In the pit with Maude

9673Maude(Photo by L Hanson)

This scene is Haymarket MPD, in August 1938, twenty years earlier, No.9673 Maude, was in France helping to ‘win’ WWI. Some way or other this engine survived the destruction and carnage of the Western front, she also survived World War II, which was about to break out shortly after this picture was taken. And if that wasn’t enough, she survived the mass steam cull when British Railways ‘modernised’. Overhauled and restored to working condition she traveled to the the S&D 150 celebrations, in 1975, under her own steam .

Built by  Neilson of Glasgow, for the North British Railway, in 1891, she was finally withdrawn, from Bathgate MPD, in 1966. Such longevity shows just how wasteful the decision was  to cut up steam locomotives which had worked a mere ten or twelve years in active service, as happened with a great many of the Riddles designed locomotives, the BR ‘standard’ classes. The destruction of the steam fleet, in the years from 1956 onwards, was little more than industrial scale vandalism. Rushed, botched, and cobbled together as it went along the ‘Modernisation’ of British Railways was a gravy train – it still is for some.

As for the chap cleaning the pit, I suspect he is now in the great engine shed in the sky – Maude is ‘awaiting’ an overhaul – though just when that might be is anyone’s guess.

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”

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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.’

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A green and pleasant land

sirceswoodsCausey woods, on the Tanfield Railway, and Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn 0-4-0ST, “Sir Cecil A Cochrane”, is hauling the last train of the day, from East Tanfield, terminating at Andrews House. Despite the sylvan nature of the scene, these woods have been witness to railway, or waggonway, traffic since the 1720s when the Tanfield waggonway opened for the carriage of ‘coals to Newcastle’, well  coals to Dunston, on the South bank of the Tyne, to be precise.

In less than a decade the Tanfield Waggonway will have been in existence, in one way shape or form, for three hundred years, it opened, in stages, from 1725 onwards. Most, if not all, of the trees in this picture are much younger. An 18th century traveler described the construction of the waggonway thus; ‘We saw Colonel Lyddels coal-works at Tanfield, where he carries the road over valleys filled up with earth, 100 foot high, 300 foot broad at the bottom; other valleys have large stone bridge, (Causey Arch, built in 1725), laid across; in other places hills are cut through for half a mile together; and in this manner a road is made, and frames of timber laid, for five miles to the river side.’ (C)William Stukeley, taken from the ‘The Tanfield Railway’ A Short Guide to the Four Eras of the Tanfield Railway’ Typescript, author Anon. All of which sounds a great deal less than sylvan, green, or pleasant!

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

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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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Southern Banker

30955exeterDesigned by Maunsell, built at Brighton, these engines first saw light of day in 1929, thanks to the ‘Great Depression’ of 1930 only 8 were built, though the intention was to build more. The Z class 0-8-0s were a bit of a hotch-potch utilising, as they did, a ‘standard’ Marsh C 3 class boiler, and having 3 cylinders with a ‘novel / one-off’ design for the inside cylinder motion. However, they did prove reasonably successful and lasted into the 1960s, finishing their days on banking duties between Exeter Central and Exeter St.Davids.

When new the Z class were used on heavy shunting duties and inter-yard movements in the London area around Hither Green and Norwood Jct, they also did similar work at Eastleigh and Exmouth. During my own time on the Southern I visited all these depots, Hither Green and Norwood Jct, during my brief spell at  72A Stewarts Lane, the others whilst I was at 70A Nine Elms. The visit to Exmouth was on 28th February 1965 when I worked the LCGB’s East Devon Rail tour, running Yeovil non-stop.

During WWII, in 1942, three of the Z class were sent to Scotland where they remind for six months, ‘helping the war effort’. In 1955 No.30955 was allocated to 74A Ashford, in 1960 she moved to Exmouth and she is seen here at Exeter, waiting for her next duty.

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

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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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The snow line

44871crubenmoreThe Highland main line at Crubenmore and there’s still snow on them thar hills, which certainly weren’t alive with the sounds of music. No.44871, with the GB IX tour, is picking up speed following the stop at Dalwhinnie, a couple of miles back. The line here is on a falling gradient and apart from a little hump around Kincraig, it’s down hill all the way to Aviemore.  After the climb of Druimuachdar this must have been time for the fireman, take a breather and get ready for the next slog – Slochd.

