Tag Archives: Settle Carlisle line

Not delivering the goods

I’ll probably get stick for this but, c’est la vie. If I’d spent my hard earned brass for a ride over the S&C behind classic motive power for the route, a ‘Jubilee’, and I was presented with an 8F restricted to 50mph, I’d be spitting feathers.  And if I’d travelled all the way from the Home Counties to do so it would be more than feathers I’d be spitting.

The 8F is a fine machine and I’ve worked coal trains over the Pennines with them, as a fireman in the 1960s. Yes some were ‘starred’ and could, if needs be, be pressed into service with a passenger train but, they were still 8F, not 8F7P, or even 8F5XP. In the meanwhile a real 8P, in the form of Ex-SR Merchant Navy Class 4-6-2 No.35018 British India Line, trundles from York to Scarborough and back – What?

Still – not my engines and non of my business what turns they are allocated to. And it’s probably no more perverse than the LMS ? livery and BR crest sported by No.45699 Galatea.

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.

The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway will still be available on Amazon – Below, is the link to it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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Just steamin’ in the rain

I’m laughing at clouds so dark up above’; more like ‘cryin’ in the rain’, which was, at the time travelling almost horizontally. This is the north bound Waverley, running about 10 late, crossing Dandry Mire viaduct; just north of Garsdale station. The misty spots are rain drops on my UV filter – not a great deal of UV though.

I spent a little over ten minutes standing in this – how those navvies coped, in the seven years this route took to build, I can’t imagine.   Their diet was, reputedly, a gallon of beer and a pound of beef – whatever it was it gave them a constitution of iron to survive up here in all weathers.  The engine was carrying a wreath on the smokebox door – if I’d spent much longer ‘waiting for a train’  – I’d have been ‘stokin’ the boiler on a down bound’ one!

Things did improve for the south bound run – but more on that later.

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.

The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway will still be available on Amazon – Below, is the link to it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

 

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No smoke without fire

How  very transitional, a steam engine coming to the rescue of a failed diesel, or even been given the job of piloting one. However, in this instance the diesel is there to alleviate the fire risk caused by this summer’s drought; though as can be seen, No.45699 Galatea was putting in a little effort too. And, if one can be thankful for small mercies, at least the diesel almost blends in; unlike the hideous blue one with the Union Jack, which sticks out further than a sore thumb.

No.45699 Galatea has just hit the 1:100 gradient, you can see that change about 4 coaches back, as she powers across Birkett common towards Birkett tunnel. This stretch of the line has, over the years, seen some memorable test running; during 1937 it was the turn of Leeds crew Driver W. North and Fireman H. George of Holbeck who with engine No.5660 Rooke completed the Carlisle – Leeds run of 113 miles in 115mins 38sec.  On that test run the section from Carlisle to Aisgill summit, a distance of 48.4 miles, was made in 48 mins 36 sec, the load was 305 tons.

On the marginally more difficult north bound working this same engine and crew made the Leeds – Carlisle run in 117 mins. In his book the “Jubilees of the LMS”, John Clay, (from which this information has been taken), notes that on the banks the engine was worked at 35 – 40% cut-off and full regulator. He also comments that the fireman was to be commended as there were no reports of steaming problems. Nice to see the fireman being given his dues.

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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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50 years down the line

Saturday August 11th 2018 and No.45690 Leander  clears Shotlock Tunnel with the re-run of 1T57 aka ‘Waverley’ in real time. No.45690 Leander was one of three engines working over the Settle – Carlisle line on this auspicious occasion. All three were diesel assisted because of the fire hazard brought about by the drought. In this photo the load was being shared in what seemed to be 50 – 50.

By contrast, in this shot of No.45699 Galatea with the ‘up’ Cumbrian Mountain Express, at Birkett common, where No.45699 Galatea was putting in a little more than 50% with matching clag and a feather at the safety valves. And then there was No.60009 Union of South Africa – perhaps the less said the better.Some of you might have noticed Steam Age Daydreams has been missing from Facebook – it will not be returning. Please feel free to let other SADD readers know that in future all updates will appear only here.

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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Jubes

When I think back to Leeds City Station, in the late 1950s, more than anything I associate it with the ‘Jubilees’.  They have woven in and out of my life ever since. The Jubes came and went from Leeds to all corners of the sprawling LMS. On the Scottish services one would arrive from St.Pancras, in the south, and another would back down  to work the train north to Carlisle and Glasgow. The ones which came in from Birmingham and Bristol would be replaced by a V2 or an A3, if the train was one going forwards to York and Newcastle; a Fairburn or Fowler 2-6-4 tank was the usual motive power, if it was a service which terminated at Bradford Forster Square.

The Newcastle – Liverpools or Hull – Liverpools would run in behind A3s, V2s, B1s, and B16s from the North or East, and depart for Manchester and Liverpool behind a Jube, sometimes double-headed. For a period of several months in 1962 the Jubes working these services, or the famous ‘Red Bank vans’, the returning Manchester – Newcastle paper train, would, if they were Farnley Jct. engines, have been cleaned by yours truly.

In 1962 55C Farnley Jct. had 4 Jubilees on the allocation, 55A Holbeck, however, had no less than 18 and some of that stud remained active to the very end. No.45675  Hardy, No.45694 Bellerophon and  the very last to go, No.45562 Alberta, were all Holbeck engines at the end of the 1950s. No.45562 had been allocated to Holbeck in 1948 and for all but a brief interregnum at – yes, 55C Farnley Jct.  in 1964 / 65, it was where she remained until withdrawn in November 1967: she was cut up at Cashmores in May 1968. No. 45694 Bellerophon, along with another of the Holbeck entourage, No.45739 Ulster were, for a short spell in 1966/7, shedded at 56A Wakefield.  And during this period I worked on No.45694 Bellerophon, taking a ‘Miner’s Welfare’ trip to Blackpool and back, as I mentioned in a previous blog.

The photo shows No.45699 Galatea, a long time Bristol (Barrow Rd.) engine, at the north end of the short Shotlock Tunnel, approaching the summit of Aisgill. She is working the ‘Hadrian’ – Norwich – Carlisle and return.

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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Waggling signals

Nearing the summit at Aisgill, with the Fellsman, is Ex-LMS Jubilee Class 4-6-0 No.45699 Galatea; she looked and sounded on fine form as she swept round the curves between Lunds viaduct and Shotlock Tunnel. The photo is taken from the top of the tunnel and you can just make out the footbridge, over the line at Lunds, on the left edge.

I was joined on my lofty perch by a chap from Barrow and we passed a pleasant half hour chatting about railways and railwaymen; a conversation which produced a wonderful little anecdote about a spot of ‘on duty’ lubrication for the crew of the Tebay banker.

When he was younger, in the steam era,  he was friendly with some of the crews who worked at Tebay, who told him a tale of ‘after hours’ in, I think he said, the Junction Hotel.  They would cross over the foot bridge, by the shed, and make their way up to the pub and into the back room, which had a large bay window, from which could be seen the very tall signals, at the end of the platform at Tebay Station.

The standing arrangement was that, if an approaching train was in need of a banker, for the climb to Shap summit, the Bobby would waggle the signal arms up and down a couple of times and the crew would down their beer and head for the shed. In the tale, the hapless crew get back on the footplate only to find the fire half dead and not a lot of steam. It goes almost without saying that any banking assistance that was provided was minimal to say the least!

Today any railwayman having a few pints, in such a fashion, and whilst on duty would be sacked – when folk say, ‘it was different back then’, really aren’t kidding.

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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Southbound

The scene is Birkett Common, a mile or so south of Kirkby Stephen, and for much of the next 7 miles the gradient is at 1 in 100, there’s even a short stretch at 1 in 80. You can see the change in gradient, with the last coach or two still on the short respite at 1 in 237, much of the 11 miles before that were also at 1 in 100, give or take. After the Appleby water stop, apart from a brief dip down to towards Ormside, it’s a solid slog all the way up to the  summit at Aisgill.

There have been some fine charges from the Applby water stop to Aisgil summit during a spell when there was a competition for the ‘Blue Ribbon’ and earlier this month No.35018 British India Line went over the summit at 53mph, though I don’t have a time for the run it has to be up there with those Blue Ribbon efforts.

No.60103 Flying Scotsman and her crew had set off from Edinburgh at just after 07:30 and, more or less from the off, they were into  the climb to Cobbinshaw, around 16 miles at between 1 in 100 and 1 in 140 for a fair chunk of it. When  she passed us it was 15:30  and it would be turned 18:00 when she reached Preston – that’s a lot of hours in service, even allowing for a couple of hours break in Carlisle. By the time the engine gets back to Bury it will be turned 23:00 – that’s one heck of a shift. And some serious dedication from the support crew volunteers, take a bow guys you’ve earned 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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And 54 years later …….

The last time I saw No.35018 British India Line in action I was her fireman, and we were heading to Waterloo from Bournemouth, after working down with the 08.35 Ex – Waterloo. Today, 54 years later, along with a horde of others, I was standing beside the Settle -Carlisle line, with Pen – y Ghent in the background, enjoying her passing with the York – Carlisle leg of the GB XI rail tour. Watching a piece of your own history steaming past you, like this, certainly stirs the memory cells. And those three years at Nine Elms in the 1960s really did seem like yesterday – tho’ I doubt, very much, that I’d be able to fire an MN from York to Carlisle today but, I’d have no trouble sitting in the driver’s seat and rendering a couple of fire boys!!

