Tag Archives: East Lancashire Railway

“Arrer”

No.34092 City of Wells probably did haul the Golden Arrow,  the ‘Arrer’ as the ‘cockneys’ called it, but not hauling that coaching stock, the Golden Arrow was a Pullman service. I know there’s a Pullman train running around the Surrey hills but, what I’d love to see is a gala where not only do guest engines appear but, guest rolling stock too. It would be wonderful to recreate the Yorkshire Pullman and Harrogate Sunday Pullman, as well as the Bournemouth Belle and Golden Arrow, with appropriate motive power for each one. A whole weekend of gourmet Pullman dining and wining on board a 7 or 8  coach set of, all original, Pullman coaches. Maybe all the special events being planned for the various 2018 anniversaries is just the time to do this.

I’m not well up on my vintage rolling stock but, if it were possible, it would, I think, make a wonderful gala if there were sufficient rolling stock to run only pre-Grouping coaches with  appropriate motive power in matching liveries – an 1870 to 1920 weekend.

Early in 1963 I moved from Leeds to be made fireman at Stewarts Lane, the ancestral home of the engines booked to work the Golden Arrow. What I didn’t know was that practically all the steam workings at Stewarts Lane had finished, or that my little over 1 year of seniority would place me in No.1 link.

Sadly, the place was a bit like a morgue and the only steam I saw was a couple of BR 2-6-4 Class 4 tanks and a similar number of Maunsell moguls. There were a couple of trips up to North Pole Jct. with inter-regional freights, and the highlight a Saturday morning passenger service from Tunbridge Wells to London Bridge. The nearest I got to the Golden Arrow was using a dart to break up clinker, cleaning fires, on a P&D turn. And No.34092 City of Wells, pictured at Burrs on the East Lancashire Railway, is one of a little over a handful of ‘light’ Pacifics I didn’t get to work on before they were withdrawn.

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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Hillhouse Goods

After my first firing turn on the late shift station pilot, my next outing was a much more enticing prospect – a very early morning turn, and a run with a fitted goods from Copley Hill Goods to Hillhouse Yard in Huddersfield. Passed cleaners, generally, got all the turns that were ‘unsociable’; really early mornings and late afternoons where you were finishing at 2 and 3 in the morning – those were the jobs they copped for. I didn’t care, I was being let loose with a real train, not chugging up and down in station limits.

The journey is around 18 miles from Copley Hill, it begins with a climb  to the middle of Morley tunnel a dip down through Dewsbury and then rising again, from Ravensthorpe, all the way to Huddersfield. I’d ridden out over the route before but, now I was the fireman it was a whole new ball game. Our engine was one of Farnley’s allocation of Crabs, I no longer have my old note books, so I can’t tell you which of them it was. What I can tell you is that I seriously over fired and we were sat in Hillhouse Yard, at about 5 / 5.30 a.m. with the boiler full to the whistle and blowing-off. I wasn’t popular with the locals, I’m guessing.

I didn’t have a photo of a Crab with a goods working, but I did have this one, from a while ago, when the ‘Crab’ was in her British Railways livery. She is pictured here crossing the Irwell, at Summerseats, with an early morning Bury – Rawrenstall 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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Out in the cold

103blogLike many of you, no doubt, I watched ITVs ‘Flying Scotsman’, with Robson Green, last night. Imagine my surprise, when I woke up this morning, to hear that “103” was hors de combat and back in the workshop, in Bury, for ‘some remedial work’. My pal thinks the engine is ‘jinxed’ – he might have a point. I was beginning to think it was me. I went to photograph her at Bury, on a freezing cold day, she was ‘photographically’, the wrong way round and coupled to a diesel, because of ‘brake issues’. Went to North Yorkshire Moors to try again and, another failure. This time,  after reaching Moorgates, on the first run, the brake problems re-appeared.

Given the humongous sums of money that have disappeared into Flying Scotsman and the amount of loving care and attention which has been lavished upon her, the constant niggling problems do make you wonder if she’ll ever be right.

On a different note, it was very pleasing to see, in the TV programme, the number of ‘younger’ people who had been involved in carrying out the work on Flying Scotsman, and the pleasure and pride in what they had achieved. If steam operations are to have a future, it is these lads and lasses who will be be a part of it.  Last, but certainly not least, let’s hope the ‘issues’ are quickly resolved and N0.60103 Flying Scotsman gets back to doing what she was built for – hauling trains.

In the photograph, No.60103 Flying Scotsman is departing Rawtenstall, under a ‘yellow flag’, just visible in front of the smoke deflector.

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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Time’s Frozen Arrow

34092hasroad

This is our hobby in a nutshell, an ultimately futile attempt to stop the arrow of time somewhere around the summer of 59. A time when the real ‘Golden Arrow’ was still being hauled by Bulleid Pacifics and schoolboys still wore short trousers. No.34092 City of Wells looks the part in full ‘Arrer’ regalia, the less said about her train the better; the ‘real’ Golden Arrow would have been composed of Pullman coaches.

The Golden Arrow and its French counter-part, the Fleche d’Or, made the journey from London to Paris in 6 hours, ( today, thanks to the tunnel and TGVs, it’s around 2hrs 20mins), it was a ‘luxury’ alternative to flying – well that was the theory behind it. And now the weird bit. Santa brought me a bound volume of Railway Magazine, for the year 1959, and I thought I’ll see if there’s anything in it about the Golden Arrow. I opened it, more or less in the middle, the July edition to be precise, and there on the right hand page, No.475, was a photograph of No.34091 Weymouth on the very train and from almost the same angle and elevation as in my photograph on the East Lancashire Railway. If that wasn’t coincidence enough, the lower picture on the left hand page, was none other than No.34027 Taw Valley and in rebuilt form.

