Tag Archives: NRM

The Holy Grail

777blkwhtgdsNever did get a go on an ‘Arthur’ but, I did get more than one on the ‘goods Arthurs’ – the S15 4-6-0s, which were still in service in 1963, when I arrived on the Southern. Based on the S15, designed by Robert Urie, the REL Maunsell version gained a few refinements and lost a stove pipe chimney. Built at Eastleigh, the first batch of fifteen engines entered service between 1927 & 8, they continued in traffic until almost the end of steam on the Southern, a handful still being active in 1965.

Maunsell, like Urie, favoured designs offering easy maintenance a feature which extended to the footplate, Spartan utility pretty much sums them up. There may have been a certain sparseness about the cab, but they steamed well enough, and that’s what really counts. It’s a good few years back now, but I seem to recall a night goods turn where we worked down to Basingstoke yard and then worked back with the first commuter service the following morning. This turn was usually one of Maunsell’s engines, if not an S15, then a U or N class 2-6-0. The ‘up’ commuter working was usually a WC / B-o-B 4-6-2, sometimes a BR class 5 Standard – aka ‘Standard Arthurs’ owing to a number of them being given the names from scrapped members of the original N15 ‘King  Arthur’ class.

The photo shows the NRM’s N15 King Arthur Class 4-6-0  No.777 Sir Lamiel, oozing steam in true 1960s fashion, if not livery, with a ‘demo’ goods train during the GCR’s Autumn 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

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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The essential ingredients

cescoal&waterFor several years, during the mid-1990s, I was involved in some research on the Railway Races to the North and Railway Labour using the facilities of the reading room of the National Railway Museum. During my lunch breaks I would go into the museum and sit on an old ‘waiting room’ bench, with a sandwich and a flask of coffee. The bench was opposite a locomotive I had fired, many times, 30 years previously, over the LSWR main lines from Waterloo to Bournemouth or Salisbury and back. The engine concerned is the ‘sectioned’ display No. 35029 Ellerman Lines, and a fine machine she was too.

What struck me most, apart from the very odd conversations that folk had about the engine and what did what, was that despite being cut in half, and the motion slowly turning, so that the actions of valves and pistons were clearly visible, there was a glaring omission. In the attempt to show how the locomotive worked, and what its constituent parts were, there was not one word about the essential ingredients, no not the coal and water – it was the footplate crew who were missing. There was no explanation of how it was the skill, effort, and team work of the footplatemen that really made the steam engine steam and create the power to turn the wheels and haul the train. Nor, for that matter, was there any explanation of the countless others, fitters, boilersmiths, steam risers, etc. etc. who worked, behind the scenes, to keep the engine available for traffic. Just as there was only ‘half’ an engine to see there was, sadly, only ‘half’ a tale being told.

The photograph is at Andrews House Station on the Tanfield Railway.

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

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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ROD looking like an express

63601bridge1

No.63601, was built in 1911 for the Great Central Railway, designed by J.G.Robinson, and designated Class O4, she was originally numbered No. 102. These 2-8-0s were designed for heavy freight work, and a version of these engines was commissioned by the Railway Operating Division for use, by them, during WWI. This led to the class as a whole being nick named ‘RODs’ In normal operations it would have been most unusual to see one of the engines hauling a passenger train. No.63601 is part of the National Collection and is now, sadly, out of action as her boiler certificate has expired. She is pictured here on the heritage Great Central Railway approaching Quorn & Woodhouse with a train for Leicester North.

 

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