Tag Archives: Aberdeen

2001 – not a space odyssey

2001conRailway Magazine, January 1936, and CJ Allen’s Locomotive Practice & Performance, with additions by OS Nock, is all about the P2s and, in particular, over the Edinburgh to Aberdeen route.  Train loadings in the detailed running logs were in the 475 to 500 ton range, over a very difficult stretch of railway – the very loads and railway these engines were designed for.  The ‘performances’ ranged from ‘a little disappointing’ to ‘very fine’ and seem to have been determined as much by the driver’s intentions as engine capabilities.

The P2s were all pretty ‘experimental’ locomotives being built with different types of valve gear, boiler, and firebox arrangements, even the shapes changed, some were built with Gresley’s ‘classic’ Bugatti style streamling, others, like No.2001 Cock O’ the North, began life with the V front design, as pictured, and then became streamlined.  In 1943 / 44 Gresley’s successor Edward Thompson rebuilt them all as A2 class 4-6-2s, a choice which was not without some rancour and division, but I am not going to add to it.

On the subject of rancour and division; one of the original P2s was named after one of the most unpleasant members of the Scottish ‘nobility’ ‘Wolf of Badenoch’, a.k.a Alexander Stewart, 1st Earl of Buchan. Wolf of Badenoch, it seems, was a bit of a ladies man and not very fond of stroppy churchmen. His run in with Bishop Bur, Bishop of Elgin, ended with Badenoch burning down Elgin cathedral, a church, and monastic ‘hospital’. In today’s more enlightened times, a new P2 is under construction, by the same  dedicated group of enthusiasts, who built No.60163 Tornado – we can only wish them well.

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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Bit of a departure

62712inverurie

It’s August 1964 and this photograph, taken by my pal, Ken Webb, during a round Scotland shed bash we undertook that summer, shows D49 class 4-4-0 No.62712 Morayshire sat in the yard at Inverurie Locomotive Works. Rods removed and name plate missing, an old sack tied around the chimney, she’s not a pretty sight. For a purpose built locomotive workshop Inverurie, opened in 1903, built surprisingly few engines, though it did continue to service them right to the end of BR, closing in 1969. For any of you with a footballing bent Inverurie Loco works lives on – here’s the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverurie_Loco_Works_F.C.

This week, following comments about my posting ‘Hunting in the shires’, made on the Steam Hub website, I have been in contact with a fellow from Broughty Ferry who photographed No.62712 being towed, in the direction of Aberdeen, in July 1964, just a couple of weeks before this photograph was taken. No.62712 was being towed by the Great North of Scotland Railway 4-4-0 No.62277 Gordon Highlander, known, to many in Scotland, as  – ‘The Soldier’

Following withdrawal from Keith MPD, in 1958, No.62277 Gordon Highlander was overhauled and restored to  GNSR livery in 1959, to work ‘special excursions’, which she did until 1965 – when she was stuffed and mounted for display in the Scottish Museum of Transport, where she still is. However, No.62277 Gordon Highlander was one of the later engines, built to Heywood’s design in 1920, she never actually carried the GNSR green livery in service, until her restoration in 1959.

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If you enjoy my photos and writing - I'm sure you'd enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running. The links below will take you to it. You can read a sample for free and you don't need a Kindle - there's a free app so you can read it, and view the photos at screen size, on you PC.
http://www.amazon.com/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
or for British readers.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2

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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.

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.

http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/

You might also enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running.

http://www.amazon.com/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2

or for British readers.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
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A trip back in time

007cupar

Edinburgh – Aberdeen, a classic A4 turn of duty, and we see, here, Ex-LNER Class A4 4-6-2 No.60007 Sir Nigel Gresley powering her way through Cupar, in Fife, with an Edinburgh – Aberdeen – Edinburgh trip during one of the series of Great Britain rail tours. A case of right engine, right line – and, on the day, right time too.

In 1964, in the company of a couple of pals, I made a pilgrimage to Scotland, in a vain attempt to visit every shed and travel every route. We didn’t quite make it, missing out on the Inverness Kyle of Loch Alsh route and the Inverness Wick / Thurso line, on the plus side we did get to the sheds at Yoker and Kipps.