I don’t know how many times I worked on this engine, firing out on the main line or cleaning her fire on shed but, what I do know is that like all the Merchant Navy class she was a joy to work on, as a fireman. Coincidently, it is also almost 70 years ago, June 1948, that No.35018 British India Line set out from Waterloo, with the Atlantic Coast Express, as part of the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials. No.35018 British India Line was one of three MNs in the trials, the others were No.35017 Belgian Marine and No.35019 French Line CGT. No.35020 Bibby Line was the reserve engine. And, in my time at 70A, I met and fired for Driver Bert Hooker who was himself a fireman during the Exchange Trials – it’s a small world.

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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Scot Free?

Sadly, during the Christmas period, graffiti vandals have struck again on a heritage railway, this time the Severn Valley Railway. These acts of vandalism are not new and nor are they confined to dim and disaffected teenagers. The destruction of huge chunks of the railway network was industrial scale vandalism, and, in some senses, every bit as mindless as the actions of the graffiti sprayers. It was more good luck than good management which kept the line in the photograph open for business. For those who don’t know, this is the Settle – Carlisle route, close to Aisgill summit. If you were a lover of the original ‘Royal Scot’ class you might consider Stanier a vandal for his rebuilding. However, rebuilds are a can of worms I’m not going to open here.

In the case of the national network it wasn’t thousands of volunteer hours of labour that was being trashed, it was the deaths of thousands of navvies, their wives and children too, who died in building routes like the Woodhead route across the Pennines or the Waverley route through the borders. To some extent our current hobby is the result of this vandalism, all in the name of progress, naturally.

I don’t condone the vandalism, be it state sponsored or the mindless moron variety; we do, however, seem to display a certain degree of ambivalence to the former and a quite alarming degree of ferocity towards the latter. Some of the comments I’ve seen on social media advocate chopping hands off, a practice the same commentators would, in all probability, condemn as barbaric if it was being perpetrated by Saudi Arabia.

The unfortunate thing is that the vandals, who have been around for thousands of years, will still be vandals and their mindless activities, whether on the small scale or the large,  will continue to rile people. And if the history of dealing with vandals shows us anything, it is that all the solutions, tried in order to prevent it, have failed, even the barbaric ones.

The recent vandalising  of the teak coaches at the NYMR brought a great community response and the coaches were back in service, almost, before you could say Jack Robinson. Hopefully, this current act will draw a similar response. The vandalism may well be distressing to many but, the railway community response to it is a much more positive and longer lasting effect than a few cans of aerosol paint.

So, on that positive note may I wish  Steam Age Daydreams fans and followers all the steaming best for 2018.

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

Until New Year the eBook edition of Gricing is on offer at just £3:95, that’s a whole book for less than a monthly mag.

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“19four feet eight and a half”

Ground zero, for most of today’s enthusiasts, is 1948, the year British Railways was created from, the war time ashes, of the ‘Big Four’. Battered by the blitz and,  the threat of bankruptcy hanging in the air, the creation of British Railways was hardly cause for unbridled joy. Yes, the railways were now publicly owned, but shareholders were still being paid, and Victorian infrastructure, locomotives, and rolling stock were all in daily use.

There were some bright spots, fresh paint and new liveries and the Peppercorn A1s  were rolling out of  Darlington and Doncaster works. The A1s were regular visitors to Leeds,  where I grew up, and I remember riding behind them on journeys to Peterborough, change for Lowestoft, and a fortnight at the seaside. Later, in the 1950s, 37B Copley Hill, had an allocation of 10, in 1955 – Nos. 60117 – 60120, 60122, 60131, 33, 34, 39, and 60141, I rode behind many of them on  spotting trips to Doncaster. Travel there and back on a platform ticket, spend all day at ‘Donny’, beside the ECML .and catch the ‘plant stream’ and then the train back to Leeds Central Station and a bus back home. And no one was any he wiser!

The locomotive in the photo, the new build A1 No.60163 Tornado, is pictured at Selside with the first of the Plandampf services on the S&C on Saint Valentine’s Day.

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

or: To celebrate the author’s up coming 70th birthday, you could grab yourself an eBook  copy of “Gricing, The Real Story of the Railway Children”, for just £2.99  – offer ends 13 / 03/ 2017.

This is the link to Amazon for your copy:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B011D1WBWY

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