WC-WD

34101&90775pd

Not quite AC / DC – West Country Class 4-6-2 No.34101 Hartland has her smokebox cleaned and WD No.90775 waits her turn under the hopper and over the ash pit. I know this is a scene from preservation’s recent past, but there’s little in the photograph which would be a give away if I said this was from 1961 – though quite how an engine with a 65F Grangemouth shed code would end up alongside an Ex-SR Pacific might need some explaining. Making matters even more difficult to explain is the fact that No.34101 Hartland is carrying the ‘Golden Arrows’ on her smoke deflectors.

There’s also the little matter that the WD was never a British Railways locomotive, she was sent to Greece as part of the war effort and repatriated in 1984, having been built in Glasgow, by the North British Loco Co., in 1943. No longer on the NYMR, No.90775, is now in the hands of the Midland & Great Northern Joint Soc. and awaiting overhaul at the North Norfolk Railway. The WC No.34101 Hartland is still on the Moors line and nearing the end of her overhaul and will, very soon, be steaming across the moors again, which is nice. I’m going to be moving nearer to the NYMR, myself, and No.34101 Hartland was an engine I worked on  during the 1960s, so I’m looking forward to being able to pop by and see her at work again.

For any of you wanting to know more, or enjoy reading my blogs and the photographs, in them why not buy yourselves a copy of my book. 30,000+  words and more than 100 photographs.

The following are 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!’

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

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

The mail, a Black ‘un and the DMU

45305exloughmk1

I don’t usually go for overtly political stuff in my blogs – though as many of you might know I’m no stranger to politics. It’s also no secret that my sympathies lie to the left, dare I say, even to the left of left. No matter.  Our railway, which was sold by John Major’s government, for £1.9 billion, now receives £3.2 billion a year in subsidies, what doesn’t go to Branson goes to the tax payers of France, Germany, and Holland, whose own state railways now own vast swathes of Britain’s railways. So it’s possible to have efficient and prosperous state owned railways in those countries, but not in this one – why is that?

During its guise as East Coast Railways, the ECML did make money and did pay that money to the public purse – it’s now in the hands of Richard Branson. Ask yourself this, if the railways didn’t make any money why would a hard nosed businessman like Branson go to court to keep his franchise on the West Coast – could it be those subsidies or the money he collects from fines levied on Railtrack, who are now £30 billion in debt?

Royal Mail was sold by the current Government at way below marketable value – so much so, that the man who was the Chancellor’s best man at his wedding, made £18 million in just 48 hours trading in Royal Mail shares, he wasn’t the only one.

And to really ram home the pigs at the trough theme here, we are now being led by a man who commits bestial necrophilia – with a pig’s head. You cannot make this up – and it really is time things changed. In the financial year ending March 2013, according to  the Guardian, Britons handed £93billion in welfare to corporations. That is enough to wipe out at a stroke this year’s budget deficit – and it was given to companies in direct aid, subsidies and tax breaks.

If you have any issues with this don’t call, text, or comment to me – ask your MP for some answers.

For any of you wanting to know more, or enjoy reading my blogs and the photographs, in them why not buy yourselves a copy of my book. 30,000+  words and more than 100 photographs. The following are 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!’

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

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

When I’m cleaning engines

20twiztarcleanerA mere 53 years ago I was doing just what this young lads is doing – cleaning engines, in my case at Farnley Junction, in Leeds. Today I take photographs and write Blogs and Books about railways, railway life, and their influences on the world around us. These influences spread into every corner of our lives, culture, history, diets, even where and how we live.

It was from this area, Tyneside, that the first footplatemen originated, men, often hand picked by the likes of George Stephenson.  Everything was being learned on the hoof, there were no instruction manuals, trial and error were the yardstick. Needless to say there were calamities and casualties along the way – which came to be known as ‘the permanent way’ – it wasn’t going to go away. It hasn’t, and much of our current railway network still runs on the routes laid down over 150 years ago, much of it built during the period known as ‘Railway Mania’ – an intense period of construction a bit like the ‘dot com bubble’ of recent years.

The scene is at Marley Hill engine shed, on the Tanfield Railway, which dates to 1855.  The Tanfield wagonway was in operation in by 1727, so I guess you could say, it’s a pretty permanent way!!

 For any of you wanting to know more, or enjoy reading my blogs and the photographs, in them why not buy yourselves a copy of my book. 30,000+  words and more than 100 photographs. The following are 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!’

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

 

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Lights, Tarmac, action.

twiztarmaclt

Two very different bits of our industrial past, the steam locomotive and the steam wagon, sit next to each other out side Marley Hill MPD. Tyneside and the Black country, Blists Hill and the Stockton & Darlington two of the earliest cogs in the industrial revolution machine, road and rail, steel and tarmac – engines of progress?

The steam wagon, is a Sentinel of 1929 vintage, the locomotive, No.3 Twizell, was built in 1891 by Robert Stephenson & Co. What struck me was that between the locomotive and the steam wagon is 40 years of ‘progress’  – in 1960 steam locomotion was still very much in evidence, telly was dumb and only available in black and white – 40 years on there was the internet, mobile phones,  key-hole surgery, gene therapy, data mining and flat screen LED TV – that’s quite some change, by comparison, with the forty years between 1890 and 1930. And now, of course, Google knows everything, from the street where you live, to how many fairies can dance on the head of a pin, and the answers to that and a zillion other questions, in 0.02397653 of a second.

