Tag Archives: 55C Farnley Junction

Railway timetable – my part in their downfall. Pt2

From home to the shed was a fifteen minute bike ride, less than five minutes in and a small boy rode his tricycle off the pavement, right in front of me, and I came a cropper.  Not the ideal start to the first firing turn.  It was a Saturday evening, in March, and the turn was station pilot, you booked on and got your engine ready, ours was one of the Ivatt 2-6-2Ts, just like that in the photo.

After signing on, the next job was  scanning the board to see which engine we were booked and what road she was on. I was, as you can imagine, well early and my driver hadn’t arrived so I set off for the engine, all clean blues and shiny grease top. Once on board, check the fire and the gauge glass whilst trying to remember all the little jobs to do, check the smoke box door is sealed tight, check and fill the sand boxes but, before I did that it was time to get the dart out and spread the fire, which the steam riser had kept going under the door, and put a few choice shovels full on.

After getting the fire cracking it was off to the stores for the bucket, spanners, detonators, and engine lamps, the gauge lamp was already on the engine. When I returned  my mate had arrived – he had me go  to the stores for a bottle of engine oil and one of steam oil. Back on the footplate I trimmed and lit the lamps, put more coal on the fire before  putting the brush and slacker pipe to use damping the coal and cleaning the cab.

You were given an hour to get your engine ready and it seemed to be gone in no time. However, before going off shed there were a couple of last little jobs, put the lamps on for ‘light engine’,  take coal and water, and most important of all go to the mess room and make a brew.

To be continued.

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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Vintage LMS

We had a handful of these engines on the allocation at 55C Farnley Jct., at the start of the 1960s, when I was a cleaner / passed cleaner there; it wasn’t often we cleaned them though. There was a pecking order when it came to keeping the depot’s engines clean, first the Jubilees, followed by the Black 5s and the Ivatt 2-6-2Ts on station pilot duties and then, if there was nothing else, the Crabs would get a quick flick round with a paraffin soaked rag and some waste.

Despite its size, Farnley, at the beginning 1962, had just  two cleaners, myself and a lad called John Turner, there was also a small compliment of passed cleaners.The passed cleaners hated being back on the shed with a rag in their hands, and on cleaners pay, unless they’d got their turns in. It was rare for there to be more than four or five of us. The Jubilees worked forward the Newcastle – Liverpool and York  – Swansea services, taking over at Leeds City station from the V2s and A3s which worked the trains in from the North. The Black 5s regularly double-headed the Red Bank vans.

Much of the work performed by the Crabs was freight and parcels work and my first firing turn on one was with a goods, from Copley Hill Goods to Hillhouse Yard, in Huddersfield, in the wee small hours. There’s a nearly, might have been, in this tale too. The loco in the photo is No.13065 / 42765 and,  of the Crabs allocated to Farnley Jct, when I was there, one was No. 42766 and another was No. 42865, neither of them made it, sadly.

No.13065 is pictured, with a train of 1930s vintage LMS stock, climbing Eardington Bank on the Severn Valley Railway during the ‘Season Finale Gala’

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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Get some rock on

When I was a cleaner at Farnley there were a number of turns, and crews who worked them, which, when they came past the shed, would, ‘put on a show’.  Two turns in particular, one a mid-day Newcastle – Liverpool passenger service, the other the returning Manchester – Newcastle newspaper vans, aka ‘the Red Bank vans’, seemed to be particularly prone to this form of footplate fun.

The ‘show’ consisted of the driver  putting the regulator in the roof and easing the reverser out a notch or three, whilst the fireman would put a few well placed rounds on – the results were, usually, a fine display of clag & rockets and a great deal of noise. Many years later, when I was writing for the now defunct Steam Railway News, a fortnightly newspaper, I called my column ‘Clag & Rockets’ in memory of those days, in early 1962, when I enjoyed  watching the fun, as I cleaned one of 55C’s Black 5s or Jubilees, or possibly the little Ivatt 2-6-2MTTs which were allocated to station pilot duties, down at Leeds City Station. It was on this turn, on the Saturday late shift, that I did my very first ‘real’ firing turn as a ‘passed’ cleaner, on one of the Ivatt 2-6-2s. I say ‘real’ firing turn because I had been out, quite a few times, on the footplate, with the regular crew, on the Red Bank vans and watched at close quarters how the ‘show’ was put on.

In the photo, Ex-LNER Class B1 4-6-0, No.61264, is passing Grosmont MPD on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

If you enjoy my photographs why not have a look at my 2017 Calendar, which, for the first time, is being published by calendar company Calvendo and sold on line or by order at your local bookshop using this ISBN number: Steam Age Daydreams (Wall Calendar 2017 DIN A4 Landscape) / 978-1-325-22545-3

Here are the online links to it.:

http://www.bookdepository.com/Steam-Age-Daydreams-2017-Dave-Wilson/9781325225453?ref=grid-view

and on Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steam-Daydreams-2017-Wilson-Dave/dp/1325225452/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479291987&sr=8-1&keywords=steam+age+daydreams+calendar

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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“School’s out”

Alice Cooper was never high on my list of Bands but, I was very sympathetic to the views expressed in School’s out. I spent most of my time at Grammar school wishing I wasn’t, and as often as possible skived off or threw a sickie. A very different story when I walked up Royds Lane to start work at 55C Farnley Jct.  where the nearest thing to school were the MIC classes. However, there was a great deal to be learned from Rule 55 to how to ‘cob ’em up’.

