A four Art Deco

There’s some comment about ‘history repeating itself’ and there are certainly parallels to be drawn between 1930s Britain and the current ‘austerity’ programme. Glamour and glitz in the 1930s was to travel by train, in rolling stock with Art Deco interiors to match their streamlined exteriors; trains like the Coronation, or The Silver Jubilee which ran between London and Newcastle, in 1935.

The first of the A4s ‘Silver Link’, painted in Silvery / grey livery, hauling matching streamlined silver/ grey painted stock, reached 112mph on the inaugural Silver Jubilee run, made on the 29th September 1935; regular services commenced the following day. No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, the engine in the photograph, also attained 112mph – post-war, and a small laurel leaf plaque affixed to the casing attests to this. Like the Silver Jubilee, the Coronation was similarly streamlined, finished in 2-tone blue, rather than silver, it ran between Kings Cross and Edinburgh. Departing Kings Cross at 4pm and arriving in Edinburgh at 10pm. During the summer timetable a beaver tailed observation car was added to the formation, which was usually made up of two four coach articulated units.

Passengers on these trains paid a premium above the standard fare and the London to Newcastle journey, on the Silver Jubilee, with an intermediate stop in Darlington took just 4 hours to cover the 268.3miles, about 67mph average. The Coronation took just six hours for the journey from Edinburgh to London, this was in 1937. Sadly the Second World War saw this service discontinued and post war the stock entered general service – ‘austerity’ post war style didn’t run to Art Deco rolling stock, hauled by Art Deco styled locomotives, hurtling along the ECML at 100+ mph.

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/   - with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.
If you enjoy my photos and writing - I'm sure you'd enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running. The links below will take you to it. You can read a sample for free and you don't need a Kindle - there's a free app so you can read it, and view the photos at screen size, on you PC.
http://www.amazon.com/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
or for British readers.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Autumn Berries

47406srstockloughThe last two editions have had a musical theme, this one has an artistic air; I wanted those red berries in the composition. Railways and Art have a history, some of it art for art’s sake, some of it not. Railways have employed art, and artists, in every aspect of their business from designing the type face, for the companies signs and letter heads, to painting the  portrait of the Chairman of the Board.

On the railway itself, the companies used art to decorate their carriages, to promote themselves, their products, excursions and day trips, on everything from hand bills to huge wall posters. Some of these posters, handbills, and carriage compartment prints, fetch substantial sums of money – those in the Art Deco style being particularly sought after. The carriage compartment prints were, essentially, watercolors, most frequently of bucolic scenes of the towns, villages, or landscapes  the railway passed through.

Railway painting / art is, amongst the aficionados, almost as much of a minefield as liveries and CMEs. One the one hand is ‘photo-realism’ from artists such as Philip Hawkins or Don Breckon, on the other are images like those of, the Gare St. Lazare by Monet, or Time Transfixed by Rene Magritte – ‘trains Jim but not as we know them’. The Magritte is,  very apposite, if you take the view, as I do, that the railways played a leading role in the industrialisation of time and space

Cannot sign off without a mention of that other area of railway art – the statue, bust, or monument, no self-respecting terminal station, be it in the Gothic, Classical, or Neo-Classical style, would be complete without a ‘cast in bronze’, or ‘hewn from stone’ Chairman / CME / Benefactor / Patron.

Above is the link to Part I of my memories of footplate life in the 1960s. The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway is still  available on Amazon – Below, is the link to that work.

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

Steam Age Daydreams 2019 Calendar is now on sale here’s the link:  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/302936132284

Steam Age Daydreams began in 2014 and since then over 600 blogs have appeared on all manner of railway topics.  They are all still available to read in the ‘Archive’ section. I am writing this to let you all know that when the existing webhosting contract expires in December there are, currently, no plans to renew it – Steam Age Daydreams will cease.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Sing a song of railways

63601whensadd

I woke up this morning, like you do, and I thought, can I write an essay  using just pieces of lyrics or titles from railway songs I know? ‘While riding on a train going west’ ‘under bridges over bridges to our destination’ ‘He made the freight train boogie As he rolled down the line’. ‘It takes a lot to laugh it takes a train to cry’ ‘Chattanoooga-choo-choo’. ‘Time flies by when you’re the driver of a train, speeding out of Trumpton with a cargo of cocaine’. ‘This old engine makes it on time Leaves Central Station at a quarter to nine’.

