Tag Archives: Yorkshire Pullman

The Mayflower

In 1620 The Mayflower carried ‘Puritans’ from Plymouth to North America; in 1957 British Railways named a Kingswear – Paddington passenger service ”The Mayflower”. Being of a certain generation, and political persuasion, whenever I hear of the ‘Mayflower’ I’m reminded of the lyrics to Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream, ‘I was riding on the Mayflower When I thought I spied some land, I yelled for Captain Arab, I have you understand, Who came running to the deck, Said, “Boys, forget the whale, Look on over yonder, Cut the engines, Change the sail.’ (C) B.Dylan

I took the photograph at one of the Llangollen Railway galas when No.1306 was one of the guest engines, she also carried the ‘Yorkshire Pullman’ head board on one of her runs, a service, unlike the Mayflower, for which there was just an outside possibility she might have hauled, at some point in her BR life. The B1s wouldn’t normally see service on the Yorkshire Pullman but, all kinds of engines may be pressed into service in the event of a failure, or possibly as a pilot engine – stranger things have happened.

In July 1948, during the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials, a B1 did work over the former GWR route between Plymouth and Bristol and on one memorable occasion in the early 60s I rode behind one from Bristol to Burton – upon – Trent, where it failed with a hot box and was replaced by a passing ‘Peak’. The failure was a real shame as the crew seemed to be enjoying themselves doing their best to make up time on a late departure from Bristol.

The photo shows B1 Class 4-6-0 No.(6)1306 departing from Berwyn station on the Llangollen Railway.

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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No.34092 City of Wells probably did haul the Golden Arrow,  the ‘Arrer’ as the ‘cockneys’ called it, but not hauling that coaching stock, the Golden Arrow was a Pullman service. I know there’s a Pullman train running around the Surrey hills but, what I’d love to see is a gala where not only do guest engines appear but, guest rolling stock too. It would be wonderful to recreate the Yorkshire Pullman and Harrogate Sunday Pullman, as well as the Bournemouth Belle and Golden Arrow, with appropriate motive power for each one. A whole weekend of gourmet Pullman dining and wining on board a 7 or 8  coach set of, all original, Pullman coaches. Maybe all the special events being planned for the various 2018 anniversaries is just the time to do this.

I’m not well up on my vintage rolling stock but, if it were possible, it would, I think, make a wonderful gala if there were sufficient rolling stock to run only pre-Grouping coaches with  appropriate motive power in matching liveries – an 1870 to 1920 weekend.

Early in 1963 I moved from Leeds to be made fireman at Stewarts Lane, the ancestral home of the engines booked to work the Golden Arrow. What I didn’t know was that practically all the steam workings at Stewarts Lane had finished, or that my little over 1 year of seniority would place me in No.1 link.

Sadly, the place was a bit like a morgue and the only steam I saw was a couple of BR 2-6-4 Class 4 tanks and a similar number of Maunsell moguls. There were a couple of trips up to North Pole Jct. with inter-regional freights, and the highlight a Saturday morning passenger service from Tunbridge Wells to London Bridge. The nearest I got to the Golden Arrow was using a dart to break up clinker, cleaning fires, on a P&D turn. And No.34092 City of Wells, pictured at Burrs on the East Lancashire Railway, is one of a little over a handful of ‘light’ Pacifics I didn’t get to work on before they were withdrawn.

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:


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A little draughty

60163moorgatesfsJust a bit of a breeze blowing as No.60163 Tornado heads out across the moors towards Fen Bog. When  I took and look at this photo I’m reminded of a Bob Dylan song ‘Girl from the North Country’ and the opening  verse which reads; ‘If you’re traveling in the north country fair Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline Remember me to one who lives there For she was once a true love of mine.’ (B.Dylan) The wind was definitely ‘hitting heavy on the borderline’ and railways have been my passion for more years than I care to count.

In Leeds, where I lived, the A1s were a common sight in the 1950s and early 60s. Copley Hill shed, which serviced and maintained the locomotives on the ‘East Coast’ route from Leeds to London, had 10, or thereabouts, on their allocation during that time. The A1s were often to be found at work on the important trains of the day, The Queen of Scots, the Yorkshire Pullman, and the White Rose were all turns they shared with A3s and A4s.

The A1s were another of those locomotive types built post-Nationalisation, they were built between 1948 and 1949, to have very short working lives, some lasted a mere 17 years pitifully short for a steam locomotive. The last to be withdrawn was No.60145 St. Mungo in 1966. However, despite their short career they were much missed by fans of the old LNER – with the result that a new one was built from scratch – No.60163 Tornado. The people who did so are now working on another of the LNER’s engines a P2 class 2-8-2 – we can only wish them every success.

Above is the link to Part I of my memories of footplate life in the 1960s. The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway is still  available on Amazon – Below, is the link to that work.


Steam Age Daydreams 2019 Calendar is now on sale here’s the link:  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/302929843008

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.

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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It’s not Yorkshire and it’s not a Pullman


The Leeds and Bradford business traffic was an important consideration for the Great Northern and later the London & North Eastern Railway. Fast comfortable trains departed Leeds and Bradford to take ‘people’ to ‘town’ in time to do ‘business’ before getting them back to Yorkshire in time for G&Ts. In 1935 the Yorkshire Pullman, which had portions for Halifax, Bradford, and Hull, left Leeds central Station at 11.14am, arriving in Kings Cross at 2.40pm. The down train left Kings Cross at 4.45pm arriving in Leeds at 8.13 pm,  the  Hull portion, which detached at Doncaster,  arrived at 8.15 pm.

One of my old school chums went to work, stewarding, on the Pullmans, when he left school.  I enjoyed a couple of free dinners on the Yorkshire Pullman, traveling back to Leeds to see the folks, when I was working at Nine Elms MPD, during the early 60s, thanks to this particular ‘old school tie’. The Yorkshire Pullman wasn’t the only London – Yorkshire Pullman service, the Spa town of Harrogate had the Harrogate Sunday Pullman, which ran during the 1950s and 60s and included a Bradford portion.  The Queen of Scots, also a Pullman service,  which commenced in May 1928, running between Kings Cross and Glasgow Queen Street also called at Leeds and Harrogate, en route.

The photograph shows B1 class 4-6-0 No.1306, now named Mayflower, sans Pullman coaches, approaching Berwyn Station, on the Llangollen Railway, with a Llangollen – Carrog service, before the new extension to Corwen opened.

Check out Sunday’s post, for a very special anniversary.

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