Tag Archives: 46115 Scots Guardsman

Scot Free?

Sadly, during the Christmas period, graffiti vandals have struck again on a heritage railway, this time the Severn Valley Railway. These acts of vandalism are not new and nor are they confined to dim and disaffected teenagers. The destruction of huge chunks of the railway network was industrial scale vandalism, and, in some senses, every bit as mindless as the actions of the graffiti sprayers. It was more good luck than good management which kept the line in the photograph open for business. For those who don’t know, this is the Settle – Carlisle route, close to Aisgill summit. If you were a lover of the original ‘Royal Scot’ class you might consider Stanier a vandal for his rebuilding. However, rebuilds are a can of worms I’m not going to open here.

In the case of the national network it wasn’t thousands of volunteer hours of labour that was being trashed, it was the deaths of thousands of navvies, their wives and children too, who died in building routes like the Woodhead route across the Pennines or the Waverley route through the borders. To some extent our current hobby is the result of this vandalism, all in the name of progress, naturally.

I don’t condone the vandalism, be it state sponsored or the mindless moron variety; we do, however, seem to display a certain degree of ambivalence to the former and a quite alarming degree of ferocity towards the latter. Some of the comments I’ve seen on social media advocate chopping hands off, a practice the same commentators would, in all probability, condemn as barbaric if it was being perpetrated by Saudi Arabia.

The unfortunate thing is that the vandals, who have been around for thousands of years, will still be vandals and their mindless activities, whether on the small scale or the large,  will continue to rile people. And if the history of dealing with vandals shows us anything, it is that all the solutions, tried in order to prevent it, have failed, even the barbaric ones.

The recent vandalising  of the teak coaches at the NYMR brought a great community response and the coaches were back in service, almost, before you could say Jack Robinson. Hopefully, this current act will draw a similar response. The vandalism may well be distressing to many but, the railway community response to it is a much more positive and longer lasting effect than a few cans of aerosol paint.

So, on that positive note may I wish  Steam Age Daydreams fans and followers all the steaming best for 2018.

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

Until New Year the eBook edition of Gricing is on offer at just £3:95, that’s a whole book for less than a monthly mag.

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Wild Boar Fell

With Wild Boar Fell for a back drop, No.46115 Scots Guardsman, sweeps under the Kirkby Stephen – Garsdale road,  close to the summit of Aisgill, with Saturday’s Cumbrian Mountain Express. For many years this route was ‘home turf’ for the Scots, and only in the later years of steam did the Britannias and A3s begin to turn up in any numbers.  The two trains over the route, most commonly associated with the Scots, were the Thames Clyde Express and the Waverley, but they were not the only express duties the Holbeck Scots covered on the Leeds – Glasgow or Leeds – London St. Pancras services.

In 1948, when BR began, 7 Scots were allocated to 20A / 55A Leeds Holbeck, Nos. 46103,08/09,12/13,17, and 33; with the addition of No.46145 they were all still there until 1960, when they began to disappear.  Nos. 46103, 08, and 33 were the first to go, just as the first two Britannias arrived, Nos 70053/4 and they were joined by the A3s Nos. 60080,82,88,91/92, quite what generations of LMS men made of the ‘hand me down’ A3s is hard to say.

For a couple of months, at the beginning of 1966, I was a fireman at Holbeck, though, sadly, not on any of the above. The nearest I got was a run to Morecambe with a Black 5 and Cleethorpes with a B1 before moving to 56A Wakefield (Belle Vue), a misnomer if ever there was one.

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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Black 5 – Blackford

44871BlackfordThis year’s GB IX tour has not been without its trials and tribulations, the engine in the photograph, No.44871, set off to work her turn and promptly broke a radius rod. It was little short of miraculous that the organisers, support crew, and others, managed to repair the damaged rod and get her back in action, to take any part in the tour, let alone work from Bristol to Grange – over – Sands and then tackle the very demanding route from Edinburgh to Inverness via Perth and the Highland mainline, with its daunting climbs of Druimuachdar  and Slochd.

No.45407 was, originally, booked to double head with No.44871,  however, No.44871 was not alone in her efforts, the exhaust, somewhat fortuitously, is obscuring the diesel assistance in the rear.  In this photograph No.44871 has just passed Blackford, and rather less fortuitously, the signal box is also obscured by the exhaust – you win some, you lose some. Speaking of winning some and losing some, the locos which were booked, at one stage or other, to work the GB IX tour and didn’t make it include, Nos. 34046 Braunton, 34067 Tangmere, 45407, 46115 Scots Guardsman, 46233 Duchess of Sutherland, 70000 Britannia, and 70013 Oliver Cromwell, which is quite a list.

No.44871 as well as hauling the Bristol to Grange – over – Sands leg is also working the Inverness – Thurso and Inverness – Kyle of Loch Alsh trips before working back over the Highland main line and on to  Mossend, where she will be replaced by No.45699 Galatea for the journey to Oxenhome.  Presumably No.44871 will then head off to Fort William, where she is rostered to work her share of the Jacobite services from Fort William to Mallaig and back. Phew!

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!

Please like & share:
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