Tag Archives: Waterloo

Stanier’s 5

Now in LMS livery and looking very smart, Class 5 4-6-0 No.5428 is about to cross over the Goathland – Pickering road at Moorgates, close to the summit of the climb from Grosmont. With any locomotive engineer there is, understandably, a tendency to concentrate attention on their express engine designs. In Stanier’s case this is his Cornonation Class Pacifics and to a lesser extent his Princess Class. However, for my money his most succesfull locomotive was the one pictured here.

The Black 5 proved to be robust, reliable, a good steamer and loved by the crews who worked on them, myself included. They are well proportioned and uncluttered in their outline and, when called upon, had a fair turn of speed too.  I have seen timing logs of them deputising for A4s on the ‘Saint Mungo’ from Glasgow to Aberdeen and, to within seconds, keeping time. Their performances on some of the last steam services in the North West were the stuff of legend – the Belfast Boat Express became their star turn, in its latter days.

I can’t speak for others but, I’m looking forward to seeing a pair of them double-heading the ‘Citadel’ from Manchester to Carlisle and back on the 8th & 10th of next month.  I did work on the 5s between Leeds and Manchester and Leeds to Morecambe and you can read about my time on them in part 1 of my memories of  being a fireman in the last years of steam – here’s the link.

One happy customer commented – ‘Just read part 1 Enjoyed it – a lot.’

Here’s the link to Part I : https://read.amazon.co.uk/kp/embed?linkCode=kpd&ref_=k4w_oembed_gOoNjfwj3yip64&asin=B07HMKTWMT&tag=kpembed-20&amazonDeviceType=A2CLFWBIMVSE9N&from=Bookcard&preview=inline

 

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A hill to climb

Friday morning at the North Yorksire Moors Railway’s Gala, and the 10:24 departure from Grosmont climbs towards Goathland summit. Visiting Bulleid ‘Light’ Pacific No.34081 92 Squadron, decorated with RAF flags, really does look the part with the blood and custards.

Not quite the same as being the fireman on one thrashing up to MP31 with 12 on but, probably the next best thing. Speaking of ‘thrashing up to MP31’, the first instalment of my footplate memories is out now. Part II will be available before Christmas; it  tells the story of my first year at Nine Elms as a fireman on  these magnificent beasts, on the metals of the former LSWR main lines to the West of England and the Dorset coast, in  1963.

Here’s the link to Part I : https://read.amazon.co.uk/kp/embed?linkCode=kpd&ref_=k4w_oembed_gOoNjfwj3yip64&asin=B07HMKTWMT&tag=kpembed-20&amazonDeviceType=A2CLFWBIMVSE9N&from=Bookcard&preview=inline

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Smoke signals

Battle of Britain Class Pacific, No.34081 92 Squadron, after starring in last autumn’s Great Central Railway Gala, will be gracing the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Gala this year and I’m looking forward to hearing  that wonderful exhaust note as she is put to the test on the 1:49. Even when it was me who was doing the firing I loved to hear them when the rockets were flying at 35% cut-off and full regulator.

There were, and for all I know there still are, some drivers who consider this to be ‘thrashing’ the engine – I beg to differ. You can really feel the power when they are being ‘driven’ along and often, if you’ve got your fire and firing right, they would sit on the red line mile after mile and the minute they were eased the safety valves would lift – with a roar! I worked with drivers who wouldn’t even attempt to make up time lost on a temporary p-way slack, even when they had all the power and steam to do so with ease. ‘You start rushing about and they’ll have you rushing around all the time’ was a common refrain. There may have been some truth in that; as when bonus workings were introduced this was exactly what happened – I just caught the very back end of bonus working at Wakefield – but that’s a tale for another day.

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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Stopped for a starter

After being stopped by Loughborough’s advance starter, Stanier 8F No.48624 puts some effort into restarting her train of vans. It’s almost like the old days with the ‘healthy’ front end blow obscuring the motion, though not quite bad enough to obscure the driver’s view.

