Tag Archives: GCR

Blue Fish

Blue Fish isn’t some new internet business it’s the third van back, the one framed neatly by the lineside TPO apperatus.  Insulfish vans came in blue or  a grey white and fish trains were run ‘fast fitted’. On the East Coast the fish trains out of Aberdeen became the stuff of ‘legend’ and the Robinson Class 8 4-6-0s of the GCR were known throughout their working lives as ‘fish engines’. In the last days of steam on the WCML it was not unheard of to see the fish train in the hands of a Duchess.

My own experience of fish train working, circa 1966, was from Hull Docks to Healy Mills and our ‘Duchess’ was one of Wakefields finest Dubdees. My experience with the class 5 BR standards, like the one pictured, was mostly with passenger workings between Waterloo and points West. However, I did work several van trains from Southampton docks to Nine Elms goods with them, usually when the Union Castle line boats came in loaded with bananas.

Several years ago now I wrote a piece for the magazine Steam Days, all about working one of these ‘banana’ trains and, rather foolishly, eating green bananas. There’s a shortend version in the archives – ‘Bananas to the Beat’, if you want to read more.

Above is the link to Part I of my memories of footplate life in the 1960s. The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway is still  available on Amazon – Below, is the link to that work.

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

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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Autumnal Hall

Everything’s gone to seed and the leaves are turning – the season of mellow fruitfulness has descended and the autumn gala season is in full swing. This is the scene on Sunday last, at the Great Central Railway’s Autumn Gala, as No.6990 Witherslack Hall romps along the Quorn straight with a train for Leicester North.

The gala was also a celebration of the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials in which, No.6990 Witherslack Hall was not only a participant, she worked trains over this very line during the trials. On 24th June she worked from Marylebone to Manchester Central with the North Eastern Railway Dynamometer Car added to the train. She worked back to London on the 25th; again with the NER dynamometer car in the train.

Just as there are those who see the trials as little more than a publicity stunt for the newly formed British Railways, there are no shortages of those who see the closure of the Great Central as not only folly but, as the result  little more than  political skullduggery.  When 35005 Canadian Pacific returned to steam on the GCR; I had lunch with the MD of CP Europe – who, as a company, had just spent £2 million on a study into the feasability of reopening the GCR between Rugby and London – it wasn’t.

Still musn’t grumble we wouldn’t have the joys of main line steam on a heritage line!!

Above is the link to Part I of my memories of footplate life in the 1960s. The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway is still  available on Amazon – Below, is the link to that work.

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

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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Bongo on the mins

‘Who’s Oliver Bury’, I heard someone ask. He was Oliver Robert Hawke Bury, who was born in 1861 and died in 1946, before No.1251 was named in his honour. His first major railway posting was as CME for the Great Western Railway of Brazil. Bury began his railway life as an apprentice, under William Adams on the LSWR, in 1879 before emigrating to South America in 1892. Bury returned  to the UK in 1902 to take up the post of General Manager of the Great Northern.; eventually becoming a member of the Board of Directors on the LNER.

No1251 Oliver Bury, aka No.1264 / 61264, was the LNER entry in the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials. No.1251 Oliver Bury hauled the test train over the Midland route from St.Pancras to Manchester and return on the 15th and 18th of June 1948 and ran from Plymouth to Bristol on the 7th of July.

Above is the link to Part I of my memories of footplate life in the 1960s. The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway is still  available on Amazon – Below, is the link to that work.

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

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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Going off shed

The Great Central Railway autumn gala; Loughborough loco at 08:30 and the shed yard is a hive of activity. No. 70013 Oliver Cromewll, now in the last months of her boiler ticket, rolls towards the water column. Tank filled, she will run light to Rothley Brook and work the TPO set back to Loughborough.  A few minutes early the 9F had  gone off shed and was sat in the platform at Loughborough, waiting for the road, before moving off engine and van, also to Rothley Brook sidings.

The little BR mogul, No.78018, is already moving off shed, she was to have run down to Rothley Brook coupled to the LMS version, No.46521, but, for reasons unknown, No.46521 followed around fifeteen or twenty minutes later.  During the day I was listening to some chap telling us that there are plans to replace the existing Loughborough shed, a pretty basic corrugated affair, with a brick built engine shed of a more ‘traditional’ style MPD. Sounds nice and, as I understand that the present structure will have to move because of the reunification with the GCR (North), when the work on bridging the Midland Main Line is complete, it might well happen sooner rather than later.

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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Stopped for a starter

After being stopped by Loughborough’s advance starter, Stanier 8F No.48624 puts some effort into restarting her train of vans. It’s almost like the old days with the ‘healthy’ front end blow obscuring the motion, though not quite bad enough to obscure the driver’s view.

In my own footplate career, the nearer it came to the end of steam the worse the state of repair of many of the engines. There was a kind of ‘if it broke don’t fix it scrap it’ attitude; blowing valve and piston packings were, ‘minor’ issues, until they were so awful you really couldn’t see beyond the smokebox. And if that wasn’t bad enough simply finding the necessary footplate equipment, bucket, brush, shovel, fire irons and the rest was a nightmare. You might have to climb on half a dozen engines, or more, to find everything you needed; time you should have been spending making up the fire.

It’s the GCR gala again in a little under two weeks and they are paying tribute to the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials – don’t know if they are going to renumber 48624 as the 8F trialist 48189 which worked Brent – Toton freights in June and July, Ferme Park – New England in August and Bristol – Eastleigh in August and September and on August 17th and 19th ran Acton to Severn Tunnel Jct.

I have my own little connection with the trials having spent time on the footplate with driver Bert Hooker, who was a fireman during the 1948 exchanges. The gala includes No.34092 City of Wells – they should renumber her 34006 Bude, which worked over the Great Central from Marylebone to Manchester on the 8th and 9th of June 1948.   No.34006 Bude was a fine machine and here is a log of one of my runs with her in 1965. My thanks to Terry Jackson for the copy of his log of our run.

  • REF.18.0660

    WATERLOO – EASTLEIGH

    ENGINE       : Class 7  West Country  4-6-2  34006 BUDE

    TRAIN           : 22.35 Waterloo-Weymouth

    LOAD             : 3 coaches 7vans 3 TPO, 367 tons tare, 400 tons gross

    CREW            : Driver Gordon Porter, Fireman Dave Wilson  (Nine Elms MPD)

    DATE                   : Friday 14 May 1965

    RECORDER      : Terry Jackson

    Dist               Location                                                                                         Sched.           Actual           Speed

    00.00             WATERLOO

  •                            00   00           –  0
    VAUXHALL
  •                           03   52           31½

    QUEENS ROAD

  •                           05   54           45½/49

    CLAPHAM JUNCTION

  •  7                    07   29           43

    EARLSFIELD

  •                          09   39           52

    WIMBLEDON

  •                          11   27           56

    pws             21½

    RAYNES PARK

  •                       14   15           44

    NEW MALDEN

  •                       15   41           53

    BERRYLANDS

  •                       16   55           57

    SURBITON

  •                       18   02           63

    Hampton Court Junc. SB

  • 18½            19   15           66½

    ESHER

  •                       20   13           67

    HERSHAM

  •                      21   38           63½

    WALTON

  •                     22   43           65½

    Oatlands SB

  •                     23   39           64½

    WEYBRIDGE

  •                     24   34           70½

    BYFLEET & NEW HAW

  •                     25   37           73

    WEST BYFLEET

  •                     26   40           73

           WOKING  

  • 31            30   01           –

    Woking Junc.

  •                   01   39           37

    BROOKWOOD

  •                   06   43           50

    MP 31

  •                   09   57           58

    Sturt Lane SB

  •                   11   08           63

    FARNBOROUGH

  •                   12   04           64

    BRAMSHOT HALT

  •                   14   16           68½

    FLEET

  •                   15   02           67/69½

    WINCHFIELD

  •                   17   58          68½/66½

    HOOK

  •                   20   00         68½/67½/75

             BASINGSTOKE  

  •  30          26   09           –

    Worting Junc. SB

  •  5½         05   48           43

    Wootton SB

  •                  08   31           57
  •            Waltham SB
  •                  10   54           70

    Roundwood SB

  •                  12   01           72½

    MICHELDEVER

  •                  13   18           82

    Weston SB

  •                 14   52           87

    Wallers Ash SB

  •                 15   52           88

    Winchester Junc. SB

  •  22         17   39           92

                    WINCHESTER CITY 

  • 25         19   51           –

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.

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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Bringing the cheque ……..

“The cheque’s in the post” – but hopefully not in this demonstation of the TPO on the Great Central Railway, it really would never get there. My first ever shed bash to London, from my home in Leeds, was on what would be described as the ‘mail train’. We left Leeds at around 10:15 and arrived in St. Pancras at about 06:00. The trip was  an advertised excursion; and the cost of the ticket must have been very small, we were all still schoolboys. Like the journey south we had to return on a designated service at around 18:00, as I recall; more than enough time for a trip round the London Termini and trips to Stratford, Old Oak Common, and Willesden sheds.