‘Its hell on a plate it’s a funeral freight, oh Johnny It’s the end of a dream in steel and steam, oh Johnny’. ‘I got sheep, I got Cows I got horses I got pigs I got all livestock I got all livestock’. ‘Coal in the boiler burning up bright Rolling and a-rocking through the night’ ‘Freight train was it taught me how to cry The holler of the driver was my lullaby’

‘Hey, look a-yonder comin’ Comin’ down that railroad track’ ‘It’s the 06.05 Special’ ‘The boiler was filled with lager beer The devil himself was the engineer The passengers were most a motley crew’ ‘In the cutting, through the tunnel, Rushing clanking on the track‘. ‘This train don’t carry no Gamblers Liars, thieves, nor big shot ramblers This train is bound for Glory This train.’ ‘John Henry told his captain
“Lord a man ain’t noth’ but a man” ‘

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:

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

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Freight train blues

78019minsshadows

Here in Britain we have never really had a tradition of using the railway to ‘hitch’ a ride – no hobo’s riding our rails. Here, the freight train blues were all imported, like the sound of a chime whistle blowing across a darkening prairie or echoing from some mountain gorge – they had a familiar ring,  but were, unquestionably, from another world.

Very close to where this photograph was taken, lie the towns of Coalville and Ashby, in between them is the village of Swannington, from which, in 1830, opened a line to Leicester – the Leicester & Swannington Railway. The L&S, which came into being, primarily, as the result of corporate rivalry between Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire mine owners, was only the 5th line to be opened in Britain; it was up and running before such luminaries as the London & Birmingham.

The Leicester & Swannington has, perhaps, a more important claim to  fame and a world first, according to legend. Shortly after the line opened, there was a collision between a train, hauled by the locomotive ‘Samson’, and a horse and cart, loaded with eggs and butter, bound for the market in Leicester. This incident, prompted the line’s manager, a Mr. Bagster, to suggest the engines be fitted with steam whistles, to prevent such an event from happening again.

So the next time you hear that prairie whistle wail and that old blues man sing about ‘Box car Willie’ – remember the Leicester & Swannington – who gave us ‘the south bound whistle – on the south bound train’.

The locomotive, BR Standard Class 2MT 2-6-0, No. 78019 is photographed, near Loughborough, on the GCR, hauling one of the putative ‘windcutter’ services during a Gala event.

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:

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

 

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

The crossing keeper’s cottage

4566&5786

Jobs for life and a house thrown in, those days are long gone, as are many of the occupations. The crossings are still level but the barriers are automated, lights flash, bells sound – all rather brash and noisy; like so much of the modern world. When railways came to rural Britain, they often brought with them jobs, jobs which several generations of the same family worked at. Dads, sons, and uncles guards, drivers, and bobbies and so it went on, for decades. However, change is as much a part of life as breathing; and though we may rail against it, you’re reading this thanks to progress and technology. No boiled down bones were used to create the picture  – just silica 0 and 1.

On the fledgling railway network, in 1837, ‘electrickery’ was used to move a needle, a very tiny amount, and thus began the process of modern day signaling. Electronic communication has, in the intervening 184 years, moved from spelling with needles, through fax machines, flickering on screen images, to something approaching the bridge of the Spaceship Enterprise, where tiny, hand held, gadgets, can transmit sound and pin sharp pictures over vast distances, for all practically purposes, instantly. These same gadgets can hold entire libraries of music, give access to huge swathes of the world’s accumulated knowledge and information – but they are most often used to show pictures of cute animals, food, and fabric free entertainment, of an adult variety. That’s progress.

