All posts by steamagedaydreams

On a cold and frosty morning

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On a cold and frosty morning Stanier Mogul No.42968 catches the first rays as she heads out of Loughborough with a service to Leicester North. These engines were Stanier’s first locomotive for the LMS and it is easy to see how the Black5, 8F, and the Jubilee evolved from this initial design.  These engines, 40 in all were built, came to be known as ‘Stanier Crabs’ , as they were, in many respects, a continuation of the 6P5F 2-6-0 ‘Crab’ Hughes had designed for the LMS, which were built in 1926, under Sir Henry Fowler’s direction.

Like Hughes’ ‘Crab’ Stanier’s engines are 2-6-0s, they are classified 6P5F,  have two outside cylinders, and Walschearts motion. However, they do not have the very high running plate and inclined cylinders which earned Hughes’ engines their nickname – ‘Crabs’. No 42968 is, running with one of Fowler’s straight sided tenders with which the engines were paired. The last but one of her class still in active service, in 1966, she was withdrawn from Springs Branch MPD, in Wigan and sent to Woodham Bros. of Barry for cutting up. No.42968 was rescued by the Stanier mogul fund, in 1973, and moved to the Severn Valley Railway, were she has been a long term resident ever since.

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Grosmont Action

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On a fine spring day in the heart of ‘Heartbeat’ country, BR Standard Class 4MTT No. 80135 sits, simmering, in the bay platform, as BR Standard Class 9F 92214 steams through Grosmont with the lunchtime goods for Goathland. The driver of 92214 is just about to take the token from the Grosmont Crossing bobby and on the platforms, and in the viewing area, dozens of photographers are about to push the shutter release – just as I was.

It could, almost, be the last days of BR steam, circa 1964/5,  well apart from the bobby wearing a hi-vis vest and the all too shiny appearance of the locomotives. Once the goods had cleared station limits No.80135 would leave the bay, cross over to the down platform and be ready to haul the next passenger service to Pickering once, No.92214 and her train were safely tucked up in Goathland sidings.

The Class 4MTT, ‘standard 4 tanks’ were in fairly regular use over this very route during the last years of its existence, as a part of the national network, though I doubt that the 9Fs were, certainly not with any regularity. A few miles north of Grosmont, on the Tyne, the 9Fs did put in some very heavy work on the Tyne Dock – Consett iron ore trains, and a number were specially fitted with air pumps, to work the automatic doors on the hoppers. Consett steel works is now the home of Phileaus Fogg’s snack making business – but a few of the 9Fs, aka ‘spaceships’, still survive.

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White Rose – Red Rose

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Lancashire & Yorkshire, ancient foes locked together to make money from mines and mills served, by the invention of the age, the railways.  There was nothing cloth cap about the L&YR, well not once it acquired some decent motive power and a capable CME. The L&YR came into being as the Manchester & Leeds Railway in 1836, with the line from Manchester as far as Litteleborough opened in 1839. Despite some opposition from the Liverpool & Manchester Railway the Manchester & Leeds began running into Manchester Victoria Station, in 1844. By 1847, through amalgamations, the M&LR had morphed into the Lancashire & Yorkshire.

In the 1870s the much bigger LNWR made attempts to amalgamate  the Lancashire & Yorkshire, only government opposition prevented this from happening, until 1922, that is,  when the LNWR did amalgamate the L&YR only for both to become constituents  the LMSR, in the Grouping’ of 1923

Before it was swallowed up, the  L&YR had a network of lines which crossed the country from the North sea ports on the Humber to the Atlantic ports on the Mersey. Naturally this involved owning docks and, eventually, a substantial fleet of ships too. In 1904 the ‘go ahead’ L&YR opened the country’s first suburban electrified line between Liverpool & Southport. Not too bad for a railway whose footplate crews were referred to, by other footplatemen, as ‘clog and muffler men’.

In the photograph Former L&YR 0-6-0 No.957, is about to enter Ingrow Tunnel on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway with a train for Oxenhope

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Radio Railway Signals

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You’ve heard of radio waves and, no doubt, semaphore signals -well this is a recreation of one the ‘Cambrian Radio Cruise’ rail tours of the 1950s, and a distant signal, in a field, far, far, away. Well a long way from my house anyway.

