Scots 0 Black Fives 2

It seems the Black 5s, especially those operated by Ian Riley, are becoming the rescue remedy of choice – reliable, ubiquitous, and durable. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is the latest line to press a Black 5 into service, with the failure of No.46100 Royal Scot, on Wednesday evening. Thursdays duties for the Scot are now being covered by not one, but two Black 5s, Nos. 45407 and 45212, which is pictured above, with the NYMR’s Pullman Dining service, the 13:20 from Grosmont, rounding the curve at Beckhole.

No.45212 is the latest Black 5 to emerge from Ian Riley’s workshops,in Bury, and join the ‘main line fleet’. On the NYMR web site No.45212 is described as ‘providing support services for No.46100 Royal Scot’ and on No.46100’s first run, on Saturday 25th, she did act as banker. However, it is doubtful that a banker was actually needed, as subsequent runs appeared to be undertaken without one.

The NYMR describe Royal Scot’s problem as ‘minor’ and expect her to be repaired by Friday, which is handy as I was planning on going to photograph her again, on Saturday, if weather conditions are right.

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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Hot Scot

Under a cloudless blue sky, No.46100 Royal Scot, heads towards Goathland, with the first of her runs over the North Yorkshire Moors. It was not quite 10:00 and, already, it was too warm for any really nice billowing exhaust. By the time the second run was made the temperature was 16C – it’s still only March, and up on the moors! Having grown up in Leeds, in the 1950s, and had school holidays by the WCML in Rugby, I well remember these engines, on days like these, sixty years ago, in 1957. I never imagined then, that all those years later I would still be watching Brunswick Green Scots hauling maroon MK1s across scenic bits of Yorkshire.

Holbeck MPD  was, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, well known for its Scots and their duties over the S&C or down to St.Pancras with the Thames Clyde Express. The Scots were also regular performers on the Leeds – Liverpool leg of the Newcastle Liverpool services, so a day spotting on the platforms of City Station meant you saw a goodly number of them coming and going. No.46103 Royal Scots Fusilier 46108 Seaforth Highlander and 46109 Royal Engineer were just some of the regulars, as I recall. I have a painting of No.46103 Royal Scots Fusilier,  hanging above my desk, It was bought for me by a chum from back then  – ‘just to remind me’, he said. I hope the picture has brought back a few memories for you.

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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Stephenson to Stanier

Two giants from opposite ends of the age of steam, Stanier and Stephenson. Stanier’s Black 5 was the maid of all work, ‘Sans Pareil’, a real go anywhere, pull anything, kind of engine;  LMS and BR crews loved them, and so did I. I did a lot of learning on the Black 5s; how to build the brick arch, by helping the boiler man do it, how to lift the fire bars to clean the fire, using a pair of tongs, how to light up and raise steam after a wash out, and, eventually, how to fire one out on the main line, crossing the Pennines from Leeds to Manchester.  Spending time cleaning them was the day job, all of the above were ‘extra curricula activities’ – they were also the ‘unofficial’ apprenticeship to becoming that most exulted of beings, ‘the passed cleaner’.

Stanier and Stephenson weren’t just at opposite ends of the steam age in terms of time. When Stephenson began building his locomotives everything was ‘hand made’ there were no ‘standard’ parts, not even the nuts and bolts: Stanier’s restocking of the LMS was a very serious attempt at ‘standardisation’ across the entire range of locomotive types and his Black 5s and Class 8F 2-8-0s were the most numerous of any class on British Railways.

In the photograph, No.44767, with outside Stephensonlink motion,  and named George Stephenson is piloting, No.44871, with a Keighley – Oxenhope service during one of the K&WVR gala weekends.

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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One fine day

It was one fine day in 1911 when the first of a great many, MR/LMS 3835 / 4F class 0-6-0 s rolled off the production line. Designed by Henry Fowler there were 197 of the 3835 class. Post Grouping a further 575 were built; designated Class 4F they continued to be built right into Stanier’s reign at Derby, with the final batch, of 45, being built between 1937 & 41. Their construction took place at Derby, Crewe, Horwich and St. Rollox, as well as quite a few built by outside contractors, including five,  by Armstrong Whitworth, for the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway, in 1922. Kerr Stewart and Andrew Barclay, names more associated with small industrial locomotives built 50 and 25 respectively, the North British Locomotive Co. built 80 and Armstrong Whitworth’s final total was 55.

