Windy Hall

6990quornlocal

In a winter of some discontent, for many, Friday at Quorn & Woodhouse was proving challenging in the 50 – 60mph winds which were whipping across the open Leicestershire countryside. The wind effects are clearly evident, for, despite making quite a spirited getaway, No.6990 Witherslack Hall’s exhaust is being swept side ways. I’m sure the driver, who was looking directly at me, was thinking; are these folk mad, standing out there on the edge of a field in a howling gale. We probably are, that’s the nature of a hobby, there’s always that ‘tinge’ of maybe that was just a wee bit too much about them.

I know that conditions on the footplate aren’t great in these conditions either, having done my fair share of trips tender / bunker first trips in ‘winter weather conditions’. Throw in a few icy showers,  and you were glad to have the firehole door open and be putting a few rounds on, just to keep warm.  You tried to keep the coal and footplate well slaked down, but the dust still flew and if you weren’t careful, when you sprayed the coal in the tender, you’d end up with the wind blowing the jet of water from the ‘pet’ pipe back in your face.

If we imagined that No.6990 Witherslack Hall was fresh out of shops after an ‘Heavy Intermediate’ this would be just the sort of turn she’d have been given, a lightly loaded local service.

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, why not try my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”. This is the link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

Here are some  totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing:  ‘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’. – 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!’

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Between the Wars

9449craigentinny copy

It’s 1929 and the former North British Railway 4-4-2T, now London & North Eastern Railway class C16 No.9449, is, according to the legend on the back of the photograph, “passing Craigentinny”. A vastly different scene today, of course. These engines were designated as the L class when in NBR ownership, a development of the Reid M class, which later became, LNER class C15. The main difference between the M & L or C15 & C16 was that the latter were fitted with Robinson type superheaters.

The original M class, designed by Reid, for the NBR, were unusual in that they were constructed, for the NBR, by the Yorkshire Engine Co. A choice which inevitably led to them being known as Yorkshire Tanks, or Yorkies. They were built for work on the Edinburgh and Glasgow suburban services but, also worked Clyde Coast trains and services between Glasgow and Edinburgh. The C16s were built at the NBR’s Atlas Works between 1915 and 1916 with a further batch built in 1921, and immediately took over the ‘heavier’ duties, displacing the C15s.

In later years, as they themselves were displaced, they were allocated as far afield as Aberdeen, Dundee, and Dunfermline. One of them which, by the time, 1954, was  BR No.67488, had a bit part role in the film, ‘Geordie’, which was shot near Gartmore on the Aberfoyle branch. None of the C15 or C16s survived long enough to make it into preservation, which is, perhaps, a pity as they are quite handsome looking tank engines.

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, why not try my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”. This is the link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

Here are some  totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing:  ‘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’. – 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!’

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“Right Away”

103exbury

‘Right away’ though, sadly, despite appearances not main line.  Many of you will know already that No.60103 Flying Scotsman failed to make her main line debut on Saturday, brake and paperwork problems, so I’m led to believe. Flying Scotsman’s non-appearance is probably the least of the worries about main line steam workings right now, as the Sword of Damocles hangs over West Coast Railway Co.,  because of the signals passed at danger incident, at Wootton Bassett, and several instances of ‘unauthorised’ interference with the TWPS equipment.

If WCRC do loose their operators licence, which, it would seem, is a real possibility, the main line steam programme would be decimated. The regular Jacobite services are a major part of the tourist / rural economy in the North West Highlands of Scotland and rail tour operators, as well as locomotive owners, would be facing ruin, unable to run tours or operate their locomotives. WCRC are the would be operators for much of Flying Scotsman’s main line programme, the Cumbrian Mountain services, the Waverly, the Fellsman, the Cathedrals Express, the GB IX tour and much of No.46100 Royal Scot’s itinerary, are all WCRC jobs and all of them would be halted if WCRC cannot operate.

The motive power pool affected is a pretty awesome array and would make a fine compliment for any ‘main line’ passenger shed. I’ve already mentioned 60103 and 46100, but to that list can be added,   4936, 4965, 5043, (30)777, 34067, 44871, 45212, 45305, 45407,  45690, 45699, 46115, 46201, 46233, 60009, 60163,  61306, 61994, 62005, 70000, 70013, and probably a few more besides. We’ll need to keep our fingers crossed, or 2016 could be a very bleak year for main line steam.

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, why not try my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”. This is the link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

Here are some  totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing:  ‘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’. – 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!’

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Time’s Frozen Arrow

34092hasroad

This is our hobby in a nutshell, an ultimately futile attempt to stop the arrow of time somewhere around the summer of 59. A time when the real ‘Golden Arrow’ was still being hauled by Bulleid Pacifics and schoolboys still wore short trousers. No.34092 City of Wells looks the part in full ‘Arrer’ regalia, the less said about her train the better; the ‘real’ Golden Arrow would have been composed of Pullman coaches.