The original ‘Cambrian Railway Cruise’ was a circular tour of North Wales, made by travelling in steam hauled trains, often comprised of an unusual assortment of rolling stock, from former ‘Club Cars’, once the pride and joy of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway’s ‘Executive’ service between Blackpool and Manchester, to an  observation car formerly part of the Devon Belle stock. The Land cruises began, at the time of the ‘Festival of Britain’, in 1951 and the first to operate was named ‘The Festival Land Cruise’. By the early sixties the tours were all but finished when putative ‘modernisation’, with its line closures and passenger service withdrawls, had broken the circular route.

The original train tours were often hauled by Ivatt class 3MT 2-6-0s and later by the BR  Standard Class 4 75xxx series 4-6-0s. The locomotive in the photograph  is one of the surviving Stanier Class 5MT 4-6-0s, No. 44806. When this photograph was taken No.44806 was one of the ‘resident’ engines at work on the Llangollen Railway, she is now to be found across the other side of the country working on the North Yorkshire Moors.

This is the link to my book “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

Below are some totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing:

‘I’m enjoying your book. It’s a real page-turner, thought provoking and great photos, to boot’

‘ I bought and enjoyed “Gricing” etc and would heartily recommend it to readers’.

and from another ‘satisfied’ reader’ – ‘ I was given what I believe to be your book called Gricing the other night.  Very much enjoyed the book if it is yours!’

HAVE YOU GOT YOUR COPY YET?

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Eardington Evening

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Fading light on an autumn evening and Ex-SR Battle of Britain Class 4-6-2 No.34053 Sir Keith Park, with a handsome rake of teak coaches, nears the summit of Eardington Bank, on a Kidderminster – Bridgnorth service. In the ‘good old days’, whenever they were, there was a service from York to Bournemouth, so I suppose a Southern locomotive hauling LNER stock isn’t entirely fictitious.

There’s always ‘lively’ debate about appropriate rolling stock, locomotive liveries, head codes, destination boards and so on. Just as with so many things – ‘you pays your money and takes your choice’ – other choices are available, naturally. In her re-built form and in British Railway’s passenger livery of Green lined with black and orange is not only how I remember these engines best, it was also just how they were when I was a young fireman working on them. I shoveled more than a ton or ten into the firebox of No.34053 Sir Keith Park, on trips from Waterloo to Bournemouth and back. Though I don’t remember seeing her quite so clean and shiny.

Bulleid’s Pacifics were fine engines to work on and with the combination of 3cylinders and the Le Maitre multiple jet blastpipe they had a sound all of their own. They also had electric lighting, rocking grates, a boon to the fireman when he was cleaning the fire, even padded seats, not that the fireman spent that much time sat on his, with some drivers!

 

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Ancient and ‘modern’

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No.1638 might look like an old Great Western Railway pannier tank, but she was actually built in 1951, the same year as the British Railways Britannia Class were introduced.  Britannia Class, No.70004 William Shakespeare, was exhibited at the 1951 Festival of Britain, where it was described as ‘modern looking’.

The 16xx class 0-6-0s were built to work on lines, restricted, to the heavier 57xx class panniers. The 16xx class weighed only 41 ton 12cwt, between 6 and 9 tons lighter than the 57xx. In my ‘Combined Volume’ they are described as being for light branch line and shunting duties and 70 were built. They were also the last pannier tank designed and built at Swindon.

In the photo we see No.1638 crossing Oldbury viaduct with, an early morning Bridgnorth – Kidderminster stopping train, not quite the ‘expresss’ suggested by the headlamps on either buffer. The classic shot of trains working across Oldbury viaduct is from the other side of the track showing the arches, however, in the early morning that side is in shadow – and it makes a change to try something different.

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No. 9 Main Line

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Chime whistle blowing and paint work gleaming No. 60009 Union of South Africa made quite an impression as she stormed out of Dundee at the head of the Great Britain Rail Tour bound  for Perth. Strange as it may seem but, at several times during preservation, this engine was to be found on a farm or in a parcels shed in Fife. The Lochty, ‘private’ Railway housed No. 9 and a teak Ex-LNER observation car and when not on main line duties, No.9 was, for some time, kept in a parcels shed in Markinch.

