Tag Archives: K&WVR

Bits of the old L&Y

Incorporated in 1847, one hundred years before I was born, the L&YR was, for many years,  being persued, in predatory fashion, by the much larger London North Western Railway, ‘the Euston Confederacy’ as it was sometimes referred to. The L&Y’s resistance only ended on 01/01/1922 and a year later the LNWR too became part of a bigger whole, the London Midland & Scottish Railway.

The L&Y itself, grew by acquisiton and grew out of amalgamation and absorbtion – some of its constituents were, oddly, owned jointly with the rival LNWR. Not content with running railways they also had their own fleet of ships and sailed to Europe and Ireland, from Goole, Hull, Fleetwood and Liverpool. They were also the first British railway company to introduce electric trains; with a service from Liverpool to Southport in 1904.

Before the opening of Horwich Works, the L&Y’s principal workshops were at Miles Platting, just up the bank from Manchester Exchange/Victoria. Railway workshops are never going to be situated in the ‘nice’ parts of town but, they must have been a dodgy lot around Miles Platting in the 1850s as an entire locomotive boiler was stolen, ‘spirited away in the middle of the night’, from the Works. Quite how this was achieved is a bit of a mystery, especially as  road transport was still at the horse and cart stage.

The coach behind the engine is Club car 47, a classic example of British snobbery in action. A bunch of Fylde coast ‘business men’ persuaded the L&Y, for a fee, naturally, to provide them with what was essentially a ‘private coach’ between Blackpool and Manchester, just so they didn’t have to travel alongside the ‘great unwashed’.

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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War Effort

One of a batch 90 engines, built by LIMA in 1945, USATC No.5820 was shipped directly to liberated France and eventually became Polish Railways Tr. 203.474. It was said at the time, 1942 – 45, that the American GIs were ‘over sexed, over paid, and over here’. I don’t know about that but, what I do know is that 398 of these American engines were allocated to the ‘Big Four’ with 50 of them going  to the LMS.

Whether the S160s ever worked through Keighley or up the Worth valley I cannot say. The engines which were sent to Britain were shipped to South Wales and taken, intially, to Ebbw Jct. for dispersal to the other members of the Big Four, and some to storage in preparation for the D-day landings. Some of the early arrivals went to Doncaster for completion and running in on the ECML. The LNER eventually had 168 on the books, the GWR 178, and the Southern just 6.

Built to be ‘expendable’ the S160s did have their problems. From a footplateman’s perspective having only one gauge glass, and that of a an unfamiliar type, which was less than 100% reliable, wasn’t a good thing. During the first year of their deployment there were 3 boiler explosions due to low levels of water in the boiler creating a sudden crown sheet collapse; and a GWR fireman was killed in one of them.

To the right of ‘Big Jim’ is Ex-S&DJR  Class 7F 2-8-0 No.53808 an engine which would, almost certainly, have played a role in WWII, on the S&D. During the war a hospital train was stationed at Templecombe, it was kept in a state of readiness to evacuate injured and wounded from the South coast ports to military hospitals. And, when Templecombe itself was bombed, it was used to treat the casualties; five railwaymen and eight passengers died in the attack.

The photo, taken at this year’s K&WVR Winter Gala, shows ‘Big Jim’, banked by Ex-Taff Vale Railway 0-6-2T No.85, pulling away from Keighley with the ‘demo’ goods 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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Ancient and Modern

On the right is 1888 vintage Webb ‘Coal Tank’ No.1054 and on the left, 1951 vintage Riddles Britannia Class Pacific No.70013 Oliver Cromwell. Several years ago now, I wrote an article, for Heritage Railway magazine, about the Britannias, ‘The Last Pacifics’. On test, on the S&C, they proved capable of hauling prodigious loads and producing steam at phenomenal rates, using two firemen and top grade hard coal. I remember a quote from some footplate wag, when talking about building bigger engines, along the lines of, ‘they don’t build bigger men to fire them though.’

Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to fire a ‘Brit’ but, I did fire on all the Merchant Navies, a very high percentage of the WC / B-o-Bs, and even did a round trip Waterloo – Exeter, with an enthusiast special, so I know what it takes to keep a beast like this steaming, over long periods of time. However, we all started like the young lad leaning from the cab of No.1054, firing on a little tank engine; and at some rural depots or sub-sheds you might never work on anything bigger. The trade off was that these guys went home to their own beds, whilst the crews on the big Pacifics would be spending half a week sleeping in the railway lodging houses, and not just the crews on the Pacifics, long distance freight workings could also be lodging turns.

The lodging houses themselves varied enormously, for best part of a year I lived in the one at Old Oak Common, 24 hour canteen, snooker tables, nice little rooms, room cleaning service, all mod cons. Others were little better than a camp bed in a cubicle, and living in them would have been a prison sentence. When lodging turns were re-introduced in the 1990s, the crew were booked into hotel accomodation. A slightly more modern approach than a wooden cubicle with a curtain across the entrance and a camp type bed to sleep on.

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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Modern Britain

When the class, of which No.75078 is a member, was introduced in 1951 they were designated  as  British Railways ‘standard class’ 4. The ‘standard classes’ were to be the face of ‘Modern British Railways’, and 75078’s big sister, No.70004 William Shakespeare was exhibited at the Festival of Britain, held in the same year. In 1963 I began working on them, out of Waterloo, on trains carrying the very same headcode – Waterloo – West of England, and No.75078 was one of the ones I worked on.

One of the services we used them on were the ‘stoppers’ to Basingstoke, Woking and then ‘all stations’. They were nippy little engines and would gallop away from the stops and flew along quite happily with full regulator and 25% cut-off. I don’t know if anyone ever bothered to time these stoppers but we had a lot of fun seeing just how quickly the intermediate sprints could be done.  The first one was Woking to Farnborough which included the pull up to MP 31 but, a bit of a dip down into Farnborough as compensation.

The distance from Woking to Farnborough is almost 9 miles and passing times of 11 minutes, give or take,  for WC/B-o-B were regularly achieved with around 350 – 375 ton trains. A stopping time would, of course, be slower, and a smaller engine would, likewise, be a tad off the pace.  Quite by chance one of my runs with the 02.45 papers was recorded on 22/05/65, the locomotive was B-o-B No. 34086 219 Squadron, our start to pass time was 11mins.20secs and we went through Farnborough at 70mph, the load was 350 tons. We completed the start to stop Woking – Basingstoke journey in even time 23.5 miles in 23.45

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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On the branch

Through social media I have made the aquaintance of a Russian railwayman and railway enthusiast. He doesn’t speak English and I can neither read nor speak Russian so ‘autotranslate’ get’s us through, sort of.  Today he said, ‘we are the keepers of the railway’s history, you and I’. What I understood by that is that TOCs and the rest have come and gone, blown like confetti on the wind. Yet here, and before your very eyes, is an engine from what was once, by and large, the biggest company on the planet, the London & North Western Railway, it is over 100 years old and still in active service, this is the very essence of his remark.

The locomotive, FW Webb’s ‘coal tank’, 0-6-2T No.1054 is hauling coaches which belonged to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway and they are all travelling along, what is today, the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, a line originally built by the Midland Railway. These companies, the Midland, L&YR, and LNWR, in the fullness of time became the London Midland and Scottish Railway and eventually a part of the nationalised British Railways.  This history though, isn’t simply one of dates rolling stock and locomotive it involves the lives of millions, of our parents, grand parents and their grand parents too.  From the poorest navvy camped in a ‘sod hut’ on Shap to the ‘finest’ in their wing collared shirts at Euston – it is their history we keep alive.

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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Neither Somerset nor Dorset

Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway No.88, now No. 53808, was built in Darlington, by Robert Stephenson & Co., in 1925. The first 6 engines in the class were introduced in 1914, to work the coal and goods traffic on the heavily graded route over the Mendip Hills. In 1925, post-Grouping, 5 more were ordered and No.53808 was one of them, which, I suppose, would make her an LMS rather than S&DJR engine. No.53808 was a one shed engine, allocated new to Bath Green Park where she remained  until withdrawn in March 1964.

Despatched to Woodhams scrapyard she was saved by the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust; and is usaully to be found at work on the West Somerset Railway. However, in the photograph she is en-route to Ingrow with the 14:20 goods from Keighley; the banker is K&WVR resident, Ex-Taff Vale Railway 0-6-2T, No.85. In addition to their intended freight duties the S&DJR Class 7F 2-8-0s frequently saw service on passenger duties, between Bath and Bournemouth, especially during the Summer timetable.