In my own footplate career, the nearer it came to the end of steam the worse the state of repair of many of the engines. There was a kind of ‘if it broke don’t fix it scrap it’ attitude; blowing valve and piston packings were, ‘minor’ issues, until they were so awful you really couldn’t see beyond the smokebox. And if that wasn’t bad enough simply finding the necessary footplate equipment, bucket, brush, shovel, fire irons and the rest was a nightmare. You might have to climb on half a dozen engines, or more, to find everything you needed; time you should have been spending making up the fire.

It’s the GCR gala again in a little under two weeks and they are paying tribute to the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials – don’t know if they are going to renumber 48624 as the 8F trialist 48189 which worked Brent – Toton freights in June and July, Ferme Park – New England in August and Bristol – Eastleigh in August and September and on August 17th and 19th ran Acton to Severn Tunnel Jct.

I have my own little connection with the trials having spent time on the footplate with driver Bert Hooker, who was a fireman during the 1948 exchanges. The gala includes No.34092 City of Wells – they should renumber her 34006 Bude, which worked over the Great Central from Marylebone to Manchester on the 8th and 9th of June 1948.   No.34006 Bude was a fine machine and here is a log of one of my runs with her in 1965. My thanks to Terry Jackson for the copy of his log of our run.

  • REF.18.0660

    WATERLOO – EASTLEIGH

    ENGINE       : Class 7  West Country  4-6-2  34006 BUDE

    TRAIN           : 22.35 Waterloo-Weymouth

    LOAD             : 3 coaches 7vans 3 TPO, 367 tons tare, 400 tons gross

    CREW            : Driver Gordon Porter, Fireman Dave Wilson  (Nine Elms MPD)

    DATE                   : Friday 14 May 1965

    RECORDER      : Terry Jackson

    Dist               Location                                                                                         Sched.           Actual           Speed

    00.00             WATERLOO

  •                            00   00           –  0
    VAUXHALL
  •                           03   52           31½

    QUEENS ROAD

  •                           05   54           45½/49

    CLAPHAM JUNCTION

  •  7                    07   29           43

    EARLSFIELD

  •                          09   39           52

    WIMBLEDON

  •                          11   27           56

    pws             21½

    RAYNES PARK

  •                       14   15           44

    NEW MALDEN

  •                       15   41           53

    BERRYLANDS

  •                       16   55           57

    SURBITON

  •                       18   02           63

    Hampton Court Junc. SB

  • 18½            19   15           66½

    ESHER

  •                       20   13           67

    HERSHAM

  •                      21   38           63½

    WALTON

  •                     22   43           65½

    Oatlands SB

  •                     23   39           64½

    WEYBRIDGE

  •                     24   34           70½

    BYFLEET & NEW HAW

  •                     25   37           73

    WEST BYFLEET

  •                     26   40           73

           WOKING  

  • 31            30   01           –

    Woking Junc.

  •                   01   39           37

    BROOKWOOD

  •                   06   43           50

    MP 31

  •                   09   57           58

    Sturt Lane SB

  •                   11   08           63

    FARNBOROUGH

  •                   12   04           64

    BRAMSHOT HALT

  •                   14   16           68½

    FLEET

  •                   15   02           67/69½

    WINCHFIELD

  •                   17   58          68½/66½

    HOOK

  •                   20   00         68½/67½/75

             BASINGSTOKE  

  •  30          26   09           –

    Worting Junc. SB

  •  5½         05   48           43

    Wootton SB

  •                  08   31           57
  •            Waltham SB
  •                  10   54           70

    Roundwood SB

  •                  12   01           72½

    MICHELDEVER

  •                  13   18           82

    Weston SB

  •                 14   52           87

    Wallers Ash SB

  •                 15   52           88

    Winchester Junc. SB

  •  22         17   39           92

                    WINCHESTER CITY 

  • 25         19   51           –

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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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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