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?

 

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Devotion to duty

cescocpray

With the sun sinking slowly in the West one of the Tanfield Railway’s young volunteers is busily cleaning – the spotlessly clean Sir Cecil A Cochrane, who, I’m guessing, never cleaned an engine in his life and was, in all probability, less than ‘squeaky’ clean himself. Victorian gentlemen were seldom short of closets, or skeletons to keep in them.

Devotion to duty was something many a Victorian railwayman would have taken to heart, from day one. Public servants, providing the public with a service, we still use, ‘train service’. The railways themselves were under private ownership, along with pretty much everything else – Sir Cecil and his chums being the owners, ‘naturally’, as they saw it. Oddly many of the public servants saw themselves as servants, ‘naturally’, – as in: ‘I know my place’ ‘one’s ‘station’ in life, ‘Masters and Servants’ – only the guise has changed.

Sir Cecil was Director and or Chairman of quite a number of Collieries as well as the Consett Iron Co.,to which train loads of ore were carried, from Tyne Dock. The trains, in the 1960s, were hauled by the relatively newly built BR 9F 2-10-0s. On one section a second 9F acted as a banker – I have seen some old black and white cine film of these trains – awesome.

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?

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

A little forgery

forge3

The day shift have gone home and the night crew are busy at the forge, in Marley Hill MPD, on the Tanfield Railway, well nearly – it is night and it is Marley Hill real enough, but this is a re-enactment – a little forgery. That metal’s hot enough tho’, nothing fakebelieve about that. In it’s role as motive power depot, on an industrial railway, Marley Hill would have been called upon to do a great deal of the regular maintenance of the locomotive fleet and repair any minor damage which might occur through shunting accidents or minor derailments, grist to the mill for a forge like this.

Much of this photo is, ‘as it would have been’ with all the inherent dangers of working with hot metals and only minimal protection – no one would have paid it any mind. On a different level, there’s something almost alchemical about the scene, glowing red hot metal, showers of  sparks spitting and dancing along the floor, the smokey red glow from the furnace, the hammer in hand, the anvil – why Vulcan himself might appear at any moment!

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?

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Stripe me

dmubferry

This is Brought Ferry; in the days before the Tay Bridge opened, trains from Edinburgh and the south were, quite literally, ferried across the river Tay, from Tayport, to Broughty Ferry, before continuing their journey up the coast to Aberdeen, which is where this train is going. One hundred and twenty years ago, in 1895, this line formed part of the East Coast companies route, in the famous Railway Races to the North, of that year. It belonged to the North British Railway back then, when Lords owned railways and raced their trains – there are no racing trains today – HSE would have kittens.

There’s no North British Railway anymore and no Kinnaber Jct, either, the west coast line from Perth, through Coupar Angus and Forfar, is long gone, removing the need for Kinnaber Junction, the most important junction in the entire 1895 races. It was at Kinnaber Jct. that the two routes met and whichever train was offered first to the bobby in Kinnaber Jct. would be first into Aberdeen, winning the race.

The North British was swallowed by the LNER which, in its turn, was devoured by the public and it became the Scottish region of British Railways. And then the story turns weird,  the pre-war ‘private’ railway companies were, by and large, failing but, for some reason, it was decided that putting the railways back in ‘private’ hands was a step forward. Twenty years on from that decision, fares, ‘up’, subsidies, ‘up’, and the line through Broughty Ferry is back in public ownership, only now it’s the Dutch public who own it. Other bits are operated by French and German ‘State’ railways ….mmm! Am I missing something here?

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?

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Yes we have no bananas

45596millblkwhitThere were a few Jubilees allocated to Farnley Jct., when I signed on there as a cleaner, in 1962; No.45708 Resolution, No.45695 Minotaur,  and No.45581 Bihar & Orrisa, painted in a shade of Apple green, not the usual Brunswick, carried by her sisters. Strangely, the coach behind the engine, in this photograph, is in a shade of apple green and cream and carries the wording ‘West Highland Line’,  which isn’t quite where it was taken. The location is alongside the Worth, adjacent to Ingrow Mill,   a scene which, sadly, no longer exists, like No.45581 Bihar & Orissa. No.45596 Bahamas, on the other hand, is now well on the way to  a return to traffic; after many years out of service as an ‘exhibit’.

I have vague memories of a very clean No.45596 Bahamas turning up at Farnley Jct., possibly from working the Swansea – York mails, which was a turn the Farnley Jubilees, and crews, worked from Leeds City Station to Stockport. I’m not sure if the diagram took the engine beyond Stockport, but that was where the Farnley crew finished their bit of the working. It was on the Swansea – York mails that, No.45695 Minotaur, came to grief one night in 1962, she ploughed into a herd of cattle – yours truly got the job of cleaning the remains from the undersides and middle motion, not a nice way to start your day I can tell you.

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