Motive power over the S&D’s Bath – Bournemouth route was a mix of LMS and Southern, the line’s joint owners, and in the later years Bulleid Pacifics were a not uncommon sight. The British Railways 9F 2-10-0s were also used for a time and in 1960, the now preserved No.92203, was one of number allocated to Bath Green Park. The S&D was, to all intents an purposes, immortalised in the work of the photographer Ivo Peters and in the footplate work and writings of Bath Green Park enginemen Donald Beale and Peter Smith. It was very nice, to have had a distant echo them and the line they loved right here in Yorkshire.

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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Goodnight Olly you must leave us!

Blasting out of Keighley, well almost, actually a fortuitous slip. No.70013 Oliver Cromwell on her swansong gala performance was carrying the Master Cutler headboard, a train I always wanted to travel on. We would see it sometimes when we changed trains and stations at Sheffield, on our journey down from Leeds to Rugby.

What follows is a small photo essay -a selection of some of my favourite photos of No.70013 Oliver Cromwell, to mark her imminent retirement for a 10-year overhaul.

Here she is a Qourn & Woodhouse, in a scene straight out of the 1950s/60s on the very line I travelled over to Rugby and along which the Master Cutler passed. From the flat lands of the East Midlands, this next shot of ‘Olly’ was taken in the Highlands of Scotland, the southbound summit of Druimauchdar to be precise.

In this photo, No.70013 Oliver Cromwell was putting in the lion’s share of the effort, even though No.61993 Great Marquess seems to be making the lion’s share of the clag. Earlier in the same tour I was at Blackford, in Perthshire, to witness Ollie heading north with the climbs of Druimauchdar and Slochd still to come.

Behind the train is Blackford Crossing Box, a mile or two further up the line is the famous Gleneagles hotel and golf course. The station at Gleneagles, and departures from it, featured regularly in magazine photographs of Scottish railways.

For about a year in late 1963 through into 1964 I was a resident in the notorious ‘huts’ at Old Oak Common enginemen’s hostel, sadly, the only things I saw carrying the Red Dragon head board were Warship class diesels. If you put a few more coaches, and express lamps and the headboard on this picture …….

Still on the GCR we see Ollie with the TPO heading for Quorn & Woodhouse and the mail drop.  I dare say, that back in the day, the Brits would have worked their share of mail trains and with several, at one time, sheded at Holyhead, they would have worked the titled train ‘The Irish Mail’ Euston – Holyhead service..

This final image is Ollie crossing the Tay. In the background is Dundee and at the top left of the picture you can see a white tower it’s a war memorial and it sits atop Dundee Law, an extinct volcano. The Law provides a panoramic viewing platform for the whole of the Tay estuary, and around the perimeter has  a series of etched plaques detailing what features are in the landscape that you are looking at.

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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Absent friends and the K&WVR galas

With the K&WVR gala now only days away I was looking back through some earlier events, this is from a bleak start to the 2011 gala, Jinty No.47279 passing the entrance to Haworth shed.

Earlier still is this scan of one of my slides, showing the LNWR ‘coal tank’, No.1054, with the Metropolitan coaches, passing what was I believe, British Mohair Spinners, Ingrow Mill. The chimny is gone and the mill is now flats, no idea what happened to the Moes.

From Autumn 2011 and the visiting guest is Ex-GWR 2-8-0 No.2807 with the newly outshopped L&Y ‘Club Car’,  which makes such a contrast with the rest of the stock, is seen here, in ‘top field’, as she heads to Oxenhope.

In 2009, at the Autumn gala, EX-L&YR 0-6-0 No.957 plods her way into the loop at Damems with the goods train. No.957 is being banked by Ex-LMS 2-6-2T No.41241 which, it is anticipated, will be fresh from overhaul and in her K&WVR colours, later this year, during the 50th anniversary events.

Unusually, for a guest loco, No.73129, visiting from the Midland Railway Centre, was facing south; she is seen here, about to depart from Oakworth, with a train for Keighley, during the 2010 gala.

