Tag Archives: 60103 Flying Scotsman

Heading for Yorkshire

There isn’t another locomotive in preservation which raises the controversy that No.60103 Flying Scotsman does. Everything from the shade of green to the ‘German’ style smoke deflectors has its share of supporters and detractors and we haven’t mentioned money or how much of what is before your eyes is ‘the real Flying Scotsman’ or the ‘Flying Money Pit’ as some refer to it.

In all the heated debate we some how seem to have lost sight of the simple pleasures which brought us to our hobby – watching, listening to and enjoying the smell of passing steam engines, taking their numbers, or their pictures as we did so. It must have been quite a treat for spotters along the S&C during the early 1960s when, in addition to their daily diet of LMS locos, the A3s were appearing regularly on the ‘Waverley’ and other Edinburgh – London St. Pancras services, south of Carlisle.

In the summer of 1960 Holbeck was already home to several A3s including Nos.60038 Firdaussi, No.60077 The White Knight,  and No. 60080 Dick Turpin which was one of the few not named after race horses, ‘Flying Scotsman’ was, of course, another, though she wasn’t  a Holbeck engine. Several more A3s, mostly from Gateshead, ended up in Leeds when they were cascaded down from the East Coast Main Line, as the Deltics and Type 4s took over. Some of the last A3s to be withdrawn were those shedded at Carlisle Canal, which spent their final days working freight services over the Waverley line to Edinburgh. One of them, No.60100 Spearmint, when she was at Haymarket, in her heyday, was the regular engine of the footplate author, driver Norman McKillop, aka Toram Beg, who wrote for Trains illustrated.

McKillop wrote the excellent, ‘Lighted Flame a History of ASLEF’, as well as a column in the Locomotive Journal, though he is probably better known for his writings about footplate work and life for a more general audience in books like, ‘Enginemen Elite’ and ‘Ace Enginemen’.

The photo shows No.60103 Flying Scotsman at Birkett Common, if I’m permitted an opinion I’d loose the German blinkers and the rest is just fine. However, I do think they looked very handsome in Apple Green with a single chimney.

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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Southbound

The scene is Birkett Common, a mile or so south of Kirkby Stephen, and for much of the next 7 miles the gradient is at 1 in 100, there’s even a short stretch at 1 in 80. You can see the change in gradient, with the last coach or two still on the short respite at 1 in 237, much of the 11 miles before that were also at 1 in 100, give or take. After the Appleby water stop, apart from a brief dip down to towards Ormside, it’s a solid slog all the way up to the  summit at Aisgill.

There have been some fine charges from the Applby water stop to Aisgil summit during a spell when there was a competition for the ‘Blue Ribbon’ and earlier this month No.35018 British India Line went over the summit at 53mph, though I don’t have a time for the run it has to be up there with those Blue Ribbon efforts.

No.60103 Flying Scotsman and her crew had set off from Edinburgh at just after 07:30 and, more or less from the off, they were into  the climb to Cobbinshaw, around 16 miles at between 1 in 100 and 1 in 140 for a fair chunk of it. When  she passed us it was 15:30  and it would be turned 18:00 when she reached Preston – that’s a lot of hours in service, even allowing for a couple of hours break in Carlisle. By the time the engine gets back to Bury it will be turned 23:00 – that’s one heck of a shift. And some serious dedication from the support crew volunteers, take a bow guys you’ve earned it.

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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Last Year’s Landscape

Our railways ran, and in some instances still do, over some of the most scenic and unspoiled bits of the country. Equally true is that they ran through some of the most despoiled and industrialised areas of the country too – they helped in creating much of it. This scene of bucolic bliss is Kildale on the Whitby – Middlesborough via Battersby Junction line.

Beamish Pit and Puffing Billy, mining coal and transporting it from the pits the very raison d’ etre of railways, of industrialisation, of ‘the modern world’ where coal is no longer king – but hey, ‘that’s progress folks’. The engine’s a replica, the site a museum, facsimilies, sanitised renditions of a past, a past without health care, sick pay, holidays, maternity leave, electricity, anesthetic, old age pensions: And photography!

Another route out of Whitby, the one which used to run to York, via Malton, now the heritage North Yorkshire Moors Railway, runs past the tiny hamlet of Esk Valley, the terrace of cottages and a scattering of farm houses in the lower part of the picture. This goods train hauled by Black 5 No.44806 and banked by BR Standard Class 4MTT No.80136 is at the start of the long and twisting climb to Goathland, high on the moors.

From the high moors to the high Pennines, at Lunds viaduct on the Settle  – Carlisle line. The S&C has its own rich folk lore which runs from engines spinning on turntables, (Garsdale), through murder most foul, to Jam Butty making and eating contests in the Temperance Hotel in Kirkby Stephen. This latter being inaugurated by the bands of roaming enthusiasts who flocked to the area, during the era when the S&C was under imminent threat of closure. (Thanks to Paul Screeton and his ‘Folklore of the Settle -Carlisle’ for the details about the Jam Butty contest.)

From the ‘romantic’ S&C to real ‘Jam Butty Land’, the prosaic Balm Road branch of the Middleton Railway, in Leeds. A wet day, a deserted street, on an industrial estate and the building in the back ground carries a sign reading Imageco – the future’s bleak, the future’s 50 shades of grey. The engine making all the smoke is ‘Slough Estates No.3’ and she spent her working life on an industrial estate in Slough – enough to create despondency in any soul.

From the slough of despond to God’s green acres and the Nation’s ‘favourite’ engine. In the background is one of Yorkshire’s best known landmarks, Pen-y-Ghent, in the foreground trackside buildings gently decay.  The location is about half a mile south of Ribblehead viaduct and No.60103 Flying Scotsman had just ‘shut-off’ for the slack – bleak Blea moor and wild Cumbrian fells beckon.

Lastly we have Ex-LMS 4-6-0 Jubilee class No.45690 Leander with the classic south bound location, at the summit of Aisgill, with the ‘up’ Waverley. One day I’ll do this shot and the sun will be shining – maybe this year!

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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Another sunny day in paradise

Decaying trackside furniture, its reason for existence long since departed, bares silent witness to the passing  of the ‘Nation’s engine, No.60103 Flying Scotsman.  The roaring safety valves tell the tale; the engine was being worked hard, needle on the red line, driver shuts off and thar she blows – been there done that got the sweaty t-shirt.

The location is the eastern approach to Ribblehead viaduct; the big hill behind the train is one of the three famous peaks, in this part of the Yorkshire Dales, Pen-y-ghent , the others being Whernside, and Ingleborough.  It all looks lovely on a summer’s day but, spare a thought for the men who built this ‘scenic’ railway – it took them 7 years. “Two chain o’ knee deep water, four times a day, were faced by the fellows atween their meat and their work” (Seven Years Hard; Mitchell WR, Mussett NJ.)

Half a mile up the road was one of the encampments where the navvies constructing Ribblehead viaduct lived. Some of the camps had Biblical names, some those of battles in the Crimean war but, this one rejocied in the name of Batty Wife Hole; according to one story, a man named Batty drowned his wife, following a drunken row, in the stream which emered from the landscape. Today it is more politely known as Batty Green.

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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2017 A personal review

A year of firsts and farewells, though for me 2017 was the year of the ‘End of Southern Steam’; an event celebrated, if that’s the right word, at quite a few heritage lines; and I very much enjoyed seeing Nos. 34081 92 Squadron and 34053 Sir Keith Park, at the Great Central Railway’s offering.  There was even a brief glimpse of No.73156 running as No.73084 Tintagel, like Nos. 34081 and 34053, another engine I’d worked on back in the 60s.

No.73156 / 73084 was one of the firsts too, as she was making her debut appearance after being rescued from Dai Woodhams yard in Barry and restored to operational condition at Loughborough. Sadly, teething problems with the brakes curtailed her official workings, to just one passenger turn on the first day of the gala.

Earlier, in February, there was a bold experiment on the Settle & Carlisle line with No.60163 Tornado hauling regular service trains, for a 3 day spell, between Skipton and Appleby. There were two runs each day and I managed to photograph the first return working, at Selside, on Valentine’s Day. No.60163 also set a first, being given a trial run at 100mph on the ECML, a thrill for all concerned, I’m sure. The data being gathered was intended to support the case for raising the speed limit for steam, on the main line, from 75mph to 90mph.

Sticking with the main line theme, 2017 saw the S&C officially re-opened, after major repairs, with a run behind No.60103 Flying Scotsman, to Carlisle and the S&C also saw main line stalwart, No.46115 Scots Guardsman, bow out when her boiler ticket expired in August – she is pictured at the top of the article, at Kirkby Stephen station , on her last run over the S&C.

No.60103 Flying Scotsman, crossing Lunds viaduct, on the S&C.

Being a Leeds lad I’m rather fond of the Scots which, for many years, were the principal express engines on the former LMS / MR /LNWR routes in and out of the City. In line to replace her, out on the main line, is another engine steaming for the first time since being saved from the scrap yard, No.35018 British India Line, and again one of the engines I have fired on passenger services, out of Waterloo, in the 60s.

Continuing the Southern theme, I never worked on the Schools, though there were several in store at 70A when I started there. 2017 saw Schools Class, No.926 Repton, return to traffic on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, following her ten year overhaul. She is pictured above, slogging up the last half mile of the steep climb from Grosmont to Goathland during the NYMR gala.

On a personal note, I made my first ever visit to the narrow gauge system at Threlkeld Quarry, a little gem in the midst of some wonderful scenery. The locomotive in the photograph is, Sir Tom, a Bagnall 0-4-0ST of 1926 vintage. Sir Tom was employed at BICC in Kent until 1968 and moved to Threlkeld in 2001. Sir Tom was overhauled and rebuilt at Threlkeld and re-entered traffic in 2010.

As the year drew to a close it was farewell to Black 5 No.44806 at the NYMR and No.7812 Erlestoke Manor at the Severn Valley. No.61994 The Great Marquess, and shortly No.60009 Union of South Africa, are to become museum exhibits, no longer gracing the main lines and flying a flag for the LNER, which is sad, especially as the locomotives, of constituents of the LNER, are few in number when compared with the other members of the Big Four.

Not to end on sour note No.7812 Erlestoke Manor, pictured above approaching Bewdley tunnel with a Bridgnorth – Kidderminster service, is to have a fast track overhaul and is expected back by 2020. Good progress is being made with the new build No.82045, a project of which I’m a keen supporter. The 82xxxs were great fun to work on and the ideal engine for a heritage railway operation. I’m very much looking forward to seeing and photographing the finished item.

All of you, I’m sure, have your own highlights from 2017 and I could have added a few more of my own, seeing the Steam Elephant in operation at Beamish was a treat, as was having the Tanfield Railway just 15 minutes drive away, and I leave you with one of my favourite shots from Tanfield in 2017.

Keighley Gasworks No.2, with Bobgins cabin in the background, is heading for Andrews House with a train from East Tanfield.

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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A brief review of my 2017 in words and pictures.

A year of firsts and farewells, though for me 2017 was the year of the ‘End of Southern Steam’; an event celebrated, if that’s the right word, at quite a few heritage lines; and I very much enjoyed seeing Nos. 34081 92 Squadron and 34053 Sir Keith Park, at the Great Central Railway’s offering.  There was even a brief glimpse of No.73156 running as No.73084 Tintagel, like Nos. 34081 and 34053, another engine I’d worked on back in the 60s.

No.73156 / 73084 was one of the firsts too, as she was making her debut appearance after being rescued from Dai Woodhams yard in Barry and restored to operational condition at Loughborough. Sadly, teething problems with the brakes curtailed her official workings, to just one passenger turn on the first day of the gala.

Earlier, in February, there was a bold experiment on the Settle & Carlisle line with No.60163 Tornado hauling regular service trains, for a 3 day spell, between Skipton and Appleby. There were two runs each day and I managed to photograph the first return working, at Selside, on Valentine’s Day. No.60163 also set a first, being given a trial run at 100mph on the ECML, a thrill for all concerned, I’m sure. The data being gathered was intended to support the case for raising the speed limit for steam, on the main line, from 75mph to 90mph.

Sticking with the main line theme, 2017 saw the S&C officially re-opened, after major repairs, with a run behind No.60103 Flying Scotsman, to Carlisle and the S&C also saw main line stalwart, No.46115 Scots Guardsman, bow out when her boiler ticket expired in August – she is pictured at the top of the article, at Kirkby Stephen station , on her last run over the S&C.

No.60103 Flying Scotsman, crossing Lunds viaduct, on the S&C.

Being a Leeds lad I’m rather fond of the Scots which, for many years, were the principal express engines on the former LMS / MR /LNWR routes in and out of the City. In line to replace her, out on the main line, is another engine steaming for the first time since being saved from the scrap yard, No.35018 British India Line, and again one of the engines I have fired on passenger services, out of Waterloo, in the 60s.

Continuing the Southern theme, I never worked on the Schools, though there were several in store at 70A when I started there. 2017 saw Schools Class, No.926 Repton, return to traffic on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, following her ten year overhaul. She is pictured above, slogging up the last half mile of the steep climb from Grosmont to Goathland during the NYMR gala.

On a personal note, I made my first ever visit to the narrow gauge system at Threlkeld Quarry, a little gem in the midst of some wonderful scenery. The locomotive in the photograph is, Sir Tom, a Bagnall 0-4-0ST of 1926 vintage. Sir Tom was employed at BICC in Kent until 1968 and moved to Threlkeld in 2001. Sir Tom was overhauled and rebuilt at Threlkeld and re-entered traffic in 2010.

As the year drew to a close it was farewell to Black 5 No.44806 at the NYMR and No.7812 Erlestoke Manor at the Severn Valley. No.61994 The Great Marquess, and shortly No.60009 Union of South Africa, are to become museum exhibits, no longer gracing the main lines and flying a flag for the LNER, which is sad, especially as the locomotives, of constituents of the LNER, are few in number when compared with the other members of the Big Four.

Not to end on sour note No.7812 Erlestoke Manor, pictured above approaching Bewdley tunnel with a Bridgnorth – Kidderminster service, is to have a fast track overhaul and is expected back by 2020. Good progress is being made with the new build No.82045, a project of which I’m a keen supporter. The 82xxxs were great fun to work on and the ideal engine for a heritage railway operation. I’m very much looking forward to seeing and photographing the finished item.

All of you, I’m sure, have your own highlights from 2017 and I could have added a few more of my own, seeing the Steam Elephant in operation at Beamish was a treat, as was having the Tanfield Railway just 15 minutes drive away, and I leave you with one of my favourite shots from Tanfield in 2017.

Keighley Gasworks No.2, with Bobgins cabin in the background, is heading for Andrews House with a train from East Tanfield.

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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Steam Age Daydreams 2018 Calendar

This years calendar, featuring  engines great and small, including; No.6990 Witherslack Hall – 60 years after she was one of the engines in the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials, the fresh from overhaul, Schools Class 4-4-0 No.926 Repton, the tiny ‘Sir Tom’ at Threlkeld Quarry and ‘Ugly’ at Tanfield, to name but a few, is now available via eBay. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/302485587635?ul_noapp=true

One satisfied customer had this to say,  “2018 Calendar arrived this morning  – superb and worth every penny. Thanks for the fast response”

Now less than a dozen left, so don’t miss out – order yours now.

 

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Aaah – ‘the goode olde days’

There’s something about old black and white photographs, particularly  the pre-Nationalisation ones. No.2507 Singapore, became No.42 Singapore in 1946 and 60042 Singapore in 1948, she was built, at Doncaster, in December 1934, and withdrawn, from St. Margarets, (Edinburgh),  in July 1964. During her first month in service she ran from Newcastle to Kings Cross at an average speed of 72.5mph – not too shabby for 1934.

I know everybody has there own tastes in these matters but, I do like the A3s in this form, single chimney, no smoke deflectors and they look very tidy at the front of a train of teak coaches. From the ‘shade of grey’, in the photo, I’m guessing No.2507 Singapore is Apple Green, which is even better. From the look of the exhaust the fireman is putting a few rounds on and ‘making smoke’. It is a generally rising gradient for much of the way from Darlington to Bradbury, which is a few miles beyond Aycliffe on the down road, so No.2507 Singapore will have been working fairly hard at this point.

The subject of A3s tends to be dominated by ‘Flying Scotsman’. However, if you go beyond the hullabaloo and celebrity status the A3s were solid and relablie performers with the last one, No.60052 Prince Palatine, remaining in service until 1966, ‘they think it’s all over’ it was then!!

According to the details on the back, this is ‘working a down express near Aycliffe’; the print is by Photomatic, the photographer isn’t named and there’s no date.

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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Close to the border

Love it, loathe it, or somewhere inbetween, wherever she goes No.60103 Flying Scotsman seems to raise opinions. Like it or not, few engines have had the kind of working life Flying Scotsman has had. There’s the confusion, amongst the general public, and elements of the press, between No.60103 Flying Scotsman the locomotive and the 10:00 departure from Kings Cross to Edinburgh – The Flying Scotsman. And the press and the publicity Dept. of the LNER have helped to create ‘the legend’ of both the train and the locomotive. It sold newspapers, magazines, and helped to put bums on seats, why wouldn’t they.

Crossing the border between the Flying Scotsman in the national pschye and her status in the world of preservation brings us to a very different view of No.60103 Flying Scotsman’s place in the ‘grand scheme’ of things. In this realm she is the wrong colour, with the wrong chimney, shouldn’t have ‘German’ smoke deflectors or the opposite, possibly a combination.  Better engines could have been kept from the same class, she cost too much to fix, she took too long to get fixed, some all or none of which may be true, ‘you pays your money and makes your choice’.

Do I have a preference? I quite liked them in BR green with a double-chimney, no blinkers but, I also like the Apple Green, single chimney, especially when combined with a set of teak coaches.

In this photo, she is passing over Lunds Viaduct just about to cross the border between Yorkshire and Cumbria with Sunday’s ‘Waverley’

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 hordes on Aisgill

Hordes is, perhaps, a slight over statement but, there were probably 50+ in the immediate vicinity, here at Mallerstang common, and earlier in the day, when I drove past Ribblehead, there must have been well over a hundred, judging by the number of parked cars and folk milling about – there was even a burger van.

A few A3s were transferred to Holbeck, when they were displaced from the ECML, and ended their days working over this former Midland Railway route between Leeds and Carlisle. Quite what the Holbeck men thought of them, after working with the Scots and the Jubilees, for most of their time, would be interesting to know.  This is one area in which the fireman on today’s main line runs have to be credited. Getting to grips with the quirks of different firing methods and patterns, on an A3 one trip an 8F or Castle on the next, isn’t easy; especially if you are only out firing main line steam on a few trips a month.

During my time as a fireman with BR I fired on over 20 different classes of locomotives, from all regions except the Western and from Jinties to Merchant Navies. Some, like the B1, Fairburn tank, and 9F, I only worked on one or two trips – on others, like the Bulleid Pacifics, Standard Class 4 & 5s or WDs I worked on countless times and over hundreds of miles, so I know just how tricky it can be working on different engines out on the main lines.

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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