Funny how much you learn when you want to and how little when you don’t. Pythagoras wasn’t on my list of cops, and Archimedes, well he was screwed anyway. One of the few saving graces of my school days was a metal work teacher who built 5″ gauge locos, which he ran in  a local park, until the school discovered they were all made with materials supplied by the school – ooops!

Pictured is Ex-Southern Railway Schools class 4-4-0, No.925 Cheltenham, departing from Quorn & Woodhouse on the Great Central Railway, with a train for Leicester North

.A further selection of my photos can be seen here: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/?page_id=3378

If you enjoy my photographs why not have a look at my 2017 Calendar, which, for the first time, is being published by calendar company Calvendo and sold on line or by order at your local bookshop using this ISBN number: Steam Age Daydreams (Wall Calendar 2017 DIN A4 Landscape) / 978-1-325-22545-3

Here are the online links to it.:

http://www.bookdepository.com/Steam-Age-Daydreams-2017-Dave-Wilson/9781325225453?ref=grid-view

and on Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steam-Daydreams-2017-Wilson-Dave/dp/1325225452/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479291987&sr=8-1&keywords=steam+age+daydreams+calendar

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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Crimson Crab

13065hayebdgeThe ‘one they all went for’ – Hughes’ Crab, No.13065, hauling the SVR’s, 1930s vintage, LMS stock. She is pictured here, at Haye Bridge, getting into her stride for the climb to Eardington summit. One of my very first firing duties, back in the 1960s, was on one of these engines. I was a passed cleaner at Farnley Jct, at the time, and the job was a trip goods working from Copley Hill Yard to Hillhouse Yard, (Huddersfileld). Farnley Jct had 3 or 4 of these engines during my time there and I can, no longer, remember which one it was – No.42766 rings a bell, but it could also have been 42789, 42713 or 42702 all of which had spells at 55C, during my time there.

What I do remember is,  it was a very early morning turn and, in my youthful exuberance, I built a fire which would have taken us over Shap. The result of this zeal was to stand in Hillhouse Yard, at around 5.30a.m, with the safety valves roaring, and the boiler  full to bursting point; I’m guessing I wasn’t popular with the locals!!

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

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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50 Sheds of Grey

60103rawten

Old Jack Frost’s cold fingers hold land and water in their grip, as the Country’s “most famous locomotive”, No.60103 Flying Scotsman, runs round her train, at Rawtenstall, on the very edge of the Pennines. This was weekend two of the Flying Circus, sorry, Flying Scotsman spectacular. The ‘great and good’ with their press pack entourage may have departed homewards,  but of devotees there was no shortage, packed trains, crowded platforms, swathes of camera totting photographers all along the lineside – paid testament to that.

There was very much a flavour of the moment, I thought, with this photograph, a bleak scene, in bleak times. At Summerseats, just a few miles down the line, the Christmas floods swept a 200 year old pub away, part of the road through the village is still closed. Flying Scotsman’s wartime austerity paint job gives an all too grim reminder of the current ‘austerity’. The livery may have helped to make  locomotives less visible as a target during WWII, it certainly made Flying Scotsman look a lot more like an industrial product than the work of art she appears – when pictured, in her LNER glory days, hauling the Flying Scotsman.

The balloon water tank, in matching grey, makes an austere accessory to the scene. It reminded me of my first winter on the railway, that of 62/3, a very severe winter as I recall,  when I seemed to spend weeks, keeping braziers burning, to stop the water columns from freezing up at my first SHED 55C.

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, you might enjoy my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”

These are some of the 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!’

This is the link to my book “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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Shed shunting

5526shedshunt

No.5526 and her crew are doing one of the more mundane jobs, shunting the shed. Often the shed gang would be made up from older drivers who’d had to come off main line duties because of eyesight issues, they were usually assisted by the most junior of firemen / passed cleaners. You’d be surprised at how much work a busy shed could create for the shed gang.

Many depots had designated wash-out  / repair roads and moving engines onto or from these roads could take an hour or two. Other jobs included shunting the ‘stores’ vans, the ash pit wagons and loaded coal wagons for the coal plant or coal stage. Then there were odd jobs like dragging an engine up and down to get some draught on the fire when an engine was needed quickly and there was insufficient steam to make the blower work effectively.

When I was at Nine Elms depot, in the mid-60s, their shed gang were referred to as the ‘turntable gang’ and had their own mess room, appropriately enough, close to the turntable. At Farnley Junction, where I started on the footplate, engines were turned on a triangle and if engines needed turning this was another little task usually done by the shed gang. Being the railway, when these crews weren’t busy turning, shunting etc. they could be found in the mess room playing dominoes or cards!!

The photograph, which was taken at Buckfastleigh, on the South Devon Railway, shows No.5526 pulling No.3205. In the background on the right is 14xx class0-4-2T No.1420 and on the left, partially obscured by the water tank, is No.4920 Dumbleton Hall.

For any of you wanting to know more, or enjoy reading my blogs and the photographs, in them why not buy yourselves a copy of my book. “Gricing” 30,000+  words and more than 100 photographs.

The following are totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing: ‘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!’

This is the link to my book “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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