Tag Archives: Black5

Bit of a mis-match

On the 1st of June 1948 Black 5 No.45253 left St. Pancras, bound for Manchester, on the first of her runs in the Mixed Traffic section of the 1948 Locomotibe Exchange Trials. The other locomotives in her pool were the B1 No.61251 Oliver Bury and the Bulleid West Country Class No.34005 Barnstaple, which was crewed by Nine Elms pair, George James driving, and George Reynolds firing.

During my own footplate service I worked on all three types; and in the case of No.34005 Barnstaple I worked on the actual engine. All I can say is that putting the Black 5 and B1 in the same category as a Bulleid ‘light’ Pacific was a bit of a mis-match, to put it mildly. And it wasn’t the only mis-match. The Southern engines were coupled to LMS tenders during their running on the Midland and the LMS  engines were coupled to ‘Austerity’ tenders, when doing their turn on Southern metals. This was all brought about by of the lack of troughs on the Southern which meant that the tenders on the Southern engines didn’t have scoops.

However, despite these minor issues, the performance of the selected crews was highly professional, under what must have been challenging conditions, on a railway still recovering from the ravages of 5 years of warfare. And not just the hardware of the railway landscape and the p-way, but the railwaymen themselves who had been working on the footplate, in the stations, goods yards, and signal boxes, or on the p-way throughout the hostilities. To even be in a position, after less than 3 years since the war’s end, and only 4 months after the formation of British Railways, to organise and run the Locomotive Exchanges was, perhaps, miraculous.

The photo shows No.44806, now out of service, passing Esk Valley, on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, with a Grosmont – Pickering service.

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 Damp day in Goathland

With only months to go before her ticket expires Black 5, No.44806, slogs up the last few hundred yards of the climb from Grosmont, up on to the Moors at Goathland. On the plus side Ex-Southern Railway Schools Class 4-4-0, No.(30)926 Repton, is about to make her comeback after overhaul. She was sat in the back of the shed, on my visit on Tuesday, in a very unphotogenic position.

In February 1962 No.30926 Repton was the engine used on the LCGB Kentish Venturer Railtour, not long before the Schools were all withdrawn. When I arrived on the Southern Region, in early 1963, they had all gone – though some were still in store at Nine Elms when I began working there.

The Schools were pretty nippy and they have been recorded at speeds up to 95mph.  On that Kentish Venturer tour, No.30926 Repton, with a 9 coach load, ran the 11 miles from Headcorn to Paddock Wood,  at speeds between 72mph and 78mph, only a pws between Paddock Wood and Tonbridge prevented more. (Thanks to Terry Jackson for these details.)  It is of course highly unlikely that No.30926 Rrepton will be doing these speeds on the NYMR, but I’m sure that 3cylinder power will come in very handy on the slog from Grosmont to Goathland.

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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‘Trouble at mill Mr. Arkwright’, ‘neigh, they’re all gone now lad’.

45212suburbanedit1

For such a short line the K&WVR has quite a range of locations from gritty industrial to rural idyll, and  all within the space of 5 miles. The tall houses above right are ‘new build’, and the old mill, which was just behind those trees to the rear of the train, ‘old build’, has now, all but disappeared, a mere shadow of it’s former self. The mills were big employers in Keighley and along the Worth valley, not any more though.

Worked through Keighley, on the main line, with Black 5s just like the one in the picture, during a three month spell as a fireman at Holbeck MPD, back in 1966. The service was Leeds City to Morecambe via Keighley, Skipton, Settle Junction, Bentham, Wennington, and Lancaster, a nippy tea time commuter service, it was a fun week’s work – and home pass too!!

No. 45212 was built, in 1935, by Armstrong Whitworth, and survived until the end of steam in 1968. Withdrawn from Lostock Hall in that year and saved for preservation on the K&WVR. Currently undergoing restoration to main line standard, for future use on the national network.

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