Like many ‘nominally’ ‘goods engines’ the Derby Fours / Duck sixes would be put to service on branch line passenger duties or, in busy times, they could easily wind up on ‘Excursion’ duties with a train load of day trippers ‘off to the seaside’. My pal, the late Walter Hobson, made just such a trip with one, from Bradford Forster Square to Morecambe, when he was a passed cleaner at Manningham, in the 1960s.

In this photograph we see, No.43924, a Midland Railway example of 1920 vintage, on a Midland Railway branch line, hauling a Midland railway innovation, the Pullman coach; first used by the Midland Railway in 1874/5. Though the Pullman coaches No.43924 is hauling are not Midland Railway examples but those of the rival LNER. Despite their apparent opulence these two coaches, LNER Nos. 83 & 84, were 3rd Class Pullman ‘Parlour’ cars; they have now been named Ann & Mary.

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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Gas, Bangs, and Pontop

Just visible, on the skyline to the left of the electricity pole, is the BBC transmitter at Pontop Pike I mention this because, as I’m sure some of you know, the Pontop & Jarrow Railway was one of the earliest railways in the country. The P&JR opened in 1826 and was, some years later, incorporated into the Bowes Railway. Sections of  the Bowes Railway’s original rope worked inclines are still in operation at the heritage Bowes Railway.

Tanfield Raiway’s Marley Hill engine shed, which is where No.2 is kept, between turns, is an original Pontop & Jarrow Railway building. Marley Hill MPD is believed to be the oldest engine shed in Europe still fulfilling its original functions of housing, servicing, and repairing locomotives, on the railway. In addition to the engine shed short sections of the track at Marley Hill were also  part of the P&JR.

The ‘gas’ and the ‘bangs’ both relate to No.2 herself; the R W Hawthorne Leslie 0-4-0ST, in the photograph. Works No.2859, she was built in 1911, and sold to Keighley Corporation Gas works, where she remained until the beginning of the second world war when she was sold to the Ministry of Supplies and put to work in a munitions factory near Dumfries. After the cessation of hostilities No.2 was transferred to ICI Nobel division and moved to Annan  before being saved and moved to Tanfield in 1976. No.2 has seen several spells of service at Tanfield and she was last overhauled in 2012 /13 – so she will be around for a few more years, all being well.

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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Spring Auto

It’s Severn Valley Railway’s Spring Gala time again, this year with a Southern theme. Fresh from overhaul B-o-B class 4-6-2 No 34081 92 Squadron is the star, with Ex-BR class 9F No.92214, and Ex-LMSR class 2MTT No.41312 adding a dash of Somerset & Dorset to the mix. I had a couple of trips over the Waterloo – Salisbury road with No.34081 92 Squadron, during my Nine Elms days and worked on the Ivatt tanks, as a passed cleaner, at Farnley Junction, though sadly I never did get a real go on a 9F, just one short trundle, with a goods working, from Stourton to Skipton, during the couple of months I spent at 55A Holbeck.

Ex-GWR 0-4-2T, No.1450, photographed here alongside Northwood Lane, heading for Bewdley, during the 2014 Gala, will do a double-headed run with the fresh from overhaul Ex-GWR 0-6-0PT, No.7714, which should be a fine sight. In my view, there’s something about these little 0-4-2Ts, hauling a single auto-coach, that somehow captures the essence of the bygone GWR branch line. The Pannier tank, No.7714, will also be hauling the afternoon goods train up Eardington bank, just as the sun will be fading, at around 17:15 / 17:30, another little Great Western branch line classic. Well, if the sun shines it is.

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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The end of Southern steam

Galas with a Southern twist are in  vogue this year, 50 years after the last steam service ran on British Railways Southern region, in July 1967. My own association with the Southern region began with a transfer from 55C Farnley Jct. to 73A Stewarts Lane and my first main line firing trip, with a Southern locomotive, was on one of Maunsell’s moguls. It was a Saturdays Only service from Tunbridge Wells to London Bridge and my abiding memory of the trip was arriving at London Bridge with enough fire in the fire box to take us over Shap. Proof, if ever it was needed, of the benefit of knowing the road and the difference between soft Welsh coal and Yorkshire hard coal in how quickly, or not, each one burns.

