Laira Traction Maintenance Depot

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Laira TMD)
Jump to: navigation, search
Laira TMD
Location Plymouth, United Kingdom
Coordinates 50°22′55″N 4°06′20″W / 50.3819°N 4.1055°W / 50.3819; -4.1055Coordinates: 50°22′55″N 4°06′20″W / 50.3819°N 4.1055°W / 50.3819; -4.1055
OS grid SX503557
Owner(s) Great Western Railway
Depot code(s)
  • 83D (1948-1963)
  • 84A (1963-1973)
  • LA (1973-present)[1]
Type Diesel, HST
Opened 1901
1931 Enlarged to replace Millbay shed
1962 Rebuilt for diesels
1981 Rebuilt for HSTs
Original Great Western Railway
Pre-grouping Great Western Railway

Laira TMD is a railway Traction Maintenance Depot situated in Plymouth, Devon, England. The depot is operated by Great Western Railway and is mainly concerned with the overhaul and daily servicing of their fleet of High Speed Trains and also the DMUs used on local services. The depot code "LA" is used to identify rolling stock based there.

After sixty years as a steam depot, servicing locomotives used on the Exeter to Plymouth line that runs past the shed as well as local lines, diesels started to arrive in 1958. A diesel depot opened in 1962 and was expanded in 1981 to accommodate the High Speed Trains.


Steam shed[edit]

Laira was the location of the temporary terminus of the South Devon Railway from 5 May 1848 when a small engine shed would have been provided. With the completion of the line to Plymouth Millbay railway station on 2 April 1849 a new shed was provided there and the facilities at Laira dismantled, although it remained a junction for the branch line to Sutton Harbour which was mixed gauge for the use of the Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway.

The Great Western Railway, which had amalgamated with the South Devon Railway on 1 February 1876, a new engine shed opened at Laira in 1901[2] on a site inside a triangle of lines formed by the main line, Sutton Harbour branch, and a curve that was mainly used by London and South Western Railway trains to reach their terminus at Plymouth Friary.[3] It was adjacent to the Embankment Road with the estuary of the River Plym just the other side of the road. The shed was a 434 by 181 feet (132 by 55-metre) brick roundhouse with a 65 feet (20 m) turntable in the middle. 28 lines radiated from the turntable for stabling locomotives and it was fitted with a 20-ton hoist for lifting locomotives (a 35-ton one was added later).[2]

A small railway station known as Laira Halt was opened on the adjacent main line on 1 June 1904 but closed again on 7 July 1930.[4] The shed at Millbay closed in 1925 and in 1931 a new 210 by 67 feet (64 by 20-metre) four track shed at Laira was brought into use just south of the original roundhouse, funded by a government loan under the Development (Loan Guarantees and Grants) Act 1929. This became known as the "Long Shed" or "New Shed".[5] At the same time the coaling stage was raised and a new 50 ton hoist supplemented the smaller ones in the roundhouse.[2]

Diesel shed[edit]

'Westerns' stand at the south end of the New Shed built for them in 1962.

Warship Class diesel-hydraulic locomotives started to appear in 1958 and were at first accommodated in the New Shed alongside steam locomotives until the diesel maintenance depot had been finished.[5] The Laira marshalling yard alongside Embankment Road was closed in 1958 to make room for carriage sidings and a new diesel shed, which was fully opened on 13 March 1962, although parts had been in use since 1960.[6]

Laira was designed for the servicing and heavy maintenance of the diesel-hydraulic locomotives favoured by the Western Region of British Railways (the depot became well known as the final home of the "Western" Class). It also handled the local diesel electric shunter and DMU fleets, although servicing of the latter was done initially at Belmont sidings at Millbay.

The diesel shed was in reinforced concrete and comprised three adjoining buildings. The servicing and maintenance building that covers roads 1–4 is on the western side of the shed; number 1 road is equipped with a wheel lathe and lifting jacks for bogie changes. The central building was the Heavy Maintenance Shed; engines can be removed and repainting undertaken on the two roads, numbers 5 and 6. The final three roads were in the servicing shed on the eastern side of the site, where locomotives could be inspected and refuelled.[5] There were covered fuelling points outside in the yard, supplied by a 45,000 gallon fuel tank.[6] A small group of buildings house stores and a workshop for shed equipment and is situated between the main shed and the curve of the Sutton Harbour branch (now realigned to the west of the shed and known locally as the "Speedway"). Carriage washing takes place south of the shed at Mount Gould, alongside the line to Plymouth Friary.

