Arms race

no2tokenexAn odd choice of title, you might think, though there are  signal arms in the foreground and the outstretched arms of driver and signalman in the background. However, there are some rather interesting connections between armaments, the locomotive at the head of the train, No.2, and with the Tanfield railway’s decision to preserve and safeguard the area’s industrial locomotive building history.

No.2, built by Hawthorn Leslie, in 1911, was originally sold to Keighley Gas works, where she remained until around 1940. Just after the outbreak of WWII No.2 was in the employ of the Ministry of Supply and being used  at the Royal Ordnance Factory at Drungans, Kirkcudbrightshire.  Along with Hawthorn Leslie, another of the major locomotive building companies on Tyneside was Armstrong Whitworth who, amongst others, built a substantial number, (327), of Stanier’s Black 5s for the LMS.  Tanfield don’t have any Black 5s but the do have a 1933 vintage Armstrong Whitworth diesel – also numbered 2

Armstrong, had more than just locomotive building in their portfolio they were also major suppliers of ships and armaments. Such was their ‘fame’ in the armaments business, that their breach loading gun re-equipped the British Army after the Crimean War.  The Chairman, Sir W G Armstrong, entertained leading world figures and politicians in his home, with arms and armaments, undoubtedly, on the agenda. His home ‘Cragside’, the first in Britain to be lit entirely by electricity – hydro-electricity at that, is now open to the public.

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:

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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