I arrived in Beaconsfield during the start of a national holiday. So the yard and sheds were quiet. Therefore, I made my visit known to the local security company. Yes, the whole site is being looked after by a private security firm. They are polite and only ask for you to show some form of identification and sign in.
I was approached many times by the security firm throughout my morning walkabout.
Humm. How do I say? -> This is not the Beaconsfield I remember.
Time really has not stood still at this location. The grounds are littered with steam locomotives and related carcasses. It appears that scrapping of the steam locomotives began then abruptly ceased.
Dear Reader: should you desire to see how a boiler of a 25NC was constructed. Go to Beaconsfield. I took many photos of just such views as the partial scrapping of the locos has resulted in some interesting details.
The final solution of electrification will most likely spell the end of the steam and diesel shed. I do believe that a few additional tracks over in the electric loco depot would suffice to service what few diesels will be around after the electrics take over in full.
I realize that as of this writing, 2001-Dec-31, this shed may already be gone. But I do not know and I shall make one more attempt in the near future to record by camera this facility.
My own belief is that electrification should have been performed years ago, when the traffic warranted such infrastructure. Yes, the steam locos should have been moved aside and the DC gap filled in all the way to the Cape to allow for increased operating department efficiencies.
In saying that, I am sure I am not viewed upon in good light by many railway enthusiasts. My only response is simply, it is either the highway or the railway. It is now a nationwide showdown between the modes of transport. For not only has steam traction died off, completely, but the railway service levels have seriously declined and I don't detect a trend of goods returning to the rails.
So it may be an ironic twist of economic realism that in trying to save steam traction in the past, the future of the railway today may be in jeopardy as the monies which are in tight supply are being spent to fulfill electrification in an era of reduced railway traffic activity.
So as I always spout: Get your photos now...