Tag Archives: Heartbeat

The Potting Shed Express

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This rather odd looking locomotive is a vertical boilered, chain driven, former engineers yard shunting engine and it is about to tackle one of the most arduous climbs on any of Britain’s preserved lines. The line from Grosmont, where No.54 is pictured here, to Goathland has sections at 1/49 and bigger and more powerful engines than No.54, sometimes, struggle to keep moving.

Carrying the headboard ‘Middleton Railway’ and ‘express lamps’ this, surely, qualifies as one of the more eccentric ‘Express’ services ever to be run – No.54 has an all out top speed of just 21mph and in practice even that modest speed was seldom, if ever, achieved. In all probability, on a fair day and with the wind behind her, No.54 would hurtle along at a majestic 15mph. On the steepest sections of the climb to Goathland she would probably have been moving at walking pace, or less.

Formerly BR No.68153, Departmental No. 54 spent her entire working life in the engineers yard in Darlington. Built, in 1933, to a Sentinel Wagon Works design, she has a boiler pressure of 275lbsq” 2cylinders of 6 3/4″ X 9″ and 2’6″ driving wheels. No.54 was ‘sold as seen’ to the fledgling Middleton Railway in 1961, straight out of the yard at Darlington.

Before I moved to Scotland I lived in Leeds, a stone’s throw from the Middleton Railway, where, for several years, I was member. This proximity to the railway, and my contacts within it, allowed me to enjoy a couple of trips up and down the line at Middleton, on  No.54s footplate, which is cramped, hot, and very noisy. The Middleton Railway’s line is a great deal shorter than the journey from Grosmont to Goathland and I can scarcely imagine what it must have been like on her footplate as she tackled the 1/49 sections.

The photograph, a scan of one of my old slides, is taken from the top of the tunnel at Grosmont – a shot which is no longer possible due to new health and safety restrictions on and around the  tunnel.

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Hertford Heartbeat

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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://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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Spaceship Enterprise

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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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Grosmont Action

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On a fine spring day in the heart of ‘Heartbeat’ country, BR Standard Class 4MTT No. 80135 sits, simmering, in the bay platform, as BR Standard Class 9F 92214 steams through Grosmont with the lunchtime goods for Goathland. The driver of 92214 is just about to take the token from the Grosmont Crossing bobby and on the platforms, and in the viewing area, dozens of photographers are about to push the shutter release – just as I was.

It could, almost, be the last days of BR steam, circa 1964/5,  well apart from the bobby wearing a hi-vis vest and the all too shiny appearance of the locomotives. Once the goods had cleared station limits No.80135 would leave the bay, cross over to the down platform and be ready to haul the next passenger service to Pickering once, No.92214 and her train were safely tucked up in Goathland sidings.

The Class 4MTT, ‘standard 4 tanks’ were in fairly regular use over this very route during the last years of its existence, as a part of the national network, though I doubt that the 9Fs were, certainly not with any regularity. A few miles north of Grosmont, on the Tyne, the 9Fs did put in some very heavy work on the Tyne Dock – Consett iron ore trains, and a number were specially fitted with air pumps, to work the automatic doors on the hoppers. Consett steel works is now the home of Phileaus Fogg’s snack making business – but a few of the 9Fs, aka ‘spaceships’, still survive.

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

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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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