Tag Archives: No.60163 Tornado

A day of two halves

The day was set fair – bit breezy, but cold and bright and there were runs North and South over the S&C; with 60163 Tornado going north with the North Briton and 45699 Galatea heading the Winter Cumbrian Moutain Express south. First stop Lunds viaduct, about a mile and a half beyond Garsdale, for 60163 Tornado. However, the best laid plans and all that, because, instead of 60163 at the head of 12 coaches we were presented with, what is colloquially known as a ‘Shed’ – No.66014 piloting 60163 Tornado. The reason for this was an electrical failure connected with the TWPS. Someone did kindly point out that the resulting picture does have rarity value but, this is scant reward for the effort involved. All was not lost though as the south bound run was yet to come. And as you can see from the photo the sun god was shining, a little less breeze would have been nice – but hey, you can’t have it all!!

Shed, steam, and sun, as you can see not quite the desired effect!  Some folk suggested that I photoshop the ‘Shed’ out of the photo however, there was one suggestion, from Phil Cowle, which I do like; “I’ll just choose to believe the 66 was sick and Tornado came up from behind and banked it to a siding!!”  You can see the headlines in the steam comics – “Tornado rescues stricken Shed”, “Thunderbird ‘Tornado’ is go” – or something along those lines!!

The good news for anyone with tickets for the Tornado event at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway is that, according to my source, she was going to the NYMR once the train arrived at Tyne Yard, where she was booked to leave the train. The TPWS fault should not prevent her from working over the moors line.

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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2017 A personal review

A year of firsts and farewells, though for me 2017 was the year of the ‘End of Southern Steam’; an event celebrated, if that’s the right word, at quite a few heritage lines; and I very much enjoyed seeing Nos. 34081 92 Squadron and 34053 Sir Keith Park, at the Great Central Railway’s offering.  There was even a brief glimpse of No.73156 running as No.73084 Tintagel, like Nos. 34081 and 34053, another engine I’d worked on back in the 60s.

No.73156 / 73084 was one of the firsts too, as she was making her debut appearance after being rescued from Dai Woodhams yard in Barry and restored to operational condition at Loughborough. Sadly, teething problems with the brakes curtailed her official workings, to just one passenger turn on the first day of the gala.

Earlier, in February, there was a bold experiment on the Settle & Carlisle line with No.60163 Tornado hauling regular service trains, for a 3 day spell, between Skipton and Appleby. There were two runs each day and I managed to photograph the first return working, at Selside, on Valentine’s Day. No.60163 also set a first, being given a trial run at 100mph on the ECML, a thrill for all concerned, I’m sure. The data being gathered was intended to support the case for raising the speed limit for steam, on the main line, from 75mph to 90mph.

Sticking with the main line theme, 2017 saw the S&C officially re-opened, after major repairs, with a run behind No.60103 Flying Scotsman, to Carlisle and the S&C also saw main line stalwart, No.46115 Scots Guardsman, bow out when her boiler ticket expired in August – she is pictured at the top of the article, at Kirkby Stephen station , on her last run over the S&C.

No.60103 Flying Scotsman, crossing Lunds viaduct, on the S&C.

Being a Leeds lad I’m rather fond of the Scots which, for many years, were the principal express engines on the former LMS / MR /LNWR routes in and out of the City. In line to replace her, out on the main line, is another engine steaming for the first time since being saved from the scrap yard, No.35018 British India Line, and again one of the engines I have fired on passenger services, out of Waterloo, in the 60s.

Continuing the Southern theme, I never worked on the Schools, though there were several in store at 70A when I started there. 2017 saw Schools Class, No.926 Repton, return to traffic on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, following her ten year overhaul. She is pictured above, slogging up the last half mile of the steep climb from Grosmont to Goathland during the NYMR gala.

On a personal note, I made my first ever visit to the narrow gauge system at Threlkeld Quarry, a little gem in the midst of some wonderful scenery. The locomotive in the photograph is, Sir Tom, a Bagnall 0-4-0ST of 1926 vintage. Sir Tom was employed at BICC in Kent until 1968 and moved to Threlkeld in 2001. Sir Tom was overhauled and rebuilt at Threlkeld and re-entered traffic in 2010.

