Tag Archives: Bulleid Pacific

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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Land of the midnight sun

Like No. 3 Twizell, in this picture, the clocks have gone backwards, the trees have lost their leaves, and we’ve had gunpowder, treason, and plot, so it must be time for the North Pole Express. The curmdugeons will ‘bah humbug’, the volunteers will gird their loins, for one more ‘yo, ho, ho,’ as Santa and his Grotto come to a line near you.

Before the hurly-burly begins, this coming weekend, a shed load of gifts from Santa have all to be wrapped, the tickets have been sold, queries answered, Sherry bought, mince pies ordered, and all to keep the fires burning, wheels turning, great railway steam show, rolling for another generation to savour and enjoy. Every railway has its Fat Controller and its Santa Claus, often the same person,  and there are his little helpers, dressed as eleves, or wearing reindeer antlers. Well done to all of you, guys and gals.

How different this all is from my Christmas on the railway in 1964, when, on December the 22nd I was working the 17:30 departure from Waterloo to Bournemouth, as far as Southampton. The load was 12 for 435tons and the turn was usually booked a Merchant Navy. On the day were had No. 34097 Holsworthy and the run was marred by two severe signal checks, one between Surbiton and Hampton Court Jct. and one between Winchfield and Hook. However, the really remarkable bit of running was between Woking and Milepost 31.

After the stop for signals, and the distant for Hersham only coming off as we approched, speed was back up to 69mph when we went through Woking and only on the final stretch between Brookwood and MP31 did it fall below that, and the summit was reached at 66mph. A fair effort for a light-Pacific with 12 on. (My thanks to performance recorder, Terry Jackson, for the details)

No.3 Twizell is pictured in Causey woods, on the Tanfield Railway, with a North Pole Express working, trundling backwards down to East Tanfield.

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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June 9th 1965

It was a fine summer’s afternoon as I climbed aboard No35017 Belgium Marine and began preparations for our journey down  to Southampton, with the 17:30 Ex-Waterloo, a heavily loaded 11 coaches and first stop Basingstoke. My regular mate Eric ‘sooty’ Saunders did his thing with the oil can whilst I began to carefully build the fire, all very routine but, our four runs with the 17:30 during that week of June 65 were anything but routine and today’s was no exception.

After taking coal, water, and making a brew we were off, light engine, to Waterloo, where a posse of ‘timers’ milled around the end of the platform, others already occupying seats in the first coach, as we backed down onto our train. The crew on the engine who worked the stock in had been primed to give us a good shove off and everything on the footplate was ready for a ‘racing’ start the moment the green flag dropped. A nice controlled start, no slipping, fire burning through nicely and a not quite a full glass of water.

The permanent speed restriction through Clapham Jct. is 4 miles out – just as everything’s building up nicely we have to shut off. Once clear of the station things really get going, injector singing away and I’m firing steadily as we pass Wimbledon at a tad over 60, by the time we clear Hampton Ct. Jct, were travelling in the 80s and I’m still at it with the shovel. Two yellows after West Byfleet  sees speed  down to 72 as we go through Woking.

Two more checks either side of Brookwood reduced our speed even further, on the slog up to MP31, this wasn’t what we needed. Over the top at MP31 there’s a bit of a dip and we were back up to 70 as Farnborough went by. Between Fleet and Hook speed didn’t drop below 80 with a max of 86 just beyond Hook – almost inevitably we were checked approaching Basingstoke  where we came to a stand just 44 minutes and 20 seconds after leaving Waterloo. The net time given is 41 minutes 30 seconds.

The times and speeds quoted are taken from DW Winkworth’s book, ‘Bulleid Pacifics’, and the recorder was A. Wild. The rest is just how I remember it!

The photo, a scan of an old colour print, shows No.34092 City of Wells, unusually,  facing down hill at K&WVR, quite some years ago now. Sadly, I don’t have a photo of No.35017 Belgium Marine with which to start the piece.

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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