Tag Archives: 70A Nine Elms

56 years ago today

56 years ago today I began work with BR, at a shed, where I cleaned and fired engines just like the one in this photo. Unfortunately none of them survived ‘the great purge’. However, one that did survive was a fairly frequent visitor, when she was based at Stockport, No.45596 Bahamas; one of a handful of the Jubilee Class which were fitted with a double chimney.

Like the engine this photograph, No. 45690 Leander, No.45596 Bahamas is soon to be back in action, after lengthy overhaul. Just as some of my very first associations were with the Jubilees so were some of my last. There were very few passenger turns at Wakefield, where I ended my BR service, apart from a few jobs working the Bradford portions of London – Leeds services from Wakefield Westgate to Bradford Exchange, the only others, at the time, were ‘excursions’ for Rugby / Football matches and trips to the seaside.

My very last trip on a Jubilee was with a trip to Blackpool and back with a train load of miners, the details of which were the subject of an earlier post. Sadly, none of the engines I worked on at Farnley and at Wakefield survived, however, a goodly number of those I worked on at Nine Elms did; and a week on Friday I hope to see one of them, No.35018 British India Line, having a run over the S&C. I haven’t seen her in the flesh since she was withdrawn, over 50 years ago – quite looking forward to Friday 20th. My BR days migh have ended in 1968 but my attachment to those dim and distant days did not.

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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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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Paddling out a Mogul

31806exquornmarmk1When I first moved  to the Southern I spent a couple of months at 73A Stewarts Lane, which was, at the time, pretty much done with steam. However, there was one turn which did still have steam traction, an early, Saturday morning, working from Tunbridge Wells to London Bridge. It was on this turn that I fired my very first Southern Railway locomotive – a Maunsell mogul, just like this one, with a train of around the same proportions, though the stock, appropriately, was painted in SR green.

When I moved across to 70A Nine Elms I did a few more turns on these engines, but never again on a passenger duty. I recall a night goods working to Basingstoke which was a fairly regular turn for them, or their big sisters the S15 4-6-0s. Not all my memories of these engines are rose tinted; far from it. One of the most difficult fire cleaning jobs I ever had was on one of their number. It was during that brief spell at 73A and the fire box was full, from front to back, and I swear the clinker was a foot thick – and believe me there was a lot of cussing and swearing going on. The whole lot had to be shoveled back out the firehole door, the same way it went in, before being jettisoned via the cab door, using a paddle, ( A “Paddle” is a metal handled shovel about ten feet long).  You should try it some time – it’s good for the soul!

In the photograph, No.31806, on a very windy day, is departing from Quorn & Woodhouse with a train for Leicester North, during the GCR’s ‘Winter Gala’.

For anyone interested, I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, on many levels, 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: ‘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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The Barry 5

35009barry

An almost intact No.35009 Shaw Savill makes a forlorn sight in the scrap line at Barry. In 1966, when these photographs were taken, I was a fireman at 56A Belle Vue (Wakefield), six months earlier I was at 70 A Nine Elms and working on these very engines. It was very strange, after working hundreds and hundreds of miles on their footplate, seeing them  sitting there, in Barry, awaiting their fate which, in May 1966, was a great deal  less than certain.

The other 4 of the ‘Barry 5’ photographs are all of West Country Class 4-6-2s. One of them is of No.34010 Sidmouth, which, for some reason, I seemed to get on the 08.35 Bournemouth duty, more than most. However, despite being ‘saved’ from the gas axe No.34010 Sidmouth is one of the ‘unrestored’ – for many years I watched her, rusting slowly, at the end of the head shunt at Grosmont MPD. This was before she was acquired by her latest owners Southern Locomotives, who, in 1997, moved her to  Sellindge  before moving her again, this time to their new base at Swanage. Southern Locomotives, according to the latest information I have, are  beginning her restoration, to running order, once they’ve finished work on No.34072 257 Squadron, which is due to be completed in the next couple of months or so.

The other 3 engines No. 34016 Bodmin, No.34028 Eddystone and No.34039 Boscastle, have all steamed in preservation. No.34028 has only recently run out of boiler ticket, No.34039 Boscastle is slowly making here way back, at Loughborough on the GCR, and No.34016 Bodmin is now awaiting overhaul at Carnforth.  And as for No.35009 Shaw Savill, well she is now a kit of parts at Ian Riley’s workshops in Bury; with a long term goal of restoration to main line condition – maybe, one day, she, like No.34010 Sidmouth, will steam again.

The photos of Nos.34010, 34016, 34028, and 34039, can all be seen here: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/?page_id=850

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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