The Golden Arrow and its French counter-part, the Fleche d’Or, made the journey from London to Paris in 6 hours, ( today, thanks to the tunnel and TGVs, it’s around 2hrs 20mins), it was a ‘luxury’ alternative to flying – well that was the theory behind it. And now the weird bit. Santa brought me a bound volume of Railway Magazine, for the year 1959, and I thought I’ll see if there’s anything in it about the Golden Arrow. I opened it, more or less in the middle, the July edition to be precise, and there on the right hand page, No.475, was a photograph of No.34091 Weymouth on the very train and from almost the same angle and elevation as in my photograph on the East Lancashire Railway. If that wasn’t coincidence enough, the lower picture on the left hand page, was none other than No.34027 Taw Valley and in rebuilt form.

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, why not try my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”. This is the link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

Here are some  totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing:  ‘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’. – 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!’

 

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50 Sheds of Grey

60103rawten

Old Jack Frost’s cold fingers hold land and water in their grip, as the Country’s “most famous locomotive”, No.60103 Flying Scotsman, runs round her train, at Rawtenstall, on the very edge of the Pennines. This was weekend two of the Flying Circus, sorry, Flying Scotsman spectacular. The ‘great and good’ with their press pack entourage may have departed homewards,  but of devotees there was no shortage, packed trains, crowded platforms, swathes of camera totting photographers all along the lineside – paid testament to that.

There was very much a flavour of the moment, I thought, with this photograph, a bleak scene, in bleak times. At Summerseats, just a few miles down the line, the Christmas floods swept a 200 year old pub away, part of the road through the village is still closed. Flying Scotsman’s wartime austerity paint job gives an all too grim reminder of the current ‘austerity’. The livery may have helped to make  locomotives less visible as a target during WWII, it certainly made Flying Scotsman look a lot more like an industrial product than the work of art she appears – when pictured, in her LNER glory days, hauling the Flying Scotsman.

The balloon water tank, in matching grey, makes an austere accessory to the scene. It reminded me of my first winter on the railway, that of 62/3, a very severe winter as I recall,  when I seemed to spend weeks, keeping braziers burning, to stop the water columns from freezing up at my first SHED 55C.

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, you might enjoy my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”

These are some of the totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing:  ‘ 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’. – 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

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Went to see a Scotsman & came home with a Crab.

13065elrblog

On a frozen Saturday morning, in an icy Lancashire landscape, Hughes’ Crab, No.13065, hauling a nicely mixed rake of maroons and blood and custards, is almost the only colour to be seen. I had gone to the East Lancashire Railway, primarily, to see, after all the ‘fuss’,   No.103/502/60103 ‘Flying Scotsman’ depending on which side you saw her from, 60103 if you saw her head on. Sadly, from a photographic perspective, Flying Scotsman was facing in the wrong direction, i.e. down hill and, if that wasn’t a difficulty, the class 31 diesel, in EWS livery, coupled inside, was. It was pretty neigh impossible to hide the class 31’s garish colours when seen alongside Flying Scotsman’s ‘undercoat / War time guise’ – a couple of coaches in silver/blue livery strengthening the maroon MK1s didn’t do much for the colour palette either.

Yes it was nice to see and hear Scotsman and I’m sure when she’s all finished she will be fabulous. However, on the day I can only say I was a little disappointed, that what was billed as a spectacular, was, sadly, a bit of a dogs breakfast. And, to top it all, the weatherman didn’t quite get it right either, the promised day of unbroken sunshine turned out rather cloudy and then snow set in on the way home – nice, but not to drive through from Northumberland almost to Perth – so nil points for forecasters! Is that ‘crabby’ enough?

Oh! and here’s the ‘Star’ 103blog

No.103 Flying Scotsman departing from Rawtenstall.

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, you might enjoy my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”

These are some of the totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing:  ‘ 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’. – 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

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The Barry 5

35009barry

An almost intact No.35009 Shaw Savill makes a forlorn sight in the scrap line at Barry. In 1966, when these photographs were taken, I was a fireman at 56A Belle Vue (Wakefield), six months earlier I was at 70 A Nine Elms and working on these very engines. It was very strange, after working hundreds and hundreds of miles on their footplate, seeing them  sitting there, in Barry, awaiting their fate which, in May 1966, was a great deal  less than certain.