As the year drew to a close it was farewell to Black 5 No.44806 at the NYMR and No.7812 Erlestoke Manor at the Severn Valley. No.61994 The Great Marquess, and shortly No.60009 Union of South Africa, are to become museum exhibits, no longer gracing the main lines and flying a flag for the LNER, which is sad, especially as the locomotives, of constituents of the LNER, are few in number when compared with the other members of the Big Four.

Not to end on sour note No.7812 Erlestoke Manor, pictured above approaching Bewdley tunnel with a Bridgnorth – Kidderminster service, is to have a fast track overhaul and is expected back by 2020. Good progress is being made with the new build No.82045, a project of which I’m a keen supporter. The 82xxxs were great fun to work on and the ideal engine for a heritage railway operation. I’m very much looking forward to seeing and photographing the finished item.

All of you, I’m sure, have your own highlights from 2017 and I could have added a few more of my own, seeing the Steam Elephant in operation at Beamish was a treat, as was having the Tanfield Railway just 15 minutes drive away, and I leave you with one of my favourite shots from Tanfield in 2017.

Keighley Gasworks No.2, with Bobgins cabin in the background, is heading for Andrews House with a train from East Tanfield.

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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Very Windy

Tornado, ‘very windy’ ha, ha, but, as you can see from the sideways exhaust, it was very windy. I have often wondered if the chaps who do the timing logs add this into their calaculations when they work out draw bar horse power. I don’t know the formula for such things but, when running into a cross/head wind, what I do know is you burned a lot more coal.

I wrote a book about ‘Racing Trains’, covering the 1895 Railway Races to the North and the sensation they created at the time. Timing and logging runs has been around for a while, and in an era where there were no speedometers fitted to the locomotive, it was the stop watch which was the only method of determing the exact speed. However, when, as it inevitably did, this activity extend beyond the timing of special runs, to recording the everyday work of the crews on the fastest services it takes on a different aspect.

In these circumstances it was particular crews who were followed; drivers who would run hard and fast had bands of followers who knew which duties they were on and which trains they woud be working. However, there is no shortage of published runs where the actual crew were, and remain, anonymous; the vast majority of the published logs never gave the fireman any credit, which, given the vital role he plays, is a little odd. Being knowlegeable about the railway and the footplate isn’t the same as actually being a footplateman at work on it. The ability to deliver maximum power outputs, over sustained periods, isn’t so much about the engineering genius of the design but the symbiotic relationship between the crew and the locomotive.

No.60163 Tornado is pictured, during a visit to the North Yorksire Moors Railway, at Moorgates, with a train fr Pickering.

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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Ton ups – then & now

Like many of you, I dare say, I watched the programme about No.60163 Tornado doing a ton on the ECML, and, for the telly, it wasn’t a bad effort. By coincidence the programme was broadcast exactly 52 years after my own ton up moment on the LSWR main line on the night of May 15th 1965, with locomotive No.35005 Canadian Pacific.

The first, and probably most notable difference was there was no day long fitness to run exam;  No.35005’s exam was made by the driver in the course of oiling up. There were no special preparations of any sort, it was a regular turn, the 21:20 Waterloo – Weymouth mails. Driver, Gordon Hooper, wasn’t my regular mate and he never said a word about record setting or doing the ton – we did both.  However, some things were very similar, both engines rode well at speed and though I didn’t have a second fireman, I did have Inspector Brian Smith working the fire doors for me.

There wasn’t an invited audience, Press pack, or camera crew but, there were a number of performance loggers riding in the train; no GPS either, back then, it was all done with stop watches, tablets were what the bobby or the doctor gave you. We didn’t get three chances to reach the ton, just the one before we had to slam the brakes on to stop at Winchester.  By this point we were less than half-way through our working day. We worked the train forward from Winchester to Southampton where we were relieved – and then worked back to Waterloo. Just another day at the office – well not quite!