The northbound climb of Slochd is a slog, but the southbound climb, from a standing start at Inverness, is a monster. About a mile from the end of the platform you hit almost 3 miles of 1:60 and 3 more of 1:70 a tiny dip, less than a mile, and another 6 miles of 1:60 which is followed by 6 miles of undulations between  Level,  1:75, though   mostly 1:200ish and then, yes, and then, nearly 4 more miles of 1:60. In steam days, the guys who worked out of Inverness or Perth over this route really earned their corn. What it must have been like, at night, in mid-winter, with a howling North Easterly can only be guessed at. ‘Wooden engines and Iron men’ !!

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

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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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the on off in out shake it all about Scotsman

60103tyneheadHere she is, the ‘nation’s favourite engine’ doing her stuff on the brand new Borders Railway, or, as some might say, the northern end of the  of the Waverley route. The gradient here is 1:70, there’s around 9 miles of it between Hardengreen Jct and Tynehead, which is where this shot was taken, and a final mile at 1:100 to the summit at Falahill box.

The A3s were no strangers to this route and they were amongst the last steam locomotives to work over the route, before its much lamented closure in January 1969. Numbers 60041 Salmon Trout, 60052 Prince Palatine and 60100 Spearmint were all regular visitors during 1965. In September and October of 1966 there were a series of ‘steam farewell’ tours over the route, with V2s, A1s and an A4 all in the mix. The last steam hauled stopping train between Hawick and Carlisle ran on the 5th of June 1965, hauled by BR std. Class 4 No.76050.

Back in today’s world; if ever you wanted to ensure maximum publicity for a rail tour the on, off, and back on saga of the runs over the Borders Railway and the evening trip around the Fife circle was surely the way to go. Flying Scotsman and the tour featured two nights running on the main Scottish news and, on Sunday, the BBC 1 evening news got in on the act, adding their ten pen’orth, as did the Scottish Transport Minister, who probably gained a few brownie points from rail fans and passengers.

Scottish news even managed to do piece on No.60103 Flying Scotsman’s visit to the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway, where she will be ‘on display’ on Monday – that’s today. Along the route, well the bit I saw, the stretch of A7 between Eskbank and Tynehead, there were crowds on every bridge and vantage point, they must have run into the hundreds – the pulling power of steam, or media hype – take your pick.

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

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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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‘better go in disguise’

44787&63395MPDOne loco disguised as another isn’t confined to ‘heritage railways’, indeed it began many years before railway preservation ever got started. Probably the most famous, and surviving, example is No.61000 Royal Scot, which had a name change way back in 1933. The LMS were invited to send one of their engines to the ‘Century of Progress Exposition’ in Chicago and the decision was made to send one of the ‘Royal Scot class 4-6-0s. The obvious choice was the doyen of the class No.(4)6100 Royal Scot, which had been built in 1927, by the North British Locomotive Co. Rather than send the six year old and rather care worn No.(4)6100 Royal Scot the LMS swapped name plates and numbers with No.(4)6152 The King’s Dragoon Guardsman, which was some 3 years younger, having rolled out of the shops in 1930, and sent her instead.

No.46100 Royal Scot owes her survival not to any national policy of preserving locomotives with ‘history’, but to Billy Butlin and his holiday camps. No.46100 Royal Scot was withdrawn in 1962 and from 1963, following a cosmetic overhaul and re-paint into ‘crimson lake’ livery, she was on display at Butlin’s Skegness camp, where she remained until 1971, when she went to Bressingham.

In the photograph, Black 5 No.45428, has swapped identities with No.44787, which between 1955 and 1963, was allocated to 65A Eastfield (Glasgow) and is here carrying a 66B Motherwell MPD shed plate where she was based during the years 1963 to 65 and from where she was withdrawn in November of that year. A working life of just 18 years, which is very short for a locomotive which would quite easily have been expected to work 40, 50, or more.

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

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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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Modernity

dmufetteressoSteam age daydreaming, in rural Aberdeenshire, on a pleasant spring day. I tried to imagine  one of the Ferryhill V2s, they had 11 on the allocation in 1960, pounding by with a fully fitted ‘fish train’ – or an A4 with an Aberdeen – Glasgow service, just as they might have done 50 years, and more, ago. In the summer of 1964 I spent a couple of days camping at Cove Bay, (between Aberdeen & Stonehaven), watching just those scenes, before journeying to Glasgow, from Aberdeen, behind an A4, No.60024 Kingfisher, if my memory serves.

