Sunny Days

2857portThose sunny days of yesteryear, where are they now? Those days when we sat on a wall, fence, or banking side, to watch the trains go by, are they just distant memories, or are we transported back there every time we visit a heritage railway or go to watch a main line tour whistle by? Being a northern lad we didn’t get to see too many GWR engines so, when we did, they tended to stick in the memory.

My own first sightings of GWR engines, one of the 43xx class moguls, came on trips to see relatives in Rugby, the Great Western engines would rumble by, on the GCR, which used to cross the WCML on a huge girder bridge, just south of Rugby (Midland) station.  My first major encounter though was when I went on a school ‘loco spotters club’ trip to Wolverhampton Stafford Road works, age tweleve. A properly organised trip with a works pass and school master in attendance. We all thought Birmingham Snow Hill station was amazing, though I doubt that many of the locals did, especially as  enormous flocks of Starlings used to congregate in  the area just outside the station. (Not so much Snow Hill as guano mound!!)

And yes, I know it’s not a girder bridge, nor a mogul, but this was the memory that this photo brought back, of sunny days by a railway line and my first sightings of the locomotives of the Great Western Railway. In the photograph, 2-8-0 28xx class No.2857 is crossing Oldbury viaduct on the Severn Valley Railway, with a Bridgnorth – Kidderminster service.

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.

The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway will still be available on Amazon – Below, is the link to it.

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

‘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!

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Out in the cold

103blogLike many of you, no doubt, I watched ITVs ‘Flying Scotsman’, with Robson Green, last night. Imagine my surprise, when I woke up this morning, to hear that “103” was hors de combat and back in the workshop, in Bury, for ‘some remedial work’. My pal thinks the engine is ‘jinxed’ – he might have a point. I was beginning to think it was me. I went to photograph her at Bury, on a freezing cold day, she was ‘photographically’, the wrong way round and coupled to a diesel, because of ‘brake issues’. Went to North Yorkshire Moors to try again and, another failure. This time,  after reaching Moorgates, on the first run, the brake problems re-appeared.

Given the humongous sums of money that have disappeared into Flying Scotsman and the amount of loving care and attention which has been lavished upon her, the constant niggling problems do make you wonder if she’ll ever be right.

On a different note, it was very pleasing to see, in the TV programme, the number of ‘younger’ people who had been involved in carrying out the work on Flying Scotsman, and the pleasure and pride in what they had achieved. If steam operations are to have a future, it is these lads and lasses who will be be a part of it.  Last, but certainly not least, let’s hope the ‘issues’ are quickly resolved and N0.60103 Flying Scotsman gets back to doing what she was built for – hauling trains.

In the photograph, No.60103 Flying Scotsman is departing Rawtenstall, under a ‘yellow flag’, just visible in front of the smoke deflector.

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!

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1 Hall a hauling

6990bridge

In April 1948 the newly formed British Railways, under the direction of RA Riddles, its new CME, held a series of ‘Locomotive Exchange Trials’, ostensibly to determine best practice for a range of new ‘Standard’ locomotive types. These quasi scientific trials lasted from April until September and involved, freight, mixed traffic, and express locomotive designs.

In the mixed traffic class, representing the Southern Railway, were the Bulleid ‘light’ Pacifics, the LNER chose B1s, and the LMSR Black 5s,  flying the GWR flag were the Halls, one of which was none other than the one in this photograph – No.6990 Witherslack Hall, which was virtually brand new at the time. Completing the circle, as it were, is the fact that No.6990 Witherslack Hall was involved in trials held over the Great Central Railway, the very track she is on.

It is now just two years to the 70th anniversary of the trials and probably the perfect time to begin planning some events to celebrate them. We have working examples of most of the classes involved, tho’ sadly not the LNER 01 and 07s which were amongst the freight engine trialists. A main line tour over the routes involved and with classes used in the trials – a sort of Great Britain tour – ‘ The Trialist’, would be fun too.

Maybe some sort of social media campaign to promote the idea might be worth exploring.

