When going off shed at Farnley Jct. you first phoned the bobby at Farnley & Wortley – getting back on the footplate I felt a sharp pain in my ankle, which I’d twisted in colliding with the young lad on his tricycle. When the dolly came off we trundled, bunker first, down to City station to begin our evening’s work.
Leeds City station was, back then, in two parts, the old station and the new, the old station had through platforms, through roads and a handfull of bay platforms, over on the new side there were parcels docks and platforms all ending in buffer stops. The station pilot’s job involved releasing engines from the buffer stops, shunting the parcels docks, and occasional steam heating duties, amongst other things. On some shunts you were right out on to the viaduct carrying the Leeds – Manchester line, and overlooking, the seedier parts of town. In my enthusiasm I had enough fire on to take us to Manchester – safety valves open and boiler full to the whistle! I had yet to grasp the skills of boiler management.
My duties, apart from the boiler management, were watching the guard / shunter / dollies when they were on my side, and relying the info to my mate. Nothing too demanding but, as the evening wore on the pain in my ankle grew worse and it was so swollen I had to unlace my work boots – things weren’t going quite to plan. By 10 o’clock things were so bad my mate had to ask control to send a spare man to relieve me – and my first firing turn ended in A&E.
The photo is of an engine of the same class I was working on that night and is taken on GN straight at the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. No.41241 is currently in the restoration queue and the subject of an appeal for funding, if your felling rich.
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: