Tag Archives: Southern Railway

Teak Five

Take 5 was a big hit for Dave Brubeck and there’s a wondereful reggae version too, by Val Bennet . I’m quite a fan of Jamaican music and there are a couple a ‘train songs’ I really, really, like one is ‘Draw Your Brakes’ by Scotty and another is ‘Stop that train’ by Keith & Tex both the same rythmn but quite different. There’s also a wonderful instrumental version by the legendary guitar player Ernest Ranglin.

There are, of course, lots of songs and tunes with a railway theme or title from work songs of the American railroads, like, ‘Drill ye tarriers drill’ to jail house ballards such as Johnny Cash’s ‘Orange Blossom Special’. Blues, skiffle, rock ‘n’ roll, they’ve all got their railway numbers. And speaking of Blossom didn’t they name 46521 ‘Blossom’ for some dreary TV sitcom – nasty. Anyway, moving along, it’s just over a week away from the NYMR gala which will have engines from each of the Big Four and BR in action – looking forward to seeing No.34081 92 Squadron on this same stretch of 1:49 – and that will be a tune to savour. I do enjoy the sound of a Bulleid being worked hard – reminds me of my own time on their footplates!!

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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Coal and water

Looking very smart in her LMS livery No.5428 sits under the coal hopper at Grosmont; the fireman is just making his way up to the hopper controls. The blower is on and the lamp is already on the top bracket; after coaling up No.5428 will back down to the water column and take water before going off-shed for her turn of duty – the 12:30 service from Grosmont to Pickering. Just another day at the office, you might say.

I did all this countless time during my own footplate career, and, quite possibly on No.5428, or 45428  as she was then. No.45428 had spells at Holbeck & Farnley Jct. but, if I did do a turn on her footplate it was most likely at Holbeck in early 1966, after Farnley had already closed. I’m not 100% certain but, I believe it was on No.45428 that I worked a tea-time departure from Leeds to Morecambe, which if memory serves stopped at Keighley, Skipton, and then most of the stations on the ‘Little North Western’. I have a vague memory of being relived at Green Ayre and  travelling home on the cushions. It is a long time ago so don’t quote me on that.

Whilst I was at Grosmont, I saw the Q6 moving under her own steam and being readied for her trip to the Severn Valley Gala. Also there was B-o-B No.34081 92 Squadron, not in steam and engine facing Whitby – you can see her tender to the left of No.5428. I do hope they turn her before the gala at the end of the month.

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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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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Gricing – The Real Story of the Railway Children

For any of you wanting to know more, or enjoy reading my blogs and the photographs, in them why not buy yourselves a copy of my book. “Gricing” 30,000+  words and more than 100 photographs.

The following are totally unsolicited comments from people who have read  Gricing: ‘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’. – and from another ‘satisfied’ reader’ – ‘ I was given what I believe to be your book called Gricing the other night.  Very much enjoyed the book if it is yours!’

This is the link to “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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Pegged both ways

In 2019  it will be 65 years since I began writing down engine numbers in a note book.  For seven years,  in the 1960s, I was a British Railways fireman at numerous sheds including 3 years at 70A, working on the former LSWR routes to Bournemouth and Salisbury. After graduatng from the University of Leeds, in the late 1980s, I’ve written about railway life, work, and the railway itself, in books, magazines, and newspaper spplements, not to mention taking 1000s of photographs of  steam engines at sites and locations all round Britain.

Steam Age Daydreams began in 2014 and since then over 600 blogs have appeared on all manner of topics. The most popular one, by a long way, was the  one from May 2015 about my 105mph run with Merchant Navy Class Pacific No.35005 Canadian Pacific – the link below will take you to it if you haven’t already read it. http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/?p=1848

I am writing this to let you all know that when the current 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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Passing time?

It started in the classroom as some boring old fart droned on about the square on the hypothenuse, or how many pecks to the bushel, (Google that one). Now I’m the boring old fart musing  about the passing of time.  I have to admit I quite like the passing shot too and sometimes the results turn out better than the shot you lined up for.

Passing time has its own railway connections, of course, and many a railway photographer is grateful for knowing them – it cuts down the time standing in a field, expectantly. It must be said that passing times aren’t published for the benefit of railway photographers, even if many of us believe that is exactly why they are!!

I passed a fair bit of time on the footplate of this engine, in 1963 and 64, before her premature withdrawal in 1964, though not in this super shiney condition, nor on the Settle – Carlisle line. My own passage over the Pennines was via Copy Pit or Diggle with Dub Dees and usually with rafts of coal.

If you’ve more time to pass, check out the archive, there are over 500 articles to choose from on all manner of time wasting topics but, no algebra.

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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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When I’m cleaning smokeboxes

George Formby used to do one of his dirty ditties about ‘The Wigan Boat Express’, not that Metropolitan No.1 ever went anywhere near Wigan with an express boat train. And to the best of my knowledge there never was a Wigan Boat Express either. It’s more that cleaning smokeboxes is a dirty little duty, a chore with the wrong kind of char. On a prepare and dispose turn you’d get 3 or 4 of them to shovel out, sometimes more. Emptying the smokebox was only one part of the disposal process, for the fireman, there was cleaning the fire and raking out the ash pans too. The whole ritual seemed designed to create sufficient sweat that every stray partical of ash and coal dust ended up sticking to you.