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!

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Mytholmes, Pullmans, and the 1948 Exchange Trials

43924mythMytholmes, a word which reeks of  the Pennines and Yorkshire, you can almost hear the clogs and see the cloth caps and whippets. Tho’ there’ll be no cloth caps or whippets in yon Pullman cars, thank you very much. All stereotypes of course, but, and there’s always a but, stereotypes are not without some basis in reality. The reality is that, in this photograph, No.43924, the first engine to leave Woodhams scrapyard in Barry, is hauling the ‘Pullman Cream tea’ service, on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway during Good Friday, this year.

I’m partial to a cream tea myself, and, back in March 1988, I enjoyed having my birthday party, in the ‘Old Gentleman’s coach’,  as we chugged up and down the valley being served tea, sandwiches cut into triangles, cakes, and scones with jam and cream, all  very civilised and genteel, cloth on the table and doilies on the plates. Maybe for 2018 I’ll do it again, only this time in the Pullman coach. There’s another thing which would be fun to celebrate in 2018 – the Locomotive Exchange Trials of 1948. I would love to see No.34067 Tangmere, disguised as classmate 34004 Yeovil tackling Drumochter and Slochd.

The fireman, on No.34004 Yeovil, during the exchanges, was Bert Hooker, who, when I went to work there in 1963, was, a 70A Nine Elms driver. I did a few firing turns with him myself and, many years later, (1990 or 1991), I went to his birthday party on the Bluebell, where we had dinner served in their Pullmans.

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!

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Mock Tudor Manor

5199manorberwynThe 51xx class 2-6-2Ts and the Manor class 4-6-0s were no strangers to this line, so that we should see them in combination is hardly surprising. In ‘The Great Western Remembered’, by JS Whiteley & GW Morrison, there are photographs of an 0-6-0PT piloting a ‘Manor’ away from Llangollen towards Ruabon and a 51xx departing Ruabon, with a Llangollen bound train. When I look at those old black and white photographs of 1950s Britain I’m reminded of just how much, and how little, has changed.

The river Dee still flows by the station at Berwyn, but the water in it is never the same water. We can still photograph former Great Western Railway locomotives, in a Great Western Railway setting, but it’s not the railway of 1950s Britain. It might even be argued it isn’t a railway at all, but a kind of linear and mobile museum. Passengers are encouraged to stop off and enjoy ‘authentic’ stations en route, to experience rail travel from the last century, not simply as a train ride but as a seamless ‘experience’. Tiny cardboard tickets, stamped in an Edmondson ticket machine, waiting rooms with coal fires, a porter’s barrow, with luggage, on the platform, staff in period uniforms, no detail or period artefact is too small. And everybody loves it, let’s hope they continue to do so.

Some of you might be interested to know that my book, Railway Tales, about my own footplate work during the last years of BR steam, is now available as an ebook here’s the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Railway-Tales-C-D-Wilson-ebook/dp/B07H38XV1V/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536155603&sr=1-2&keywords=railway+tales+ebook

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.

The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway will still be available on Amazon – Below, is the link to it.

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

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Light at the end of the tunnel

42073portVery much a slice of my childhood, these engines hauled the Leeds – Bradford portions of trains such as the “Cornishman” and the “Devonian”, between Leeds City Station and Bradford Forster Square. The Devonian ran from Bradford Forster Square to Paignton, via Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham and Bristol. From Leeds, the train would be hauled by a ‘Patriot’ or one of Stanier’s Jubilee class 4-6-0s and members of both classes, from Holbeck and Bristol Barrow Road depots, have been recorded on the workings.

If you were travelling from Leeds to Bradford by train, most people took the route from Central Station to Bradford Exchange, it was a more direct.  The route out from City Station to Bradford Forster Square wanders along the Aire valley, through Kirkstall, with its ruined Abbey, past Newlay and Calverley, before plunging into Thackley tunnel, which is almost a mile long and will be 170 years old this June. At Shipley, with its three-sided station, the Bradford line leaves what becomes the Settle – Carlisle and trundles through the Bradford suburbs of Frizinghall and Manningham to Forster Square.

