Tag Archives: Heartbeat

Teak Five

Take 5 was a big hit for Dave Brubeck and there’s a wondereful reggae version too, by Val Bennet . I’m quite a fan of Jamaican music and there are a couple a ‘train songs’ I really, really, like one is ‘Draw Your Brakes’ by Scotty and another is ‘Stop that train’ by Keith & Tex both the same rythmn but quite different. There’s also a wonderful instrumental version by the legendary guitar player Ernest Ranglin.

There are, of course, lots of songs and tunes with a railway theme or title from work songs of the American railroads, like, ‘Drill ye tarriers drill’ to jail house ballards such as Johnny Cash’s ‘Orange Blossom Special’. Blues, skiffle, rock ‘n’ roll, they’ve all got their railway numbers. And speaking of Blossom didn’t they name 46521 ‘Blossom’ for some dreary TV sitcom – nasty. Anyway, moving along, it’s just over a week away from the NYMR gala which will have engines from each of the Big Four and BR in action – looking forward to seeing No.34081 92 Squadron on this same stretch of 1:49 – and that will be a tune to savour. I do enjoy the sound of a Bulleid being worked hard – reminds me of my own time on their footplates!!

Some of you might be interested to know that my book, Railway Tales, about my own footplate work during the last years of BR steam, is now available as an ebook here’s the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Railway-Tales-C-D-Wilson-ebook/dp/B07H38XV1V/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536155603&sr=1-2&keywords=railway+tales+ebook

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.

The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway will still be available on Amazon – Below, is the link to it.

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

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Not so sacred cows

Given the lexical legerdemain practiced by advertisers and politicians alike, the railway preservation movement missed a trick when it comes to ‘ environmental considerations’ – they should have claimed to be water powered. Lots of pictures of fluffy clouds of white exhaust – and, just as ‘Basil’ wasn’t to, ‘mention the war’, say nothing of the oxides of Nitrogen, Sulphur, and Carbon, nor the fine particles of ash.

The fireman on No.76079 had just been putting a few rounds on when I took this shot – he was definitely hitting the right spots. The location is Esk Valley about half a mile into the 15 minute slog up to Goathland  from Grosmont.  The most testing section is the almost three miles at 1:49, which  they are already on, it eases slightly as you enter Goathland station which is on a gradient of 1:138 and the summit is a further 2 miles with sections of 1:90, and 1:100 and a tiny stretch at 1:171. The line twists and snakes its way up the valley and this only makes the climb harder. It is a real test of engine and crew and if you chuck in a wet rail when the weather’s bad and you have a really demanding piece of work for both driver and fireman.

The cows – well they, apparently, couldn’t care less, but don’t mention burgers!!

Some of you might be interested to know that my book, Railway Tales, about my own footplate work during the last years of BR steam, is now available as an ebook here’s the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Railway-Tales-C-D-Wilson-ebook/dp/B07H38XV1V/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536155603&sr=1-2&keywords=railway+tales+ebook

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.

The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway will still be available on Amazon – Below, is the link to it.

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

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100 not out

Fresh from overhaul, and 100 years old in November, Ex-NER T2, later LNER Q6, No.63395 is waiting for the road before making a run up the line, light engine, to Darnholme and back. This was just the second day moving under her own steam since the completion of her 10 year overhaul. In a few days time she will be heading to the Severn Valley Railway to be a part of their Autumn gala, returning in time to star in the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s own autumn gala at the end of this month. Where she will be joined by the Severn Valley Railway ‘heavy goods engine’ 2-8-0 No. 2857, also 100 years old.

No.63395 is a Vincent Raven development of a design by Wilson Worsdell, the designer of the original T class 0-8-0 for the North Eastern Railway. One hundred and twenty of the T2 / Q6s were built between 1913 and 1921 and they survived more or less unaltered until the very end of BR steam, No.63395 was withdrawn in September 1967. When so few locomotives of the former LNER companies survived the end of steam it is a near miracle that one of them was an 0-8-0 goods engine with its origins in World War 1.