In 1964, the A4s were being used on the Aberdeen – Glasgow 2 hour trains and we did ride behind one over that route. Sadly, the old Caledonian Railway line from Kinnaber Junction, through Forfar, to Perth is closed now and all trains go via Dundee on the old North British Railway route. Many of the lines in Scotland were decimated by Beeching’s axe and not even the famous history behind the line from Perth to Kinnaber Junction saved it from closure.

2015 is the 120th anniversary of the Railway Races to the North and, despite all the huffing and puffing of the East coast route fans, the fastest time was set by the  crews on the London North Western / Caledonian route, taking just over 8.5 hours from London to Aberdeen, a record which stood until the advent of the HSTs in the 1970s.

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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Faster miles an hour

60007dgbay

Shunting, that’s where we were yesterday, it’s where most footplatemen began the process of becoming ‘footplatemen’. It’s a long way from shunting, to the holy grail of the crack express, many never made it. I’m sure you know those trains, they’re the ones – the schoolboy story ones, with the famous names; the ACE, the Talisman, the Caledonian, the Bristolian and the Cheltenham Flyer, the Bournemouth Belle and the Yorkshire Pullman – the, ‘honour and glory jobs’, as some crews called them.

However, for some, the journey from shunting to the mainline express was ‘express’, myself included. When I moved, as a ‘passed cleaner’, from Farnley Junction, where promotion through the links was via dead men’s boots, to be made ‘fireman’ at Stewarts Lane 73A, which was the depot supplying the motive power for the ‘Golden Arrow’,  I went into No.1 link, I’d been on the railway for a whole year!!

In swinging 60s London, jobs were plenty and there were few who wanted to be going to work, at any hour on the clock, getting filthy dirty, sweating like a pig in a Lard factory, on a railway which seemed to be going nowhere but oblivion. This was the era of Christine Keeler, ‘we’d never had it so good’ and pigeon trains – the Beatles played Hammersmith, Mods and Rockers fought in Clacton. The A4s, like No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, were still working over the routes from Edinburgh and Glagow to Aberdeen – seeing service on the ‘Saint Mungo’ from Glasgow as well as being spotted on the Aberdeen – Ferry Hill fish. Fish trains, like those for pigeons, are little more than a whiff on the breeze today.

In the photograph, No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, is fast approaching the station at Dalgety Bay, a couple of miles north of the Forth Bridge, with the morning run, of one of the Scottish Railway Preservation Society’s ‘Fife Circle’ rail tours.  These popular tours, which run Spring and Autumn, have seen several locomotive types on duty, as well as the A4s, there have been, amongst others, Black 5s 44871,45407, 45231, the K4 61994 The Great Marquess, and last year, No.46233 Duchess of Sutherland.

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A full head of steam

45407gbIIusan

Just south of Montrose is a deserted fishing village, Fishtown of Usan, the signal box in the left background is Usan Box, unlike the village, which still stands, Usan Box has, now, been demolished. Just north of Montrose is, or rather was, Kinnaber Junction, which played such an important role in the Railway Races to the North of 1895, when trains from London Kings Cross and London Euston raced each other to Aberdeen, via the East and West coast routes respectively. Kinnaber Junction was where the two routes met and which ever Box, Hillside or Dubton offered Kinnaber Junction Box the train first would, effectively, be on the winning side.

The double-headed Black 5s in the photograph would have been a more common sight on the Caledonian / West Coast route from Aberdeen to Perth, now, like Usan Box, demolished. The former North British route which is now the only route to Aberdeen from the south was the domain of the LNER and their A1,2,3,and 4 class Pacific’s or the maids of all work the V2s. The V2s were regular performers on the Aberdeen fish trains, these trains were smartly timed and often heavily loaded a duty ideally suited to the V2s.

I wrote about the Railway Races to the North in my book ‘Racing Trains’ – my latest book ‘Gricing the real story of the Railway Children’ is available as an ebook, from Amazon. the link is attached below.

http://www.amazon.com/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2

 

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