Against the collar, storming the bank, digging in for the climb, cliches, you can hear them from away off, Hemerdon, Ais Gill, Whiteball, still with us, others are just exhaust notes, echoing in the wind, Falahill, Whitrope, and Masbury. Bleak Scottish mountain sides, the moors and wild places of South Devon, mere back drops for legendary exploits, making up lost time, struggling with poor coal and a steam shy engine, pick the ingredients mix your own tale; six late off Newton Abbot, Dainton ahead.
You tried to imagine yourself, there, on the footplate, hand on the regulator, a steely gaze on the road ahead, as the rockets flew and the fireman shoveled. Then the gradient begins to bite and you drop the reverser from 25% to 30%, the barking is louder now and you’re keeping an eye on the pressure gauge and the gauge glass, they’re holding up well, but speed is still slowly falling, 1 in 36 is heavy work. Around about this point some droning teacher would say ‘what did I just say lad’ – ‘ get some more rock on Tommy, there’s two more miles of this’, was the wrong answer. I was swiftly moved from railway lines to writing lines, ‘I must pay attention in class’ X 100.
The photograph was taken on the south bound climb of Druimauchdar and No.70013 Oliver Cromwell, piloting No.61994 The Great Marquess, is close to the summit, the highest on any of Britain’s main line routes at 1484ft.
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!