Marley Hill

Just a few minutes before this photo it was a very different scene as the Marley Hill MPD engine cleaners put the finishing touches to No.2 before she set off to work the 10.30 departure from Andrews House

The really pleasing aspect of this picture is that, just as it was, ‘back in the day’, it’s young lads cleaning the engine, working their way to becoming passed cleaners / firemen and eventually drivers. If railway preservation has a future it’s lads like these  getting stuck in and doing the dirty work, on a freezing cold Sunday morning, at the fag end of January. Those of us who were doing the job, ‘back then’ are getting far to ancient and decrepit to be doing the heavy dirty work required to maintain and operate a steam locomotive.

To celebrate the author’s up coming 70th birthday, grab yourself an eBook  copy of “Gricing, The Real Story of the Railway Children”, for just £2.99  – offer ends 13 / 03/ 2017.

This is the link to Amazon for your copy:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B011D1WBWY

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eBook offer

To celebrate the author’s up coming 70th birthday, grab yourself an eBook  copy of “Gricing, The Real Story of the Railway Children”, for just £2.99  – offer ends 13 / 03/ 2017.

This is the link to Amazon for your copy:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B011D1WBWY

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Ebook special offer

To celebrate the author’s up coming 70th birthday, grab yourself an eBook  copy of “Gricing, The Real Story of the Railway Children”, for just £2.99  – offer ends 13 / 03/ 2017.

This is the link to Amazon for your copy:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B011D1WBWY

 

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Moorland goods

My last post was a goods train on the Severn Valley, today’s is one on the North Yorkshire Moors. The locomotive, Ex-GWR Manor class 4-6-0 No.7822 Foxcote Manor, with a fine selection of vintage goods wagons behind the tender, is working the early morning Goathland – Pickering freight during the NYMR’s 2016 Autumn Gala.

A little way over the hills in the background, is the delightfully named Yorkshire hamlet of Fryup. According to Wikipedia; “An old woman at Fryup was well known locally for keeping the Mark’s e’en watch (24 April), as she lived alongside a corpse road known as Old Hell Road. The practice involved a village seer holding vigil between 11pm and 1am to watch for the wraiths of those who would die in the following 12 months.” Probably those old railwaymen who had eaten too many footplate fry ups, cooked on a mucky shovel

Personally, I wasn’t a big fan of the shovel fry up; I did however,enjoy onion, slow cooked on the manifold, with a cheese toastie done on the shovel. Another footplate delicacy came in the form of the ‘brew’ – this consisted of a spoon full of tea, ( no tea bags), mixed with a large spoon full of condensed milk. This was then wrapped in grease proof paper until it was time to make a can of tea, when boiling water was poured carefully over the grease proof paper washing the tea leaves and  condensed milk mix into the can and there you have it tea, milk, and sugar – in the can!

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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Old Great Western Movies

During the Severn Valley Railway’s ‘Season Finale Gala’ the  Bridgnorth – Bewdley goods, hauled by 2-8-0T No.4270, plods gently alongside Northwood Lane, in a scene which could, just as easily, have been 1956 and not 2016.  A Saturday morning in the 1950s meant, for many kids, a trip to the Saturday morning cinema, to watch black and white movies featuring such delights as; the Three Stooges, Roy Rogers, Flash Gordon,  the Lone Ranger, and not forgetting Tonto, ‘kemo sabbi’.  The good guys were cheered and the baddies booed, sweets were scoffed and lollies eaten. In the cowboy serials there was, almost always, a scene involving ‘the railroad’ and men on horse back chasing the bandits robbing the gold train.

Movies were one thing but, in 1950s Britain, gangs of masked men on horse back didn’t ride down the Welsh valleys sticking up the mail train, at gunpoint, they didn’t do it in Leeds, where I grew up, either. The nearest thing we ever got to masked men on horse back robbing the mail train was some fat old bloke in breeches, with a pack of slavering dogs, chasing a fox –  gunslingers were rarer than hens teeth.

When we weren’t at the cinema watching great Westerns you could find us down the nearest station, or bashing round the local shed, spotting them if we lived in their territory!

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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Plandampf

For three days in February the clock is being turned back, sort of, to the end of steam on the S&C, back in the 60s. Northern Rail, the A1 Locomotive Trust, and the Settle Carlisle Railway have joined forces so that we will be able to enjoy the delights of No.60163 Tornado on regular service trains for 3 days in February. Operating between Skipton and Appleby, the first train leaves Appleby at 08:30 returning from Skipton at 10:45. The afternoon service departs Appleby at 15:07 and returns from Skipton at 17:10.

I don’t recall it myself but, I ‘m sure A1s, like their stable mates the A3s, did see the occasional turn hauling the Waverley over the Leeds – Carlisle leg, in the dog days of steam on the service. Quite what the ‘Midland’ men who had worked the service for decades with Scots and Jubilees thought of working on the A3s, or A1s, for that matter, is anyone’s guess.

One can only hope that all goes well with this three day Plandampf and that all concerned benefit from the experience – who knows it might encourage other operators, with scenic routes, to do something similar. On the other hand it might be a cunning, Baldrick style, plan to reintroduce steam by stealth as the nation’s motive power of choice. Restarting the coal mining industry, to supply them, might be a little trickier.

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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On the bridge

The classic ‘spotters view’ from the bridge, or banking side, looking down on the engine, crew, and train. This particular bridge is at Woodthorpe Lane, between Loughborough and Quorn & Woodhouse, on the Great Central Railway, whose Spring gala it will be,  a week on Friday. No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell, will be in action along with the Bluebell Railway’s Q class 0-6-0 No.30541, a class of engine I did a few turns on myself, I might even have fired No.30541.

However, replicating this picture is now becoming impossible, as a new housing development is beginning to take shape here. What are the chances that the ‘new’ residents will complain about the steam engines, the smoke, the whistles, and blah, blah, blah. Over the fifty years of preservation many views, once popularised by photographers, have gone. The Mill at Ingrow on the K&WVR, the shot of Grosmont, from the top of the tunnel,  the once tree lined cutting at Beck Hole with its lovely dappled light – and I’m sure many of you can add your own lost views to these. Even in preservation nothing stays the same, as the lines have developed new buildings have been erected, bridges built, cafes, museums, and more have all been added – it’s all come a very long way from those shaky beginnings at Middleton and Bluebell in 1960.

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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Dark satanic

Ex-Taff Vale Railway 0-6-2T, No.85, pulls away from Oakworth, passing Vale Mill, the end of which is casting a shadow over the 2nd and 3rd coaches. Built in 1899, by Neilson Reid of Glasgow, No.85 had  just entered traffic when the infamous Taff Vale Railway strike, of 1900, took place. This dispute, which lasted for 11 days, resulted in a ruling, by the Law Lords, in favour of the railway, making the men and their union liable for loss of profits caused by the strike. The sum claimed by the Taff Vale Railway was £42,000 estimated to be £2.5 million at today’s rates.

This draconian  ruling helped  to strength the resolve, amongst many,  to create the Labour Party which, in turn, helped to  influence the Liberal Government  of 1906 to introduce a Trade Disputes Bill, making peaceful picketing legal and to revoke the Law Lords ruling in the Taff Vale case, thus ensuring Unions and their members were no longer liable for a company’s loss of profits, during a legitimate trade dispute. All in all, the Taff Vale Railway strike created quite a furore. The Taff Vale Railway itself was amongst the country’s earliest lines;  construction commenced in 1836 and Isambard Kindom Brunel, no less, was the chief engineer. Built to the 4’8″ gauge to allow the line to follow the route of the eponymous river Taff, the TVR remained in independent operation until it was absorbed, by the Great Western Railway, in 1922.

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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Get some rock on

When I was a cleaner at Farnley there were a number of turns, and crews who worked them, which, when they came past the shed, would, ‘put on a show’.  Two turns in particular, one a mid-day Newcastle – Liverpool passenger service, the other the returning Manchester – Newcastle newspaper vans, aka ‘the Red Bank vans’, seemed to be particularly prone to this form of footplate fun.

The ‘show’ consisted of the driver  putting the regulator in the roof and easing the reverser out a notch or three, whilst the fireman would put a few well placed rounds on – the results were, usually, a fine display of clag & rockets and a great deal of noise. Many years later, when I was writing for the now defunct Steam Railway News, a fortnightly newspaper, I called my column ‘Clag & Rockets’ in memory of those days, in early 1962, when I enjoyed  watching the fun, as I cleaned one of 55C’s Black 5s or Jubilees, or possibly the little Ivatt 2-6-2MTTs which were allocated to station pilot duties, down at Leeds City Station. It was on this turn, on the Saturday late shift, that I did my very first ‘real’ firing turn as a ‘passed’ cleaner, on one of the Ivatt 2-6-2s. I say ‘real’ firing turn because I had been out, quite a few times, on the footplate, with the regular crew, on the Red Bank vans and watched at close quarters how the ‘show’ was put on.

In the photo, Ex-LNER Class B1 4-6-0, No.61264, is passing Grosmont MPD on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

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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Limited clearance

Ex-LNER Class B1 4-6-0, No.61264, is seen here passing Grosmont MPD, on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.  Two of No.61264’s classmates, No.61251 Oliver Bury, and No.61292, were used in the  Locomotive Exchange Trials,  2018 is the 70th anniversary. No.61251 Oliver Bury worked over the South Devon main line and the Midland route from St.Pancras  to Manchester. No.61292 did her stint on the Highland main line from Perth to Inverness, where she was up against the Southern’s entry in the trials WC class 4-6-2 No.34004 Yeovil.

Having worked on a B1, Leeds to Grimsby and back, and on No.34004 Yeovil, on more than a few turns over the former LSWR routes out of Waterloo, in her rebuilt form, of course, I know which I would have chosen; even if she did burn more coal! I also have a little bit of personal history with one of the firemen in the Trials, Bert Hooker, who was, by that time, a driver at Nine Elms when I moved there in the 1960s.

I’m sure preparations are already underway to celebrate the Trials, especially as one of the actual participants, Ex-GWR Hall class 4-6-0, No.6990 Witherslack Hall, has just recently returned to active duty.  My own ‘daydream’ celebration would be seeing a B1 and West Country /B-o-B giving it some 2nd valve over the Highland main line – Oh!  and some snow cover on the hills would be nice too!

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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