As we all enjoy the beautiful images of steam at work in a whole gamut of settings, shades, and locations it is as well to remember that not everything associated with the operation of steam locomotives is picturesque – some of it is downright dirty, like this task being undertaken here.
Cleaning out the smokebox char is one of the most unpleasant jobs the fireman has to undertake. It’s hot and a little noisy too, the fine ash blows about everywhere, it gets in your eyes, ears, and yes up your nose and down your throat. I cleaned a great many a smokeboxes during my own time on the steam driven railway and I don’t envy today’s volunteers doing this job. The locomotive in the photo, Ex-Southern Railway 4-6-2 No.34101 Hartland, is a locomotive I worked on and one upon which I did this very task, during my time at 70A Nine Elms. In this photograph, the location is Grosmont MPD on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, not the natural home for a Bulleid Pacific.
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: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751
These are some totally unsolicited comments from people who have already read Gricing: Amazon Customer on 6 Jan. 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase: “Brilliant and interesting book”
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
‘Not a murder mystery, but one that I found hard to put down. One of the best additions to my collection of books about railways.’
‘treated myself to a copy of “Gricing” for Christmas, excellent reading.’
‘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’.
‘I was given what I believe to be your book called “Gricing” the other night. Very much enjoyed the book if it is yours!