Frank Berry’s Scrapyard
In the 1960s the scrap yard of A.E. Piggot & Sons took over the corner of Leicester Central goods yard between Western Boulevard and Upperton Road. The yard collected scrap locally, cut it up, and sent it off to steelworks by rail, latterly via the reinstated chord from the nearby ex-Midland Railway Leicester-Burton line. Frank Berry (not to be confused with his brother Vic Berry) also established a scrapyard in that area of the goods yard.
The remainder of the goods yard was used for the distribution of coal brought in by rail.
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A couple of hundred yards further south found Class 27 Bo-Bo D5399 with a train of scrap metal, presumably destined for a steel works. This is again looking north, with Upperton Road bridge in the distance.
The ex-GCR south goods yard, with coal wagons visible on the left and Frank Berry’s scrapyard just discernible on the far right. Taken on 17th April 1969 from a Nottingham-Rugby shuttle train just before withdrawal of this final passenger service.
The derelict Leicester Central locomotive shed in the centre with the new chord line in the foreground, which had been put in a few years before, up to the ex-Midland Railway, Leicester to Burton line. This chord allowed the goods yard to be accessed by trains after the line northwards through Leicester to Loughborough was closed.
A temporary chord in a similar location was actually used during the construction of the GCR. A photograph of the first chord from the Newton Collection can be seen at https://www.railwayarchive.org.uk/getobject?rnum=L1720 when the surroundings were much more rural. ‘The Midland Railway: A Chronology’ gives the opening date of the new chord as April 1965.
The goods yard seen from Upperton Road bridge on 21st October 1973, looking north with the coal yard straight ahead. The ex-GCR goods warehouse is to the left of centre, with the track bed of the GCR main line passing it on the left. By this date access to these sidings was solely via the new chord line from the ex-Midland Railway Leicester-Burton line.
To the east of the coal yard, and separated from it by a makeshift fence, was Frank Berry’s scrapyard, seen here on 21st October 1973. The scrapyard was immediately adjacent to Western Boulevard, behind the trees on the right.
A telephoto view of 0-6-0 diesel shunter 3400 shunting the coal yard on 28th December 1973. The coal would then be delivered on the lorries of local coal merchants to domestic and industrial users.
After shunting the coal yard, seen in the previous photographs, the diesel shunter moved across to shunt the wagons in Frank Berry’s scrapyard, 28th December 1973.
A few months later, on 19th April 1974, it was a surprise to find main line locomotive Class 25 Bo-Bo 25316 shunting on the rough track at Frank Berry’s scrapyard.
Frank Berry’s scrapyard broke up general scrap and old cars, which can be seen piled on the left. The resultant small pieces of scrap were loaded into wagons to be sent off to steel works for recycling. Here 25316 continues its shunting duties on 19th April 1974.
25316 proceeded to make up a train with the wagons of scrap and the empty coal wagons on the right. The brake van will be marshalled on the front with the locomotive on the rear while the train is propelled up the new chord (seen here beyond the locomotive) linking the ex-GCR main line (trackbed on the right) with the ex-Midland Railway Leicester to Burton line.
After making up the train 25316 propels it up the chord onto the ex-Midland Railway Leicester to Burton line. The train will reverse direction when it reaches the Midland Main Line at Knighton south junction, so the locomotive will be leading as the train heads towards the yards at Leicester Midland. The piles of planks are in Gimson’s timber yard which was established on the site of the ex-GCR locomotive shed.
Showing that it was not unusual to find a class 25 locomotive shunting Frank Berry’s scrapyard, on 29th December 1974 no. 25124 was undertaking this duty. In the foreground are Frank Berry skip lorries, while in the background is the coal yard.
Upperton Road bridge gave a good view of the ex-GCR goods yard. This panoramic photograph was taken in the summer of 1976 looking north and shows the general layout of the goods yard at that time. On the far left the rails of the Great Central main line have been ripped up leaving a bare trackbed, left of centre is the coal yard, and on the right is Frank Berry’s scrapyard. In the foreground is the Old River Soar with a railway bridge on the left to the coal yard sidings and a bridge on the right to the scrapyard sidings.
3rd July 1974 found 0-6-0 no. 3400 shunting Frank Berry’s scrapyard.
On 3rd July 1974 the previously seen 0-6-0 no. 3400 has departed Frank Berry’s scrapyard and, having reversed at Knighton South Junction, is heading north on the Midland Main Line past Welford Road towards the yards at Leicester Midland.
On 29th December 1975 0-6-0 no. 08619 has propelled its train of wagons of scrap from Frank Berry’s scrapyard up on to the ex-Midland Railway Leicester to Burton line. Here it is pushing the train to the Midland Main Line at Knighton South Junction where it will reverse and head north to the yards at Leicester Midland.