Tag Archives: Leeds

Coal and water

Looking very smart in her LMS livery No.5428 sits under the coal hopper at Grosmont; the fireman is just making his way up to the hopper controls. The blower is on and the lamp is already on the top bracket; after coaling up No.5428 will back down to the water column and take water before going off-shed for her turn of duty – the 12:30 service from Grosmont to Pickering. Just another day at the office, you might say.

I did all this countless time during my own footplate career, and, quite possibly on No.5428, or 45428  as she was then. No.45428 had spells at Holbeck & Farnley Jct. but, if I did do a turn on her footplate it was most likely at Holbeck in early 1966, after Farnley had already closed. I’m not 100% certain but, I believe it was on No.45428 that I worked a tea-time departure from Leeds to Morecambe, which if memory serves stopped at Keighley, Skipton, and then most of the stations on the ‘Little North Western’. I have a vague memory of being relived at Green Ayre and  travelling home on the cushions. It is a long time ago so don’t quote me on that.

Whilst I was at Grosmont, I saw the Q6 moving under her own steam and being readied for her trip to the Severn Valley Gala. Also there was B-o-B No.34081 92 Squadron, not in steam and engine facing Whitby – you can see her tender to the left of No.5428. I do hope they turn her before the gala at the end of the month.

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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Coach window

The East Coast Main Line, well sort of. All the ingredients are there Ex-NER fixtures and fittings, an Ex-LNER A4, 1950s rolling stock and it does go to the coast. It could almost be the Elizabethan streaking south through Northumberland. This isn’t the only fantasy though, as this particular location is to be found in Harry Potter movies and TV series, Heartbeat. It is the view from the window of a poll winning bus service too; The four times daily, route 840 from Leeds to Whitby, which won the title of Britain’s most scenic route earlier this year.

The idea that a line from Leeds to Whitby via York and Malton might provide a scenic attraction for visitors from around the world seemed strangely absent when the section of line from Rillington Jct to Whitby was closed.  Like the other East Coast line; the one that ran through Staithes, Sandsend, Whitby, Robin Hoods Bay and on to Scarborough which closed in 1965. This route was unquestionably a tricky one in winter when sea mist made visibility poor and the rails wet – but from Easter to October – well that’s a different kettle of fish.

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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No smoke without fire

How  very transitional, a steam engine coming to the rescue of a failed diesel, or even been given the job of piloting one. However, in this instance the diesel is there to alleviate the fire risk caused by this summer’s drought; though as can be seen, No.45699 Galatea was putting in a little effort too. And, if one can be thankful for small mercies, at least the diesel almost blends in; unlike the hideous blue one with the Union Jack, which sticks out further than a sore thumb.

No.45699 Galatea has just hit the 1:100 gradient, you can see that change about 4 coaches back, as she powers across Birkett common towards Birkett tunnel. This stretch of the line has, over the years, seen some memorable test running; during 1937 it was the turn of Leeds crew Driver W. North and Fireman H. George of Holbeck who with engine No.5660 Rooke completed the Carlisle – Leeds run of 113 miles in 115mins 38sec.  On that test run the section from Carlisle to Aisgill summit, a distance of 48.4 miles, was made in 48 mins 36 sec, the load was 305 tons.

On the marginally more difficult north bound working this same engine and crew made the Leeds – Carlisle run in 117 mins. In his book the “Jubilees of the LMS”, John Clay, (from which this information has been taken), notes that on the banks the engine was worked at 35 – 40% cut-off and full regulator. He also comments that the fireman was to be commended as there were no reports of steaming problems. Nice to see the fireman being given his dues.

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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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When the last fires dropped

50 years ago I stepped off one of these work horses for the last time, collected my final pay packet – redundancy beckoned. No more baked onion, cooked on the manifold, or cheese toasties done on the shovel. No more signing on at 04.00 for, a freezing cold, tender first run down the Dearne valley line either. The last six months of terminal decline did little for moral.

In my all to brief footplate career, I count myself lucky to have been able to experience a whole range of different workings from a humble branch line goods to the Royal Wessex. I fired for young drivers only a few years older than me and for others who had begun their railway service in World War I. At Wakefield, my final depot, even the link system was scrapped, because so many turns were now single-manned diesel jobs. All the firemen were put in one long link covering the remaining steam jobs and diesel turns requiring a second man. A situation which could see you working with a different driver every day you were on duty.

More and more duties were signing on and off at Healy Mills and I was spending quite a bit of time on English Electric Class 3s, not what I signed on for. Once I knew that I hadn’t got the vacancy I applied for at Blyth, it was all over. No fairy tale ending, no big send off, just mount the bike jump on the kick-start and go home. I didn’t even take a souvenir, though I do now have a 55C shed plate – the place where it all began. Amazingly railway preservation and operation has now been going for longer than British Railways was in existence and some of the preserved locomotives have spent more time at work, in private hands, than they did during their BR 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

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‘dreamin’ in the midday sun’

On a hot summer’s day a shady spot, under the trees, watching the trains go by is as good as it gets. And every school holiday from 1954, until I began working on the railway, in 1962, was spent, ‘watching the trains go by’ – it’s why Steam Age Daydreams, is “Steam Age Daydreams”. The following details, from a recently acquired note book, are for a trip from Leeds to Doncaster at Whit weekend 1958 – I could, quite easily, have been there myself as my own trips to Doncaster were fairly frequent – with the ‘Plant stream’ being a highlight.

There are 168 numbers listed representing close to 30 different classes of locomotives, including the ‘one of’ W1 Class 4-6-4 No.60700. No.60017 Silver Fox was another on the list – in 1936 she held the British record of 113mph, attained on ‘Stoke bank’, hauling the ‘up’ “Silver Jubilee” service. The other A4s that day were No.60025 Falcon, 60029 Woodcock, 60032 Gannet, 60033 Seagull, 60006 Sir Ralph Wedgewood,  60010 Dominion of Canada, and the ‘preserved’ No.60007 Sir Nigel Gresley. One of the half-dozen A2s in the list was the rebuilt P2 No.60506 Wolf of Badenoch. In amongst the A3s was No.60103 Flying Scotsman and 60110 Robert the Devil. The 7 A1s present included No.60113 Great Northern, the controversial rebuild of Gresley’s first Pacific.

The bucolic scene photographed is in the open air museum at Beamish and the signal box and station are from Rowley, brought here brick by brick and re-assembled. The locomotive, 1938 built Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST ‘Wissington’, is, like me, visiting the museum.  Wissington’s working life was spent hauling sugar beet from farms in west Norfolk to the BSC ‘Wissington’ sugar refinery.

At the end of her working life Wissington was donated to the the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway Preservation Society in 1978; following a lengthy overhaul she returned to steam in 2012. Both the Midland and the Great Northern were represented in the notebook, the GN by J52s and  J50s, the Midland, well Midland design, by 3F No.47405. There was also former GCR D11 ‘Director’ 62666 Zeebrugge and an Ex-GER 0-6-0 J69, just to round out the numbers.

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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Summer Special

July only – enjoy Gricing for less. From July 1st to 31st the Ebook version of Gricing is on special offer at just £3.99

Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B011D1WBWY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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