For several months, in 1962, Jubilees Nos. 45581 Bihar & Orissa, 45695 Minotaur, 45708 Resolution, and 45646 Napier were regularly cleaned by yours truly. These four engines were the cream of the crop at Farnley Jct. They were used on turns such as the York – Swansea Mails, the Red Bank vans, and they took their share of the Newcastle – Liverpool services; taking over, at Leeds City Station, from the A3s or V2s which brought the trains in from Newcastle.
The Jubilees are 3cylinder engines and it isn’t just their paint work that the cleaners had to clean; the the wheels and motion, including the inside motion, also had to be cleaned. Crawling about, between the frames, under the engine, with a scraper in one hand and a paraffin soaked oily rag in the other was every bit as unpleasant as it sounds. There’s not a lot of space to work in and there’s the little doubt at the back of your mind – what if someone moves the engine? What if they didn’t see the “not to be moved cleaners” board?
Oiling round was the responsibility of the driver but, as a cleaner, I often earned a shilling oiling up the middle motion on the Jubilees, and on the Jinties too, for some of the older / more rotund drivers. All good training of course and, apart from the MIC classes, it was the only training we had. (The only training the railway ever gave me was, how to operate the train heating boilers on the diesels.)We learned about the engines and how they worked by crawling about on them, from smokebox door to tender back, under them, on top of them and all points in between.
The photo shows, No.5690 Leander, getting away from Loughborough with the TPO during on of the GCR’s gala events.
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: