Tag Archives: Kings Cross

“What’s your favourite”

‘What’s your favourite’ is usually followed by engine or livery but, in this instance it’s, what’s your favourite train? There are all the usual suspects, Caledonian, Red Dragon, Talisman, Atlantic Coast Express, or the Devon Belle but, in my case, it’s none of the above.  My favourite is not only not a named service, it’s not even an express, it’s the ‘paper train’. A couple of coaches for the intrepid travellers and a dozen or more vans with tomorrow’s head lines and the day after’s chip wrappers.

I not only loved to travel on the paper trains, I equally enjoyed working on them. During the 60s as a fireman at 70A,  I worked regularly, on the Bulleid Pacifics, hauling paper trains out of Waterloo.  Just like the TPO, the newspapers were sorted and bundled on the train as we sped through the dark heading for Bournemouth. The frantic last minute activity with newspaper vans, from Fleet Street, still arriving just minutes before the off – the final, final editions. There’s something about the footplate of a Bulleid at night, the glow of the fire, the humming of the Stones generator powering the gauge glass and cab lights, the smell of wet wood and steam after you swilled round with the slacker pipe.

There were other little pleasures too, watching the sun coming up as we went through the New Forest and seeing the deer darting through the mist, swirling about the forest floor, startled by our approach. My favourite journey on one was out of Kings Cross in the mid-70s. Having boarded the train I opened the door to a compartement which had the blinds down and was greeted by the single occupant –  ‘come in take yer boots off and fart a bit, we don’t want anyone else joining us.’  My fellow traveller turned out to be something of a raconteur and his choice of greeting had been the result of his reading Lenny Bruce’s ‘How to talk dirty and influence people’. It seemed like no time and we were in Doncaster and my change of train.

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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It’s not Yorkshire and it’s not a Pullman

1306yorkspull

The Leeds and Bradford business traffic was an important consideration for the Great Northern and later the London & North Eastern Railway. Fast comfortable trains departed Leeds and Bradford to take ‘people’ to ‘town’ in time to do ‘business’ before getting them back to Yorkshire in time for G&Ts. In 1935 the Yorkshire Pullman, which had portions for Halifax, Bradford, and Hull, left Leeds central Station at 11.14am, arriving in Kings Cross at 2.40pm. The down train left Kings Cross at 4.45pm arriving in Leeds at 8.13 pm,  the  Hull portion, which detached at Doncaster,  arrived at 8.15 pm.

One of my old school chums went to work, stewarding, on the Pullmans, when he left school.  I enjoyed a couple of free dinners on the Yorkshire Pullman, traveling back to Leeds to see the folks, when I was working at Nine Elms MPD, during the early 60s, thanks to this particular ‘old school tie’. The Yorkshire Pullman wasn’t the only London – Yorkshire Pullman service, the Spa town of Harrogate had the Harrogate Sunday Pullman, which ran during the 1950s and 60s and included a Bradford portion.  The Queen of Scots, also a Pullman service,  which commenced in May 1928, running between Kings Cross and Glasgow Queen Street also called at Leeds and Harrogate, en route.

The photograph shows B1 class 4-6-0 No.1306, now named Mayflower, sans Pullman coaches, approaching Berwyn Station, on the Llangollen Railway, with a Llangollen – Carrog service, before the new extension to Corwen opened.

Check out Sunday’s post, for a very special anniversary.

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If you enjoy my photos and writing - I'm sure you'd enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running. The links below will take you to it. You can read a sample for free and you don't need a Kindle - there's a free app so you can read it, and view the photos at screen size, on you PC.
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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A four Art Deco

There’s some comment about ‘history repeating itself’ and there are certainly parallels to be drawn between 1930s Britain and the current ‘austerity’ programme. Glamour and glitz in the 1930s was to travel by train, in rolling stock with Art Deco interiors to match their streamlined exteriors; trains like the Coronation, or The Silver Jubilee which ran between London and Newcastle, in 1935.

The first of the A4s ‘Silver Link’, painted in Silvery / grey livery, hauling matching streamlined silver/ grey painted stock, reached 112mph on the inaugural Silver Jubilee run, made on the 29th September 1935; regular services commenced the following day. No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, the engine in the photograph, also attained 112mph – post-war, and a small laurel leaf plaque affixed to the casing attests to this. Like the Silver Jubilee, the Coronation was similarly streamlined, finished in 2-tone blue, rather than silver, it ran between Kings Cross and Edinburgh. Departing Kings Cross at 4pm and arriving in Edinburgh at 10pm. During the summer timetable a beaver tailed observation car was added to the formation, which was usually made up of two four coach articulated units.

Passengers on these trains paid a premium above the standard fare and the London to Newcastle journey, on the Silver Jubilee, with an intermediate stop in Darlington took just 4 hours to cover the 268.3miles, about 67mph average. The Coronation took just six hours for the journey from Edinburgh to London, this was in 1937. Sadly the Second World War saw this service discontinued and post war the stock entered general service – ‘austerity’ post war style didn’t run to Art Deco rolling stock, hauled by Art Deco styled locomotives, hurtling along the ECML at 100+ mph.

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/   - with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.
If you enjoy my photos and writing - I'm sure you'd enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running. The links below will take you to it. You can read a sample for free and you don't need a Kindle - there's a free app so you can read it, and view the photos at screen size, on you PC.
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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