On 30 September 1981 a new shed, 240 metres (790 ft) long was built on the site of the old servicing shed that can accommodate the eight coaches and two Class 43 power cars of a High Speed Train set.[5]

Following the withdrawal of steam from the area in 1964, the roundhouse was closed on 13 June 1965 and the area used for additional siding space.[2][7] This area was later modernised and fenced off in readiness for servicing the Nightstar Channel Tunnel sleeper coaches, but the proposed service from Plymouth to Paris Gare du Nord never materialised.


Up to the 1960s Laira had an allocation that consisted of a wide variety of Great Western Railway motive power, including "Castle" Class and "King" Class express passenger locomotives. The following lists give summaries for various years.

Type 1929[8] 1934[9] 1950[10] 1959[10]
2-8-0 1 x 2800 Class
5 x 3000 'R.O.D.' Class
4 x 2800 Class
1 x 3000 'R.O.D.' Class
1 x 4700 Class
1 x 2800 Class
2 x 2884 Class
1 x 4700 Class
1 x WD 2-8-0 Class
2 x 2800 Class
2 x 2884 Class
1 x 4700 Class
4-6-0 10 x 4000 'Star' Class 10 x 4073 'Castle' Class
8 x 4900 'Hall' Class
8 x 6000 'King' Class
3 x 1000 'County' Class
1 x 4000 'Star' Class
18 x 4073 'Castle' Class
9 x 4900 'Hall' Class
10 x 6000 'King' Class
2 x 6800 'Grange' Class
2 x 6959 'Hall' Class
4 x 7800 'Manor' Class
3 x 1000 'County' Class
11 x 4073 'Castle' Class
5 x 4900 'Hall' Class
9 x 6000 'King' Class
5 x 6800 'Grange' Class
2 x 6959 'Hall' Class
3 x 7800 'Manor' Class
2-6-0 3 x 2600 'Aberdare' Class
5 x 4300 Class
3 x 2600 'Aberdare' Class
4 x 4300 Class
3 x 4300 Class 4 x 4300 Class
2-6-2T 1 x 3100 Class
3 x 4500 Class
3 x 3150 Class
2 x 4400 Class
3 x 4500 Class
2 x 4575 Class
3 x 3150 Class
2 x 4400 Class
5 x 4500 Class
5 x 4575 Class
1 x 5100 Class
1 x 4500 Class
7 x 4575 Class
3 x 5100 Class
0-6-0 none none 1 x 2251 Class none
0-6-0T 5 x 850 Class
6 x 1076 Class
2 x 1813 Class
6 x 850 Class
2 x 1076 Class
1 x 1361 Class
2 x 1854 Class
1 x 2021 Class
2 x 6400 Class
1 x 5700 Class
4 x 1361 Class
1 x 2021 Class
21 x 5700 Class
7 x 6400 Class
1 x 9400 Class
3 x 1361 Class
1 x 1600 Class
8 x 5700 Class
6 x 6400 Class
3 x 9400 Class
4-4-0 none 5 x 3300 'Bulldog' Class none none
0-4-2T none none none 2 x 1400 Class
Diesel none none none See below
A High Speed Train stands in the carriage sidings beside the depot.

