Tag Archives: Basingstoke

Standard 4 on the ’54’

75078bobbydamemsAn old favourite of mine and the first chance I’ve had, since she was returned to steam, to photograph her in action. There were a number of duties, at Nine Elms, which regularly utilised these engines, the ’54s’, (they were trains which left Waterloo for Basingstoke at 54 minutes to the hour), ‘Banana trains’ from Southampton Docks to Nine Elms goods, and the 04.40 Salisbury, which was another regular turn for them, and one which I enjoyed more than my fair share of.

The 04.40 Salisbury, for which the crew signed on at 03.43, wasn’t the most popular turn, but I enjoyed it. It was a regular turn in link 3, my link, and when I did the job with my regular mate I would often get a go on the regulator – always a real treat. The return working was the opposite of our journey down, which called at practically every station from Woking onwards. The ‘Up’ train called at Andover and then next stop Waterloo, on an almost mile a minute timing, one of the fastest trains of the day. A regular loco on this train, during late 1964 and early 1965, was No.35013 Blue Funnel, sadly no longer with us, but for my money the freest steaming of all the Merchants – and that’s saying something for a class renowned for their steam raising capabilities.

No. 75078 is photographed passing Damems Loop Box on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, with a train for all stations to Oxenhope.

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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Marmite

34053awayquornOutside the gate of Nine Elms MPD was the Brooklands Arms – the ‘Brook’, was a den of iniquity if ever there was one, lock-ins, and card schools were a speciality. Inside the gate was another world altogether and one which, early in 1963, I was about to become immersed. I hadn’t planned to end up at 70A, that was just the way things turned out. My chances of becoming a ‘main line’ fireman at my first depot, 55C, were slim and the only chance seemed to be a move South were jobs were plentiful and railway shift work was rapidly becoming unpopular.

I had barely seen a Southern Railway locomotive let alone fired one, and to my eye, accustomed as it was, to the engines of Stanier, Gresley, Thompson and Fairburn, the Bulleid Pacifics did look a little alien. However, once I got to grips with soft coal, wide fireboxes, and the particular likes and dislikes of were to put the coal and in what quantities, I grew very fond of them, [Bulleid’s Pacifics], indeed. The hum, at night, of the Stones generator, and the electric lighting which resulted, the rocking grates which made disposal so much easier and above all their phenomenal steaming qualities, made it hard not to like them. And it was such fun, on trains like the ‘up Royal Wessex’, to hurtle through Basingstoke Station, it’s platforms packed with commuters, hanging on the whistle.

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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15 / 05 / 1965 & 105mph the obituary

35005scanI know a great many of you have read and enjoyed this article and I’m posting it again because the driver, Gordon ‘madman’ Hooper sadly passed away at the weekend.  He wasn’t my regular mate but, on the occasions we did work together it was always a ‘good day at the office’. Gordon was a great engineman, a real railwayman through and through and a lovely fella to work with – he’ll be very much missed amongst the old Nine Elms men. What follows is a small tribute to his skill and enginemanship.

Not many people can say, with to the second accuracy, exactly where they were and what they were doing, 50 years ago; good fortune allows me to do so. Fifty years ago today, on this very engine, I was the fireman on an epic run with the 21.20 Ex-Waterloo – Poole. When I went to work that Saturday night I had no idea of what was about to unfold. I wasn’t with my regular driver, Eric Saunders, I was with driver Gordon Hooper, and I knew something was going on, because on the footplate with us was Technical Inspector Brian Smith.

No.35005 Canadian Pacific had recently been, ‘half soled and heeled’, railway slang for having an intermediate overhaul, so she was in fine fettle. The load wasn’t an especially heavy one 10 for 360 tons and we were first stop Basingstoke. There was some comment about keeping 005 ‘on the mark’, but nothing more than that. Even when we stopped at Basingstoke I had no idea what we’d just done, or that more was to come.

35005blkwhtbdge

On the night, No.35005 Canadian Pacific ran from Waterloo to Basingstoke in 43 minutes 48 seconds, given as 41 minutes 15secs net, that’s 47.8 miles, start to stop, mostly against the grade and with the permanent speed restriction through Clapham Junction – not bad going, but, more was to come. After leaving Basingstoke driver Hooper continued in the same cavalier style and No.35005 reached 105mph on the descent to Winchester – not the highest speed attained by a Merchant Navy, but well in the top ten. Don Benn’s 1987 Railway World article puts it thus, ‘…the ease with which No.35005 reached 105mph below Wallers Ash Tunnel with a 360-ton train one May night in 1965.’ (Benn, 1987, p412) However, it was not the 105mph which was to become the yardstick, but the 41 minute 15 second net time for the start to stop journey between Waterloo and Basingstoke.The time was a record, a record which, according to the Railway Performance Society website, still stands.

me-and-005This photograph, taken by John East, is yours truly with No.35005 Canadian Pacific, at the Great Central Railway, during a special event to celebrate her return to steam, after she was bought, by Andrew Naish, and subsequently rebuilt, at Loughborough,

The colour photograph, which opens the article, shows No.35005 Canadian Pacific, in Blue livery, approaching Woodthorpe Lane bridge, on the Great Central Railway, before it was made into a twin track main line. The black and white photograph is also taken approaching Woodthorpe Lane bridge.

Steam Age Daydreams began in 2014 and since then over 600 blogs have appeared on all manner of railway topics.  They are all still available to read in the ‘Archive’ section. I am writing this to let you all know that when the existing webhosting contract expires in December there are, currently, no plans to renew it – Steam Age Daydreams will cease.

The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway will still be available on Amazon – Below, is the link to it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

 

 

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