The other 4 of the ‘Barry 5’ photographs are all of West Country Class 4-6-2s. One of them is of No.34010 Sidmouth, which, for some reason, I seemed to get on the 08.35 Bournemouth duty, more than most. However, despite being ‘saved’ from the gas axe No.34010 Sidmouth is one of the ‘unrestored’ – for many years I watched her, rusting slowly, at the end of the head shunt at Grosmont MPD. This was before she was acquired by her latest owners Southern Locomotives, who, in 1997, moved her to  Sellindge  before moving her again, this time to their new base at Swanage. Southern Locomotives, according to the latest information I have, are  beginning her restoration, to running order, once they’ve finished work on No.34072 257 Squadron, which is due to be completed in the next couple of months or so.

The other 3 engines No. 34016 Bodmin, No.34028 Eddystone and No.34039 Boscastle, have all steamed in preservation. No.34028 has only recently run out of boiler ticket, No.34039 Boscastle is slowly making here way back, at Loughborough on the GCR, and No.34016 Bodmin is now awaiting overhaul at Carnforth.  And as for No.35009 Shaw Savill, well she is now a kit of parts at Ian Riley’s workshops in Bury; with a long term goal of restoration to main line condition – maybe, one day, she, like No.34010 Sidmouth, will steam again.

The photos of Nos.34010, 34016, 34028, and 34039, can all be seen here: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/?page_id=850

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, you might enjoy my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”

These are some of the totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing:  ‘ 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’. – 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

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The Unknown Mogul

gwr2-6-0

Spent an hour putting some old photos in the scanner this morning,  all taken at Barry, 50 years ago this year. I have added them to the B&W photos page of Steam Age Daydreams. One of them, this one, is ‘unidentified’ – if anyone can shed light then please feel free. The other new additions include, amongst others, No. 34092 City of Wells, No.7903 Foremark Hall and one of my old nags, about to re-enter traffic, after fifty years, No.35006 Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co.

When you see the photos it is clear that the locomotives are fairly recent arrivals, most are only missing their rods and there’s very little evidence of the serious metal moth infestation which characterised the later years at Barry. There are no signs painted on smoke boxes or tenders saying, ‘sold to’ this that or any other group; freshly ‘withdrawn’ locomotives are still arriving to swell the ranks of those already there. This was how it was at Barry – in 1966, the year we won the Jules Rimet Trophy!!

This link will take you to the B&W photos page: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/?page_id=850

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, you might enjoy my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”

These are some of the totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing:  ‘ 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’. – 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

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who ate all the pies?

matmurraycracker

The last cracker’s been pulled the cakes, pies, and puddings are just a memory now, the tinsel, lights, and baubles all packed away for another year. It’s now 2016 and 50 years ago I was enjoying a few months as a fireman at 55A Holbeck, which, as the crow flies, is less than a mile from where I was standing taking this picture, a picture with connections and deceptions in equal measure.

Despite the photograph’s sylvan setting this isn’t some rural idyll, the line is a little over a mile from the centre of Leeds and surrounded by industrial estates. A few hundred yards behind the last coach is a six lane motorway, the main route out of the city to the south. The scene is deceptive but, it’s the locomotive, which has the connections.  Named “Matthew Murray” she is an 0-6-0ST and was built by the Leeds firm of Manning Wardle, which grew out of the E.B.Wilson locomotive building Co. – my surname is Wilson and during my time as a pupil, at Leeds Central High School, I was a member of Murray House.

The whole story of the Leeds Foundry, E.B.Wilson, Murray, Fenton & Wood, Manning Wardle, and others, is fascinating. Manning Wardle built the engines for the Lynton & Barnstaple and E.B.Wilson employed Joy who was  credited with the design of the famous ‘Jenny Lind’ class, one of which is credited with being the first locomotive to run in India, during the building of the Ganges canal.

Quite a journey, in a couple of hundred words,  from the banks of the river Aire in Leeds to the Ganges in India!

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, you might enjoy my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”

These are some of the totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing:  ‘ 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’. – 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

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Black 5 Pilot

44801&6100

No44801, actually No.44806, piloting No.6100 Royal Scot, actually No.6152 The King’s Dragoon Guardsman, which became No.6100 Royal Scot for a trip to the USA and was never swapped back. I hope you got all that numerical legerdemain, I’ll be asking questions later!! I’m only asking but shouldn’t No.6100 Royal Scot, which is now painted Brunswick Green and numbered 46100, be numbered (4)6152 and named King’s Dragoon Guardsman?

Moving on, this classic LMS  pairing are seen here alongside the river Dee, heading west towards Carrog, during one the Llangollen Railway “Sun Steel & Steam” galas held to raise funds for the building of a new member of the  ‘Patriot Class’ to become No.45551 Unknown Warrior. This ambitious project intends to have No.45551 Unknown Warrior finished to main line standards and ready in time to be part of the Armistice celebrations in 2018. Having enjoyed the sight and sound of these engines throughout my early years it will be lovely to see one back in action, albeit a brand spanking new one.

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, you might enjoy my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”. These are some of the totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing:  ‘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’. – 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

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