During the 1960s and 1970s it was well known for its fleet of "Western" Class diesel-hydraulics. The last of these were withdrawn in 1977, by which time British Rail Class 50 diesel-electric locomotives had taken over many of their duties. These were later given Warship names in the same manner as the first diesel hydraulics. A fleet of DMUs was also stationed here for operating the branch lines in Devon and Cornwall.[5]

In recent years the allocation has solely consisted of Class 43 power cars for High Speed Trains along with some British Rail Class 08 shunting locomotives. The DMUs in Devon and Cornwall were based at Cardiff Canton TMD for several years, but in December 2007 Laira had an allocation of two-car Class 150 and single-car Class 153 DMUs.[11] After a while these were transferred to a reopened Exeter Traction Maintenance Depot.[12]

Two FGW HSTs and one CrossCountry HST side by side at Laira depot
Type 1959[13] 1974[14] 1988[15] 2010[16]
Main line 3 x Class 22
5 x Class 41 'Warship'
4 x Class 42 'Warship'
12 x Class 25
11 x Class 46
10 x Class 50
54 x Class 52 'Western'
6 x Class 37
26 x Class 43
30 x Class 50
30 x Class 43
Shunting 2 x Class 03
6 x Class 08
2 x Class 03
7 x Class 08
13 x Class 08 3 x Class 08
DMU 5 x Class 101 3-car
3 x Class 116 3-car
2 x Class 118 3-car
6 x Class 119 3-car
1 x Class 119 2-car
1 x Class 120 2-car
2 x Class 122 1-car + 1 trailer
9 x Class 101 2-car
4 x Class 108 2-car
2 x Class 118 3-car
3 x Class 118 2-car
1 x Class 121 1-car + 2 trailers
3 x Class 122 1-car

Shed codes[edit]

A shed plate carried by a Laira engine

The following shed codes have been used to identify locomotives allocated to Laira:

LA Great Western Railway
83D British Railways from 1949
84A British Railways from 1963
LA British Rail from 1973

Named locomotives[edit]

The original nameplate of Bulldog Class Laira

Locomotives named after Laira shed have been:


  1. ^ "The all-time guide to UK Shed and Depot Codes" (PDF). 5 May 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Smith, Martin (1995). An Illustrated History of Plymouth's Railways. Caernarfon: Irwell Press. ISBN 1-871608-41-4. 
  3. ^ Baker, S.K. Rail Atlas Great Britain & Ireland. Oxford Publishing Company. ISBN 0-86093-553-1. 
  4. ^ Oakley, Mike (2007). Devon Railway Stations. Wimbourne: The Dovecote Press. ISBN 978-1-904349-55-6. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Laira '91, InterCity Laira (1991)
  6. ^ a b Reed, Brian (1975). Diesel-Hydraulic Locomotives of the Western Region. Newton Abbot: David and Charles. ISBN 0-7153-6769-2. 
  7. ^ Cooke, R A (1979). Track Layout Diagrams of the GWR and BR WR: Section 12, Plymouth. Harwell: R A Cooke. 
  8. ^ Harrison, Ian (1984). Great Western Railway Locomotive Allocations for 1921. Upper Bucklebury: Wild Swan Publications. p. 23. ISBN 0-906867-21-5. 
  9. ^ Pocock, Rev. Nigel; Harrison, Ian (1987). Great Western Railway Locomotive Allocations for 1934. Didcot: Wild Swan Publications. p. 39. ISBN 0-906867-34-7. 
  10. ^ a b Bolger, Paul (1983). WR. BR Steam Motive Power Depots. Shepperton: Ian Allan. pp. 37–39. ISBN 0-7110-1311-X. 
  11. ^ Fleet and Lineside News, Rail Magazine, 16 January 2008
  12. ^ Marsden, Colin J (2010). Rail Guide (2010 ed.). Hersham: Ian Allan. pp. 45–48. ISBN 0-7110-3457-5. 
  13. ^ Harris, Roger (1985). The Allocation History of BR Diesels and Electrics (2nd ed.). Bromsgrove: Roger Harris. 
  14. ^ BR Locoshed Book (1975 ed.). London: Ian Allan. 1975. ISBN 0-7110-0641-5. 
  15. ^ Morrison, Brian, ed. (1988). British Rail Motive Power Combined Volume (1988 ed.). London: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-1776-X. 
  16. ^ Marsden, Colin J. (2010). Rail Guide (2010 ed.). Hersham: Ian Allan Publishing. pp. 45–57. ISBN 978-0-7110-3457-0. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Hunt, John (6–19 May 1998). "From 'Warships' to HSTs". RAIL. No. 330. EMAP Apex Publications. pp. 30–35. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699. 

External links[edit]