Tag Archives: NYMR

Hertford Heartbeat

1744beckhole

The Hertford destination board is practically as mythical as the actual destination, Goathland, known to the millions who watched ‘Heartbeat’ on the telly, as ‘Aidensfield’. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway, as you might expect, has come to benefit, enormously, from this tele-visual exposure. There’s nothing new, however, about railways and movies / television, they’ve got history, all the way back to the beginning of moving pictures.  Today we’ve got state of the art CGI movies staring, that ‘loveable’ little Jinty, Thomas the Tank Engine, back then, 1895, the brothers Lumiere took shaky footage of Les Chemin de fer.

Down the years railways have played all manner of parts from comedic stooge in a silent movie, through leading lady in some whimsical 1950s Ealing production, to the gritty leading man in a black and white movie about the French resistance, art treasure, and the Nazis. Bits of railway landscape, and railway architecture,  have, over the decades, allowed many a star and starlet to; pose dramatically, look rugged, windswept, romantic, lonely, in danger, and in every conceivable combination thereof. And from Box tunnel to Rannoch Moor, Carnforth Station to platform 9 & 3/4, the railways provided the backdrop and the smut in your eye. Not to mention being a cliche for the innuendo of the ‘smut’  which happens, in the compartment,  in scene three.

Sherlock Holmes consulted Bradshaw’s Guide like a psychic consults tea leaves and traveling was murderous on the Orient Express, as well as from Paddington. Scary Denholme Elliot in the tale of the ghostly bobby, black and white footage of men, in great coats, shoveling snow at Bleath Gill – Oh! Mr. Porter it’s very cold in Crewe. From shoveling snow to, ‘shoveling white steam over her shoulder … bringing the cheque and the postal order’ – do they still have postal orders?

Ex-GNR  class N2 0-6-2T No.1744 is photographed at Beck Hole, looking somewhat pensive I thought, in the dappled light, with her single teak coach and flowing exhaust.

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http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/

You might also enjoy my ebook 'Gricing'

http://www.amazon.com/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2

or for British readers.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2

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Coming soon

75078mytholmes

This is one engine I’m very much looking forward to seeing back in action. No. 75078 is one of a batch of fifteen fitted with large capacity tenders for working on BR Southern Region, where there were no troughs, and the extra water capacity came in handy. I have fired on No. 75078 many times; on the 54s to Basingstoke, out of Waterloo, on the 04.40 Salisbury papers, and on banana trains from Southampton docks to Nine Elms Goods, to name but a few of the turns on which these fine engines were regular performers. I also enjoyed driving No.75078, quite a few times, during working these turns, all unofficial, of course. Having said that, this was how you learned on the railway, hands on.

There are a few others, due back soon, with which I have some acquaintance, No.34101 Hartland at the NYMR, No.34039 Boscastle at the GCR, and  No.35018 British India Line, which looks set for the mainline, in the not too distant future, are all engines I have worked on in the past, on runs from Waterloo to Bournemouth or Salisbury. A little further away, in 2017, is the new build of a BR Standard Class 3MTT in the 82xxx series. These class 3 Standards were great little engines – I had a lot of fun on their footplates, working ECS from Clapham Carriage sidings up to Waterloo. Building a new one is a great idea, yes I’m a supporter of the 82045 Trust, but they are ideal engines for work on a preserved line.

One other engine due back in 2017 has got to have a special mention, especially this year, and that’s No.35005 Canadian Pacific. 2015 is the 50th anniversary of one of my most memorable nights on the footplate, the one, and only, time I traveled at more than 100mph during my days as a footplateman. There’ll be more on this topic when the day comes.

The photograph, a scan from one of my old slides, shows No.75078 crossing Mytholmes bridge with a Keighley – Oxenhope service. No.75078 has made a test run in Haworth yard and seems likely to star at the K&WVR’s Winter Gala.

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Under the hopper

80135coaltowersadd

Hello, and welcome to 2015. This year the first two, standard gauge, lines to begin operation using volunteers will reach 55 – the Middleton and Bluebell Railways started their new incarnations in 1960. One was a genuinely historic piece of railway, in a less than pretty part of town, the other a scenic route through rural Sussex, two themes, the scenic and the historic, which loom large in a great many aspects of heritage railways and their connections with the wider public and enthusiast alike – though for very different reasons.

In those fifty five years an industry has grown up, there are fewer hare-brained schemes, more, lots more, health and safety – the driver on 80135 is wearing hi-vis overalls, not quite the ‘old steam days’ image. Industry of another sort has grown up too, the railway preservation industry. This industry involves everyone from Chinese workers making plastic models of Thomas the Tank Engine, to British heavy industry, casting cylinders, driving wheels, and cutting the frame plates for new build locomotives, such as No.60163 Tornado, or the P2 which is just getting underway.

The larger heritage railway undertakings employ paid staff, utilise out side contractors, some sub-contract engineering work, in their own workshops, for other heritage lines or act as wholesaler, supplying stock for the ‘station shop’. I haven’t even mentioned the things like public liability insurance, infrastructure maintenance, or film and television work.  Local shops, cafes, hotels and B&Bs, printers who print the membership mags, flyers, and posters, caterers who stock the buffet and buffet cars, post cards and greeting cards, jigsaws, mugs, tea towels, souvenirs of every ilk, all this trade and industry from those lads with a trolley and a hare-brained idea!

Well done guy’s – from the muck of the railways tha’s made a lorra brass, for a great many people!!

In the photograph Standard Class 4MTT No.80135 is about to ‘take coal’ one of the dirtier railway jobs, believe me, the coal dust gets to places you didn’t know there were places!

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Spaceship Enterprise

92214passadd

If you look closely, you will see that the crew of the goods train, in the loop, are stood on the tender photographing the departing 9F, a quasi selfie? In yesterday’s post I mentioned signs and signals, there are more signs and signals in this post. The extenuated points of the finnials on the splendid signal gantry, York 21 on the mile post, the catch points in the loop, points camera and shoots.

The signs were all ill omens when the 9Fs were being built. The British Railways Modernisation plan was published almost at the same time as they were being constructed and then Ernest Marples, aka ‘Minister for Motorways’, was made Transport Secretary. (Marples was part and parcel of Marples – Ridgeway who built parts of the M1 motorway and Hammersmith flyover, amongst other things.) The last 9F to be built at Swindon came out in fully lined BR passenger green livery,  with a copper capped chimney, and named ‘Evening Star’ – another sign, another nail in the coffin of steam locomotion.

Several of the 9Fs survived into preservation, the artist David Sheperd, saved No. 92203 on her withdrawal, and gave her the name Black Prince. Paint, or rather the livery being carried by No. 92214  is something of a talking point, currently, and in the recent past. At present No.92214 is in lined green BR passenger livery, fictitious, naturally, prior to this current paint job she has been in lined black livery and named ‘Cock O’ the North’, equally fictitious. Fortunately, she is none of the foregoing in this photograph, no lines, no name, and black!

 

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A blast from my past

endsteam

During the period 1963 – 66 I was a fireman at the former London & South Western Railway depot 70A, Nine Elms. One of my old workmates actually fired on the last steam service from Weymouth up to Waterloo and the chalked message on the smokebox door, in this photograph, is a copy of that carried by Merchant Navy class 4-6-2 No.35023 Holland-Afrika Line which worked the ‘last one’. In one of those little quirks of fate, No. 34101 Hartland was the last of the Bulleid rebuilds, emerging from Eastleigh in 1960, just 6 years before she was scrapped and ended up at Woodham’s yard in Barry.

The Bulleid pacifics were fine engines and it is good that so many survived the cutter’s torch. No. 34101 Hartland, pictured above was an engine I worked on myself, as was No.35023 Holland-Afrika Line, indeed I worked on every one of the Merchant Navy class and about 70% of the West Country / Battle of Britain class too. No. 34101 Hartland was restored and, eventually, put to work on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, where this photograph was taken. In the not too distant future she will, once again, be back on active duty following her 10 year overhaul. I’ll be there when she does steam again, all being well.

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God’s Wonderful Railway Comes to God’s green acres

7822b&csadd

On a crisp autumn evening Ex-GWR 4-6-0 No.7822 Foxcote Manor makes a fine sight as she steams across open moorland. The lengthening shadows, the dried bracken,  dry stone wall, and an almost cloudless sky all add to the autumnal feel. It wouldn’t be difficult to pretend that this was a photograph from 1962, somewhere deep in Great Western territory. There are no heads poking from windows, no video cameras being held out attempting to film the passage. However, truth be told the photo was taken in 2012 and on the opposite side of the country from GWR territory, high on the North Yorkshire Moors, at Moorgates about a mile and a half from Goathland – the mythical Aidensfield of the TV series Heartbeat.

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A genuinely unique survivor

Sir W.A.Stanier’s mixed traffic classic the ‘Black 5′ was one of the best loved and most versatile locomotives ever to run on British Railways, there were, at one time, 842 of them. However, only one of them was ever built with outside Stephenson’s link motion – and here she is No.44767, now named, possibly ironically, George Stephenson. No. 44767 was built the same year as I was, (1947), though she looks in better fettle!

The photograph was taken at one of the most photogenic locations on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Darnholme about 1/2 mile east of Goathland – the mythic Aidensfield of TV series Heartbeat fame.No. 44767 has spent much of here life in preservation, working on the NYMR, though she did have a spell out on the main line, some years ago now.

The driver has the sanders on which accounts for the steam at ground level, but the action is all at the chimney top as she blasts her way round the curve on the 1/49 climb up to Goathland – a fairly stiff test for both engine and crew.

via A genuinely unique survivor.

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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