The 08.35 Ex-Waterloo – Weymouth was a regular 3link turn and the usual motive power was a Bulleid WC /B-o-B but, not today. Waiting at the end of the platform was one of Riddles’ Class 5 4-6-0s, the 08.35 wasn’t an express service but, the load was usally 10 or 11, equal to 360 to 400 tons, a fair load for a class 5. Climbing onto the footplate and the day at the office got a whole lot worse, the engine we should have had was a last minute failure and this one was the spare.
There had been little time to build a proper fire, the fire doors were shut and the blower on, steam pressure was at 180, the boiler, a little more than half full, not a great place to be 5 minutes from the off. This was the good news, the bad bit was that the tender was full of ‘bricquettes’ less politely known as ‘donkey’s bollocks’, which might have burned hotter! One of the less pleasant side effects of the bricquettes is the dust from them really made your eyes sting – black faced, and with red rimmed eyes, at the end of the shift you looked like an extra from Zombie Apocalypse.
However, I was just at the start of the shift and relief, at Bournemouth Central, was over a hundred miles away. Boiler pressure had risen to 200lbs by the time we got the right away. When ‘sooty’ shut off for the slack through Clapham Jct. it was back down to 180, it was going to be a rough trip.
The photo shows one of the Caprotti fitted versions of the Standard Class 5, No.73129, at the head of the mails during one of the Great Central Railway’s Gala events, sadly not a ‘Standard Arthur’ at the head of 11 BRMKIs in SR green livery…….
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: