Tag Archives: Great Central Railway

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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Smoke signals

Battle of Britain Class Pacific, No.34081 92 Squadron, after starring in last autumn’s Great Central Railway Gala, will be gracing the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Gala this year and I’m looking forward to hearing  that wonderful exhaust note as she is put to the test on the 1:49. Even when it was me who was doing the firing I loved to hear them when the rockets were flying at 35% cut-off and full regulator.

There were, and for all I know there still are, some drivers who consider this to be ‘thrashing’ the engine – I beg to differ. You can really feel the power when they are being ‘driven’ along and often, if you’ve got your fire and firing right, they would sit on the red line mile after mile and the minute they were eased the safety valves would lift – with a roar! I worked with drivers who wouldn’t even attempt to make up time lost on a temporary p-way slack, even when they had all the power and steam to do so with ease. ‘You start rushing about and they’ll have you rushing around all the time’ was a common refrain. There may have been some truth in that; as when bonus workings were introduced this was exactly what happened – I just caught the very back end of bonus working at Wakefield – but that’s a tale for another day.

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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Pegged both ways

In 2019  it will be 65 years since I began writing down engine numbers in a note book.  For seven years,  in the 1960s, I was a British Railways fireman at numerous sheds including 3 years at 70A, working on the former LSWR routes to Bournemouth and Salisbury. After graduatng from the University of Leeds, in the late 1980s, I’ve written about railway life, work, and the railway itself, in books, magazines, and newspaper spplements, not to mention taking 1000s of photographs of  steam engines at sites and locations all round Britain.

Steam Age Daydreams began in 2014 and since then over 600 blogs have appeared on all manner of topics. The most popular one, by a long way, was the  one from May 2015 about my 105mph run with Merchant Navy Class Pacific No.35005 Canadian Pacific – the link below will take you to it if you haven’t already read it. http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/?p=1848

I am writing this to let you all know that when the current 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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