Up ‘ill ‘n’ darn dale

In the 1960s, as a 15 year old, I learned how to fire steam locomotives working on Black 5s going from Leeds to Manchester and back.  This was very much an uphill and down dale route – which ever way you went you climbed the Pennines and then ran down the other side. A favourite turn, to take a ride out on, was the Red Bank vans, always double-headed, and often two of Farnley’s Black 5s.

There are two main line runs coming up which both remind me of my time on the footplate. The first, this Saturday, is the ‘Citadel’ booked for double-headed Black 5s and working from Manchester to Carlisle via the S&C, crossing and recrossing the Pennines. The second run is next month’s ‘Pennine Moors Explorer’ which reminds me of my time at Wakefield in the final days of steam and working over Copy Pit with wheezing clanking Dubdees and train loads of coal, returning whence we came with the empties.

The Pennine Moors Explorer might even be hauled by an engine I actually worked on whilst I was a fireman at Nine Elms – No.34046 Braunton, which would be wonderful to see, and hear, it’s quite a pull from Todmorden through Cornholme and Portsmouth and on up to Copy Pit summit where, with the coal trains, we would have to stop and pin down wagon brakes for the long roll down to Gannow Junction.

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: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/302936132284

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/302936132284

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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