TRANS PENNINE

 

The Magazine of the Pennine Railway Society

 

 No. 131 - Spring 2005

 

Committee Briefs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renewal of Membership Fees

 

We would like to thank all those members who have renewed their subscription to the Pennine Railway Society for 2005.  It is not too late to rejoin.  Simply send your cheque for £5, payable to the Pennine Railway Society, to Tony Caddick, our Membership Secretary, at the address shown above.  By return you will receive a free 2005 PRS pocket diary.

For those of you who are not rejoining, this will be the final magazine you will receive.  In these circumstances we thank you for your past support and hope you may consider rejoining the Society at some future date.

 

Annual General Meeting

 

A successful AGM was held on 9 January 2005, attended by 14 members and Committee.

We are able to report:· No changes to the Committee.
Continued use of The Salutation for all social evenings.
Les Nixon has been offered a return visit on 16 November 2005 for another great slide show.·
Future format of the Pennine Shield will be reviewed in light of the loss of the South Yorkshire Railway Photographic circle, which leaves only 2 teams.
The Pennine Slide Competition will now allow up to 5 slides per entrant (the Members Slide Competition will remain at 4 slides per entrant)
The Committee will consider visits to one or more of the following in 2005:
Wensleydale - Shildon - North Yorkshire Moors Railway - Keighley & Worth Valley Railway,- Beamish.

Museum in Doncaster Grammar School (“The Tower”) having extensive railway memorabilia.

Members commented on the success in 2004 (the Society’s 30th Anniversary) of the visit to Barrow Hill and the lunch on the train at the Midland Railway Centre, Butterley, when 40 meals were served.

Thanks were also extended to our friends from the Sheffield Transport Group and Felix Preservation Group for providing transport, by preserved bus, and drivers, for Barrow Hill and Butterley.

 

Social Evenings

 

Robin has produced an excellent programme of social events for 2005.  Come and join us on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of every month, from 8.00pm, at The Salutation, South Parade, Doncaster.

We have a private function room, and all are welcome.  Bring a friend along too.  Make it a date -Wednesdays at 8.  A list of our Spring events is shown elsewhere in the magazine.

 

We Regret to Announce”

– London Underground Drivers

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I do apologise for the delay to your service.  I know you’re all dying to get home, unless, of course, you happen to be married to my ex-wife, in which case you’ll want to cross over to the Westbound and go in the opposite direction.”

 

“Your delay this evening is caused by the line controller suffering from E + B syndrome, not knowing his elbow from his backside.  I’ll let you know any further information as soon as I’m given any.”

 

“Do you want the good news first or the bad news?  The good news is that last Friday was my birthday and I hit the town and had a great time.  The bad news is that there is a points failure between Stratford and East Ham which means we probably won’t reach our destination.”

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we apologise for the delay but there is a security alert at Victoria Station and we are therefore stuck here for the foreseeable future, so let’s take our minds off it and pass some time together.  All together now … Ten green bottles, hanging on a wall …”

 

“We are now travelling through Baker Street, as you can see Baker Street is closed.  It would have been if they had actually told me, so I could tell you earlier, but no, they don’t think about things like that.”

 

“Beggars are operating on this train.  Please do not encourage these professional beggars.  If you have any spare change, please give it to a registered charity, failing that, give it to me.”

 

During a hot rush hour on the Central Line, the driver announced in a West Indian drawl “Step right this way for the sauna, ladies and gentlemen.  Unfortunately, towels are not provided.”

 

“Let the passengers of the train FIRST! (Pause) Oh go on then, stuff yourselves in like sardines, see if I care.  I’m going home.”

 

“Please note that the beeping noise coming from the doors means that the doors are about to close.  It does not mean throw yourself or your bags into the doors.”

 

“We can’t move off because some idiot has their ******* hand stuck in the door.”

 

“To the gentleman wearing the long grey coat trying to get on the second carriage, what part of ‘stand clear of the doors’ don’t you understand?”

 

“Please move all baggage away from the doors. (Pause) Please move ALL belongings away from the doors. (Pause) This is a personal message to the man in the brown suit wearing glasses at the rear of the train – put the pie down, four eyes, and move your bloody golf clubs away from the door before I come down and shove your arse sideways.”

 

“May I remind all passengers that there is strictly no smoking allowed on any part of the Underground.  However, if you are smoking a joint, it’s only fair that you pass it around the rest of the carriage.”

 

We Regret to Announce” – Members

 

“The train will not move until the ash trays are returned to the Buffet Car.” (Robin Skinner)

 

Commenting on a complaint from a gentleman about a large gas bill, Barry Marshall said “We agree it was rather high for the time of year. It’s possible he was charged for the gas used up during the explosion that destroyed his house.”

 

Carrying Coals to Newcastle – in Welsh

 

Our Welsh correspondent, Rhys Jones, tells us that the Welsh language rail helpline calls are still answered in Welsh, but with a Geordie accent.

The service has been moved from Cardiff to Newcastle after BT’s call centre in Newcastle won the contract to handle the National Rail Enquiries Welsh language line.

The company had to recruit staff from the handful of Welsh speakers in the North East.  However, demand is so low, about 10 calls a day (mostly from Rhys probably) that just 3 staff were needed.

 

Fury over Meridians

 

Talks are deadlocked over a request from Virgin Cross Country to take over seven nine-coach Meridian trains from Midland Mainline, to reduce overcrowding on some Virgin Cross Country services.

The trains are currently surplus as the SRA decreed that the proposed St Pancras - Leeds service was not good value.

 

Victoria Mary Wilson

 

Congratulations to Alison and Ian Wilson on the birth of daughter Victoria Mary, just before Christmas.