Some of you might be interested to know that my book, Railway Tales, about my own footplate work during the last years of BR steam, is now available as an ebook here’s the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Railway-Tales-C-D-Wilson-ebook/dp/B07H38XV1V/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536155603&sr=1-2&keywords=railway+tales+ebook

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.

The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway will still be available on Amazon – Below, is the 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
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!

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Fiddle-dee-dee fiddle-didah

6430mixpoundThis charming ensemble is the 11.15 service ‘mixed train’, from Llangollen to Carrog, running alongside the river Dee, just beyond Glyndyfrdwy. As recreations go, this scene would be difficult to improve upon, that no heads hang from windows is verging on miraculous for a gala event.

There’s a touch of the miraculous about the locomotive too. No.6430 was, initially, purchased for spares, for sister loco No.6412, but some how survived that fate. However, that gives you some idea of what was involved in putting her back on the rails, and missing parts were only one of the obstacles the team faced. No.6430 had a cracked cylinder block, the probable reason for her withdrawal, from 82E Yeovil, in 1964.

No.6430, was built at Swindon in 1937, and initially allocated to Kidderminster MPD; and it was the Severn Valley Railway who repaired the cracked cylinder block, giving events a nice circularity, I think. No 6430 is now one year into a brand new 10 year boiler certificate, her second since being moved to Llangollen in 1996, where she is part of the resident fleet.

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!

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Minerals, moguls, and going green

46521minsquornWith a train of empty mineral wagons, No.46521 trundles through Quorn & Woodhouse, past a brake van in the yard, heading towards Rothley Brook sidings. Once a scene so commonplace it would, almost certainly, have passed un-noticed; today it’s part of the ‘gala entertainment’ of almost every steam railway gala in the land. The wagons No.46521 is hauling were, themselves, brought together as the result of a campaign, in an enthusiast magazine, to recreate the ‘Wind Cutters’,  Annesley – Woodford Halse  coal trains, known to railwaymen as ‘Runners’.

Faster freight services were a bit of a thing with the LNER, as well as the ‘Runners’, which only began in 1947, they  introduced the Green Arrow freight services in 1928, after which the V2 No. 4471 Green Arrow was named, which brings us to Sir Nigel Gresley, who designed the V2, and who died 75 years ago this month. Marking this anniversary a statue of the man was unveiled on the concourse of Kings Cross Station. An event somewhat marred by controversy over duck or no duck, accompanying the figure.

And the going green? No.46521 is in the process of being repainted in BR passenger green, and coal fired power stations, the reason for the wind cutters, are disappearing in the name of a greener planet.

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!

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T’ old clog ‘n’ muffler

957millblkwhtOn a cold grey morning in the land of muck ‘n’ brass a wheezing, ancient, L&Y 0-6-0, with a wooden bodied 6 wheeler in the rake, plods up the bank out of Bradchester. The driver’s attention seems to be drawn to something beside the line, where his view isn’t obscured by leaking steam, maybe he spotted a rabbit – one for the pot.

The early years of the old Clog and Muffler were certainly no ‘goode olde days’, to quote from OS Nock; ” ‘He went to Bradford for to dine By the Lancashire & Yorkshire line; He waited three weeks at bleak Low Moor And when he complained the porter swore That he ought to have started the month before’… etc, etc. Nock says, ‘To sum up, the L&Y of 1876 was a railway of ugly inconvenient stations, of old broken-down engines and dirty carriages, and of a superlative unpunctuality, to which no pen could do justice.’”

However, the line was turning in a healthy dividend and, in the fullness of time, the L&Y did come good and even began the country’s first 3rd rail electric commuter services, between Liverpool and Southport, in 1904. As for me, I spent my last 18 months of railway service at Wakefield (Belle Vue), a former L&Y depot.

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 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.

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!

 

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Recommendations

246gricecoveraddthis is a link to it:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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