During a period, in the early 1990s, when I was writing a regular column, for the now defunct Steam Railway News, No.9 was based at Bridgnorth MPD on the Severn Valley Railway. Before a locomotive works a main line rail tour they  undergo a ‘fit to run examination’ carried out by an HSE appointed inspector. For the column I wrote, in SRN,  ‘Clag & Rockets’ I explained what this examination involved. I did this by arranging to accompany the inspector performing the, ‘fit to run’, on No.60009 Union of South Africa. Part of that examination involves climbing into the firebox, no fire in it, of course!! Once inside the firebox, a small hammer is used to check that there are no broken stays, so it’s quite a noisy exam.

 

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Double Dee Light

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Llangollen Gala coming up – and here’s one from a previous event. With the river Dee, sparkling, in the background No.7822 Foxcote Manor is piloting ‘heavy freight’ 2-8-0 No.3802 as they ‘re-create’ a famous rail tour from the past, which ran, over several years, to the Talyllyn Railway, in September, for their AGM. In 1963, No.7822 was one of the two Manors booked for the turn, the other, No.7827 Lydham Manor, is still in existence, so, in theory, it would be possible to recreate a portion of one of the original tours.

This photograph is taken at the Llangollen Railway a mile or so to the east of Carrog, which was, at the time, the terminus. However, recently, the line has re-opened into Corwen, a long time ambition of the Llangollen Railway. A team based at the Llangollen Railway’s workshops, in Llangollen, are well under way with the building, from new, of one of the former LMSR Patriot Class 3cyl 4-6-0s. The initial members of the Patriot Class were actually rebuilds of a couple of Claughton Class 4-6-0s constructed, in 1912, for the London North Western Railway. The forty which followed had some bits from withdrawn ‘Claughtons’ incorporated into them, though how many, and which, isn’t exactly clear.

I’m quite looking forward to seeing the Patriot back in action; as I have fond memories of seeing them at work, in my home town, and when visiting my aunt and uncle in Rugby. A number of the Patriot Class were later re-built with Stanier taper boilers and curved smoke deflectors – in this form the were almost identical in appearance with the re-built Royal Scots and they were often known as ‘ Baby Scots’, as a result.

This is the link to my book “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

Below are some totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing:

‘I’m enjoying your book. It’s a real page-turner, thought provoking and great photos, to boot’

‘ I bought and enjoyed “Gricing” etc and would heartily recommend it to readers’.

and from another ‘satisfied’ reader’ – ‘ I was given what I believe to be your book called Gricing the other night.  Very much enjoyed the book if it is yours!’

HAVE YOU GOT YOUR COPY YET?

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‘Trouble at mill Mr. Arkwright’, ‘neigh, they’re all gone now lad’.

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For such a short line the K&WVR has quite a range of locations from gritty industrial to rural idyll, and  all within the space of 5 miles. The tall houses above right are ‘new build’, and the old mill, which was just behind those trees to the rear of the train, ‘old build’, has now, all but disappeared, a mere shadow of it’s former self. The mills were big employers in Keighley and along the Worth valley, not any more though.

Worked through Keighley, on the main line, with Black 5s just like the one in the picture, during a three month spell as a fireman at Holbeck MPD, back in 1966. The service was Leeds City to Morecambe via Keighley, Skipton, Settle Junction, Bentham, Wennington, and Lancaster, a nippy tea time commuter service, it was a fun week’s work – and home pass too!!

No. 45212 was built, in 1935, by Armstrong Whitworth, and survived until the end of steam in 1968. Withdrawn from Lostock Hall in that year and saved for preservation on the K&WVR. Currently undergoing restoration to main line standard, for future use on the national network.

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Railway Riddles

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Britannia Class 4-6-2 No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell about to pass under Woodthorpe Lane bridge, about a mile south  from Loughborough Central Station on the up line. Confusing isn’t it, going down south on the up line, it’s just the same going the other way too, you go up north on the down line.

Riddles’ Britannia Class Pacific’s were given a rather rag, tag, and bobtail, assortment of names; famous Britons, along  with a hand full of  stars, a few planets, the odd ethereal spirit of the air, some army stuff, a smattering of Firths,  and one very lonely engine No.70047 who had ‘no name’ and had never heard of Clint Eastwood, his pals in the shed used to tease him and call him, ‘Billy no mates’.

Strangely, when it comes to naming engines there’s a remarkable lack of named engines with links to the likes of Thomas Paine, a very famous Briton, nor the Tolpuddle Martyrs, heroic Britons of a different hew, no solemn commemoration, in brass, on plate, of those slayen at Peterloo – just cheeky beggars demanding the right to vote.

 

 

 

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