Tag Archives: OVS Bulleid

Another passing year

The Santa specials are almost run, Flying Scotsman’s return to active service is now just a fading memory; 2016 is about to become history. 2017 will, amongst other things, see the 50th anniversary of the ending of Steam on the Southern, taking a little bit of my own history with it. The commemorative events and publications are all in the pipe line from the Nene Valley event, with the return to steam of 34081 92 Squadron, to the Swanage Railway’s Bulleid homage at the end of March. Later in the year a new book is due to be published revealing, in detail, some of the highlights of those last few years of main line steam power on the Southern.

For three fantastic years, (1963/4/5), I was very much a part of the daily operations of the former LSWR routes out of Waterloo – working on all types of services  expresses to Bournemouth, ECS to Clapham carriage sidings, milk trains, banana trains and ballast jobs on engines great and small – ‘those were the days’.

The photo shows Ex-LBSCR 0-6-0 No. 662 (Martello) shortly after leaving Winchcombe on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway.

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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Marmite

34053awayquornOutside the gate of Nine Elms MPD was the Brooklands Arms – the ‘Brook’, was a den of iniquity if ever there was one, lock-ins, and card schools were a speciality. Inside the gate was another world altogether and one which, early in 1963, I was about to become immersed. I hadn’t planned to end up at 70A, that was just the way things turned out. My chances of becoming a ‘main line’ fireman at my first depot, 55C, were slim and the only chance seemed to be a move South were jobs were plentiful and railway shift work was rapidly becoming unpopular.

I had barely seen a Southern Railway locomotive let alone fired one, and to my eye, accustomed as it was, to the engines of Stanier, Gresley, Thompson and Fairburn, the Bulleid Pacifics did look a little alien. However, once I got to grips with soft coal, wide fireboxes, and the particular likes and dislikes of were to put the coal and in what quantities, I grew very fond of them, [Bulleid’s Pacifics], indeed. The hum, at night, of the Stones generator, and the electric lighting which resulted, the rocking grates which made disposal so much easier and above all their phenomenal steaming qualities, made it hard not to like them. And it was such fun, on trains like the ‘up Royal Wessex’, to hurtle through Basingstoke Station, it’s platforms packed with commuters, hanging on the whistle.

For anyone interested, I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, on many levels, 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: ‘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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Legends

30777castlehill

The location is Castle Hill, on the West Somerset Railway near Williton, an aptly named backdrop for an engine, belonging to a class of locomotives, given the names of Knights of the Round Table by the Southern Railway’s Publicity Dept. Designated, originally, as class N15, but more generally known as ‘Arthurs’ No. 30777 Sir Lamiel is a part of the National Collection. Designed by Robert Urie, for the London & South Western Railway, during WWI, building didn’t commence until after hostilities ceased and the first engines entered traffic in 1919. Following the Grouping, REL Maunsell, modified the design and built more locomotives bringing the final total to 74.

A batch of the N15s were built by the North British Locomotive Company, in typical railway style, they were known as Scots, (Scotch) Arthurs, to distinguish them from the ‘Eastleigh’ Arthurs. These engines proved a little troublesome when they entered service; the North British Locomotive Co. had cut corners, after under-bidding to gain the contract, and many had to be rebuilt at Eastleigh. Some of the defects included; faulty riveting on the boilers, 6 had to be replaced, faulty tubes, and mis-aligned main frames – just a few of the problems encountered. In general, the Arthurs were well liked by the crew and during her spells out on the main line No.30777 Sir Lamiel has put in some sterling performances, on home territory between London and Weymouth or Exeter, as well as over the West Coast Main Line and the Settle Carlisle route.

The Arthurs were the first British locomotives to be fitted with smoke deflectors, in a series of trials, which commenced in 1926. Bulleid tinkered with a couple of them during WWII but the modifications were later reversed. Sadly, despite my time at Nine Elms in the 1960s, I never did get to fire the N15s, though I did fire on their cousins, the Class S15 4-6-0s, more than once, on the Salisbury – Feltham Yard leg of the Meldon Quarry – Feltham stone trains.

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.

http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/

You might also enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running.

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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My kind of engine

34070ykbomo

We all have our favourites when it comes to locomotive types, big or small, passenger or goods, and this is how it should be – it’s our hobby – it’s about the things that matter in life, not money, power, or fame, but what brings us pleasure and enjoyment.

I’ve been away down south, the last few days, visiting my kids, one of them gave me a half-crown from the year of my birth, that’s 12.5 pence in today’s money. Back when I was a kid, this tiny sum of money would have bought me a brand new copy of Ian Allan’s Locomotive Shed Book, a cheap and cheerful version of the Combined Volume.

In those days, before my own footplate career began, I was very much a Northerner, I loved the rebuilt Scots, and Patriots but most of all I was inspired by the A4s which came and went from Leeds Central Station. However, when I went to work for BR a very different set of values kicked in, how well the engines steamed and performed began to influence the choice of ‘favourite’, every bit as much as peer pressure and personal idiosyncrasies, had previously coloured my tastes in ‘favourite’ engines.

Stanier’s Black 5s, those humble maids of all work, began to rise up the rankings, free steaming, reliable, many an engineman would refer to them as ‘the fireman’s friend’, and I learned why. The Jinties too were great fun and a joy to work on, as were those ugly ducklings Hughes’ ‘Crab’. And then I transferred away from 55C Farnley Junction and headed for the ‘Smoke’ – aka London. A decision which, to this day, informs my choice of favourite engines.

My home for 3 years, in the early to mid 60s, was 70A Nine Elms, the London & South Western Railway’s ‘top shed’. Here, along with the U-boats, Charlies, and Standard Arthur’s I was introduced to Oliver Bulleid’s West Country, Battle of Britain, and Merchant Navy classes – what an eye opener. I grew to love that chifferty-chafferty sound they made as they pulled out of Waterloo with 12 or 13 coaches heading for the ‘Sunny South’ or to the Atlantic Coast.

There’s a little post script to this. I went to 56A Wakefield, in 1966, and began working train loads of coal from the pits in the Yorkshire coal fields, to the yards at Healy Mills or dragging them over the Pennines to Rose Grove or Padiham power station. These turns were  the domain of the WDs, or ‘Dubdees’ – unglamourous, filthy dirty, wheezing, clanking beasts, they might have been, but from the fireman’s side of the cab they did everything it said on the tin – even if, in places, you could see through the ‘tin’ of the cabsides.

34070 Manston is pictured leaving Loughborough during a recent GCR gala.

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.

http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/

You might also enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running.

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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1st & last

60163&71000sseatsviasadd

‘The present now Will later be past’ …’ for the times they are a changin’ – these words were being sung by Bob Dylan, at a time, when I was a fireman on engines like these two ‘big beasts’ of the main line, the Pacifics, Bulleid’s in my case, on the LSWR routes to Weymouth and the West Country. In a curious way this photograph blurs the lines between past and present.

The class, to which the pilot engine would have been allocated, began construction in 1945, the train engine, No. 71000 Duke of Gloucester, was constructed in 1954. However, the pilot engine was actually put into traffic in 2008, not a rebuild of some scrapyard hulk, but a brand new, from the nuts up locomotive, albeit to the 1945 design by AH Peppercorn, with a few added mods to improve efficiency, safety and comply with current regulations.

No. 71000 Duke of Gloucester was not only rebuilt from a hulk but a hulk with some important bits ‘cut off’ by the gas axe, before her rescuers arrived.  Like No.60163 Tornado, No.71000 Duke of Gloucester, picked up some ‘mods’ which made her more efficient and improved her performance – you might say, that in the Duke’s case, ‘the past now has been made present’. Though in typical fashion, for all things railway, both locomotives are currently inactive, No. 60163 Tornado is under going a major overhaul and will be back. No. 71000 needs major repairs and her future is somewhat less than assured – maybe she’s on someone’s letter to Santa and the money and manpower will ride to her rescue – again.

There’s even a past present link to the location of the photograph. The site is Summerseats viaduct which was a popular photographic location alongside the East Lancashire Railway between Summerseats and Ramsbottom. However, the site has now become so overgrown that the shot of the locomotives on the viaduct has gone, all that remains is the very tight head on shot. You can just see the viaduct safety rails below the exhaust from No.60163 Tornado.

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