Tag Archives: Manchester

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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In the beginning

I noticed, in a comment on Friday, that it was the anniversary of the opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, which took place on 15th September 1830, this contraption, the ‘Steam Elephant’ was puffing about around Wallsend – on – Tyne 15 years earlier, in 1815, and ten years prior to the opening of the Stockton & Darlington in 1825. Not this exact one of course, this is a modern day replica.

In 1813 William Hedley, along with Johnatan Forster and Timothy Hackworth constructed ‘Puffing Billy’ and ‘Wylam Dilly’ to work coal hoppers, over the waggonway, from Wylam Colliery to Lemington – on – Tyne. The really wonderful thing about these engines is that both of them survive, Puffying Billy, at the Science Museum and, Wylam Dilly, at the National Museum of Scotland. There’s a working replica of ‘Puffying Billy’ at Beamish Open Air Museum, as can be seen in the photo below.

Despite appearances Puffying Billy was a pretty robust piece of kit remaining in service until 1862 when she was first loaned and then sold to the Patent Office – subsequetly the Science Museum.  Going back a little further, to 1809, and we come to Richard Trevithick’s ‘Catch me who can’. Trevithick is a fascinating character who deserves greater recognition for his achievements and pioneering spirit. ‘Catch me who can’ was a sort of fair ground attraction and an attempt to raise cash. It ran on a circle of track and ‘riders’ paid a shilling a go – a tidy sum in 1809.

There’s a modern day replica of  ‘Catch me who can’, which was, when I photographed it, at the Severn Valley Railway’s terminus at Bridgnorth.

‘Catch me who can’ wasn’t Trevithick’s first engine, he had built one in 1803/4 for the Pen – y – Darren iron works and his ‘Puffing Devil’, a steam powered road carriage, ran for the first time, in 1801. Two hundred and sixteen years on from that and we’ve gone from all of the above to Maglev trains that can travel at 350mph, not 3.5mph.

I know nothing about the head swinging from the gibbet!!

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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A standard deception

The regular view of Goathland, with a twist, No.45344 is heading West on the East road – the eagle-eyed amongst you might have spotted the dolly is off. No.45344 isn’t bound for Pickering but for the loop. No.45344 isn’t No.45344 either which opens a whole fresh can of worms – the identity swap debate.  This debate has several sub-plots, how much of the original engine is original being the leading contender. That’s the thing about standardisation all the bits are, as far as possible, interchangeable and boiler swaps were routine.

Standardisation and interchangeability were important factors in the success of the railway venture. When the locomotive building business began even the nuts, screws, washers and bolts were hand made, the locomotive, if not an actual ‘work of art’ was the work of artisans.  Until 1841 the nearest thing to standardised was in-house, and then, along came the British  Standard Whitworth Thread. Mr. Whitworth was also involved with another vital innovation, the boiler inspection system, drawn up by the Manchester Society for the Prevention of Boiler Explosions, of which he was a Vice-President.

In the 1890s Whitworth’s engineering business merged with that of William Armstrong to become Armstrong Whitworth, and they in turn built 327 of the 842 locomotives to the design of Sir W.A. Stanier, which we call Black 5s, Mickeys, etc.

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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Railway Timetables – my part in their downfall Pt3

When going off shed at Farnley Jct. you first phoned the bobby at Farnley & Wortley  – getting back on the footplate I felt a sharp pain in my ankle, which I’d twisted in colliding with the young lad on his tricycle. When the dolly came off  we trundled, bunker first, down to City station to begin our evening’s work.

Leeds City station was, back then, in two parts, the old station and the new, the old station had through platforms, through roads and a handfull of bay platforms, over on the new side there were parcels docks and platforms all ending in buffer stops. The station pilot’s job involved releasing engines from the buffer stops, shunting the parcels docks, and occasional steam heating duties, amongst other things.  On some shunts you were right out on to the viaduct carrying the Leeds – Manchester line, and overlooking, the seedier parts of town. In my enthusiasm I had enough fire on to take us to Manchester – safety valves open and boiler full to the whistle!  I had yet to grasp the skills of boiler management.

