Tag Archives: P2

2001 – not a space odyssey

2001conRailway Magazine, January 1936, and CJ Allen’s Locomotive Practice & Performance, with additions by OS Nock, is all about the P2s and, in particular, over the Edinburgh to Aberdeen route.  Train loadings in the detailed running logs were in the 475 to 500 ton range, over a very difficult stretch of railway – the very loads and railway these engines were designed for.  The ‘performances’ ranged from ‘a little disappointing’ to ‘very fine’ and seem to have been determined as much by the driver’s intentions as engine capabilities.

The P2s were all pretty ‘experimental’ locomotives being built with different types of valve gear, boiler, and firebox arrangements, even the shapes changed, some were built with Gresley’s ‘classic’ Bugatti style streamling, others, like No.2001 Cock O’ the North, began life with the V front design, as pictured, and then became streamlined.  In 1943 / 44 Gresley’s successor Edward Thompson rebuilt them all as A2 class 4-6-2s, a choice which was not without some rancour and division, but I am not going to add to it.

On the subject of rancour and division; one of the original P2s was named after one of the most unpleasant members of the Scottish ‘nobility’ ‘Wolf of Badenoch’, a.k.a Alexander Stewart, 1st Earl of Buchan. Wolf of Badenoch, it seems, was a bit of a ladies man and not very fond of stroppy churchmen. His run in with Bishop Burr, Bishop of Elgin, ended with Badenoch burning down Elgin cathedral, a church, and monastic ‘hospital’. In today’s more enlightened times, a new P2 is under construction, by the same  dedicated group of enthusiasts, who built No.60163 Tornado – we can only wish them well.

Some of you might be interested to know that my book, Railway Tales, about my own footplate work during the last years of BR steam, is now available as an ebook here’s the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Railway-Tales-C-D-Wilson-ebook/dp/B07H38XV1V/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536155603&sr=1-2&keywords=railway+tales+ebook

Steam Age Daydreams began in 2014 and since then over 600 blogs have appeared on all manner of railway topics.  They are all still available to read in the ‘Archive’ section. I am writing this to let you all know that when the existing webhosting contract expires in December there are, currently, no plans to renew it – Steam Age Daydreams will cease.


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Under the hopper


Hello, and welcome to 2015. This year the first two, standard gauge, lines to begin operation using volunteers will reach 55 – the Middleton and Bluebell Railways started their new incarnations in 1960. One was a genuinely historic piece of railway, in a less than pretty part of town, the other a scenic route through rural Sussex, two themes, the scenic and the historic, which loom large in a great many aspects of heritage railways and their connections with the wider public and enthusiast alike – though for very different reasons.

In those fifty five years an industry has grown up, there are fewer hare-brained schemes, more, lots more, health and safety – the driver on 80135 is wearing hi-vis overalls, not quite the ‘old steam days’ image. Industry of another sort has grown up too, the railway preservation industry. This industry involves everyone from Chinese workers making plastic models of Thomas the Tank Engine, to British heavy industry, casting cylinders, driving wheels, and cutting the frame plates for new build locomotives, such as No.60163 Tornado, or the P2 which is just getting underway.

The larger heritage railway undertakings employ paid staff, utilise out side contractors, some sub-contract engineering work, in their own workshops, for other heritage lines or act as wholesaler, supplying stock for the ‘station shop’. I haven’t even mentioned the things like public liability insurance, infrastructure maintenance, or film and television work.  Local shops, cafes, hotels and B&Bs, printers who print the membership mags, flyers, and posters, caterers who stock the buffet and buffet cars, post cards and greeting cards, jigsaws, mugs, tea towels, souvenirs of every ilk, all this trade and industry from those lads with a trolley and a hare-brained idea!

Well done guy’s – from the muck of the railways tha’s made a lorra brass, for a great many people!!

In the photograph Standard Class 4MTT No.80135 is about to ‘take coal’ one of the dirtier railway jobs, believe me, the coal dust gets to places you didn’t know there were places!

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