960s.  Subsequently no readily available guides existed until 1972.  Then, for a couple of years, Ian Allan included a 'Locoshed Directory in their 'Locoshed Book'.  This was credited to Dale Fickes of the Dalescroft Railfans Club.e.

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Whilst steam locomotives, when not in use, would stable at locomotive sheds, or in some cases sub-sheds, this wasn't the case for diesel and electric locomotives.  Locations where main line locomotives stabled away from the depots listed in the locoshed books were given in the Locoshed Directory, as well as being known to time served spotters.  However, in the early 1970's the locations where many diesel shunting locomotives stabled, at weekends in particular, were not well known.  Often such locomotives remained in the yards or sidings that they shunted when not required.  These were often remote and not passed by passenger trains.  Some were impossible to access by public transport due to their remotenes.

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The first comprehensive listing of duties and locations where diesel shunting locomotives could be found was published by the then newly formed  Inter-City Railway Society in 1973 and titled 'Shunter Stabling-Point Allocations'.  This was credited to Geoff Woodley, although it is known others assisted him in compiling this ground breaking publication.  Spotters were able to now track down the shunting locomotives that had always eluded them.  It is worth mentioning though that some locations, even in the 1970's, were impossible to visit. 

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It wasn't long before the NCTS duplicator was rolling with the amusingly titled 'Where the ! * ! * ! are they'.  This was less detailed than 'Shunter Stabling-Point Allocations', however, all locations were listed, along with a few tips about how to see the locomotives.  Five editions are believed to have been produced, roughly annually between 1974 and 1978. From the third edition onwards these also included information about how to reach depots, as well as locations where main line and shunting locomotives could be found. 

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In 1975 the Inter-City Railway Society published their third edition, altering the title to 'Shunter Duties'.  A further three editions followed during the second half of the 1970s.

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Having not published a 'Locoshed Directory' since 1973, Ian Allan published one in 1978.  Unlike previously this was a stand alone publication, rather than being combined with the 'Locoshed Book'.  Its compilation was credited to R. Kilpatrick of the Scottish Railfans Society.

Also in 1978 Platform 5 published the first edition of their 'Depot Directory Pocket Book'.  As with other Platform 5 books of the era it set new standards, including much more up to date information about how to reach depots using public transport.  Also included was a depot allocation listing.

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