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, why not try my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”. This is the link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

Here are some  totally unsolicited comments from people who have 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’. – and from another ‘satisfied’ reader’ – ‘ 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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Went to see a Scotsman & came home with a Crab.

13065elrblog

On a frozen Saturday morning, in an icy Lancashire landscape, Hughes’ Crab, No.13065, hauling a nicely mixed rake of maroons and blood and custards, is almost the only colour to be seen. I had gone to the East Lancashire Railway, primarily, to see, after all the ‘fuss’,   No.103/502/60103 ‘Flying Scotsman’ depending on which side you saw her from, 60103 if you saw her head on. Sadly, from a photographic perspective, Flying Scotsman was facing in the wrong direction, i.e. down hill and, if that wasn’t a difficulty, the class 31 diesel, in EWS livery, coupled inside, was. It was pretty neigh impossible to hide the class 31’s garish colours when seen alongside Flying Scotsman’s ‘undercoat / War time guise’ – a couple of coaches in silver/blue livery strengthening the maroon MK1s didn’t do much for the colour palette either.

Yes it was nice to see and hear Scotsman and I’m sure when she’s all finished she will be fabulous. However, on the day I can only say I was a little disappointed, that what was billed as a spectacular, was, sadly, a bit of a dogs breakfast. And, to top it all, the weatherman didn’t quite get it right either, the promised day of unbroken sunshine turned out rather cloudy and then snow set in on the way home – nice, but not to drive through from Northumberland almost to Perth – so nil points for forecasters! Is that ‘crabby’ enough?

Oh! and here’s the ‘Star’ 103blog

No.103 Flying Scotsman departing from Rawtenstall.

If you’ve enjoyed my photographs and blog, you might enjoy my book “Gricing: The Real story of the Railway Children”

These are some of the totally unsolicited comments from people who have 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’. – and from another ‘satisfied’ reader’ – ‘ I was given what I believe to be your book called Gricing the other night.  Very much enjoyed the book if it is yours!’

This is the link to my book “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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Dressed Crab

42765summerseats

Trips to the seaside begin to be a feature of railway passenger traffic in the years following the Great Exhibition of 1851. That year saw Thomas Cook’s fledgling tour business take-off, after he organised trains from all over the country,  especially the northern towns and cities, to take people for ‘a day out’ at the exhibition. One could say that Thomas Cook practically invented ‘the day out’ and the excursions he ran to the Great Exhibition included travel and entrance fees in their cost – the fore runner of the Cook’s package tours, for which the company became a household name.

Bank Holidays were introduced in 1871 and, as time went on, many of the towns and cities around where this photograph was taken, East Lancashire, began to hold what were known as ‘Wakes weeks’. Wakes weeks were holidays where almost an entire town might decamp to the seaside for anything from a day to a week and the railway provided the means to get them there. Following Cook’s example the railway companies began to organise their own ‘excursions’ to ‘holiday’ resorts with Blackpool being a major destination for the Lancashire mill towns. Other coastal resorts benefited, or not depending on your point of view, from the growth of the ‘day tripper’ market, Southend, Brighton, and towns along the North Wales coast and Bristol channel also saw an increase in this holiday by the sea traffic.

Yes, but, ‘what about the dressed crab’, I hear you say – well, there are connections, albeit personal ones. My very first ‘main line’  turn as opposed to shunting or station pilot duties, was with one of Hughes’ Crab’s from Copley Hill Yard to Hillhouse Yard on a loose coupled freight working. The other connection, is that for me, a trip to the seaside is incomplete unless I’ve either had a dressed crab and salad in one of the local cafes or, at the very least, bought one to take home.

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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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1st & last

60163&71000sseatsviasadd

‘The present now Will later be past’ …’ for the times they are a changin’ – these words were being sung by Bob Dylan, at a time, when I was a fireman on engines like these two ‘big beasts’ of the main line, the Pacifics, Bulleid’s in my case, on the LSWR routes to Weymouth and the West Country. In a curious way this photograph blurs the lines between past and present.

The class, to which the pilot engine would have been allocated, began construction in 1945, the train engine, No. 71000 Duke of Gloucester, was constructed in 1954. However, the pilot engine was actually put into traffic in 2008, not a rebuild of some scrapyard hulk, but a brand new, from the nuts up locomotive, albeit to the 1945 design by AH Peppercorn, with a few added mods to improve efficiency, safety and comply with current regulations.

No. 71000 Duke of Gloucester was not only rebuilt from a hulk but a hulk with some important bits ‘cut off’ by the gas axe, before her rescuers arrived.  Like No.60163 Tornado, No.71000 Duke of Gloucester, picked up some ‘mods’ which made her more efficient and improved her performance – you might say, that in the Duke’s case, ‘the past now has been made present’. Though in typical fashion, for all things railway, both locomotives are currently inactive, No. 60163 Tornado is under going a major overhaul and will be back. No. 71000 needs major repairs and her future is somewhat less than assured – maybe she’s on someone’s letter to Santa and the money and manpower will ride to her rescue – again.

There’s even a past present link to the location of the photograph. The site is Summerseats viaduct which was a popular photographic location alongside the East Lancashire Railway between Summerseats and Ramsbottom. However, the site has now become so overgrown that the shot of the locomotives on the viaduct has gone, all that remains is the very tight head on shot. You can just see the viaduct safety rails below the exhaust from No.60163 Tornado.

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