Tag Archives: 35005 Canadian Pacific

Express connections

If railways are about connections there are a lot of them, for me, in this picture. My first long distance journey, on my own, was on the South Yorkshireman. I was taken, by my folks, to Bradford Exchange, where they put me on the train and asked the guard to keep an eye on me; my Aunt met me off the train at Rugby Central station – I was 10. And for the following two weeks I would spend most of my time sat by the girder bridge, where the Great Central crossed the WCML, just south of Rugby Midland station, sadly not with a camera.

Six years later I was at work on the railway in London whilst one of my former classmates was working as a steward on the Pullmans; working between Leeds and Kings Cross. This particular connection gave me the opportunity to sample the joy of Pullman travel from Kings Cross up to Leeds and a very enjoyable dinner for the princely sum of zero. When one of the engines I worked on, during my 3 year spell in London, was returned to steam, it was at the Great Central. No.35005 Canadian Pacific was returned to active duty by the engineering team at Loughborough; and at the ‘ceremony’ to mark her return I was an invited guest and enjoyed a ‘Pullman’ lunch with the CEO of CP Europe as No.35005 hauled us up and down the line.

My first outing, as fireman, on the former London South Western main line out of Waterloo, was with the 19:54 service to Basingstoke, calling at Woking and all stations thereafter. The engine was one of the ‘Standard Arthurs’, identical to the one in the photo except it had a name. And, in a final twist, when I took this photo I was standing chatting to a couple of chaps from Epsom who had stood, train spotting, on the platform at Surbiton during the very time I had been working trains through there on a daily basis with Bulleid Pacifics and BR Class 5 Standards.

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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Sun, steam, and shadows

Maybe I should have called this, point, press, and hope, because that’s what I did. No.92214 is rolling off shed at Loughborough, a last minute replacement for the failed Standard class 5, No.73084 Tintagel, which had steam brake problems, during the Great Central Railway’s ‘End of Southern Steam’ Gala.

Since her restoration, No.92214, has been painted Black, Black and named Cock O’ the North, Green, and Green and named Leicester City, her current guise. She has also doubled, on ocassions, as No.92220 Evening Star. Built in 1959, No.92214, remained in service just six years, being withdrawn in August 1965. Surely a criminal waste of energy, money, and resources; especially as she was but one, of many, of the class 9Fs which met a similar fate.

What always strikes me is that far more angst and ire is generated by No.92214’s paint colour, name, or number, than the systematic, industrial scale, vandalism perpetrated upon the railways in the name of so called modernisation. Yes, of course modernisation is, at some point, inevitable. However, that which was conducted on British Railways was rushed, botched, and more costly, in every way, than it need have been.

Some years back, when 35005 Canadian Pacific was returned to steam at the GCR, I had lunch, on the ‘commemorative special’, with the CEO of Canadian Pacific’s European operations. During our chat he told me of CP’s expenditure on a survey to reopen the part of the GCR route, to reduce bottlenecks in CPs freight movements between Felixstowe and Liverpool. These bottlenecks in East – West movement are still there but we’re building HS2 – nothing improves.

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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Every picture

Every picture, they say, tells a story. In this one it looks as though, No.34053 Sir Keith Park, is making a dashing exit. It is, however, quite the opposite, the regulator was closed and the exhaust effects are all down to the blower,  speed was little more than a brisk walking pace, unusually sedate for a gala.

50 years ago, when steam on the Southern was ending, the final weeks were anything but sedate and there were some seriously mad thrashes, especially with light loads, and several engines managed 3 figure speeds, around Fleet, on the ‘up’ road. 100mph is fast, in a comfortable car, on the footplate of a run down steam locomotive, just weeks away from being cut up, it is best described as exhilarating. It’s exhilarating even when they are in good fettle – I’ve got the t-shirt, as many regular readers know. For those who don’t, I was the fireman on 35005 Canadian Pacific on 15th May 1965 when she reached 105mph, on the run down to Winchester, with the 21:20 Ex Waterloo – load was around 360 tons.

