Tag Archives: No.75078

Standard Stopper

At the beginning of 1963, when I first arrived at Nine Elms, I spent a short time in Link 4 with driver Fred Walker and these BR class 4s were amongst the first engines I worked on, No.75078 was one of them. A regular duty for the 75xxxs was the Waterloo – Basingstoke stoppers, calling Woking then all stations to Basingstoke. The key to keeping time on these services was starting quickly and braking late – and the 75xxxs were very nippy, ideally suited to this task.

When stopping at the intermediate stations, once the train had been brought to a stand, Fred would blow the brakes off and hold the train on the engine’s steam brake while waiting for the tip. Starting in full forward gear he would ease away from the platform steadily opening the regulator before reeling in the cut-off, first to around 50% before giving her  full regulator and then notching up to around 25 – 30%, by which time speed would be nudging 50. A mile or two at 60 ish and then time to shut-off for the next stop and a repeat of the process.

On my side of the footplate it was keep a good fire under the door, thinning to the front and top it up each time we stopped. Between Woking and Farnborough there was a bit more to do because of the climb up to MP31 but, once over the hump that was it; apart, that is, from the top ups at the stops.

The train engine No.34092 City of Wells was one of the dozen or so Bulleid ‘light’ Pacifics I never worked on during my days at Nine Elms but, on the plus side, the preserved 34007 Wadebridge was the very first of the original Bulleids I fired. The photograph shows the pair departing Keighley with the 11:55 for Oxenhope on 26 June, during the 50th anniversary celebrations.

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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The last batch

On the Western Section of British Railways Southern Region the discs, being carried by 75078, indicated a West of England service to Salisbury and Exeter. And these engines were a common sight on stopping trains out of Waterloo over this route, during my own time working on this line, in the mid-1960s. In fact, No.75078, was an engine I worked on quite a number of times on stopping passenger duties and on freight jobs, like the ‘banana trains’ from Southampton to Nine Elms Goods.

The last batch to be built, No.75065 – 75079 were allocated to the Southern, from new. They were  all eventually fitted with a double-chimney and all of them were coupled to the large BRIB tenders with a 4,725 gallon water capacity, because of the Southern’s lack  of troughs. Initially shared between Dover on the Eastern section and Exmouth Junction on the Western, many of them ended their days at Eastleigh. My 1961 Shed Book shows 2 on the books at Stewarts Lane, and 3 at Bath Green Park, which was, by then, under the Western Region of BR. On the right of the picture is Ex-S&DJR 2-8-0 7F No.53808, also of Bath Green Park, unfortunately the 75xxxs allocated to Bath, in 1961, were Nos. 75071 /2 /3, not No.75078 which was a Guildford engine and she is still carrying the 70D Guildford shed plate.

And you know that old chestnut – ‘there’s always one’ well No.75071 was withdrawn, in 1967, from Stoke. Nos.75072 & 3 were the only others from this batch not to end their days at Eastleigh; probably as a result of their posting, earlier, at Bath Green Park, both being withdrawn from Yeovil in December 1965. Amazingly 3 of this final batch survived into preservation, No.75069 is nearing the end of a major overhaul at the Severn Valley Railway, No.75079 is also under overhaul at the Mid-Hants Railway and as can be seen No.75078 is working well on the K&WVR.

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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During fog or falling snow to the box you must go.

Rule 55 was a mantra learned by every cleaner, an essential feature in his becoming a ‘passed cleaner’ – the ‘passed’ meant, literally, that you had passed an examination, on the essential sections of the rule book, that allow you to act as a fireman on the national network.  Rule 55 was one you had to know, Rules 178 – 181, generally known as ‘protection’ also had to be committed to memory. Carrying out Rule 55 was a commonplace, you always hoped you didn’t have to carry out ‘protection’.

All of which reminds me of an incident with one of these BR standard class 4 MTs, possibly, even this very engine. I was with my regular driver Eric ‘sooty’ Saunders, working the 04:40 Ex-Waterloo to Salisbury, on a freezing cold February night in 1965. The turn was a regular 3 Link working, these Class 4s were the usual engines and we’d done the job dozens of times but, there’s always that one, that one where it doesn’t quite go to plan.

The 75xxxs were free steaming little engines and the 04:40 wasn’t too demanding, two or three coaches and half a dozen newspaper vans, so it wasn’t the toughest of jobs, you didn’t even have to prepare your own engine, just step on the footplate at Waterloo, and off you went. The only downside to that was that sometimes the guys who did the prep didn’t always do things right, like filling the gauge lamp. If the Standards did have a fault it was the failure to incorporate electric lighting.

The term ‘stopper’ summed up the 04:40 perfectly  and after leaving Basingstoke it was all stations to Andover. The first stop was at Oakley, where the station is on a rising gradient, the second Overton, is on a small gradient of about 1:500 down hill. As we set off from Oakley the gauge lamp went out, it hadn’t been properly filled and the reservior was empty.  It’s bad enough, at night, trying to see how much water is in the glass, with a gauge lamp, without one it’s mission impossible.

The long and the short is that this caused, as you can imagine, some distraction on the footplate. The next thing I know ‘sooty’ has dropped the handle and we are sliding gently through Overton station and out the other side – ooops. No damage, apart from ‘sooty’s pride and, after a word with the guard and the bobby, we set back into the station – ensuring that the good burgers of Overton had their morning papers. Very much doubt if you’d get away with that on today’s railway, things were different then.

The photograph shows Ex-BR Class 4MT No.75078 in Damems loop, on the K&WVR. The fireman is just getting back on the engine having handed the single line token to the bobby.

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 moment of change

It’s all just about to happen, the bobby leans from his box to collect the token from the crew on No.43924, the guard and No.75078’s fireman look on.  When many of you reading this took up an interest in railways, this scene was played out, countless times a day, on single lines, both main and branch ones, across the country.  However, it was all about to change, before our very eyes, steam, semaphore and the bobby in his box disappeared.

The last steam sheds, works, and, as time went on, the great scrapyards of Barry, became places of pilgrimage; railway enthusiasts from far and wide came to pay their last respects and photograph it all one last time. In 1955 when the plan was hatched I was a train spotter, in 1968, when the steam and most of the semaphore was either going or gone, I too was surplus to requirements – redundant, after seven years as a British Railways fireman.

For more than 150 years steam locomotives had hauled ‘coals to Newcastle’ and taken us  from home to the seaside – in a little over a decade they’d gone. It might be said, that with the last steam locomotive being built in 1960 and their cessation in 1968, that they went in less than a decade. We were going to have modernity whether we liked or wanted it.

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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The 54s

BR Standard Class 4MT 4-6-0, No.75078, was one of the engines I cut my teeth on, so to speak, on the former London & South Western Railway routes from London to Bournemouth and the West country. A turn, on which these engines regularly featured, was the 54 minutes to the hour services from Waterloo to Basingstoke, calling at Woking and all stations to Basingstoke.

One of my earliest runs down the main line, after transferring from 55C to 70A, was the 19.54 down  a service which was usually hauled by one of the Class 4s or by one their big sisters the Class 5s  – it was pot luck which one you got. In addition to their duties on the 54s the BR Standard Class 4s also saw regular turns on the 04.40 Waterloo – Salisbury and on ‘banana trains’ from Southampton Docks to Nine Elms goods, I worked on them too.

No.75078 is pictured here crossing Mytholmes viaduct on the K&WVR. A long way from the old LSWR main line!

A further selection of my photos can be seen here: http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/?page_id=3378

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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