Santa at the double

no-2-no-3-dhnpeDouble heading the 11.10a.m. departure from East Tanfield, the North Pole Express, are Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0ST No.2 piloting  Robert Stephenson 0-6-0T No.3 Twizell. If you look closely you can see that No.2 is all trimmed up with tinsel – which is nice.

In the background is the first pylon for the upgrading of the East Tanfield – North Pole route, which is due for completion in 2017. Supporters say it will take months off the journey to the Pole, whilst those campaigning against point to the devastating effects on Reindeer habitat, the inevitable decline in Polar Bear numbers,  and the melting ice caps leaving Santa’s Elves with soggy bottoms.

A further selection of my photos can be seen here: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/?page_id=3378

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A Very Festive Crew

no-2crewsantaSanta’s little elves enjoy their day as engine driver and fireman on the North Pole Express. Top marks to this pair for getting into the festive swing, even if it is still only November.

Santa trains seem to be a sell out event for most railways and I’m sure the extra revenue comes in very handy if you have engines, rolling stock and the track bed to maintain, as well as all the buildings, bridges, signal boxes and the rest.

A further selection of my photos can be seen here: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/?page_id=3378

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Sunshine Santa

no-3npeOn a bright and sunny Saturday, No.3 Twizell, banked by former Keighley Gas Works 0-4-0ST, No.2, gets away from East Tanfield, in fine style, with the 11.50a.m North Pole Express.

For more photos visit the Gallery: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/?page_id=3378

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Distant Signals

45667812cceedit1I never had the pleasure, dubious, or otherwise, of working on a GWR engine – unless you count a spell on the Warships after they were sent to the Southern region. However, I do rather like the looks of the 45xx Class – so I  hope that No.4566 gets a speedy overhaul and we see her back in action very soon. I don’t know about anyone else but I do think this loco suits the line very well – a classic, of its kind, one might say.

We might be about to lose No.4566 but No.7714 is now raring to go after her overhaul. And, in the not too distant future, I hope to be seeing the new build No.82045, a facsimile of the Ex-BR 82xxx class, a type I did fire, and had a lot of fun with, on ECS workings between Waterloo and Clapham carriage sidings. They also enjoyed their share of the workings on the ‘Kenny Belle’ – a service dedicated to the Post Office workers at Kensington Olympia.

If you enjoy my photographs why not have a look at my 2017 Calendar, which, for the first time, is being published by calendar company Calvendo and sold on line or by order at your local bookshop using this ISBN number: Steam Age Daydreams (Wall Calendar 2017 DIN A4 Landscape) / 978-1-325-22545-3

Here are the online links to it.:

http://www.bookdepository.com/Steam-Age-Daydreams-2017-Dave-Wilson/9781325225453?ref=grid-view

and on Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steam-Daydreams-2017-Wilson-Dave/dp/1325225452/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479291987&sr=8-1&keywords=steam+age+daydreams+calendar

If you have enjoyed my blogs – 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

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Distant Signals

45667812cceI never had the pleasure, dubious, or otherwise, of working on a GWR engine – unless you count a spell on the Warships after they were sent to the Southern region. However, I do rather like the looks of the 45xx Class – so I  hope that No.4566 gets a speedy overhaul and we see her back in action very soon. I don’t know about anyone else but I do think this loco suits the line very well – a classic, of its kind, one might say.

We might be about to lose No.4566 but No.7714 is now raring to go after her overhaul. And, in the not too distant future, I hope to be seeing the new build No.82045, a facsimile of the Ex-BR 82xxx class, a type I did fire, and had a lot of fun with, on ECS workings between Waterloo and Clapham carriage sidings. They also enjoyed their share of the workings on the ‘Kenny Belle’ – a service dedicated to the Post Office workers at Kensington Olympia.

If you enjoy my photographs why not have a look at my 2017 Calendar, which, for the first time, is being published by calendar company Calvendo and sold on line or by order at your local bookshop using this ISBN number: Steam Age Daydreams (Wall Calendar 2017 DIN A4 Landscape) / 978-1-325-22545-3

Here are the online links to it.:

http://www.bookdepository.com/Steam-Age-Daydreams-2017-Dave-Wilson/9781325225453?ref=grid-view

and on Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steam-Daydreams-2017-Wilson-Dave/dp/1325225452/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479291987&sr=8-1&keywords=steam+age+daydreams+calendar

If you have enjoyed my blogs – 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

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Diddlydum DiddlyDee

6430mixpoundMy old mate, the late Walter Hobson, was, during the 60s, a fireman at Old Oak Common – he always called the panniers ‘pupticks’, based on the noise the vacuum pump makes; particularly noticeable when the engine is coasting or ‘running on a breath’.  The steam age railway was a pretty noisy place, from the clickety-click, clickety-clack right through to the ear splitting roar of the safety valves.

When working loose coupled goods / coal trains, some of the old drivers used to say it was like ‘counting sheep’. When you drew out the train you counted couplings going taut, when braking the train you counted the buffering ups. Though the ‘top link’ usually got the cream of the workings, the driver of the loose coupled train was the one who had to use some skill in starting and, possibly, more importantly stopping  his train. Set off too quickly, before you’ve drawn out all the couplings, and the whiplash effect could snap a coupling or worse, injure the guard. Starting and stopping  could be particularly tricky, with a long train, where some of the wagons may be on a rising gradient, whilst the rear of the train was still on a falling one, or vice versa.

Sound even played a roll in a driver’s route knowledge, especially during the hours of darkness. The sounds of bridges and cuttings differed depending on the closeness / width of the bridge or width / depth of the cutting. At night time in the pitch black of the countryside ‘every little helps’, as they say, when it comes being aware of exactly whereabouts you are.

No.6430, is crossing ‘pound field’, alongside the river Dee, travelling towards Carrog.