Fish trains and A4s on inter-city express trains may all be just the stuff of legend – consigned to memory; however, the line here is semaphore signaled and a mile or so beyond this point is New Mills where there is still a manned level crossing. Earlier on in our pootle we passed the long dead remains of Kinnaber Junction, made famous in the Railway Races to the North of 1895, literally just a few miles further down the line from this scene.  For all we live in the ‘modern world’ with a DMU, and not a B1, on the stopper – it’s still the same railway that opened in stages, from 1847 onwards, that the trains run on today. And, sadly,  nobody would dream of ‘racing’ trains.

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

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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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K1 – smokin’

62052ricksaddQuite fitting really that a K1 should star in the Scottish Branch Line Gala, on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The K1s lineage goes back to Gresley’s K4s, which were built for the West Highland line in 1937. The model for the K1s was the K4, No.61997 MacCailin Mor, which Thompson modified  to a two cylinder engine – though the new build K1s were introduced, after Nationalisation, in 1949, by Thompson’s successor A. H. Peppercorn – and 70 of them were constructed by the North British Locomotive Companay, in Glasgow, between May 1949 and March 1950.

The K1s were not confined to the West Highland route and depots such as March, in Cambridgeshire, and Blaydon in Northumberland had sizeable allocations as did Darlington and Haverton Hill, throughout the 1950s and 60s.  It would be fair to say that the K1s had pitifully short lives, just 12 years after building scrapping commenced, by 1967 there was a single survivor – No.62052  – really No.62005, one of the Darlington allocation.

Pictured on the steep, curving, section at Darnholme the K1 looks perfectly at home, on the type of duty and route she would have worked in service.

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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The Yorkshire Scottish Bash

76001&62052grosmpdA  “Scottish Branch Line Gala” – the North Yorkshire Moors Railway does Scotland. Double-heading the  Branch Line Bash away from Grosmont we see BR Std Class 4 2-6-0 No.76001, of 66B Motherwell MPD, piloting Ex-LNER K1 Class 2-6-0 No.62052 of 65J Fort William MPD – the Esk valley doubling as Glen Esk? ( The real Glen Esk is near Brechin, quite close to where I live.) Motherwell MPD was deep in Caledonian Railway territory, whilst Fort William was firmly in North British Railway hands, though by the time the 1960s had come around it was all ‘one big happy railway’ and the ‘auld rivalries’ were long gone – not.

Coincidentally, No.62052,  which is No.62005 in the real world, where, according to the 1960 edition of Ian Allan’s ‘Locoshed Book’, she was a 51A Darlington engine, (Darlington is  close to the NYMR), will be heading for the ‘real’ Scotland,  and to be precise – Fort William, in the very near future, to do her turns on the Fort William – Mallaig, ‘Jacobite’ service.

Clear of the 10MPH p-way restriction the drivers opened up to get the their train on the move for the long, winding, climb up onto the moors at Goathland, and what a fine sound they made.  DMU ‘Daisy’, Metro-Cammell Unit No. 101685, sat in the siding adds, I think, a very, 50 years ago in May 1966, end of Scottish steam touch. Sadly, from a photographic point of view the weather was a rather un-Scottish, 18 degrees – I even took my jacket off.

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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Slogging up Slochd

44871carrpassThe GB IX tour has been something of a Curate’s egg, good in parts. Saturday, when this shot was taken, was a lovely day with everything  on time and good photographic conditions, for much of the route through Perthshire and on into the Highlands. Things on the footplate look good too, the driver sits, arm on the window sill and looking relaxed. Across the fireman’s side things seem equally relaxed, as No.44871 has her safety valves open, despite being on the climb to Slochd summit – 5 miles of climbing with some pretty stiff gradients – including 2 miles at 1:60 and another 2 at 1:70.

However, just how much effort No.44871 was actually putting in on this climb is open to some debate.  Unseen, but not unheard, was the Class 47 diesel on the rear of the train which did seem to be ‘helping’ – just a bit.  All of which brings me to Tuesday’s run and an extended stop over in Perth due to an issue with the brake, which, sadly for me, resulted in a 100 mile round trip and no photo!! The train was more than an hour late away from Perth – I had a previous appointment and couldn’t wait to see if she made it or not – she did, but alas too late!!

Hope you enjoy the passing shot on Slochd which is in lieu of the one at Forteviot, I didn’t get!!

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

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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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