Tag Archives: Stockton &Darlington Railway

Roots

And so it begins. In 1813, this was the white heat of the technological revolution, William Hedley’s ‘Puffing Billy’. This spindly ‘contraption’, which went on to become the modern steam locomotive we all know and love, in the words of one author, Wolfgang Schivelbusch, ‘industrialised time and space.’ It wasn’t just the speed of transportation which increased, the pace of change in peoples lives and livelihoods accelerated  too.

The original Puffing Billy, the one above is a modern replica, was the work of William Hedley, assisted by Jonathan Forster and Timothy Hackworth, whose own engine, ‘Sans Pareil’, was a serious contender to Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’, in the Rainhill Trials of 1829. Hackworth’s ‘Royal George’, an 0-6-0 built for the Stockton & Darlington Railway, was, in some quarters, credited with saving steam haulage on the S&D. Hackworth had quite a career in locomotive building and design and is credited with the invention of the blastpipe. He built and exported a steam locomotive to Russia, in 1836 and was, from 1825 to 1840, the  Locomotive Superintendent to the S&D.

Hedley’s ‘Puffing Billy’ remained in service until 1862 when she was ‘loaned’ and then sold to the Patent Office Museum, which, eventually, became the Science Museum, in London. Puffing Billy  had a sister engine, ‘Wylam Dilly’, which was also preserved and now resides in the  National Museum of Scotland.

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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Lights, Tarmac, action.

twiztarmaclt

Two very different bits of our industrial past, the steam locomotive and the steam wagon, sit next to each other out side Marley Hill MPD. Tyneside and the Black country, Blists Hill and the Stockton & Darlington two of the earliest cogs in the industrial revolution machine, road and rail, steel and tarmac – engines of progress?

The steam wagon, is a Sentinel of 1929 vintage, the locomotive, No.3 Twizell, was built in 1891 by Robert Stephenson & Co. What struck me was that between the locomotive and the steam wagon is 40 years of ‘progress’  – in 1960 steam locomotion was still very much in evidence, telly was dumb and only available in black and white – 40 years on there was the internet, mobile phones,  key-hole surgery, gene therapy, data mining and flat screen LED TV – that’s quite some change, by comparison, with the forty years between 1890 and 1930. And now, of course, Google knows everything, from the street where you live, to how many fairies can dance on the head of a pin, and the answers to that and a zillion other questions, in 0.02397653 of a second.

This is the link to my book “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children.

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

Below are some 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!’

HAVE YOU GOT YOUR COPY YET?

 

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Unlike signals some things never change

41241banker

Bankers and railways have been connected to each other, practically umbilically, since the creation of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, by, amongst others,  Quaker Bankers, in the 1820s. In 1866, dodgy goings on at the Overend Gurney Bank, involving share dealings in major railway companies, created a national banking scandal – some things never change. Today, major banking corporations fund railway by-outs and railway construction projects, rolling stock leasing companies and train operators, to name just some of the pies their fingers are in.

On the steam railways of old, however, the term Banker has a very different interpretation. On the railways a ‘Banker’ is an engine assisting a train, usually up an incline or gradient, by pushing from behind. Some sheds, (Motive Power Depots), Bromsgrove or Tebay, for instance, have almost mythical status for their provision of Bankers. In Tebay’s case, this is for the supply of Bankers on the  famous climb to Shap summit, on the West Coast route from London to Glasgow. Bromsgrove MPD provided the oomph on the famous Lickey incline with it’s 1 in 37 gradient, the steepest on any main line in Britain.  Others, like Weymouth, are less well known;  Weymouth MPD provided Bankers for the climb out of the town to the summit of Bincombe Bank en route to Dorchester and Bournemouth.

In the photograph Ex-LMS 2-6-2T No.41241  banks, Ex-Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway 0-6-0 No.957, out of Damems loop with a demonstration goods working on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.

 

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