The photograph of Ex-GWR  2-6-2T No 4566 and 0-6-0PT No. 5786 was taken on the Severn Valley Railway at the summit of Eardington Bank.

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:

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

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Atomic Rooster!

bantam-cock-ward-print

In amongst all the schemes and plans to build new P2s, B17s, Patriots, Brighton Atlantics, and even the scheme I’m involved with myself, to build a BR Class 3MTT of the 82xxx class, I’m surprised no one launched a scheme to build a new ‘Bantam Cock’; this impression by, Ward, in Volume 1 of Modern Locomotives, Published by Rylee of Edgbaston, Birmingham, in 1947, shows what handsome machines they were.

3 cylinders, a 2-6-2 wheel arrangement, and the use of lightweight parts gave these engines great route availability, they were powerful too. However, only two were ever built, Bantam Cock No.3401 / No.1700 which became BR No.61700, and the putative ‘Bantam Hen’ No.3402 / No.1702, which became BR No.61701 and never did carry the name Bantam Hen. We will never know if the intention was to build more, Gresley’s death, in 1941, saw Thompson appointed CME and the advent of the B1s, which probably scuppered any chance of further engines, in the V4 class, being built. Trialled, initially, in the West Riding, both engines spent much of their later working life in Scotland at Eastfield, Stirling, and Aberdeen, from where they were withdrawn, in 1957.

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.
http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/
You might also enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running.
http://www.amazon.com/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
or for British readers.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

P-way Pug

51218pug

One from my pre-digital archives, EX-L&YR 0-4-0 No.51218 with a short ballast train, creating one of those deceptive appearances,  which the camera so often produces. No.51218 isn’t steaming along the main, she’s in the head shunt and just a couple of hundred yards from the buffer stops. The fresh ballast was real, even if little else is, somewhere along the line the ‘permanent way’ has become a impermanent.

The permanent way, the very words conjour up a kind of everlasting quality, was something which wasn’t going to go away any time soon. The permanence, of those permanent ways, at least the ones which have not been torn up, is that much of the railway we run over today, the tunnels, bridges, cuttings and embankments were built in the 19th Century, by men using pick axe and shovel, dynamite and donkeys – it was the kind of job you really didn’t want to have to do twice. It also had the added bonus, of establishing in the public’s mind, the idea that this new fangled ‘technology’, the steam railway, was safe, secure, and permanent.

Grand and fanciful stations endorsed the ideas of solidity and permanence, Gothic splendour cheek by jowl with classic Doric, great vaulted iron spans – the ‘flying buttress’ of Victoriana. Today, in throw away and recycle world, stations are retail outlets, as flimsy and insubstantial as the products being sold. Today’s permanence is debt, surveillance, ‘alert’ levels and the nagging doubt that we are about to run into the buffer stops, travelling way too quickly for our own safety.

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/   - with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.
If you enjoy my photos and writing - I'm sure you'd enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running. The links below will take you to it. You can read a sample for free and you don't need a Kindle - there's a free app so you can read it, and view the photos at screen size, on you PC.
http://www.amazon.com/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
or for British readers.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Main Line?

1744mainline

Main Line or secondary route, life’s a bit like that, the route everyone goes down and the one ‘less well traveled’. No fixed course, no ‘career’ just whatever and wherever fancy takes you. The American author / journalist Hunter S. Thompson commented: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ”
Hunter S. Thompson

Boys have become old men keeping alive an alchemical spirit, whose sulphurous whiff, and wailing whistle, have held thrall over many, for  centuries now. Catch me who can, at a shilling a ride, the Steam Elephant and Wylam Dilly, let’s not forget Puffing Billy, in the coal mines up north. Cheering crowds in Stockton, Liverpool and Manchester – even Victoria was ‘amused’ to travel in a railway style! Lords and Grub Street, lauded the railways – some still do.