This run also set the fastest known time, with steam, between Waterloo and Basingstoke 41 mins 30 sec net.  actual 43mins 46sec. However, I do have details, kindly provided by Steam Age Daydreams follower, Joe Jolliffee, of another run, on which I was the fireman.  In December 1964, on the 17:30 Ex-Waterloo, with No.35024 East Asiatic Company, we passed Woking in 23:55, 40 seconds up on the time with 35005 Canadian Pacific, on May 15th. Sadly, the rest of the run to Basingstoke was marred by a succession of signal checks, so we’ll never know what might have been the actual time.  It was, however, generally considered that with a load of around 360 to 400 tons it would, without checks or TSRs, have been possible to do it in 40 mins.

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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Live trainspotting

46115rtyc‘And now for something completely different’ – ‘Trainspotting live’ – on the telly – BBC4 no less. Probably not the Irvine Welsh version though and I doubt that Monty Python are involved either. Like so many railway programmes ‘on the telly’ there will be those who love it and those who don’t. Speaking for myself, I’m usually wary of railway programmes on the TV, too often they are ever so slightly condescending and lacking any real substance.

However, if we interpret ‘live’ as live, then I can say that I have – live(d) ‘trainspotting, for six decades. I took numbers in the 1950s, worked on the footplate in the 1960s, penned half-a-dozen books and countless articles, produced a Preserved Steam Railway Timetable for 4 years in the 1980/90s, have taken 1000s of photographs and travelled from Penzance to Wick, Swansea to Sheringham – ‘doing it’ If ‘Trainspotting Live’ manages to capture any of the real flavour of those times  I’d be very surprised but, also very pleased.

By accident of birth I played witness to the ending of steam traction and the rise of ‘Preservation’. I visited Woodhams scrapyard, like a pilgrim, paying my last respects to engines I’d fired, only months before, out on the mainline. I was there ‘lighting the fire’ in Bulleid Pacific No.35005 Canadian Pacific when she was first brought back to service, by Andrew Naish and the team at the GCR. It truly has been the hobby of a ‘livetime. ‘ And one I’m hoping to continue for some time yet, especially as No. 35005 Canadian Pacific will, hopefully, be back in action next year.

The photograph shows No.46115 Scots Guardsman, passing West Ferry, alongside the River Tay, with one of the GB rail tours.

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

These are some totally unsolicited comments from people who have already read  Gricing: Amazon Customer on 6 Jan. 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase:  “Brilliant and interesting book”

By Amazon Customer on 17 Mar. 2016

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

“Not a murder mystery, but one that I found hard to put down. One of the best additions to my collection of books about railways.”

‘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!

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A railway ramble

6990slackhallmonoRecently, on Facebook, I have been enjoying a whole batch of black and white photographs, which were taken at a variety of locations in and around the West Riding of Yorkshire, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. These photographs were of depots I’d worked at, railway I’d worked over and engines I’d worked on. They were also of places I’d bunked round, visited, or taken trains too and from, as a ‘trainspotter’.  Naturally, a few memories were stirred.

‘And what has all this to do with a photograph of No.6990 Witherslack Hall departing from Loughborough’, I hear you ask.  The simple answer is that the photos from the West Riding bookend my employment with BR and the GCR route from Bradford Exchange, via Loughborough, to Rugby Central joins joins them to my childhood and the ‘middle’ bit of my railway life, as does the locomotive. The connection with the locomotive is the 1948 exchange trials, which No.6990 Witherslack Hall took part in, and a Nine Elms footplateman who was a fireman during the trials. We first met in Clapham carriage sidings, he was a Nine Elms No.2 link driver by that time, later I did a few firing turns with him out on the main line, though he wasn’t my regular mate, but I am still in touch with the bloke who was and with my old driver too.

What really struck me though was the way in which some bits of the railway, like the GCR, motive power like No. 35005 Canadian Pacific, which, coincidentally, was restored to working order at the GCR, employees, like my old regular mate from 70A and enthusiasts who timed and logged the services I worked on, seem to run, like some meandering country branch line, through most of my life.

For me railways, for the last 60 plus years, have been one long ‘Steam Age Daydream’ –  a great job and a hobby I can thoroughly recommend..

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

These are some totally unsolicited comments from people who have already read  Gricing: Amazon Customer on 6 Jan. 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase:  “Brilliant and interesting book”

By Amazon Customer on 17 Mar. 2016

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

“Not a murder mystery, but one that I found hard to put down. One of the best additions to my collection of books about railways.”

