Tag Archives: windcutter

It’s all gone mono

I’ve shared a few old Black & White documentaries or Pathe news clips recently and I have enjoyed some great amateur footage, on one or two other Facebook groups, all of which have brought back memories of my own youth and footplate work during the same sort of period – the final years of steam on British Railways.

Early 60s Britain was still a black and white world, tele was black and white,  in the cinema, black & white Pathe or Gaumont newsreels were shown, before the main movies began; gents wore black / charcol grey suits, white shirts, and black shoes, cars were almost all black ones – the only coloured bits were the ‘Pink un’ or the ‘Green un’, which carried the football results – no lottery then. Then, it was all about ‘winning the pools’ – 8 score draws -and Jackpot!! When I started at Farnley Jct. we had a ‘shed pool’ – it was a few pennies a week, everyone had a team and prizes were given for the highest score, most goals scored over a month, that sort of thing – it was just a bit of fun really.

Black faced miners were still digging coal and black faced firemen were still burning it. Tall mill chimneys and those of most houses still poured black smoke into the sky – on drab, cold, grey, winter days it hung in the air – ‘pea-soupers’ they called them, fog so thick it was impossible to drive in – and fog signalmen turned out to keep the railway moving – today it seems not so much a different world as a different planet.

The photo shows Ex-BR Class 9F 2-10-0 No.92214 departing from Loughborough with a train of mineral empties, in a recreation of what railwaymen knew as ‘runners’ and which the enthusiasts dubbed ‘windcutters’.

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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Minerals, moguls, and going green

46521minsquornWith a train of empty mineral wagons, No.46521 trundles through Quorn & Woodhouse, past a brake van in the yard, heading towards Rothley Brook sidings. Once a scene so commonplace it would, almost certainly, have passed un-noticed; today it’s part of the ‘gala entertainment’ of almost every steam railway gala in the land. The wagons No.46521 is hauling were, themselves, brought together as the result of a campaign, in an enthusiast magazine, to recreate the ‘Wind Cutters’,  Annesley – Woodford Halse  coal trains, known to railwaymen as ‘Runners’.

Faster freight services were a bit of a thing with the LNER, as well as the ‘Runners’, which only began in 1947, they  introduced the Green Arrow freight services in 1928, after which the V2 No. 4471 Green Arrow was named, which brings us to Sir Nigel Gresley, who designed the V2, and who died 75 years ago this month. Marking this anniversary a statue of the man was unveiled on the concourse of Kings Cross Station. An event somewhat marred by controversy over duck or no duck, accompanying the figure.

And the going green? No.46521 is in the process of being repainted in BR passenger green, and coal fired power stations, the reason for the wind cutters, are disappearing in the name of a greener planet.

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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Evening Star and the morning goods

92220gdscloser

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!

Please like & share:
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