When I was a cleaner at Farnley there were a number of turns, and crews who worked them, which, when they came past the shed, would, ‘put on a show’. Two turns in particular, one a mid-day Newcastle – Liverpool passenger service, the other the returning Manchester – Newcastle newspaper vans, aka ‘the Red Bank vans’, seemed to be particularly prone to this form of footplate fun.
The ‘show’ consisted of the driver putting the regulator in the roof and easing the reverser out a notch or three, whilst the fireman would put a few well placed rounds on – the results were, usually, a fine display of clag & rockets and a great deal of noise. Many years later, when I was writing for the now defunct Steam Railway News, a fortnightly newspaper, I called my column ‘Clag & Rockets’ in memory of those days, in early 1962, when I enjoyed watching the fun, as I cleaned one of 55C’s Black 5s or Jubilees, or possibly the little Ivatt 2-6-2MTTs which were allocated to station pilot duties, down at Leeds City Station. It was on this turn, on the Saturday late shift, that I did my very first ‘real’ firing turn as a ‘passed’ cleaner, on one of the Ivatt 2-6-2s. I say ‘real’ firing turn because I had been out, quite a few times, on the footplate, with the regular crew, on the Red Bank vans and watched at close quarters how the ‘show’ was put on.
In the photo, Ex-LNER Class B1 4-6-0, No.61264, is passing Grosmont MPD on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
If you enjoy my photographs why not have a look at my 2017 Calendar, which, for the first time, is being published by calendar company Calvendo and sold on line or by order at your local bookshop using this ISBN number: Steam Age Daydreams (Wall Calendar 2017 DIN A4 Landscape) / 978-1-325-22545-3
Here are the online links to it.:
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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: