Tag Archives: Nationalisation

Bit of a departure

62712inverurie

It’s August 1964 and this photograph, taken by my pal, Ken Webb, during a round Scotland shed bash we undertook that summer, shows D49 class 4-4-0 No.62712 Morayshire sat in the yard at Inverurie Locomotive Works. Rods removed and name plate missing, an old sack tied around the chimney, she’s not a pretty sight. For a purpose built locomotive workshop Inverurie, opened in 1903, built surprisingly few engines, though it did continue to service them right to the end of BR, closing in 1969. For any of you with a footballing bent Inverurie Loco works lives on – here’s the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverurie_Loco_Works_F.C.

This week, following comments about my posting ‘Hunting in the shires’, made on the Steam Hub website, I have been in contact with a fellow from Broughty Ferry who photographed No.62712 being towed, in the direction of Aberdeen, in July 1964, just a couple of weeks before this photograph was taken. No.62712 was being towed by the Great North of Scotland Railway 4-4-0 No.62277 Gordon Highlander, known, to many in Scotland, as  – ‘The Soldier’

Following withdrawal from Keith MPD, in 1958, No.62277 Gordon Highlander was overhauled and restored to  GNSR livery in 1959, to work ‘special excursions’, which she did until 1965 – when she was stuffed and mounted for display in the Scottish Museum of Transport, where she still is. However, No.62277 Gordon Highlander was one of the later engines, built to Heywood’s design in 1920, she never actually carried the GNSR green livery in service, until her restoration in 1959.

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/   - with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.
If you enjoy my photos and writing - I'm sure you'd enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running. The links below will take you to it. You can read a sample for free and you don't need a Kindle - there's a free app so you can read it, and view the photos at screen size, on you PC.
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

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Pounding the Bodmin Beattie

30585book

Bodmin, besides having the charming Bodmin & Wenford Railway as an attraction, does offer a rather disturbing, if not positively macabre, alternative – Bodmin Jail. I can do little better by way of introduction than this quote, taken from the Jail’s own website: ‘Welcome to Bodmin Jail’.  ‘We are an all weather, family attraction….’ If this hasn’t made you slightly wary, there’s more – a ‘Night Ghost Walk’ with, ‘an experienced and professional Psychic’ – a steal at a mere £75 for the night, ‘don’t forget warm clothes and a torch,  and a camera’. ( In case you need to escape?)

Spending the night in an 18th Century jail, ‘ghost hunting’, makes standing in a sun lit field, taking photographs of 19th Century technology, a veritable haven of sanity in an increasingly, mad, mad, world. Anyway, back to the railway stuff, Joseph Beattie, who designed what eventually became this engine, was born in Ireland in 1808; and the short version is that his Dad got him a job with another Joe – Joseph Locke, a Barnsley lad, who built a chunk of what became the London South Western Railway’s main line. These connections secured Beattie the post of Carriage & Wagon Superintendent at Nine Elms works, he became  Locomotive Engineer there, in July 1850.  He was succeeded, in the post of Locomotive Engineer, by his son, William George Beattie, in 1871.

I will now play my ‘get out of jail free card’ , undo the Locke and Beattie a hasty retreat – ‘I’ll get my coat’.

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/   - with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.
If you enjoy my photos and writing - I'm sure you'd enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running. The links below will take you to it. You can read a sample for free and you don't need a Kindle - there's a free app so you can read it, and view the photos at screen size, on you PC.
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
Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Hunting in the shires

246gdsberwyn

When I was a nipper, near to our home, was Burley Park, through which ran the, North Eastern Railway, route from Leeds Central to Harrogate and points north – the Hunts, of Class D49, were regular performers. I knew the numbers for The Bedale, The Quorn, and The The Goathland, before I knew my times tables, 62740, 62727 and 62765, respectively.

These weren’t the only D49s on the route, and there were quite a number allocated to both Neville Hill 50B, in Leeds, and Starbeck 50D, Harrogate, though it was mostly the Starbeck based engines which came through Burley Park, as I recall. North bound trains were working very hard at this point too, the gradient is between 1 in 90 and 1 in 100, and the three cylinder bark, of a Hunt hard at work, is quite distinctive.

There are, sadly, no surviving Hunts, but we do have No.246 Morayshire, BR No.62712, thanks to a laundry in Edinburgh. No. 62712 Morayshire, was withdrawn in 1961, and went to  Inverurie Works, where some chums and I saw her, in a sad state, in 1964. This might have been her last were it not for the Slateford Laundry, who purchased No.62712 for use as a boiler – this gave enough time for Scottish Railway enthusiast, Ian Fraser,  to raise the money to rescue her for preservation.

I know the setting for the photograph might look like a Highland Glen, it’s actually the approach to Berwyn Station, on the Llangollen Railway, in North Wales, not an area one would expect to find an LNER Class D49 4-4-0 with a goods train. No. 246, now painted in BR livery and numbered 62712 is in her final few months before her boiler ticket expires and is to be found at work on the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway.

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/   - with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.
If you enjoy my photos and writing - I'm sure you'd enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running. The links below will take you to it. You can read a sample for free and you don't need a Kindle - there's a free app so you can read it, and view the photos at screen size, on you PC.
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
Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Make some noise

44767dhbdge

Barking like an old black Labrador and erupting like a volcano – the epitome of a steam locomotive hard at work on a curving and demanding gradient. Many years ago Buckminster Fuller wrote a book called ‘Synchronicity’ – there’s a lot of it here. The original line, the Whitby & Pickering Railway, was opened, in 1836, in the hope that it would halt the decline in the port of Whitby. The task of surveying the new railway was given to no less a railway luminary than George Stephenson.

Amongst Stephenson’s many achievements was the designing of a form of valve gear which carried his name – Stephenson’s Link Motion. The use of Stephenson’s motion was widespread, particularly during the 19th Century, and on the Great Western Railway. However, in the 20th Century  Walschaerts Motion became much more widespread, though there was a significant amount of tinkering about with various forms of poppet valves, the names Lentz and Caprotti, spring to mind.

Experimentation with ‘newer’ forms of valve gear seems quite a prudent thing to do, making better and more efficient use of the steam being generated, from the fireman’s sweat, had to be a good thing. Not all experiments are quite so clear cut though and, in one particular instance, came about through no more than a chance remark. Stanier’s successor on the LMS, HG Ivatt, heard that his counterpart at Swindon considered their Halls, fitted with inside Stephenson’s Link Motion, were better than Stanier’s Black 5s, which were fitted with Walschaerts Motion. And so it was that No.44767, built in 1947, was fitted with ‘outside’ Stephenson’s Link Motion.

The following year they held the Locomotive Exchange Trials and everyone got to play with each others engines – what fun. Was No. 44767 an improvement on the other 841 Black 5s – the jury is out on that one. The synchronous bit is that an engine built, almost on a whim, a 1 of 1 from a class of 842, which survived the cull of steam traction in the 60s, found a preservation home and was restored, initially, at a workshop in Morpeth, not a million miles from Stephenson’s birth place, regularly works on a line Stephenson surveyed, utilising a motion he largely designed, now carries his name.

No.44767 George Stephenson has just passed under the road bridge at Darnholme on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Coming round the bend

825darnbdge

Almost 20 years ago now, I wrote a book about how changes in technology, working practices, and the early years after privatisation, had altered the lives of the footplatemen between 1962, when my own footplate life started, and 1996, long after it finished. I spent many hours interviewing BR / GNER driver, the late,  Walter Hobson. Walter and I had been footplate chums back in the 60s, so it was no effort to do this. I also spent many hours in the reading room at the NRM, ploughing through books by Bagwell, Bonavia, Aldcroft et.al. – Oh! and thanks to GNER’s publicity department, I got to have a day with Walter, in the cab of one of GNER’s Class 91 leccies, from Newcastle to Glasgow and back, which was fun.

What has this got to do with a picture of Ex-SR 4-6-0 Class S15 No.825 – well. When Walter and I were both working on the footplate in London, him at Old Oak Common, me at Nine Elms, Walter would come with me on the footplate of the 02.45 Waterloo – Weymouth paper train, if he got the chance. Walter was a steam fan and not getting much of it at Old Oak, where steam disappeared long before it did at Nine Elms. Later, Walter ended up at Neville Hill, in Leeds, before moving to Gateshead, and this enabled him to put in a few shifts, in the early days, on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. A bus man’s holiday playing with the steam engines he loved.

So whenever I stand here, on the bank side at Darnholme, and see an old Southern Railway engine coming round the bend, it always reminds me of Walter, and of just how much has changed in the lives of railwaymen since those days when the railway was ‘steam driven’ – not ‘customer led’.

The printed edition of “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children” – is now on sale.

Below, is the link to it.

