Tag Archives: 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley

‘dreamin’ in the midday sun’

On a hot summer’s day a shady spot, under the trees, watching the trains go by is as good as it gets. And every school holiday from 1954, until I began working on the railway, in 1962, was spent, ‘watching the trains go by’ – it’s why Steam Age Daydreams, is “Steam Age Daydreams”. The following details, from a recently acquired note book, are for a trip from Leeds to Doncaster at Whit weekend 1958 – I could, quite easily, have been there myself as my own trips to Doncaster were fairly frequent – with the ‘Plant stream’ being a highlight.

There are 168 numbers listed representing close to 30 different classes of locomotives, including the ‘one of’ W1 Class 4-6-4 No.60700. No.60017 Silver Fox was another on the list – in 1936 she held the British record of 113mph, attained on ‘Stoke bank’, hauling the ‘up’ “Silver Jubilee” service. The other A4s that day were No.60025 Falcon, 60029 Woodcock, 60032 Gannet, 60033 Seagull, 60006 Sir Ralph Wedgewood,  60010 Dominion of Canada, and the ‘preserved’ No.60007 Sir Nigel Gresley. One of the half-dozen A2s in the list was the rebuilt P2 No.60506 Wolf of Badenoch. In amongst the A3s was No.60103 Flying Scotsman and 60110 Robert the Devil. The 7 A1s present included No.60113 Great Northern, the controversial rebuild of Gresley’s first Pacific.

The bucolic scene photographed is in the open air museum at Beamish and the signal box and station are from Rowley, brought here brick by brick and re-assembled. The locomotive, 1938 built Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST ‘Wissington’, is, like me, visiting the museum.  Wissington’s working life was spent hauling sugar beet from farms in west Norfolk to the BSC ‘Wissington’ sugar refinery.

At the end of her working life Wissington was donated to the the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway Preservation Society in 1978; following a lengthy overhaul she returned to steam in 2012. Both the Midland and the Great Northern were represented in the notebook, the GN by J52s and  J50s, the Midland, well Midland design, by 3F No.47405. There was also former GCR D11 ‘Director’ 62666 Zeebrugge and an Ex-GER 0-6-0 J69, just to round out the numbers.

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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On this day

‘Time flies by when you’re the driver of a train’ – it sure does when you’re driving your train at 126mph. On July 3rd 1938 driver Joe Duddington and fireman Tommy Bray booked on, at Doncaster shed, for what turned out to be one of the high points of locomotive performance on the LNER.  Driver Duddington had been selected for the job because he had a reputation for ‘fearless running’ – he was going to need it.

Disguised as ‘braking tests’ the LNER were setting out to create a new record speed for steam haulage, the LMS and reached 114mph and the Germans, big rivals at the time, had claimed 124.5mph – the LNER were to top that. When they stepped onto the footplate Duudington and Bray knew what was expected of them – they were attempting to beat the LMS, primarily, and the German record too, if it were possible  – and never mind the brakes.

I’ve worked on the footplate of a Pacific at over 100mph, in May 65, 105mph, on 35005 Canadian Pacific, so I have some idea of what it was like, back then, on July 3rd 1938. However, I have no idea what it must have been like on Mallard’s footplate when Duddington could smell the garlic but, kept the regulator open until he’d set the record – ‘fearless’ indeed. In a recording from the time, Duddington talks of ‘givin’ her her head’, as though he was speaking of a race horse,  and recounting passing the 100, then ‘108, 109 110,’ – it was all so matter of fact, just another day at the office.

The performance of the crew is an important factor in delivering a locomotive’s maximum output and knowledge of the road, the engine and the way it needs to be driven to gain the best from it, are essential ingredients in that performance. By all means remember Mallard but, remember too that it was all made possible by Driver Joe Duddington and  Fireman Tommy Bray – it’s their record too.

The photo, scanned from one of my slides shows No.60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, the post-war record holder at 112mph, approaching Helmshore Rd. bridge on the East Lancashire Railway, some years ago.

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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007 shaken not stirred

60007burrsexhaust

This might be a classic example of how the wedge front deflects the exhaust and stops it rolling down over the cab and obscuring the driver’s view of the road ahead. A scan from one of my slides, dated March 1998, it shows No.60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, at Burrs, long before the country park was opened.

No.60007 Sir Nigel Gresley is carrying the West Riding Ltd. headboard, a service which began in November 1937, and, like the Silver Jubilee and Coronation services which pre-date it,  was a ‘streamlined’ train – though it did not incorporate the observation car, which was included on the other services. The West Riding Limited, on its inauguration, was the fastest train of the day between London – Leeds and Bradford and was aimed specifically at the ‘Business’ class commuter.

The A4s performed some remarkable feats on these trains, for example, only 10 failures out of 1,952 journeys with the Silver Jubilee service. In 1936 Driver George Henry Haygreen took, the almost brand new, No.2512 Silver Fox, down Stoke Bank at 113 mph, a record at the time, with a service train. No.60007 Sir Nigel Gresley is credited with the highest post-war speed for an A4 reaching 112mph, on 23rd May 1959, again down Stoke Bank, and with a train load of passengers – Alan Pegler was on the footplate.

Today No.60007 Sir Nigel Gresley is resident on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.  In recent times No.60007 Sir Nigel Gresley has been used on main line rail tours, including the Edinburgh – Aberdeen line, which is where she finished her active BR career, her final MPD allocation was Aberdeen from where she was withdrawn, in February 1966.

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