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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Pennine Tornado

Thirteen on and not a Box to be seen. Running 12 minutes late and a long way short of the ‘ton’, No.60163 Tornado is seen here, crossing Lunds viaduct, a couple of miles beyond Garsdale. The weather wasn’t quite  the forecast ‘bright’ day and there was a nippy breeze. Despite the glum weather and the bleak surroundings I wasn’t the only soul on the hill side, such is the lure of steam, even new build.

When you see these wild fells, where even trees are in short supply, you can scarcely believe that men, with little more than picks and shovels, donkeys and dynamite, built a double track railway across them. This section was part of Contract No.2, there were 5 in total. The contract was awarded, in 1869, to Benton & Woodiwiss and covered the 17 miles from Dent Head to Smardale, possibly one of the most difficult and remote parts of the line, Ais Gill summit, Rise Hill and Shotlock tunnels as well as a series of viaducts at Dandry Mire and the oft photographed ones Arten Gill and Smardale are all in this section.

When the diggings were in full swing 1,400 men were at work on this portion of the line, many lived in camps of wooden huts built around Dent Head, Arten Gill, and Smardale. Attracting sufficient labour was a constant source of trouble, as was keeping them at work. Strikes, fights with the locals, militia men, and the police were not uncommon, deaths were a common place, as were spells in Wakefield prison – one book on the subject, by W.R.Mitchell & N.J.Mussett, used the title “Seven Years Hard”‘ – a fitting epithet, for the entire project.

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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“19four feet eight and a half”

Ground zero, for most of today’s enthusiasts, is 1948, the year British Railways was created from, the war time ashes, of the ‘Big Four’. Battered by the blitz and,  the threat of bankruptcy hanging in the air, the creation of British Railways was hardly cause for unbridled joy. Yes, the railways were now publicly owned, but shareholders were still being paid, and Victorian infrastructure, locomotives, and rolling stock were all in daily use.

There were some bright spots, fresh paint and new liveries and the Peppercorn A1s  were rolling out of  Darlington and Doncaster works. The A1s were regular visitors to Leeds,  where I grew up, and I remember riding behind them on journeys to Peterborough, change for Lowestoft, and a fortnight at the seaside. Later, in the 1950s, 37B Copley Hill, had an allocation of 10, in 1955 – Nos. 60117 – 60120, 60122, 60131, 33, 34, 39, and 60141, I rode behind many of them on  spotting trips to Doncaster. Travel there and back on a platform ticket, spend all day at ‘Donny’, beside the ECML .and catch the ‘plant stream’ and then the train back to Leeds Central Station and a bus back home. And no one was any he wiser!

The locomotive in the photo, the new build A1 No.60163 Tornado, is pictured at Selside with the first of the Plandampf services on the S&C on Saint Valentine’s Day.

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

or: To celebrate the author’s up coming 70th birthday, you could grab yourself an eBook  copy of “Gricing, The Real Story of the Railway Children”, for just £2.99  – offer ends 13 / 03/ 2017.

This is the link to Amazon for your copy:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B011D1WBWY

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Selside Tornado

Saint Valentine’s day, and the steam, rail car replacement service, on the S&C, makes its debut. Like a great many others I went to see the first of the North bound runs, on which the engine is chimney first.

What a difference a hundred yards make – looming out of the mist A1 class 4-6-2 No.60163 Tornado with the morning run, of the Northern Rail / A1 Steam Locomotive Trust Plandampf, between Skipton and Appleby. The saving grace, if there is one, is it tones down the livery on the Northern Rail stock and I’ve managed not to get the Box on the other end.

In between the approach shot and this passing shot is another day, seemingly. Possibly another century, as it could be 1950 with that early livery and the Carmine and Cream stock /No.60163 Tornado’s support coach – in my dreams!!

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

or: To celebrate the author’s up coming 70th birthday, you could grab yourself an eBook  copy of “Gricing, The Real Story of the Railway Children”, for just £2.99  – offer ends 13 / 03/ 2017.

This is the link to Amazon for your copy:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B011D1WBWY

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