I say we because I did the trip on several occasions and with different travelling companions. The trips, made during 1960 and 61, also included visits to Kentish Town and a futile attempt to bunk Camden. Surprisingly, in view of my later time on the footplate, we didn’t go ‘south of the river’ during these excursions.  In today’s social climate the very idea of 3 or 4 teenage lads, from a city in northern England would travel to London and spend several hours tresspassing on railway property, would have folk going mental – the tabloid press would have a field day and the PC brigade would have had our parents locked up. My how times change.

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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Gricing – The Real Story of the Railway Children

For any of you wanting to know more, or enjoy reading my blogs and the photographs, in them why not buy yourselves a copy of my book. “Gricing” 30,000+  words and more than 100 photographs.

The following are totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing: ‘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 “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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9F ing

In the back of my mind I have a memory of just one trip with a 9F, from Stourton to Skipton, where we were relieved and worked back with a diesel on a parcels train.  It was in a week I spent working on loan at Stourton early in 1966;  during a 3 month spell at Holbeck; before I moved to Wakefield for the remaining year and a bit of steam on BR.

The big footplate and firebox reminded me of the Bulleid’s I’d been working on a few months earlier. I don’t recall any drama during the trip and to be honest you I wouldn’t expect any on a 30 mile run with an engine more than capable of performing the task in hand. The really sad bit about them is that their flangeless centre driver keeps them off the main line – on preserved lines they really are ‘caged beasts’.

The one in the photograph No.92214 was at the time sporting the name plate ‘Cock o’ the North’, now she’s ‘Leicester City’ and working on the GCR ; no longer a resident on the North Yorkshire Moors Raailway, which is where she is pictured.

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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Passing time?

It started in the classroom as some boring old fart droned on about the square on the hypothenuse, or how many pecks to the bushel, (Google that one). Now I’m the boring old fart musing  about the passing of time.  I have to admit I quite like the passing shot too and sometimes the results turn out better than the shot you lined up for.

Passing time has its own railway connections, of course, and many a railway photographer is grateful for knowing them – it cuts down the time standing in a field, expectantly. It must be said that passing times aren’t published for the benefit of railway photographers, even if many of us believe that is exactly why they are!!

I passed a fair bit of time on the footplate of this engine, in 1963 and 64, before her premature withdrawal in 1964, though not in this super shiney condition, nor on the Settle – Carlisle line. My own passage over the Pennines was via Copy Pit or Diggle with Dub Dees and usually with rafts of coal.

If you’ve more time to pass, check out the archive, there are over 500 articles to choose from on all manner of time wasting topics but, no algebra.

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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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September 64

Regular Steam Age Daydreams supporter, David Fisher, very kindly sent me a copy of Clive Groome’s book,  “British Steam The Final Years – (Extracts from the diary of a Nine Elms Engine Driver)”, and in there, under the entry for the 1st to 5th of September 1964, I was Clive’s fireman on the 19:54 Waterloo – Basingstoke service. I must have been covering for his regular mate as the 19:54 was a 4 Link duty and I was a 3 Link fireman,  where my regular mate was Eric ‘sooty’ Saunders.

The engines Clive lists on the down runs were all BR Standard Class 5s Nos. 73043, the now preserved 73050, and the ‘Standard Arthurs’  No.73083 Pendragon and 73112 Morgan Le Fay.  Clive comments on my efforts by saying I, ‘Worked hard to good effect’ – which is nice to know. The 19:54 Waterloo – Basingstoke had been my first real trip out on the former LSWR main line, after I arrived at Nine Elms in 1963, that Clive had noted in his diary, 18 months later,  working with me, and on this turn in particular, makes his comments even more enjoyable.

The return workings, which  Clive also comments on, were all made with West Country Class Pacifics; Nos. 34025 Whimple, 34047, Callington and 34104 Bere Alston.  The comments about this were that all of them got up to 50 plus from starting out of Farnborough to passing MP31 but, No.34025 made it over the top at 55mph on 35% cut-off and full regulator – I must have had three shredded wheat for breakfast that day!

It is no surprise that I was working with Driver Groome, as No.3 Link was very much a cover Link with whole weeks booked “HR”, ‘Holiday Relief’. On these weeks you might find yourself covering one fireman for a whole week or for a different one each day and, as a result, you fired for  different drivers and on different turns each day. In this instance it very much looks as though I was covering for Clive’s regular mate for the whole week.

I do find it strange sometimes to be able to read about events which took place in my life, more than fifty years ago. Knowing exactly where on the planet you were, at what time, and, were my efforts with the shovel feature in timing logs, knowing to the very second, is so unlike the usual experience of the past where everything is so much less precise.

The Photo, taken at Quorn & Woodhouse on the GCR, shows BR Class 5 Standard No.73084 Camelot, aka No.73156.

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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