This trip was also the only time I worked a passenger service with a Maunsell mogul, all the other duties I worked on them were either goods or engineers trains. These turns were all after I transferred from 73A Stewarts Lane to 70A Nine Elms, and mostly between Nine Elms and Basingstoke. We had a regular turn with them on a late night goods to Basingstoke, were we were relieved, by Salisbury men, I think. The return working for us was on the early morning stopper up to Waterloo, this was usually a Standard class 5, but could be a class 4, if you dropped lucky you might get a WC / B-o-B.

When the end came on the Southern, I had already moved back north and was still firing steam engines. I had a few months at 55A Holbeck, followed by a stint at 56A Wakefield, until it closed and I was ‘surplus to requirements’ – and that really was the end.

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

or: To celebrate the author’s up coming 70th birthday, you could 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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Gas works railways

Back in the days when coal gas was manufactured to provide the nation with lighting, heating, and cooking, no self respecting Gas Works was without a railway. Some of these gas works railways were quite extensive, such as that at Beckton, in East London. Nearer to home was the Redheugh gas works, at Gateshead, designed  Mr. V. Wyatt, who was, previously, Engineer to the Chartered Gas Company of Beckton.

Gateshead’s first gas works had opened in 1819 but a growing demand saw the opening of a new gas works at Redheugh, in 1876, for the Newcastle and Gateshead Gas Company. The site at Redheugh, which developed over a twenty year period had a network of rail tracks, gas holders, chimneys and other installations and was between the Tanfield Branch railway and the River Tyne. A number of former gas works locomotives have survived, including a 2ft. gauge rarity, built by Thomas Green of Leeds, for the Harrogate Gas Co., and now preserved, in working order, at the South Tynedale Railway, in Alston,  Another former gas works locomotive is this lovely little Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0ST, of 1911 vintage. Built for the Keighley Gas works, No. 2 also saw service with the Royal Ordnance factory and later Nobel’s Explosives, before arriving at the Tanfield Railway in 1976. Returned to traffic after an extensive overhaul, in 2013, No.2 is now in regular service. She is pictured here, shortly after leaving Andrews House, with a train for Sunniside.

 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

or: To celebrate the author’s up coming 70th birthday, you could 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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Coal, water, and turn

The scene is Grosmont MPD, on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and resident Ex-LMS Class 5 4-6-0, No.44806, awaits coaling as, in the background, Ex-GWR 2-8-0, No.2807, takes water prior to going off shed. Coaling, watering, and turning was the meat and drink of the shed gang’s duties but, so too was 5s and 3s, Beanies,  Chase the Lady, and Solo was also popular. The shed’s contingent of cleaners often got to ‘help’ the shed gang in these basic but, essential duties and they learned how to play cards and dominoes too!

This ‘unofficial’ helping would often involve delights, such  as getting in the ash pit and raking out the ash pans; a task performed with a ten foot long metal rake. The depth of the pit meant that you performed this joyous task bent over, at roughly 45%, choking on the dust, from the ash and clinker you were dragging from the ash pan. Oh! the romance of the footplate – it was ‘tough’ love sometimes! On the plus side you got to drive the engine  from the pit to the shed road. Helping on the prep jobs you learned how to make up the fire from the ‘bit under the door’. The ‘bit under the door’ is the small amount of fresh coals which the steam rise kept going, while the engine awaited its next turn.

At Farnley Jct. where I started on the footplate, the cleaners also had turns where they helped with tasks like fitting new brick arches, helping the washout gang and the occasional turn on ‘shed labouring duties – a step up in pay. On the shed labouring jobs you got to shovel the ash and clinker out of the pits and into the ash wagons which would take it away for use in, I believe, the road building business. This was pretty back braking stuff, but great training for the day you became a passed cleaner and went out firing on the main line – or, as in my case, something a little more prosaic – station pilot!

 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

or: To celebrate the author’s up coming 70th birthday, you could 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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