‘I’ve been steamin’ all over the place, now I’m steaming back again. I’ve got chocolate and cream all over my face; wonder where the hell I’ve been.’ – (Apologies to Roy Harper) This early morning scene is Bishops Lydeard and the Norton Fitzwarren auto train is just departing, propelled by Ex-GWR 2-6-2T No5542, during the West Somerset Railway’s 2011 gala.
The Auto coach is No.178, built in 1930, it was restored to operational condition at Hayes Knoll on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway; at the opposite end of the scale the initial restoration of Bulleid Pacific No.35027 Port Line, started at the S&CR, essentially, in a field. No.178 served out her time with British Railways in the Welsh valleys – on the opposite bank of the Bristol Channel from where this picture was taken. And speaking of Channels, another of the Auto Trailers, W233, actually built by BR in 1951, ended up as a part of one of the Channel Tunnel test trains and reached 104mph during one test run. In 2013 W233 was purchased by the Group owning No.5542 and restored to working order.
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”
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
‘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!