My duties, apart from the boiler management, were watching the guard / shunter / dollies when they were on my side, and relying the info to my mate. Nothing too demanding but, as the evening wore on the pain in my ankle grew worse and it was  so swollen I had to unlace my work boots – things weren’t going quite to plan. By 10 o’clock things were so bad my mate had to ask control to send a spare man to relieve me – and my first firing turn ended in A&E.

The photo is of an engine of the same class  I was working on that night and is taken on GN straight at the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. No.41241 is currently in the restoration queue and the subject of an appeal for funding, if your felling rich.

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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Vintage LMS

We had a handful of these engines on the allocation at 55C Farnley Jct., at the start of the 1960s, when I was a cleaner / passed cleaner there; it wasn’t often we cleaned them though. There was a pecking order when it came to keeping the depot’s engines clean, first the Jubilees, followed by the Black 5s and the Ivatt 2-6-2Ts on station pilot duties and then, if there was nothing else, the Crabs would get a quick flick round with a paraffin soaked rag and some waste.

Despite its size, Farnley, at the beginning 1962, had just  two cleaners, myself and a lad called John Turner, there was also a small compliment of passed cleaners.The passed cleaners hated being back on the shed with a rag in their hands, and on cleaners pay, unless they’d got their turns in. It was rare for there to be more than four or five of us. The Jubilees worked forward the Newcastle – Liverpool and York  – Swansea services, taking over at Leeds City station from the V2s and A3s which worked the trains in from the North. The Black 5s regularly double-headed the Red Bank vans.

Much of the work performed by the Crabs was freight and parcels work and my first firing turn on one was with a goods, from Copley Hill Goods to Hillhouse Yard, in Huddersfield, in the wee small hours. There’s a nearly, might have been, in this tale too. The loco in the photo is No.13065 / 42765 and,  of the Crabs allocated to Farnley Jct, when I was there, one was No. 42766 and another was No. 42865, neither of them made it, sadly.

No.13065 is pictured, with a train of 1930s vintage LMS stock, climbing Eardington Bank on the Severn Valley Railway during the ‘Season Finale Gala’

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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Limited clearance

Ex-LNER Class B1 4-6-0, No.61264, is seen here passing Grosmont MPD, on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.  Two of No.61264’s classmates, No.61251 Oliver Bury, and No.61292, were used in the  Locomotive Exchange Trials,  2018 is the 70th anniversary. No.61251 Oliver Bury worked over the South Devon main line and the Midland route from St.Pancras  to Manchester. No.61292 did her stint on the Highland main line from Perth to Inverness, where she was up against the Southern’s entry in the trials WC class 4-6-2 No.34004 Yeovil.

Having worked on a B1, Leeds to Grimsby and back, and on No.34004 Yeovil, on more than a few turns over the former LSWR routes out of Waterloo, in her rebuilt form, of course, I know which I would have chosen; even if she did burn more coal! I also have a little bit of personal history with one of the firemen in the Trials, Bert Hooker, who was, by that time, a driver at Nine Elms when I moved there in the 1960s.

I’m sure preparations are already underway to celebrate the Trials, especially as one of the actual participants, Ex-GWR Hall class 4-6-0, No.6990 Witherslack Hall, has just recently returned to active duty.  My own ‘daydream’ celebration would be seeing a B1 and West Country /B-o-B giving it some 2nd valve over the Highland main line – Oh!  and some snow cover on the hills would be nice too!

If you enjoy my photographs why not have a look at my 2017 Calendar, which, for the first time, is being published by calendar company Calvendo and sold on line or by order at your local bookshop using this ISBN number: Steam Age Daydreams (Wall Calendar 2017 DIN A4 Landscape) / 978-1-325-22545-3

Here are the online links to it.:

http://www.bookdepository.com/Steam-Age-Daydreams-2017-Dave-Wilson/9781325225453?ref=grid-view

and on Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steam-Daydreams-2017-Wilson-Dave/dp/1325225452/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479291987&sr=8-1&keywords=steam+age+daydreams+calendar

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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Steam to spare

45305bdge

It would be easy to imagine that No.45305 was travelling at some speed as she bursts out from under the bridge, safety valves roaring, and,  everywhere,  steam billowing. And – that’s the thing about photographing heritage steam operations – it’s really an attempt to time travel. Remember when – well some do, many do not. There are plenty of young faces around the railways who have no experience of what it was like when, practically, all services were steam hauled – how could they, they had all ended before they were born.