Edwardian Railways, a by-word for style and elegance and then came Art Deco, streamlining and speed records, World War II and  – to paraphrase Thompson this ended in a train wreck, ‘thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a War that was.” Nationalisation was the answer to that; Joe Public, as he does, was left to pick up the pieces, put them back together again and pay for the pleasure of doing so.

No 1744 is just departing from Grosmont, ‘in a cloud of smoke’!! No mirrors were used in the writing of this article

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.Provided you credit the original source:
http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/

You might also enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running.

http://www.amazon.com/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2

or for British readers.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Evening Star and the morning goods

92220gdscloser

In a parody of the  Beatles song, Yellow Submarine, the band, Half Man Half Biscuit, sing the following lyric: ‘In the town where I was born Lived a man who went to work And he told us of his life Building spaceships on £40 a week’. I mention this because, it is entirely possible that the men who built this engine, the last steam locomotive to be built on British Railways, in 1960, earned less than £40 a week – for those of you who don’t know, one of the nicknames given to these handsome 2-10-0 giants was, ‘Spaceships’.

In this neck of the woods, the Great Central Railway near Loughborough, the 9Fs were most commonly associated with what became known as the ‘windcutters’, however, in the North East the 9Fs faced a very different and demanding challenge, which often required two of these engines, one on the train and one banking. I’m talking about the Tyne Dock – Consett iron ore trains, for which a number of these engines, (Nos 92060 – 92066 & 92097 – 92099), were specially fitted with air pumps to work the air operated doors on the 56 ton hopper wagons and the air brakes on the train.

The sight and sound of two of these engines, with an 800 ton train, being worked very hard on the gradients, between Tyne Dock and Annfield Plain, was awesome. They didn’t look all nice and shiny either. However, full marks to the volunteers at the GCR for making every effort to create the authentic image, copper capped chimney, name plates and even the little plaque, to commemorate her being the last engine built at Swindon too, on the smoke deflectors.

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”

By Amazon Customer on 17 Mar. 2016

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!

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Speeding Mail

6960tpo

Under a cloudless blue sky, Ex-GWR Hall Class 4-6-0 No.6960 Raveningham Hall, is nicely into her stride, with the Loughborough – Rothley Mails, during the  Great Central Railway’s recent, ‘Railways at work’ weekend. A mini gala with freight, passenger, and TPO workings, the former BR 2-10-0, No.92214, was mocked up as No.92220 Evening Star, complete with copper capped chimney, for the event..

Swapping names and numbers, it could be argued, is simply the preservationists continuing an age old railway tradition of swapping loco identities, as and when it suited a particular, usually publicity oriented, purpose. Makes sense if your running a business, to sell it to the public – and heritage railways are businesses, with wages to pay, bills to meet for everything from track and infrastructure  maintenance, to meat pies in the Buffet – you know, the one’s the Fat Controller eats, when Thomas isn’t watching!!

The competition between the London & South Western Railway and the Great Western Railway, for the carriage of the ‘Atlantic Mails’ and the Ocean Liner Passengers, from Plymouth to London was, in it’s own way, as intense as the Railway Races to the North of 1895. The GWR carried the mail, the L&SWR carried the passengers – the only stop was an engine change. This rivalry, it is believed, was behind the Salisbury rail crash of 1906 when 28 people died, including the driver and fireman of the Boat Train. Beyond the tragic loss of life in this incident, the same rivalry was, it is argued, the spur for No.3440 City of Truro and the did she didn’t she reach 100mph saga. A rather more important consequence of the 1906 crash was, that trains ‘through’ Salisbury ceased,   thereafter all trains ‘called’ at Salisbury.

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/   - with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.
If you enjoy my photos and writing - I'm sure you'd enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running. The links below will take you to it. You can read a sample for free and you don't need a Kindle - there's a free app so you can read it, and view the photos at screen size, on you PC.
http://www.amazon.com/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
or for British readers.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather