Tag Archives: 70013 Oliver Cromwell

One to savour

In the current drought and steam bans up and down the land I thought I’d share this image from a few years ago. A pair of main line favourites battling Druimauchdar, the last remanants of the snow clinging to the hill sides – a real, never to be repeated, highland drama. With No.70013 Oliver Cromwell supplying the grunt for an ‘off colour’ K4, No.61994 The Great Marquess, they are seen here less than a mile from the summit.

Later this year No.70013 Oliver Cromwell will come to the end of her ten year boiler certificate  and is set to undergo a fast-track overhaul. No.61994 Great Marquess, however, is a very different kettle of fish. No.61994 is already on her way to a purpose built museum, in Fife, where, in due course, she will be joined by No.60009 Union of South Africa, once her ticket expires. A state of affairs which leaves a great many people unhappy especially as the K4 is the only one of the class to survive. Losing two Ex-LNER engines further depletes the already scant number of  representatives of the LNER and its constituents. Not only that but, the very line No.61994 The Great Marquess was built to work over, the ‘West Highland Extension’, from Fort Willian to Mallaig is still enjoying timetabled steam specials for 2/3rds of every year.

Mr. Cameron is, of course, entitled to do as he wishes with his locomotives, but equally I think we are entitled to have our say nontheless. And I say its a shame to reduce these fine machines to static exhibits.

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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From main line to minerals

After a star-studded career on the main line Britannia Class 4-6-2, No.70013 Oliver Cromwell, is seen here hauling 9S10 the 10:20 Loughborough – Swithland ‘windcutter’ / ‘runner’ re-enactment, during the Great Central Railway’s Goods Galore Gala, on Saturday last.

When steam was on its way out engines which were once the pride of the fleet could be seen, often in filthy condition, performing all manner of lesser turns and duties – as above. The question was raised, about my previous post, did we really need the ‘Standards’, of all classes. They began to appear in 1951 and all of them were withdrawn by 1968, some of them went to scrap at less than 10 years old. It matters little which side of the political divide you’re on – this is a criminal waste, by any standard.

The twenty years between 1948 when BR was born and 1968 when steam was finally withdrawn, were twenty years of missed opportunities, poor decision making, botched planning and, for much of that time, a government antipathetic to the very idea of Nationalisation.  This is hardly a recipe for success and successes were thin on the ground. Did the railway need new classes and designs, probably not. If more locomotives were needed, until the network could be ‘electrified’, it would have made more sense to build additional locos of pre-existing classes – Black 5 or Std 5?

In my own railway career I witnessed the debacle unfolding, at the blunt end. The dereliction, decay, and loss of morale, the queues of trucks blocking the roads, no motorways then, not to mention the failures of the new fangled diesels but, the badly run down and poorly mainted steam fleet too.

On that note the S&C beckons, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

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Highland ‘oliday

With Blackford box and crossing in the background No.70013 Oliver Cromwell makes a fine sight at the head of the ‘down’ Great Britain III, back in April 2010. This year the Great Britain XI will be hauled from York to Carlisle, over the S & C, by the freshly restored Merchant Navy Class 4-6-2 No.35018 British India Line, an engine I worked on myself, as a fireman, back in the 1960s. I also worked a rail tour, in February 1965, with sister locomotive No.35022 Holland Amerika Line.

The LCGB organised East Devon Rail Tour was run on 28th February 1965 and was booked to run non-stop between Waterloo and Yeovil, a very rare event as there are no troughs on the Southern and 122 miles, without taking water, is a long way.  Careful boiler management was the order of the day, no excess blowing off, making sure the injectors weren’t ‘wasting’ water and I had to have ‘water in the tap’, i.e. around 1/2 a tenderful, at Worting Junction or we would have to stop for water at Salisbury – I had, we didn’t.

There were no ‘fireworks’ in the running, though we didn’t hang about and our overall net time for the 122 miles was 118 minutes, five minutes under the scheduled 123. There were several spells, around Andover and Sherbourne were we were in the 90s, we topped Grately at just short of 70 and reached 86 passing Porton. The return working was marred by checks and a dead stand at Salisbury. However, we did average a shade over 77mph from Grately to Fleet. And the net time from the Salisbury check to Waterloo was around 76 minutes for the 83 miles.

One commentator noted ‘it was a long day out for the crew’ – the Waterloo – Exeter round trip is 343 miles, throw in the light engine movements from Nine Elms to Waterloo and Exeter – Sidmouth Jct. and it was a 350 plus miles long day out – and we never did get to see the sea!!

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 white mist

Oozing steam, No.70013 Oliver Cromwell, makes a fine sight as she approaches Woodthorpe bridge with a train for Leicester North, on the Great Central Railway.  However, it’s a different ‘oozing steam’, that which eminates from the cylinder cocks, or taps, as many railwaymen knew them, I want to say something about. I have noticed a growing tendency, and I’m not the only one, for drivers, on the heritage railways, to run about, often for considerable distances, with the taps open – this is not good practice.

I have read many comments on Facebook on this topic, some of which have been quite fiesty, so it is obviously a subject that gets folk going.  If you look at all that lovely footage from the last decade of steam, do you see engines heading out of Kings Cross and into Gasworks tunnel with the taps open, or Bulleid Pacifics shrouding Waterloo in a blanket of white mist, even when they began to slip, as they did? In the case of Waterloo, I might well have been on the footplate myself, so can vouch for the fact that we didn’t run half-way to Vauxhall with the taps open and nor did we run around all over the shed yard with them open either.

In a recent exchange with another footplateman from the last decade of steam, quite unsolicited, he made the following comment, “Although they all do a great job on heritage lines I do despair sometimes (and main line steam) at the ‘techniques’ employed like not moving off quickly after the RA (wouldn’t last long on those fast stoppers) and then leaving taps open for several hundred yards…… Are they really that fearful of going hydraulic or is it meant to impress? wish I knew!! “

I couldn’t put it better myself.

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 the bridge

The classic ‘spotters view’ from the bridge, or banking side, looking down on the engine, crew, and train. This particular bridge is at Woodthorpe Lane, between Loughborough and Quorn & Woodhouse, on the Great Central Railway, whose Spring gala it will be,  a week on Friday. No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell, will be in action along with the Bluebell Railway’s Q class 0-6-0 No.30541, a class of engine I did a few turns on myself, I might even have fired No.30541.

However, replicating this picture is now becoming impossible, as a new housing development is beginning to take shape here. What are the chances that the ‘new’ residents will complain about the steam engines, the smoke, the whistles, and blah, blah, blah. Over the fifty years of preservation many views, once popularised by photographers, have gone. The Mill at Ingrow on the K&WVR, the shot of Grosmont, from the top of the tunnel,  the once tree lined cutting at Beck Hole with its lovely dappled light – and I’m sure many of you can add your own lost views to these. Even in preservation nothing stays the same, as the lines have developed new buildings have been erected, bridges built, cafes, museums, and more have all been added – it’s all come a very long way from those shaky beginnings at Middleton and Bluebell in 1960.

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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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!

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A mountain to climb

70013&61994drumpass

Against the collar, storming the bank, digging in for the climb, cliches, you can hear them from away off, Hemerdon, Ais Gill, Whiteball, still with us, others are just exhaust notes, echoing in the wind, Falahill, Whitrope, and Masbury. Bleak Scottish mountain sides, the moors and wild places of South Devon, mere back drops for legendary exploits, making up  lost time,  struggling with poor coal and a steam shy engine, pick the ingredients mix your own tale; six late off Newton Abbot, Dainton ahead.

You tried to imagine yourself, there, on the footplate, hand on the regulator, a steely gaze on the road ahead, as the rockets flew and the fireman shoveled. Then the gradient begins to bite and you drop the  reverser from 25% to 30%, the barking is louder now and you’re keeping an eye on the pressure gauge and the gauge glass, they’re holding up well, but speed is still slowly falling, 1 in 36 is heavy work. Around about this point some droning teacher would say ‘what did I just say lad’ – ‘ get some more rock on Tommy, there’s two more miles of this’, was the wrong answer. I was swiftly moved from railway lines to writing lines, ‘I must pay attention in class’ X 100.

The photograph was taken on the south bound climb of Druimauchdar and No.70013 Oliver Cromwell, piloting No.61994 The Great Marquess, is close to the summit, the highest on any of Britain’s main line routes at 1484ft.

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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