Taking the mickey

44871gbblackfordThere was a time when these engines were so commonplace that we barely noticed them – just another Mickey, just like the one before and all the other 842. Yes, I know some had Caprotti valve gear and a double chimney, there was one with outside Stephenson link motion and an odd self-weighing tender or two – I suspect, as much as anything, they were built, simply,  to relieve the monotony. Oh! and mustn’t forget those Timken roller bearings and that flash of yellow paint on their axle boxes.

My journey, nay pilgrimage, to Blackford to take this shot was around 40 miles; followed by ‘chasing the train’ to Blair Atholl and over Crubenmore to capture the slog up to Slochd summit. A whole day’s journey,  200 miles of motoring, through the highlands of Scotland, to take pictures of the same Black 5 at three other locations. If any of my chums, in the 1950s, had told me that I would spend loadsa money, a whole day,  and  drive 200 miles, just to photograph a Black 5 – I would have known they were taking the mickey.

No.44871 is just about to pass under the A9, between Blackford and Gleneagles, with this year’s GB Rail tour.

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:


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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