56 years ago today

56 years ago today I began work with BR, at a shed, where I cleaned and fired engines just like the one in this photo. Unfortunately none of them survived ‘the great purge’. However, one that did survive was a fairly frequent visitor, when she was based at Stockport, No.45596 Bahamas; one of a handful of the Jubilee Class which were fitted with a double chimney.

Like the engine this photograph, No. 45690 Leander, No.45596 Bahamas is soon to be back in action, after lengthy overhaul. Just as some of my very first associations were with the Jubilees so were some of my last. There were very few passenger turns at Wakefield, where I ended my BR service, apart from a few jobs working the Bradford portions of London – Leeds services from Wakefield Westgate to Bradford Exchange, the only others, at the time, were ‘excursions’ for Rugby / Football matches and trips to the seaside.

My very last trip on a Jubilee was with a trip to Blackpool and back with a train load of miners, the details of which were the subject of an earlier post. Sadly, none of the engines I worked on at Farnley and at Wakefield survived, however, a goodly number of those I worked on at Nine Elms did; and a week on Friday I hope to see one of them, No.35018 British India Line, having a run over the S&C. I haven’t seen her in the flesh since she was withdrawn, over 50 years ago – quite looking forward to Friday 20th. My BR days migh have ended in 1968 but my attachment to those dim and distant days did not.

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: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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