Saturday before last, and No.44806, with the heavily loaded Pullman dinning service, the 12:30 departure from Grosmont, slogs her way up the very testing climb to Goathland. No.44806 is in the final year of her boiler certificate and currently appears to need some attention to the valve spindle packings. However, she doesn’t appear to be short of steam and is flying a nice little feather from the safety valves.
Fortunately there are replacements, for No.44806, in the pipeline as returning to steam, at the NYMR, in the not too distant future, are Ex-Southern Railway Schools class 4-4-0 No.30926 Repton and West Country class 4-6-2 No.34101 Hartland. When I arrived at 70A Nine Elms, in early 1963, the Schools were laid up but, No.34101 Hartland was still in regular service and I enjoyed numerous trips, as her fireman, on services to Basingstoke, Southampton, and Bournemouth.
If No.44806 had been No.44896 I would have worked on her too, as No.44896 was one of seven Black5s allocated to 55C Farnley Jct., when I began work there as a cleaner, back in the 60s. Farnley’s allocation of Black 5s and Jubilees included the ill-fated, No.45695 Minotaur, wrecked in a crash near Stockport and never repaired. The Black 5s and the Jubes were about the only engines we did keep clean with the exception of the handful of Ivatt 2-6-2 tanks used on station pilot duties at Leeds City station. The rest, including a string of Dub Dees, got the cabside numbers cleaned when they became too dirty to read!!
If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it: