I was, recently, in conversation with a driver who worked on the Appleby – Skipton ‘Plandampf’, with No.60163 Tornado, he reminded me just how cold it can be running mile after mile tender first – it’s marginally better when bunker first with a tank engine. This one is Ex-GWR 2-8-0 No.4270 and she is working the early morning goods from Bewdley to Bridgnorth, on the Severn Valley Railway, during their ‘Season Finale Gala’ in November, of 2016.
At my last shed, before being made redundant, Wakefield (Belle Vue), there was quite a lot of tender first work and almost all of it was done on WDs, to some of the most famous collieries in the Yorkshire coal fields. Like the WDs the pits have all gone, Ackton Hall, Prince of Wales, Sharlston, and Grimethorpe, of brass band fame, and many, many, more – and not just in Yorkshire, you can repeat this for the whole of the coal mining industry.
The usual method of working on these colliery trip jobs was run out to Healy Mills engine first and then trundle off tender first with a string of empties to which ever pits were on your roster. On some turns you might do more than one trip. After returning to Healy Mills with the empties exchanged for loaded wagons you would pick up another train of empties and repeat the earlier run, though not necessarily to the same collieries. Needless to say that on these turns half of your shift was spent ‘running backwards’.
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: