Tag Archives: No.92214

Fast Fitted

In Heritage Railway Magazine, some years ago now, I wrote an article entitled, ‘Things that went clank in the night’, it was, as you might guess, about the humble world of the over-night freights. Some goods workings achieved almost legendary status, such as the Aberdeen fish trains, which, in the later years of steam, would see anything from a V2 to a ‘Duchess’ turning up. The legendary driver William (Bill) Sparshatt, was reputed to have ‘run down’ i.e caught up, The Talisman with a fitted freight, quite what the guard thought about his wild ride was probably unprintable.

Leaving aside the legends, fishy and otherwise, the fitted freight was bread and butter work and much of it went on during the hours of darkness. The doyen of the V2s No.4771 Green Arrow was named in conjunction with the LNER’s fast fitted freight service ‘Green Arrow’ which had its initial outing as early as 1928, though 4771 Green Arrow wasn’t built until 1936. The LNER wasn’t the only ‘Green Arrow’ service on offer, the GWR advertised one too. Unofficially they also named a London – Worcester ‘fitted’ ‘The Sauce’, and the railway companies did not discourage these ad hoc names.

Surprisingly, in my own railway service, the only fast fitted I worked were the ‘Banana’ trains from Southampton docks to Nine Elms goods; none of which were ‘regular’ services. I did work a regular turn of fully fitted stone hoppers, which originated from Meldon Quarry. We worked down with a passenger service and relieved the crew at Salisbury working back to Feltham engineers yard. The usual motive power was an S15 and it was out for some hours before we stepped aboard – a very rough turn for the fireman, coal back in the tender and plenty of clinker in the fire.

The photo shows No 92214, a BR Class 9F, the last of the ‘Express’ freight engines, with a fitted freight recreation, on the Great Central Railway, near Loughborough.

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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It’s all gone mono

I’ve shared a few old Black & White documentaries or Pathe news clips recently and I have enjoyed some great amateur footage, on one or two other Facebook groups, all of which have brought back memories of my own youth and footplate work during the same sort of period – the final years of steam on British Railways.

Early 60s Britain was still a black and white world, tele was black and white,  in the cinema, black & white Pathe or Gaumont newsreels were shown, before the main movies began; gents wore black / charcol grey suits, white shirts, and black shoes, cars were almost all black ones – the only coloured bits were the ‘Pink un’ or the ‘Green un’, which carried the football results – no lottery then. Then, it was all about ‘winning the pools’ – 8 score draws -and Jackpot!! When I started at Farnley Jct. we had a ‘shed pool’ – it was a few pennies a week, everyone had a team and prizes were given for the highest score, most goals scored over a month, that sort of thing – it was just a bit of fun really.

Black faced miners were still digging coal and black faced firemen were still burning it. Tall mill chimneys and those of most houses still poured black smoke into the sky – on drab, cold, grey, winter days it hung in the air – ‘pea-soupers’ they called them, fog so thick it was impossible to drive in – and fog signalmen turned out to keep the railway moving – today it seems not so much a different world as a different planet.

The photo shows Ex-BR Class 9F 2-10-0 No.92214 departing from Loughborough with a train of mineral empties, in a recreation of what railwaymen knew as ‘runners’ and which the enthusiasts dubbed ‘windcutters’.

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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