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

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Lord Protector

70013cromwell

Oliver Cromwell, aka Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. When Charles II returned to the throne Cromwell’s corpse was disinterred, hung in chains and beheaded. Anyway, that’s enough about the Civil War and lopping the head off King and commoner alike – especially when this is the Cromwell dining train set. Wouldn’t want to be putting folk off their steak done rare, washed down with a nice bottle of Vin Rouge, would we.

There are, perhaps, more parallels than you might think between the Civil War and the ‘Britannias’, beyond the fact that No.70013 Oliver Cromwell is a direct reference. The introduction of the Britannias wasn’t universally popular, some crews, especially on the former GWR bits of British Railways Western Region, disliked them, with the possible exception of Cardiff Canton, who regularly put them to work on the famous ‘Red Dragon‘ service which, from 1950, ran between Carmarthen and Paddington , departing at 07.30.

There were issues above footplate level too where one side was for and the other against. Some questioned the need for yet another new ‘Standard type’ when the better option would have been to build more of some of the existing types. Leaving aside the worries over oil supplies, which did exist in post-War Britain, new build coal fired locos cannot really be seen as forward thinking or planning. New designs, offering no new advantages, or real improvements, makes even less sense than building a few new engines to existing designs. All a bit of a Riddle(s) really – bit like the Civil War to most folk. I mean if the land is ‘a commonwealth for every man to share’ how come, today, there’s so many ‘Private Land  – Keep Out’ signs?

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.

http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/

You might also enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running.

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
Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

No.813 & the Arley Goods

813trip

The words ‘plucky survivor ‘ could have been invented for this engine. Despite the obvious Great Western hallmarks of copper and brass, No.813 was built, originally, by Hudswell Clarke, of Leeds, for the Port Talbot Railway & Docks Company, in 1901. No. 813 was ‘Swindonised’ after being absorbed into GWR stock when the PTR&D Co., was first, (from 1908), in cahoots with, and following the Railway Act of 1921, amalgamated into the GWR.

In a clear out of ‘non-standard’ GWR stock, No.813 was deemed surplus to requirements and was sold, in 1933, to Robert Stephenson  & Co. of Newcastle. Stephenson’s gave her a bit of a make over and sold No. 813 to Backworth Colliery Ltd. where No. 813 became BCR No. 12. In 1947 BCR No.12, formerly GWR No. 813, was renumbered NCB 11 and entered service with the newly created National Coal Board, still on the former Backworth Colliery Railway system, where she had been since 1934.  A new boiler and and then a  new firebox kept NCB No. 11 soldiering on, at Backworth,  until 1966, when the NCB decided it was time for No.11 to seek pastures new.

Once again No.813 / NCB 11 was ‘for sale’, but with the future for steam traction, withing the mining or contracting industries, looking less than rosy that  great scrap yard in the sky beckoned, until, that is, a dedicated bunch of railway enthusiasts the, ‘GWR 813 Preservation Fund’ stepped in and took No.813 to the newly opened Severn Valley Railway. The rest, as they say, is history, which you can find out more of from the link to GWR 813, above.

In this photograph No.813, with head lamps still lit, plods into the platform at Arley Station, with an early morning, demonstration, freight working from Bewdley.

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

The view from the bridge

dubdeepass

How often, as kids in the 50s, did we stand on some railway over bridge and watch the engines go by, getting just this view as they passed. I would hazard a guess that we stood on the bridge enjoying such a view far more times than we saw a clean WD, ‘Dubdee’. Clean and Dubdee words you just didn’t see next to each other.

Though we didn’t recognise it at the time, a way of life was passing into history beneath our feet. Coal and iron ore mining, ship and locomotive building, steel making and forging were, one by one, pit by pit, railway workshop by steel mill, slipping into oblivion, or the production moved to somewhere the peasants would work for a dollar a day. Railway jobs were going too, steam risers and washout men, became bygone trades, automatic crossing barriers, colour light signalling and power boxes were making ‘Bobbies’ redundant.

The WDs were also known as ‘Austerities’ – in the 1950s an all too grim reminder of war time rationing, and post war shortages, not least of which was oil. I suppose, building new, coal burning, steam locomotives made sense when the oil supply was poor or even perilous, as it was in the early 1950s.

My final year and a bit on the footplate was spent working on the WDs, and I’d had a few trips with them whilst a passed cleaner at Farnley Junction, at the start of my footplate life. I have to say I rather enjoyed working on them. On the footplate you practically felt every power stroke as they clanked, wheezed, and lurched along, but they’d drag the town hall behind them.

