Tag Archives: Tyne Dock

Evening Star and the morning goods


In a parody of the  Beatles song, Yellow Submarine, the band, Half Man Half Biscuit, sing the following lyric: ‘In the town where I was born Lived a man who went to work And he told us of his life Building spaceships on £40 a week’. I mention this because, it is entirely possible that the men who built this engine, the last steam locomotive to be built on British Railways, in 1960, earned less than £40 a week – for those of you who don’t know, one of the nicknames given to these handsome 2-10-0 giants was, ‘Spaceships’.

In this neck of the woods, the Great Central Railway near Loughborough, the 9Fs were most commonly associated with what became known as the ‘windcutters’, however, in the North East the 9Fs faced a very different and demanding challenge, which often required two of these engines, one on the train and one banking. I’m talking about the Tyne Dock – Consett iron ore trains, for which a number of these engines, (Nos 92060 – 92066 & 92097 – 92099), were specially fitted with air pumps to work the air operated doors on the 56 ton hopper wagons and the air brakes on the train.

The sight and sound of two of these engines, with an 800 ton train, being worked very hard on the gradients, between Tyne Dock and Annfield Plain, was awesome. They didn’t look all nice and shiny either. However, full marks to the volunteers at the GCR for making every effort to create the authentic image, copper capped chimney, name plates and even the little plaque, to commemorate her being the last engine built at Swindon too, on the smoke deflectors.

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

These are some totally unsolicited comments from people who have already read  Gricing: Amazon Customer on 6 Jan. 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase:  “Brilliant and interesting book”

By Amazon Customer on 17 Mar. 2016

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Not a murder mystery, but one that I found hard to put down. One of the best additions to my collection of books about railways.

‘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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Scarborough Spa Express?


Yesterday’s post, ‘Bit of a departure’, featured a photograph of No.62712 Morayshire, rusting gently, in the yard at Inverurie Locomotive Works – a photograph for which I had a lot of information. This photograph I know very little about, save what you can see. It was gifted to me, along with many more, there’s no information as to who took it, or on what day it was taken. The signal box is Falsgrave and the platform sign says Scarborough Central, the locomotive is a 3cylinder class B16/2, a 1937 Gresley rebuild of the Vincent Raven original, which was introduce on the North Eastern Railway in 1920 and, when new was fitted with Stephenson link motion.

According to my 1960 shed book No.61437 was allocated to 50A York, now the National Railway Museum. York had quite a few of the B16s on the allocation in 1960 – non of them survived the ‘grand cull’. According to the LNER data base, these engines were very commonly used on seaside excursions, and particularly to Scarborough, a classic 1950s seaside destination, deep in the heartlands of North Eastern Railway territory, all of which suggests the photograph was of a ‘common place’. Mum and son sat on the platform seem oblivious to the passing, certainly no ‘trainspotting’ going on!

The B16s were, essentially North Easter Railway engines, and for much of their working lives, most were allocated around York, Hull, Leeds, Tyne Dock, and Scarborough. Late in the day they also made their way onto the Great Central section with allocations at Woodford Halse and Banbury.

PS If anyone does have any information on this photograph – please do let me know.

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If you enjoy my photos and writing - I'm sure you'd enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running. The links below will take you to it. You can read a sample for free and you don't need a Kindle - there's a free app so you can read it, and view the photos at screen size, on you PC.
or for British readers.
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