‘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!

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The mail drop

31806snatch

There’s rather a nice selection ‘railway’ fixtures and fittings in this photo; the exit dolly from Quorn ‘up’ sidings, the hand points lever, Quorn & Woodhouse signal cabin, and its gantry ‘starter’ signal, an S&T relay box,  a line of telegraph poles, a 1/4 mile post,  and, stored in the ‘down’ sidings, an engineers train.

However, the important item of railway furniture in this photograph is the Mail catcher at  which, if you look closely, the mail bags are just been snatched,  as the TPO, headed by U Class 2-6-0 No.31806, dashes by, at some speed. The Quorn mail drop is one of the unique features of the Galas on the GCR  – tho’ this is the first time I’ve managed to capture the exact moment the bags were being snatched.

I never worked a TPO, though I did work ‘mail trains’, like, for instance, the 21.20 Waterloo / Weymouth mails. Now I know mail trains have a reputation for being ‘slow’, but on the night of 15/05/65 I working the 21.20, we reached 105mph down the bank to Winchester and ran to Southampton in a nett time of 65 mins – 5 minutes faster than today’s schedules – and that’s progress!!

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, why not try my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”. This is the link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

Here are some  totally unsolicited comments from people who have 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’. – and from another ‘satisfied’ reader’ – ‘ I was given what I believe to be your book called Gricing the other night.  Very much enjoyed the book if it is yours!’

 

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15 / 05 / 1965 & 105mph the obituary

35005scanI know a great many of you have read and enjoyed this article and I’m posting it again because the driver, Gordon ‘madman’ Hooper sadly passed away at the weekend.  He wasn’t my regular mate but, on the occasions we did work together it was always a ‘good day at the office’. Gordon was a great engineman, a real railwayman through and through and a lovely fella to work with – he’ll be very much missed amongst the old Nine Elms men. What follows is a small tribute to his skill and enginemanship.

Not many people can say, with to the second accuracy, exactly where they were and what they were doing, 50 years ago; good fortune allows me to do so. Fifty years ago today, on this very engine, I was the fireman on an epic run with the 21.20 Ex-Waterloo – Poole. When I went to work that Saturday night I had no idea of what was about to unfold. I wasn’t with my regular driver, Eric Saunders, I was with driver Gordon Hooper, and I knew something was going on, because on the footplate with us was Technical Inspector Brian Smith.

No.35005 Canadian Pacific had recently been, ‘half soled and heeled’, railway slang for having an intermediate overhaul, so she was in fine fettle. The load wasn’t an especially heavy one 10 for 360 tons and we were first stop Basingstoke. There was some comment about keeping 005 ‘on the mark’, but nothing more than that. Even when we stopped at Basingstoke I had no idea what we’d just done, or that more was to come.

35005blkwhtbdge

On the night, No.35005 Canadian Pacific ran from Waterloo to Basingstoke in 43 minutes 48 seconds, given as 41 minutes 15secs net, that’s 47.8 miles, start to stop, mostly against the grade and with the permanent speed restriction through Clapham Junction – not bad going, but, more was to come. After leaving Basingstoke driver Hooper continued in the same cavalier style and No.35005 reached 105mph on the descent to Winchester – not the highest speed attained by a Merchant Navy, but well in the top ten. Don Benn’s 1987 Railway World article puts it thus, ‘…the ease with which No.35005 reached 105mph below Wallers Ash Tunnel with a 360-ton train one May night in 1965.’ (Benn, 1987, p412) However, it was not the 105mph which was to become the yardstick, but the 41 minute 15 second net time for the start to stop journey between Waterloo and Basingstoke.The time was a record, a record which, according to the Railway Performance Society website, still stands.

me-and-005This photograph, taken by John East, is yours truly with No.35005 Canadian Pacific, at the Great Central Railway, during a special event to celebrate her return to steam, after she was bought, by Andrew Naish, and subsequently rebuilt, at Loughborough,

The colour photograph, which opens the article, shows No.35005 Canadian Pacific, in Blue livery, approaching Woodthorpe Lane bridge, on the Great Central Railway, before it was made into a twin track main line. The black and white photograph is also taken approaching Woodthorpe Lane bridge.

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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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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