Engine and van

Some years back, I enjoyed a day out on one of the ‘terriers’, (Stepney), at the Bluebell Railway. I spent the day with Clive Groome,  one of my old drivers from Nine Elms days, running up and down between Sheffield Park  and Kingscote, engine and van.  When I was at Wakefield, just before the end of steam, running engine and van became more of a commonplace as more and more coal and goods traffic was going by road.

We had little pick-up goods turns where you visited goods yards, coal yards, and mill sidings all around the Wakefield area and across the GN to Bradford – this is how most of them began. The essential difference was that we were doing it with a clapped out old WD and with each passing week there were fewer and fewer wagons to collect or empties to deliver. One by one the mills were closing, the local goods yard, with the coal merchant and his staithes, the goods agent and his parcels, were shutting down too. We might have won the World Cup but, the railways, the mines, and the mills were losing the battles. Before much longer the lines we were travelling would shut too. The future was rust, weeds, vandalism, and graffiti – and then came the wrecking balls.

The photo is of No.662 (Martello) leaving Winchcombe, on the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway, heading for Cheltenham.

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 2019 Calendar is now on sale here’s the link:  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/302929843008

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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