Tag Archives: Dundee

Treasured Scot

No.46115 Scots Guardsman is getting up to line speed, after stopping in Dundee, and she is seen here, beside the river Tay, approching Broughty Ferry. Broughty Ferry was where passengers, from Tayport, landed before the opening of the Tay Bridge. Prior to the opening of the Tay Bridge, passengers from Edinburgh and the South, heading for Aberdeen and the North crossed the Tay by ferry, just as they did across the Forth before the opening of the Forth Bridge.

The Tay, at this point, is about two miles wide and local folklore has it that lying in the Tay’s shifting sandbanks are the remains of sixty boats laden with gold, silver, and jewels plundered from the City of Dundee, in 1651, by one of Cromwell’s Generals. Legend has it that as the boats, full to the gunwales with booty, set sail, a violent storm blew up and all were lost. No one, as yet, has found the sunken treasure, despite several attempts over the years. However, what I can say is that when the first Tay Bridge collapsed, in December 1879, the engine, a Wheatley designed, North British Railway 4-4-0, No.224, which fell into the Tay, on that dark and stormy night, was, eventually, pulled from the river, taken to Cowlairs works and repaired. Forever after she was known to the crews as ‘The Diver’; original built in 1871, she remained in service until 1919.

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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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 Burr, 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.

Some of you might be interested to know that my book, Railway Tales, about my own footplate work during the last years of BR steam, is now available as an ebook here’s the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Railway-Tales-C-D-Wilson-ebook/dp/B07H38XV1V/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536155603&sr=1-2&keywords=railway+tales+ebook

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.

 

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Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children

“Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children” –  a different take on our great railway heritage from someone who has 60 years of railway enthusiasm, work, and experience.

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“Gricing” – 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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Today in 1878

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One hundred and thirty seven years ago today, the 1st of June 1878,  the Tay Bridge opened to regular traffic. Few would have imagined then, that barely eighteen months later a sizeable chunk of the bridge would collapse, during a violent storm, and with a train passing over at the time. The Tay Bridge disaster has been a well trodden path for both local and railway historians over the years and the much loved Scottish word mangler, William McGonagle, wrote one of his finest pieces on the subject.

The houses in the foreground are modern additions to the village of Wormit, the village where the Cleveland Ironmasters set up their foundry, making the castings which failed, so catastrophically, during the dark and stormy night of December 28th 1879. The bridge engineer, Thomas Bouch, carried the can for the debacle, and he died, a broken man, in October 1880, he was 58. However, subsequent researches have indicated that some of the castings, used in the construction, were bodged and the weakness caused by these defects were, at the very least, a contributory factor in the collapse. The whole disaster is a sad tale, and if you want to know more here’s a link to a starting point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Bouch

Something of the size and scale of the bridge can, possibly, be gauged from the size of No.70013 Oliver Cromwell which is 67 feet 8 inches long and weighs 143 tons, with tender. No.70013 has just  cleared the ‘high girders’ with the Aberdeen – Edinburgh leg of one of the GB series of Rail Tours. In the background is modern day Dundee, home of Desperate Dan and the Bash street kids.

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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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Levitating in Blair Atholl

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Blair Atholl has a castle, Blair Castle, a rather gaudy, white, thing, the ancestral pyle of the Murray Clan,  the Dukes and, presumably, Duchesses of Atholl reside here. The Duke of Atholl is the only man in Britain allowed to have his own private army, the Atholl Highlanders. Keeping the main line loco theme going, Oliver Cromwell, following his Civil War victories, took over the Castle in 1650, ‘Bonnie Dundee’ is buried in the grounds, after being killed,   nearby, in the Battle of Killiekrankie, during the ‘Jacobite’ uprising. In 1745, the Jacobites held the Castle and planned some of their campaign there. However, I doubt the crew of either engine, in the photograph, will be pondering any of this because Blair Atholl is where the thrash to the summit of Druimuachdar really kicks in.

The Great Britain II tour, which took place in 2009, is, this year, the Great Britain VIII and the Duchess of Atholl’s stable mate, Duchess of Sutherland, will be covering some of the Scottish bits of the tour. His Grace, the Duke of Sutherland, had his very own railway, and locomotive, like his Castle, it was named Dunrobin – that’ll be the day when the rich have ‘ done robbin’ ‘.

Just off to the right of the photograph is an old water mill, fully operational and still powered by water. The mill, which can trace its roots back to 1590, regularly grinds flour, the owner bakes bread, from the flour it grinds, and serves wonderful home made soup, with generous helpings of the ‘home’ produced bread – nice. The link, in green type, above will take you to their website.

Levitation, not my forte, I was standing on the over bridge – but you knew that!!

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

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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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007 shaken not stirred

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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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No. 9 Main Line

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Chime whistle blowing and paint work gleaming No. 60009 Union of South Africa made quite an impression as she stormed out of Dundee at the head of the Great Britain Rail Tour bound  for Perth. Strange as it may seem but, at several times during preservation, this engine was to be found on a farm or in a parcels shed in Fife. The Lochty, ‘private’ Railway housed No. 9 and a teak Ex-LNER observation car and when not on main line duties, No.9 was, for some time, kept in a parcels shed in Markinch.

During a period, in the early 1990s, when I was writing a regular column, for the now defunct Steam Railway News, No.9 was based at Bridgnorth MPD on the Severn Valley Railway. Before a locomotive works a main line rail tour they  undergo a ‘fit to run examination’ carried out by an HSE appointed inspector. For the column I wrote, in SRN,  ‘Clag & Rockets’ I explained what this examination involved. I did this by arranging to accompany the inspector performing the, ‘fit to run’, on No.60009 Union of South Africa. Part of that examination involves climbing into the firebox, no fire in it, of course!! Once inside the firebox, a small hammer is used to check that there are no broken stays, so it’s quite a noisy exam.

 

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On the banks of the Silvery Tay

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This survivor of the mass culling of steam locomotives in the middle decades of the 1960s has a rather special place in railway history and culture. When the GPO decided to make a documentary about the traveling post office, (TPO), back in 1936, the then parallel boilered Royal Scot class 4-6-0 (4) 6115 Scots Guardsman was the locomotive used in the film. This is the film for which the poet WH Auden penned ‘The Night Mail’ – you know the one, ‘this is the night mail crossing the border bringing the cheque and the postal order’ etc.

In this photograph No. 46115 Scots Guardsman has just left Dundee and is alongside the river Tay at West Ferry heading towards Aberdeen, with one leg of one of the ‘Great Britain’ series of rail tours. The large white building behind the engine is the Royal Tay Yatch Club.

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