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.
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.