Tag Archives: Grosmont

Bit of a mis-match

On the 1st of June 1948 Black 5 No.45253 left St. Pancras, bound for Manchester, on the first of her runs in the Mixed Traffic section of the 1948 Locomotibe Exchange Trials. The other locomotives in her pool were the B1 No.61251 Oliver Bury and the Bulleid West Country Class No.34005 Barnstaple, which was crewed by Nine Elms pair, George James driving, and George Reynolds firing.

During my own footplate service I worked on all three types; and in the case of No.34005 Barnstaple I worked on the actual engine. All I can say is that putting the Black 5 and B1 in the same category as a Bulleid ‘light’ Pacific was a bit of a mis-match, to put it mildly. And it wasn’t the only mis-match. The Southern engines were coupled to LMS tenders during their running on the Midland and the LMS  engines were coupled to ‘Austerity’ tenders, when doing their turn on Southern metals. This was all brought about by of the lack of troughs on the Southern which meant that the tenders on the Southern engines didn’t have scoops.

However, despite these minor issues, the performance of the selected crews was highly professional, under what must have been challenging conditions, on a railway still recovering from the ravages of 5 years of warfare. And not just the hardware of the railway landscape and the p-way, but the railwaymen themselves who had been working on the footplate, in the stations, goods yards, and signal boxes, or on the p-way throughout the hostilities. To even be in a position, after less than 3 years since the war’s end, and only 4 months after the formation of British Railways, to organise and run the Locomotive Exchanges was, perhaps, miraculous.

The photo shows No.44806, now out of service, passing Esk Valley, on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, with a Grosmont – Pickering 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

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Different worlds

On a scorchingly hot Sunday afternoon I was asked, ‘what was it like, on days like this, working on the footplate’. Well, hot of course but, what they meant was how did we cope and how grim was it.   Bottled water, there wasn’t any of that in 1960s Britain and shorts, trainers, and a t-shirt, well let’s just say I never met a fireman dressed that way. I did however, come across quite few drivers who, even on roasters, turned up for duty in a shirt and tie – proper old school.

In engines with a very enclosed cab, it was often ridiculously hot, especially if the engine was in the shed and you were preparing the fire to go off-shed. It was equally bad on the ash pit cleaning the fire too. The term, ‘sweating like a pig in a lard factory’, was a relatively accurate, if colourful, description of the conditions. In the summers of 63,64, and 65 I was a fireman at Nine Elms on the Bulleid Pacifics and Q1s which did get very warm but, the BR Standards,  especially the ones with the big tenders, were fairly enclosed, and they were pretty warm too, when compared with the likes of an S15 or a U-boat. Once you got out on the road you could at least hang out the window for a breath of fresh air, between bouts of firing.

The really big difference between then and now is the attitude to alcohol.  Drinking on duty was a punishable offence, then as now, however, a very blind eye was often turned; and after a trip down to Bournemouth, on a hot day, a pint of Brown & Mild in th BRSA club, wasn’t drinking it was re-hydration! And right outside the gate at Nine Elms was the ‘Brook’ – The Brookland Arms, the ‘lock-ins’ were the stuff of legend.

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

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

Grosmont Action

92214grosmontxingedit1

On a fine spring day in the heart of ‘Heartbeat’ country, BR Standard Class 4MTT No. 80135 sits, simmering, in the bay platform, as BR Standard Class 9F 92214 steams through Grosmont with the lunchtime goods for Goathland. The driver of 92214 is just about to take the token from the Grosmont Crossing bobby and on the platforms, and in the viewing area, dozens of photographers are about to push the shutter release – just as I was.

It could, almost, be the last days of BR steam, circa 1964/5,  well apart from the bobby wearing a hi-vis vest and the all too shiny appearance of the locomotives. Once the goods had cleared station limits No.80135 would leave the bay, cross over to the down platform and be ready to haul the next passenger service to Pickering once, No.92214 and her train were safely tucked up in Goathland sidings.

The Class 4MTT, ‘standard 4 tanks’ were in fairly regular use over this very route during the last years of its existence, as a part of the national network, though I doubt that the 9Fs were, certainly not with any regularity. A few miles north of Grosmont, on the Tyne, the 9Fs did put in some very heavy work on the Tyne Dock – Consett iron ore trains, and a number were specially fitted with air pumps, to work the automatic doors on the hoppers. Consett steel works is now the home of Phileaus Fogg’s snack making business – but a few of the 9Fs, aka ‘spaceships’, still survive.

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather

A dirty job but someone has to do it

blk-whtsmokebox

As we all enjoy the beautiful images of steam at work in a whole gamut of settings, shades, and locations it is as well to remember that not everything associated with the operation of steam locomotives is picturesque – some of it is downright dirty, like this task being undertaken here.

Cleaning out the smokebox char is one of the most unpleasant jobs the fireman has to undertake. It’s hot and a little noisy too, the fine ash blows about everywhere, it gets in your eyes, ears, and yes up your nose and down your throat. I cleaned a great many a smokeboxes during my own time on the steam driven railway and I don’t envy today’s volunteers doing this job. The locomotive in the photo, Ex-Southern Railway 4-6-2 No.34101 Hartland, is a locomotive I worked on and one upon which I did this very task, during my time at 70A Nine Elms. In this photograph, the location is  Grosmont MPD on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, not the natural home for a Bulleid Pacific.

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!

Please like & share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutubeby feather