Gas, Bangs, and Pontop

Just visible, on the skyline to the left of the electricity pole, is the BBC transmitter at Pontop Pike I mention this because, as I’m sure some of you know, the Pontop & Jarrow Railway was one of the earliest railways in the country. The P&JR opened in 1826 and was, some years later, incorporated into the Bowes Railway. Sections of  the Bowes Railway’s original rope worked inclines are still in operation at the heritage Bowes Railway.

Tanfield Raiway’s Marley Hill engine shed, which is where No.2 is kept, between turns, is an original Pontop & Jarrow Railway building. Marley Hill MPD is believed to be the oldest engine shed in Europe still fulfilling its original functions of housing, servicing, and repairing locomotives, on the railway. In addition to the engine shed short sections of the track at Marley Hill were also  part of the P&JR.

The ‘gas’ and the ‘bangs’ both relate to No.2 herself; the R W Hawthorne Leslie 0-4-0ST, in the photograph. Works No.2859, she was built in 1911, and sold to Keighley Corporation Gas works, where she remained until the beginning of the second world war when she was sold to the Ministry of Supplies and put to work in a munitions factory near Dumfries. After the cessation of hostilities No.2 was transferred to ICI Nobel division and moved to Annan  before being saved and moved to Tanfield in 1976. No.2 has seen several spells of service at Tanfield and she was last overhauled in 2012 /13 – so she will be around for a few more years, all being well.

Just as the lights went out on my railway career they will very soon be going out on Steam Age Daydreams too.

I will still be passing my time photographing steam locomotives and for those of you who have enjoyed reading the Blog – I will be continuing to write, Part II of ‘In Memory’ will be available before the end of the month with parts III, IV and V to follow at intervals in the New Year. If you’ve enjoyed my photographs the Steam Age Daydreams 2019 Calendar is now on sale on eBay – here’s the link:

Above is the link to Part I of my memories of footplate life in the 1960s. The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway is still  available on Amazon – Below, is the link to that work.

Steam Age Daydreams began in 2014 and since then over 600 blogs have appeared on all manner of railway topics.  They are all still available to read in the ‘Archive’ section. I am writing this to let you all know that when the existing webhosting contract expires in December there are, currently, no plans to renew it – Steam Age Daydreams will cease.


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