Some of you might be interested to know that my book, Railway Tales, about my own footplate work during the last years of BR steam, is now available as an ebook here’s the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Railway-Tales-C-D-Wilson-ebook/dp/B07H38XV1V/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536155603&sr=1-2&keywords=railway+tales+ebook

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.

The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway will still be available on Amazon – Below, is the link to it.

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

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Coal and water

Looking very smart in her LMS livery No.5428 sits under the coal hopper at Grosmont; the fireman is just making his way up to the hopper controls. The blower is on and the lamp is already on the top bracket; after coaling up No.5428 will back down to the water column and take water before going off-shed for her turn of duty – the 12:30 service from Grosmont to Pickering. Just another day at the office, you might say.

I did all this countless time during my own footplate career, and, quite possibly on No.5428, or 45428  as she was then. No.45428 had spells at Holbeck & Farnley Jct. but, if I did do a turn on her footplate it was most likely at Holbeck in early 1966, after Farnley had already closed. I’m not 100% certain but, I believe it was on No.45428 that I worked a tea-time departure from Leeds to Morecambe, which if memory serves stopped at Keighley, Skipton, and then most of the stations on the ‘Little North Western’. I have a vague memory of being relived at Green Ayre and  travelling home on the cushions. It is a long time ago so don’t quote me on that.

Whilst I was at Grosmont, I saw the Q6 moving under her own steam and being readied for her trip to the Severn Valley Gala. Also there was B-o-B No.34081 92 Squadron, not in steam and engine facing Whitby – you can see her tender to the left of No.5428. I do hope they turn her before the gala at the end of the month.

Some of you might be interested to know that my book, Railway Tales, about my own footplate work during the last years of BR steam, is now available as an ebook here’s the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Railway-Tales-C-D-Wilson-ebook/dp/B07H38XV1V/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536155603&sr=1-2&keywords=railway+tales+ebook

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.

The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway will still be available on Amazon – Below, is the link to it.

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

 

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Bongo Mayflower

The naming of the B1 class 4-6-0s was something of a hit and miss affair. The first 41 members of the class were all named after Antelope / Deer; thereafter it becomes a lottery – the only ones with names were Nos 61189, 61215, 61221, 61237 and 8 along with Nos. 61240 to 61251 were all named after the great and the good. And all on its own was No. 61379 Mayflower, named, in 1951, in honour of the puritan settlers who sailed from Plymouth, in 1620, and went on to become part of the foundation myths of the USA; and to celebrate the links between Boston UK and Boston Mass.

No.61379 was fresh out of the workshops of the North British Locomotive Co., in Glasgow, on 14th June 1951 – she was chosen to be named simply because she was new at the time of the impending ceremonials, in July, when a pilgrimage was being made from the USA to Boston Lincs. C’est la vie; didn’t do her much good though she withdrawn from service just 11 years later, in 1962, and cut up. The engine in the photo, No.61306, survived until late 1967 and was then sold privately. No.61306 was built in April 1948, she never carried a name during BR service.

Some of you might be interested to know that my book, Railway Tales, about my own footplate work during the last years of BR steam, is now available as an ebook here’s the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Railway-Tales-C-D-Wilson-ebook/dp/B07H38XV1V/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536155603&sr=1-2&keywords=railway+tales+ebook

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.

The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway will still be available on Amazon – Below, is the link to it.

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

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Coach window

The East Coast Main Line, well sort of. All the ingredients are there Ex-NER fixtures and fittings, an Ex-LNER A4, 1950s rolling stock and it does go to the coast. It could almost be the Elizabethan streaking south through Northumberland. This isn’t the only fantasy though, as this particular location is to be found in Harry Potter movies and TV series, Heartbeat. It is the view from the window of a poll winning bus service too; The four times daily, route 840 from Leeds to Whitby, which won the title of Britain’s most scenic route earlier this year.

The idea that a line from Leeds to Whitby via York and Malton might provide a scenic attraction for visitors from around the world seemed strangely absent when the section of line from Rillington Jct to Whitby was closed.  Like the other East Coast line; the one that ran through Staithes, Sandsend, Whitby, Robin Hoods Bay and on to Scarborough which closed in 1965. This route was unquestionably a tricky one in winter when sea mist made visibility poor and the rails wet – but from Easter to October – well that’s a different kettle of fish.