If you enjoy my photographs why not have a look at my 2017 Calendar, which, for the first time, is being published by calendar company Calvendo and sold on line or by order at your local bookshop using this ISBN number: Steam Age Daydreams (Wall Calendar 2017 DIN A4 Landscape) / 978-1-325-22545-3

Here are the online links to it.:

http://www.bookdepository.com/Steam-Age-Daydreams-2017-Dave-Wilson/9781325225453?ref=grid-view

and on Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steam-Daydreams-2017-Wilson-Dave/dp/1325225452/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479291987&sr=8-1&keywords=steam+age+daydreams+calendar

If you have enjoyed my blogs – 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

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“Going off shed”

no-2offshedmonoEx-Keighley Gasworks, Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0ST No.2, eases out of Marley Hill MPD, which was constructed in 1855 and still doing what it was built for – housing and servicing steam locomotives. No.2 is on her way   to collect her train for the day, a splendid rake of wooden bodied Victorian coaches, very much in scale with the motive power of the Tanfield Railway. Tanfield’s engines are, in the main, industrial locomotives built in the Tyneside area, some, like Twizell No.3 for instance, spent their working lives in the area too. ( Twizell No.3 is on long term loan to the Tanfield Railway, from the Beamish Open air museum).

It is to Tanfield’s credit that they have done much to maintain the colliery railway identity whilst making concessions to the needs of 21st century visitors and passengers. It is very doubtful if colliery railways ever served ‘cream teas’ – though they did take miners and their families on day trips. The South Shields, Marsden & Whitburn Colliery Railway  – the ‘Marsden Rattler’ carried fare paying passengers from 1888 until 1963. The nick name ‘Marsden Rattler’ was, apparently, bestowed upon the railway as the result of the company’s policy of using second hand rolling stock, some of which was in rather poor condition.  A colliery line, wooden bodied, past their sell-by date, coaches – ‘Elf ‘n’ Safety obviously wasn’t high on the agenda.

If you enjoy my photographs why not have a look at my 2017 Calendar, which, for the first time, is being published by calendar company Calvendo and sold on line or by order at your local bookshop using this ISBN number: Steam Age Daydreams (Wall Calendar 2017 DIN A4 Landscape) / 978-1-325-22545-3

Here are the online links to it.:

http://www.bookdepository.com/Steam-Age-Daydreams-2017-Dave-Wilson/9781325225453?ref=grid-view

and on Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steam-Daydreams-2017-Wilson-Dave/dp/1325225452/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479291987&sr=8-1&keywords=steam+age+daydreams+calendar

If you have enjoyed my blogs – 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

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Waiting for the road

4270mono

On a chilly November morning GWR 2-8-0T, No.4270, sits waiting for the road at Bewdley, on the Severn Valley Railway. These engines and their variants the 5205 class, along with the ‘modified’ 72xx class 2-8-2Ts, were built, primarily, to haul coal from the Welsh valleys to the docks for export or to marshalling yards for distribution round Britain.

It is easy to forget today, just how important coal and coal traffic was. When these engines entered service most households in the country had coal fires, central heating was practically un-heard of.  The cotton mills of Lancashire and the woollen mills of Yorkshire relied on coal fired boilers: when I finished off the footplate in 68 I worked for a spell, in a woollen mill, hand firing a Lancashire Industrial boiler. Much of the nation’s gas was also produced from coal and I haven’t mentioned the iron and steel industry, the electricity generating business was also pretty much totally reliant on coal fired power stations – that’s a lot of coal. The merchant and Royal Navy had coal fired ships – coal really was King in the power generation game – and the railways themselves burned a few tons too – I shovelled a few of them myself!

If you enjoy my photographs why not have a look at my 2017 Calendar, which, for the first time, is being published by calendar company Calvendo and sold on line or by order at your local bookshop using this ISBN number: Steam Age Daydreams (Wall Calendar 2017 DIN A4 Landscape) / 978-1-325-22545-3

Here are the online links to it.:

http://www.bookdepository.com/Steam-Age-Daydreams-2017-Dave-Wilson/9781325225453?ref=grid-view

and on Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steam-Daydreams-2017-Wilson-Dave/dp/1325225452/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479291987&sr=8-1&keywords=steam+age+daydreams+calendar

If you have enjoyed my blogs – 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

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From This To That

7903barry No. 7903 Foremark Hall makes a pretty forlorn sight, at Woodhams yard in Barry. It is entirely possible that the missing rods are stored in the tender which would, apart from name and number plates, make her complete, even serviceable. I made the pilgrimage to Barry in 65, and a pilgrimage was what it felt like, we never expected to see these engines ever again. Almost new 9Fs cheek by jowl with survivors from the days of Edwardian splendour, when railways were in their pomp.  Rusting 4Fs and Bulleid Pacifics, Castles and Kings lined up one behind the other – and they were all doomed – or so we thought.

Despite her ‘almost complete’ appearance No.7903 Foremark Hall didn’t leave Barry until 1981, 17 years after her withdrawl. When she was sent to Barry she had been in service for only 15 years – a criminal waste really. No.7903 Foremark Hall was one of the final batch of ‘Modified’ Halls, and was constructed under the newly formed British Railways, at Swindon, in 1949. Restoration to working order was undertaken at the Swindon & Cricklade Railway where she returned to steam in 2003 just in time to be a part of the S&CR’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

The picture of her ‘in action’ is at Chicken Curve on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway.

7903chickencurvesadd

If you have enjoyed my blogs – 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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Tanfield Remembrance

no-2remsunIt’s Armistice Sunday morning and Ex-Keighley Gasworks 0-4-0ST No.2, complete with wreath on the smokebox door, departs from Andrews House Station with the 10.30 to Sunniside.

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