No.90775 is pictured from Darnholme bridge, as she climbs the last half mile or so into Goathland, on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

For anyone interested, I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, on many levels, this is a link to it:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

These are some totally unsolicited comments from people who have already read  Gricing: ‘treated myself to a copy of “Gricing” for Christmas, excellent reading.’

‘I’m enjoying your book. It’s a real page-turner, thought provoking and great photos, to boot’

‘I bought and enjoyed “Gricing” etc and would heartily recommend it to readers’. 

‘I was given what I believe to be your book called “Gricing” the other night.  Very much enjoyed the book if it is yours!’

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Not the beast of Bodmin

30585boscarne

When we visited the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, where this photograph was taken, we stayed in a cottage, on the edge of Bodmin Moor, and very nice it was too. However, on our first evening we discovered the farm buildings, a few hundred yards down the lane, housed the kennels of the local hunt, a proximity which gave the whole place an air of the Hound of the Baskervilles – ‘grab your Bradshaws Watson, the game’s afoot’, I could have cried, but didn’t. There was enough barking madness without my intervention. I know Sherlock Holmes’ Hound of the Baskervilles was largely set on Dartmoor, and we were on Bodmin Moor, but it was still baying hounds, moon light and moor!!

The former London & South Western Railway 2-4-0WT 0298 class, more commonly known as ‘Beattie’s well tanks’ would have been familiar to Holmes’ Victorian Londoners, in the 1870s and 1880s, scurrying about the capital with the suburban services of the day. When bigger and faster engines displaced them from these duties some went to work the Sidmouth and Exmouth branches and three went to the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, in 1895, to haul china clay. These three engines continued to do this from 1895 until 1962, when they were withdrawn from service. This was not to be the end, however, and two of them survived into preservation, No.30585, pictured, is owned by the Quainton Railway Society and No.30587 is owned by the National Railway Museum as part of the national collection.

Most of the original engines were built by Beyer Peacock, they had no cabs, a large and ornate firebox dome and safety valve, stove pipe chimneys and rectangular splashers. They looked, by comparison with the engine in the picture, nothing like them. The modifications by Adams, Urie and Maunsell made them the handsome little engines we see today, as Holmes might have said, ‘the differences, Watson, are elementary’!!

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.

http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/

You might also enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running.

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
Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Heritage Railways – ‘The Next Generation’

5553headongdsadd

One of the more pleasing aspects of heritage railway galas is the willingness of the organisers to run non-revenue earning services, such as freight, minerals, or parcels/TPOs. In this photograph, No.5553 is at the head of a short ‘express freight’, approaching Crowcombe Heathfield on the West Somerset Railway.

No.5553 was one of, if not the last, locomotive(s) to leave the famous Woodham’s scrap yard in Barry, South Wales. Like many other railway enthusiasts I made a pilgrimage to Woodhams, 1965, in my case, and Dai Woodham has, quite rightly, been held in some degree of affection by many a railway fan. Without the Woodham’s legacy our current enjoyment of heritage railways would have been a very different affair.

Thirteen years after steam finished on BR, in 1981 / 2, sixty six engines were still in Woodhams yard – many of that number are, currently, or have, until recently, been running around. Here is a short list of some of the more notable ones No. 6023 King Edward II, 4953 Pitchford Hall, 34046 Braunton, 34070 Manston, 35006 Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation, 45337, 47406, 48305, 73096, 76084. Yes I know some of these engines are either out of ticket or not yet actually running, but we still have them and they have run, or will run, now or at some not too distant date.

Over the 50 years I have been visiting heritage lines, I have met railway enthusiasts from all over the world, Australia, Canada, the USA, and many from European countries, especially France, Holland, and Germany. A common theme in our conversations is how lucky we are, here in Britain, to have such a wide selection of engines, and the lines to run them on. I think it is equally important that our hobby is drawing in younger enthusiasts and volunteers, for without them and their enthusiasm, no matter how many engines we have or how many miles of track we have to run them on, us old timers are slowly running out of puff to do the hard work, track laying, lifting a piece of motion, and the dozens of other jobs requiring a fair degree of physical stamina to achieve. Well done you young guys & gals – as an old timer I salute you for your efforts and enthusiasm, to keep my hobby alive in the 21st Century.

The printed edition of “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children” – is now on sale.

Below, is the link to it.

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

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather