“19four feet eight and a half”

Ground zero, for most of today’s enthusiasts, is 1948, the year British Railways was created from, the war time ashes, of the ‘Big Four’. Battered by the blitz and,  the threat of bankruptcy hanging in the air, the creation of British Railways was hardly cause for unbridled joy. Yes, the railways were now publicly owned, but shareholders were still being paid, and Victorian infrastructure, locomotives, and rolling stock were all in daily use.

There were some bright spots, fresh paint and new liveries and the Peppercorn A1s  were rolling out of  Darlington and Doncaster works. The A1s were regular visitors to Leeds,  where I grew up, and I remember riding behind them on journeys to Peterborough, change for Lowestoft, and a fortnight at the seaside. Later, in the 1950s, 37B Copley Hill, had an allocation of 10, in 1955 – Nos. 60117 – 60120, 60122, 60131, 33, 34, 39, and 60141, I rode behind many of them on  spotting trips to Doncaster. Travel there and back on a platform ticket, spend all day at ‘Donny’, beside the ECML .and catch the ‘plant stream’ and then the train back to Leeds Central Station and a bus back home. And no one was any he wiser!

The locomotive in the photo, the new build A1 No.60163 Tornado, is pictured at Selside with the first of the Plandampf services on the S&C on Saint Valentine’s Day.

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:


or: To celebrate the author’s up coming 70th birthday, you could grab yourself an eBook  copy of “Gricing, The Real Story of the Railway Children”, for just £2.99  – offer ends 13 / 03/ 2017.

This is the link to Amazon for your copy:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B011D1WBWY

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