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.

The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway will still be available on Amazon – Below, is the link to it.

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

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Horses for courses

The writer, philosopher, and opium eater, Thomas De Quincy wrote beautifully of the essential difference between travelling in a stage coach or a railway one. ‘Seated in the old mail-coach, we needed no evidence out of ourselves to indicate the velocity. … The vital experience of the glad animal sensibilities made doubts impossible on the question of our speed; we heard our speed, we saw it, we felt it as a thrilling; and this speed was not the product of blind insensate agencies, that had no sympathy to give, but was incarnated in the fiery eyeballs of the noblest among brutes, in his dilated nostril, spasmodic muscles, and thunder-beating hoofs.’ (De Quincy’s comments were first published in Blackwood’s Magazine during 1849, but the quote is taken from Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s The Railway Journey: The Industrialisation of Time and Space in the 19th Century)

I mention all this because, if you look closely you will see a man on horse back racing the train – a classic exercise in futility. The locomotive is the new build A1 No.60163 Tornado and she is pictured at Moorgates on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in the livery she sported in May 2009.

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 current webhosting contract expires in December there are, currently, no plans to renew it – Steam Age Daydreams will cease.

The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway will still be available on Amazon – Below, is the link to it.

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

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When I’m cleaning smokeboxes

George Formby used to do one of his dirty ditties about ‘The Wigan Boat Express’, not that Metropolitan No.1 ever went anywhere near Wigan with an express boat train. And to the best of my knowledge there never was a Wigan Boat Express either. It’s more that cleaning smokeboxes is a dirty little duty, a chore with the wrong kind of char. On a prepare and dispose turn you’d get 3 or 4 of them to shovel out, sometimes more. Emptying the smokebox was only one part of the disposal process, for the fireman, there was cleaning the fire and raking out the ash pans too. The whole ritual seemed designed to create sufficient sweat that every stray partical of ash and coal dust ended up sticking to you.

Not all smokeboxes are equal – I’ve opened the smokebox door on many a West Country Class, 34101 Hartland included, with char up to the dart, still glowing hot at the bottom. Those Bulleid smokeboxes  go a long way back too. You did sometimes wonder if the fireman who disposed her last had actually bothered to clean the smokebox.

And some are not so very big at all, like this one on the Burrows Well Tank ‘Willy’ which  barely holds enough char to fill a wheel barrow.

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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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Headgear

Footplatemen were issued with a uniform, bib and brace overalls, a smock jacket and greased topped cap. The attrition rate of the caps was high, taken away at high speed as you hung your head out of the cab to spot a distant signal. However, uniforms they might have been but, they were frequently worn with some small degree of ‘nonconformity’. One or two of the more senior drivers always wore their smock jacket with the top button fastened, some of us young firemen narrowed the legs of our overalls, in keeping with the fashions of the day.

The real non-uniform aspect though was hats; grease tops were worn pinned down at the sides, sat up like a pie, or all pulled down either on one side or the other or to the back, and I remember spending money, to buy an old ‘Southern Engineman’ cap badge, to replace my BR hotdog. Like so many others it ended up in a field or on embankment, somewhere along the line. Not everyone wore a grease top and my regular 3 link mate, Eric ‘sooty’ Saunders, always wore a cloth cap, often with motor bike goggles – he rode a motor bike and side car to work.  Another fashion was for ‘cheese cutters’ a cloth cap made from  corduroy,  black with stripes of yellow, blue, or red. For quite a while the style amongst the firemen was for a brightly coloured, knotted hanky, pulled over your hair – or used to wipe the sweat, as needs be.

I dare say that different regions and even sheds had their own styles and traditions – the NYMR footplateman in the photo has chosen a beret.

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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Summer Special

July only – enjoy Gricing for less. From July 1st to 31st the Ebook version of Gricing is on special offer at just £3.99

Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B011D1WBWY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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