Old Dalby's army bases

In 1940, early in the Second World War, the rural village of Old Dalby was selected as a site for a large army vehicle depot which quickly developed into a storage depot for machinery, associated spares and tools.

In 1942 with the formation of the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (REME) Old Dalby was used not only for storage but also building, maintaining and repairing vehicles, machinery and equipment. Known as 35 Base Workshops, Old Dalby,  this brought expansion of the existing railway sidings and a great increase in traffic for the line.

A few pictures of the Army shunters

Shunter

A view from the signal box across to the exchange sidings on 19th December 1968 shows one of the Army shunters in the yard

Author's collection

Shunter

Another view of the same loco

Author's collection

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One of the original shunters from Old Dalby now restored and presently at the Rutland Railway Museum near Oakham but not the one in the early photos above.

Author

After the war the Technical Stores Depot (TSD) retained its role in supporting the REME workshop but following a new management structure and the formation of agencies in the mid-1990s, the Army Base Repair Organisation (ABRO) took over the REME workshops and the Army Base Storage & Distribution Agency (ABSDA) became responsible for the stores depot.

In 1996, ABRO Old Dalby closed. The Old Dalby Station (not railway) was divided and the ABRO workshops buildings and real estate sold off. The workshop buildings have been occupied by a variety of private businesses and the former ABRO site is now known as the Crown Business Park.

Old Dalby

An aerial view of the army base used by the agents who sold off the property. Note the test track running across the bottom of the picture with the goods shed prominent.

Unknown

Army base

A closer look at part of the base

Unknown

Old Dalby

Recent aerial view of Old Dalby and the former Army base

Google

Old dalby

Recent aerial view of Old Dalby and the former Army base

Note the headshunt at bottom RH corner formerly used for rail access to the base

Google

Belvoir Brewery

The new Belvoir Brewery and pub built on the edge of one of the old Army bases pictured this year. Highly recommended!

Mike Gatenby

The remainder of the former Old Dalby Station continued as a sub-Depot in the Stores Division of ABSDA. However in 1997 a Storage Rationalisation Study recommended that the ABSDA Sub-Depot at Old Dalby should close. The closure of the Old Dalby Sub-Depot was announced in November 1997 and confirmed in April 1998.

For an account which mentions working at the Ordnance Depot see the BBC WW2 People's war site here.

Further snippets about the workshops can be found on various ex-army blogs accessed through a search engine.

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