And finally a reminder of absent friends the ‘weathered’ 90711 which, probably, ended up as a million packets of razor blades, is long gone. No.90711 was one of the very last engines of her class to work over K&WVR metals and she is, of course,  No.90733 in dsguise. No.90733 was, like this years ‘special’ guest, No.70013 Oliver Cromwell, to have bowed out at this gala – boiler issues have sadly meant she’s retired early for her 10 year overhaul – let’s hope it isn’t too long before we see them both again.

With Dundee in the background, No.70013 Oliver Cromwell, with one of the GB rail tours is dwarfed by the sheer scale of the Tay Bridge. It may be some time before we see such sights again and I leave you with this shot of, No.70013 Oliver Cromwell, piloting an off-colour, No.61994 Great Marquess, at the summit of Druimauchdar.

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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Absent friends and the K&WVR galas

With the K&WVR gala now only days away I was looking back through some earlier events, this is from a bleak start to the 2011 gala, Jinty No.47279 passing the entrance to Haworth shed.

Earlier still is this scan of one of my slides, showing the LNWR ‘coal tank’, No.1054, with the Metropolitan coaches, passing what was I believe, British Mohair Spinners, Ingrow Mill. The chimny is gone and the mill is now flats, no idea what happened to the Moes.

From Autumn 2011 and the visiting guest is Ex-GWR 2-8-0 No.2807 with the newly outshopped L&Y ‘Club Car’,  which makes such a contrast with the rest of the stock, is seen here, in ‘top field’, as she heads to Oxenhope.

In 2009, at the Autumn gala, EX-L&YR 0-6-0 No.957 plods her way into the loop at Damems with the goods train. No.957 is being banked by Ex-LMS 2-6-2T No.41241 which, it is anticipated, will be fresh from overhaul and in her K&WVR colours, later this year, during the 50th anniversary events.

Unusually, for a guest loco, No.73129, visiting from the Midland Railway Centre, was facing south; she is seen here, about to depart from Oakworth, with a train for Keighley, during the 2010 gala.

And finally a reminder of absent friends the ‘weathered’ 90711 which, probably, ended up as a million packets of razor blades, is long gone. No.90711 was one of the very last engines of her class to work over K&WVR metals and she is, of course,  No.90733 in dsguise. No.90733 was, like this years ‘special’ guest, No.70013 Oliver Cromwell, to have bowed out at this gala – boiler issues have sadly meant she’s retired early for her 10 year overhaul – let’s hope it isn’t too long before we see them both again.

With Dundee in the background, No.70013 Oliver Cromwell, with one of the GB rail tours is dwarfed by the sheer scale of the Tay Bridge. It may be some time before we see such sights again and I leave you with this shot of, No.70013 Oliver Cromwell, piloting an off-colour, No.61994 Great Marquess, at the summit of Druimauchdar.

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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Where are they now?

Looking through some old files I came across this scan of one of my pre-digital era slides. It shows Midland ‘half cab’ No.41708, drifting towards Keighley, with the Vintage Carriage Trust’s Metropolitan Railway carriages – it got me thinking about engines which have run in preservation but no longer do so – No.41708 being a case in point.

There are, I’m sure, many others locomotives which have had their time in the spot light, Castle No.5080 Defiant, WC No.34016 Bodmin, NBR 0-6-0 No.65243 Maude and Jinties No.47279 and No.47383 come to mind- ‘pending overhaul’ covers a multitude of sins. It is 50 years this year since steam ended on BR and, despite the passage of half a century, there are still engines out there which, although saved from being cut up, remain in ‘Ex-Barry condition’ or have been given ‘cosmetic’ restoration to prevent further decay. Included in this number are Bulleid Pacifics, GWR Halls, and BR Class 9F, amongst others.

The other side of the coin, as it were, there are quite a few ‘new builds’ being undertaken and one, No.60163 Tornado, has been around for quite some time now, out on the main line and appearing on heritage lines too. On a slightly different scale the 82045 Locomotive Trust, of which I am a member, are well down the road with a new build of the BR Standard Class 3 2-6-2T to be numbered No.82045. In many ways the ideal locomotive for a heritage railway operation, and good for the crew too with decent weather protection when running bunker first – unlike the poor souls running tender first in the half-cab!

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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