Speaking for myself I have 60 years of history with this piece of Britain’s former railway network, having travelled the route, as a boy, on the “South Yorkshireman” between Bradford  and Rugby. I have some history with the Black 5s too – working in their footplate over the Pennines from Leeds via Huddersfield  to Manchester and to Morecambe via Settle, Bentham and Wennington. I cleaned a few too, most of the ones we had at 55C Farnley Junction, were kept clean or cleanish, in 1962, by myself and a couple of other lads – the ‘cleaning’ gang – not as shiny as 45305 tho’!!

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 my book “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

 

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Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children

“Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children” –  a different take on our great railway heritage from someone who has 60 years of railway enthusiasm, work, and experience.

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“Gricing” – 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!

 

 

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Balloons to DMUs

45305exloughmk1

When you look at this scene and think that everything in it is part, not of the national transport system, but of a tourist and leisure attraction, you begin to realise just what an enormous feat of industrial archeology it is. From the mail van to the trap points, the shunting signal, and the engine lamp – all of it has been rescued, salvaged, saved, resurrected to live another day as a working museum piece.

The recreation of the railway landscape, with the levels of accuracy and attention to detail, that some lines deliver, is phenomenal. Multi-million pound undertakings with assets in land, buildings, rolling stock and much more, yet all of them, to a great or lesser extent, reliant on volunteers, charitable donations, lottery money and public funds from every corner, local and county councils, National government, and the EU in order to have achieved what they have and to continue to do so.

Recently, I published a book about the railways and preservation in which these topics amongst many, many, others are covered in greater detail. Sadly, despite numerous people, on a variety of social media sites, asking if I was going to publish my work, when I did, not one of the folk asking if there would be a book, has bought one. An object lesson in human nature here I think.

There is also a tendency, amongst some people on social media, to assume that because they can comment they can do so in the rudest and most unpleasant manner they can think of. Often their ill judged and intemperate comments, point only to their own levels of ignorance and arrogance, usually both.

To those of you who have enjoyed my words and pictures,  this will be my last posting on social media. However, there is my book, if you want to read my collected thoughts on 60 years of railway involvement, at many different levels, and enjoy a hundred or so of my photographs. I will continue to add new bits and bobs to Steam Age Daydreams, so check in from time to time for new articles, photos, etc.

The printed edition of “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children” – is now on sale.

Below, is the link to it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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The Holbeck Scots

46115insch

If you lived in Leeds in the 50s, you’ll know the Scots were regular performers on the Thames Clyde Express, and the Waverley, the former running non-stop between Leeds and Carlisle. In 1955,  Holbeck MPD 20A,  had nine Scots on the books, including Welsh  and Irish Guardsman, but not No.46115 Scots Guardsman, which was based at 9A Longsight MPD, in Manchester. By 1960 Holbeck had become 55A and the complement of Scots was down to four and, as the swinging sixties began to swing, the  A3s were  turning up on the Waverley.

Speaking of Waverley – later this year we could see steam back on part of the old Waverley route between Edinburgh and Galashiels, which, at great expense, has just about re-opened, a proving train ran on the 8th of June and public services start in September, following driver training and route learning. For the steam fans there are to be a number, unspecified, of steam trips, after the public opening, ‘to gauge passenger interest in a summer service for 2016.’  The interest might be the 8 miles of 1:70 on the climb out of Edinburgh up to Falahill – make a nice debut season for No. 60103 Flying Scotsman – an A3 on the Waverley – how very 1960s!!

The Scot in the photograph, No.46115 Scots Guradsman, is passing Insch golf course, en-route from Aberdeen to Inverness, with one of the series of GB Rail Tours.

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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