Tag Archives: 56A Wakefield (Belle Vue)

Jubes

When I think back to Leeds City Station, in the late 1950s, more than anything I associate it with the ‘Jubilees’.  They have woven in and out of my life ever since. The Jubes came and went from Leeds to all corners of the sprawling LMS. On the Scottish services one would arrive from St.Pancras, in the south, and another would back down  to work the train north to Carlisle and Glasgow. The ones which came in from Birmingham and Bristol would be replaced by a V2 or an A3, if the train was one going forwards to York and Newcastle; a Fairburn or Fowler 2-6-4 tank was the usual motive power, if it was a service which terminated at Bradford Forster Square.

The Newcastle – Liverpools or Hull – Liverpools would run in behind A3s, V2s, B1s, and B16s from the North or East, and depart for Manchester and Liverpool behind a Jube, sometimes double-headed. For a period of several months in 1962 the Jubes working these services, or the famous ‘Red Bank vans’, the returning Manchester – Newcastle paper train, would, if they were Farnley Jct. engines, have been cleaned by yours truly.

In 1962 55C Farnley Jct. had 4 Jubilees on the allocation, 55A Holbeck, however, had no less than 18 and some of that stud remained active to the very end. No.45675  Hardy, No.45694 Bellerophon and  the very last to go, No.45562 Alberta, were all Holbeck engines at the end of the 1950s. No.45562 had been allocated to Holbeck in 1948 and for all but a brief interregnum at – yes, 55C Farnley Jct.  in 1964 / 65, it was where she remained until withdrawn in November 1967: she was cut up at Cashmores in May 1968. No. 45694 Bellerophon, along with another of the Holbeck entourage, No.45739 Ulster were, for a short spell in 1966/7, shedded at 56A Wakefield.  And during this period I worked on No.45694 Bellerophon, taking a ‘Miner’s Welfare’ trip to Blackpool and back, as I mentioned in a previous blog.

The photo shows No.45699 Galatea, a long time Bristol (Barrow Rd.) engine, at the north end of the short Shotlock Tunnel, approaching the summit of Aisgill. She is working the ‘Hadrian’ – Norwich – Carlisle and return.

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

During the School Summer holidays, in the 50s and 60s, the railways  saw lots of ‘special traffic’, everything from day trip excursions to the races or the seaside, to entire trains hired by the big mills or the local ‘miner’s welfare’. All manner of motive power and coaching stock could be drafted in to work these trains. My old pal Walter Hobson, as a passed cleaner at Manningham, worked an excursion train full of mill workers, from Braford to Morecambe and back, with a Derby 4 and during my spell at Wakefield (Belle Vue) I took a train load of miners to Blackpool and back, though not with a Derby4.

It would have been around this time of year, in 1966, my recollections of the day are that we set out from Sharlston, and I have a memory of crates of beer and bottles of spirits being loaded onto the train, from a porter’s barrow. This trip was to be my one and only ‘short rest’ duty. The journey to Blackpool was pretty uneventful and we took the engine to the shed and booked off. I think we had about 5 hours before it was time to book on again and go to collect our train for the trip back to Wakefield. I can’t be certain, at this distance in time, about our engine but, No.45694 Bellerophon, does ring a bell.

It would be dark before we got back so I’d filled and lit the lamps before we went off-shed and, by the time we’d hooked up and I’d put the lamps on the front it, was time to go. Again, on the footplate, ‘it was just another day at the office’, until, that is, we were held by signals approaching Preston. I got down from the engine to carry out rule 55 and some of the miners on the train began to climb / drop from the carriages. It took the best part of twenty minutes, to half an hour, to get them back onto the train and make sure no one had been left wandering about on the track. God only knows how much disruption this caused as the bobby had to close the opposite running line to ensure safety, and departures out of Blackpool following us must have been spitting blood, or rubbing their hands at all the overtime they were earning!!

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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Running backwards

I was, recently, in conversation with a driver who worked on the Appleby – Skipton ‘Plandampf’, with No.60163 Tornado, he reminded me just how cold it can be running mile after mile tender first – it’s marginally better when bunker first with a tank engine. This one is Ex-GWR 2-8-0 No.4270 and she is working the early morning goods from Bewdley to Bridgnorth, on the Severn Valley Railway, during their ‘Season Finale Gala’ in November, of 2016.

At my last shed, before being made redundant, Wakefield (Belle Vue), there was quite a lot of tender first work and almost all of it was done on WDs, to some of the most famous collieries in the Yorkshire coal fields.  Like the WDs the pits have all gone, Ackton Hall, Prince of Wales, Sharlston, and Grimethorpe, of brass band fame, and many, many, more – and not just in Yorkshire, you can repeat this for the whole of the coal mining industry.

The usual method of working on these colliery trip jobs was run out to Healy Mills engine first and then trundle off tender first with a string of empties to which ever pits were on your roster. On some turns you might do more than one trip. After returning to Healy Mills with the empties exchanged for loaded wagons you would pick up another train of empties and repeat the earlier run, though not necessarily to the same collieries. Needless to say that on these turns half of your shift was spent ‘running backwards’.

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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THE END

And then there were none. When the last fire was dropped and all that was left was cold hard metal, few if any believed that new steam locomotives would be built, that steam would run again, regularly, or that 100mph by steam would be repeated. We know now that all that came to pass and much more besides.

Today, Sunday, 50 years ago, steam hauled services stopped across, what had been, the Southern Railway – now it was all electic. I had already left Nine Elms and was a fireman at Wakefield, (Belle Vue), no longer firing WC class pacifics – I’d moved from WCs to WDs and was dragging coal over the Pennines when the lights went out, for the last time, at 70A. I had started railway life at a mainly freight depot 55C Farnley Jct. and it was ending at another 56A.

The last couple of months at Wakefield were grim and I can’t imagine it was that much different at my old shed 70A.  Everything was just being left to fall apart, if an engine failed it was simply put on the scrap line, an air of despondency hung about the place. Single-manning meant fewer jobs for firemen and they were leaving in droves. We got recruitment blurb from South African Railways and I believe one or two took up the offer. We had these at NineElms too, during 1965, when I was still a fireman there; and again some lads took up the offer.

The last steam services I worked were colliery trip workings around Wakefield, Barnsley, and Pontefract, along with Healy Mills to Rose Grove, or Padiham,  with loaded coal, returning with the empties. My last passenger working was a little unusual, a run from Wakefield Westgate to Bradford Exchange with a Fairburn tank on the Bradford portion of a service from London to Leeds.

The photograph, a scan of one of my old mono prints, shows No.34101 Hartland approaching Goathland on the NYMR. I worked on No.34101 Hartland, when I was at Nine Elms and she was still in active service with BR.

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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The end was neigh

Fifty years ago, in 1967, I was hard at work on machines like this one, as a fireman, at 56A Wakefield (Belle Vue).  We all knew what was coming but were powerless to prevent it – the steam powered railway was doomed, the game was up. We were going to have a clean bright future – reality, however, turned out rather differently. For a great many of us at 56A our future as railwaymen looked anything but bright. The growing dieselisation was not only bringing job losses it was also destroying the ‘link’ system – so much a part of footplate life.

The growth of single-manning led to the creation of ‘the fireman’s link’. No longer did you have a regular mate, now you were part of one huge link comprised solely of firemen – you could end up working a different turn every day, with a different driver, and having started on days – end up on nights. Fun, it wasn’t, and men started to drift away, finding new jobs. It wasn’t just the steam that was going the work was too. More and more goods and coal traffic was moving on to the roads, resulting in caped turns, and train loads dwindling from 40 or more wagons to a mere handful.

Now we make normally ‘clean bright engines’ dirty, like No.90711, aka(90733), in this photo, which shows her leaving Keighley, just as the early morning mist beings to lift, with a goods working to Oxenhope.

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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