Not all smokeboxes are equal – I’ve opened the smokebox door on many a West Country Class, 34101 Hartland included, with char up to the dart, still glowing hot at the bottom. Those Bulleid smokeboxes  go a long way back too. You did sometimes wonder if the fireman who disposed her last had actually bothered to clean the smokebox.

And some are not so very big at all, like this one on the Burrows Well Tank ‘Willy’ which  barely holds enough char to fill a wheel barrow.

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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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September 64

Regular Steam Age Daydreams supporter, David Fisher, very kindly sent me a copy of Clive Groome’s book,  “British Steam The Final Years – (Extracts from the diary of a Nine Elms Engine Driver)”, and in there, under the entry for the 1st to 5th of September 1964, I was Clive’s fireman on the 19:54 Waterloo – Basingstoke service. I must have been covering for his regular mate as the 19:54 was a 4 Link duty and I was a 3 Link fireman,  where my regular mate was Eric ‘sooty’ Saunders.

The engines Clive lists on the down runs were all BR Standard Class 5s Nos. 73043, the now preserved 73050, and the ‘Standard Arthurs’  No.73083 Pendragon and 73112 Morgan Le Fay.  Clive comments on my efforts by saying I, ‘Worked hard to good effect’ – which is nice to know. The 19:54 Waterloo – Basingstoke had been my first real trip out on the former LSWR main line, after I arrived at Nine Elms in 1963, that Clive had noted in his diary, 18 months later,  working with me, and on this turn in particular, makes his comments even more enjoyable.

The return workings, which  Clive also comments on, were all made with West Country Class Pacifics; Nos. 34025 Whimple, 34047, Callington and 34104 Bere Alston.  The comments about this were that all of them got up to 50 plus from starting out of Farnborough to passing MP31 but, No.34025 made it over the top at 55mph on 35% cut-off and full regulator – I must have had three shredded wheat for breakfast that day!

It is no surprise that I was working with Driver Groome, as No.3 Link was very much a cover Link with whole weeks booked “HR”, ‘Holiday Relief’. On these weeks you might find yourself covering one fireman for a whole week or for a different one each day and, as a result, you fired for  different drivers and on different turns each day. In this instance it very much looks as though I was covering for Clive’s regular mate for the whole week.

I do find it strange sometimes to be able to read about events which took place in my life, more than fifty years ago. Knowing exactly where on the planet you were, at what time, and, were my efforts with the shovel feature in timing logs, knowing to the very second, is so unlike the usual experience of the past where everything is so much less precise.

The Photo, taken at Quorn & Woodhouse on the GCR, shows BR Class 5 Standard No.73084 Camelot, aka No.73156.

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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When the last fires dropped

50 years ago I stepped off one of these work horses for the last time, collected my final pay packet – redundancy beckoned. No more baked onion, cooked on the manifold, or cheese toasties done on the shovel. No more signing on at 04.00 for, a freezing cold, tender first run down the Dearne valley line either. The last six months of terminal decline did little for moral.

In my all to brief footplate career, I count myself lucky to have been able to experience a whole range of different workings from a humble branch line goods to the Royal Wessex. I fired for young drivers only a few years older than me and for others who had begun their railway service in World War I. At Wakefield, my final depot, even the link system was scrapped, because so many turns were now single-manned diesel jobs. All the firemen were put in one long link covering the remaining steam jobs and diesel turns requiring a second man. A situation which could see you working with a different driver every day you were on duty.

More and more duties were signing on and off at Healy Mills and I was spending quite a bit of time on English Electric Class 3s, not what I signed on for. Once I knew that I hadn’t got the vacancy I applied for at Blyth, it was all over. No fairy tale ending, no big send off, just mount the bike jump on the kick-start and go home. I didn’t even take a souvenir, though I do now have a 55C shed plate – the place where it all began. Amazingly railway preservation and operation has now been going for longer than British Railways was in existence and some of the preserved locomotives have spent more time at work, in private hands, than they did during their BR service.

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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“Nice bit of Wensleydale Gromit”

Back in 1964 I was one of, if not the last, firemen to work on this engine before she was sent for scrap. We had her on Bournemouth – Waterloo service and then next thing she was withdrawn – no idea why, she certainly wasn’t a failure when we stepped off at Waterloo.

I could never have imagined then, that 54 years later I would be standing in a meadow, in the heart of Wensleydale, watching her steam by on her way to Redmire. Even now, several hours later, it still borders on surreal, a Merchant Navy Class Pacific sauntering along a North Eastern Railway branch line. Sometimes the truth really is stranger than the fiction.

The reason behind No.35018 British India Line being there was the 1940s event in Leyburn, the principal village along the line. When the Wensleydale Railway didn’t have a steam engine for the event, West Coast Railways stepped up to the plate and offered them the use of No.35018 British India Line, for the weekend – top marks to WCR for that.

While there every chance that this is  the first time a MN that has been up this line, there is at least some connection with the 1940s event, as the MNs rolled off the drawing board and onto the rails in the middle of WWII, 21C1, (later No.35001 Channel Packet) entered service in June 1941 and the first ten were all in service by July 1942. No.35018 British India Line was one of the second batch of 10 and was built in 1945, she was the 1st to be ‘converted’ and also played a part in the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials, so she’s a bit of a star.

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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