Mother, daughter (and father) are all doing well.

 

Golden Day

 

A locomotive nameplate bought for £11 in 1963 has fetched a world record £60,000 at auction in Sheffield.

The seller, a doctor from Birmingham, wrote to British Railways and asked to buy any pre-war plate.  They sent him the 66-inch long plate from A4 Golden Fleece (BR 60030) which had just been cut up at Doncaster.

It came complete with its original bolts and was even stamped with its original number, 4495, on the back.

It was named Golden Fleece in 1937 for the connection with Bradford and the wool trade.

The seller said: “I am absolutely staggered.  I was told it might go for £40,000 or even £45,000 but to watch it fetch a new world record price is nothing short of amazing.”

At the same auction, the nameplate “WESTERN PRINCESS”, with its matching cabside numberplate “D1042”, were sold for £11,400.  The nameplate “EASTNOR CASTLE”, with its matching cabside numberplate “7004”, fetched £31,500 and the nameplate “PRINCE OF WALES” (from Class A1 2553) fetched £23,500.

 

Cornwall Rail Bottleneck Cured

 

A £15m project to restore to two tracks the 7.5 mile section between Probus and Burngullow has been completed.

It had been single line since 1985.

 

Icebreaker

 

Never a common sight on the ECML, Freightliners 86602 has been stabled at York on many occasions over the winter months – in periods of cold weather it has been used as an ‘icebreaker’ to clear frost off the overhead wires – a result of no electric hauled parcel trains etc. now running and keeping the lines frost-free.  Damage to the pantograph heads of the early Class 91 worked trains was occurring on many occasions in the freezing conditions.  The veteran WCML electric has usually been stabled in the southern bay platforms attracting many admirers.

 

Barrow Hill

 

The planned events at Barrow Hill Roundhouse for 2005 are:

Sat/Sun May 14th & 15th - Steam event using a B1

Fri/Sat May 20th & 21st - Rail Ale Festival

Sat/Sun 8th & 9th October - '40 years since the end of steam at Barrow Hill'

Sat/Sun 15th & 16th October - '40 years of diesels at Barrow Hill'

December 4th, 11th & 18th - Santa Steam Trains

 

Trans Pennine

 

The photo on the front cover was taken by Glenn Williamson.  It shows 55009 “ALYCIDON” at Stainforth and Hatfield in May 1979.

Continuing on from last year we will be reprinting items that have appeared in previous editions of Trans Pennine.  In this edition, the items reproduced originally appeared in magazines 43 (March 1983) and 44 (June 1983)

 

 

Blackpool Trams

 

Tony Caddick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the disappointment of many enthusiasts approximately a third of the Blackpool Transport Tram fleet has been ‘mothballed’ and marked as not to be used.  The announcement in November follows a review of the operational fleet which apparently highlighted that only 45 trams are now needed to cover for future requirements.  A serious drop in visitor numbers and consequent passenger loadings has been pinpointed as one of the main reasons coupled with the deteriorating condition of some of the trams themselves.

The 24 trams mothballed are:-

All 5 open boat cars – 600/2/4/5/7

Replica Vanguard – 619

All unrefurbished single decker Brush cars – 621/2/3/5/7/32/4/6/7

Unrefurbished ‘Twin cars’ – 676-686/677-687

Single decker English Electric railcoach – 699

‘Balloon’ double deckers – 704/8/16/17/22

Stockport No 5 and Sheffield ‘Roberts’ car – 513

Of the balloon cars 704/716/717 have not run for almost 2 years but it is thought that these cars will be refurbished in the future – in fact 717 is due to be the next car to be re-built upon completion of car 713 in the next few months.

It is thought that pressure may be put on the company to at least allow one of the Boat-cars (probably prototype 600) to run again this summer but the future for the single deckers looks bleak.  The company have stated that there are no plans to scrap any trams at the moment but how long this situation remains the same is obviously open to question.
 

All Stations to Oudenaarde

 

Paul Slater

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few miles out of Bruges, the multiple-unit swung away from the main line to Brussels and headed south, and I was on a route I had never travelled before.  I was on another short winter break with P & O Ferries from Hull, and had decided to use my day in Belgium to visit Kortrijk and Oudenaarde, two places new to me where I had read that there were several interesting buildings.

The sun began to break through the clouds, and I looked out at a flat but attractive landscape, with many villages and isolated houses, cottages and farms, and in the distance the spires of churches.  There were plenty of trees, and the country did not have the bleakness of the Fens of eastern England.

I was travelling in a local train from Bruges to Kortrijk, calling at all stations.  After Zedelgem and Torhout, the third station, Lichtervelde, was a junction, and my multiple-unit connected with three others before continuing on its way.  My ticket had been checked on leaving Bruges, but now a new conductor got on board, and he checked it again.  At the next stop, Roeselare, a dockside scene met my eye, with big barges loading and unloading at waterside mills and factories; it was unexpected, as we were now well away from the sea, but then the train ran for several miles beside a broad canal before railway and waterway parted company.

There were two more stops, at Izegem and Ingelmunster, before the train arrived at Kortrijk.  I alighted, but soon got back on board, as the train was now forming a local service to Zottegem and would depart in ten minutes, with Oudenaarde as the third stop.  I decided to continue my journey, leaving an exploration of Kortrijk for when I was on my way back to Bruges.  It took me two attempts to buy a ticket to Oudenaarde, as I mispronounced the name, but soon the multiple-unit was heading east, with me in the same seat as before.  A young conductress checked my ticket.

The country was more undulating than the flat lands around Bruges, and away to the south was a line of low forested hills.  The train stopped at Vichte and Anzegem.  I alighted at Oudenaarde.  The sunshine was golden, hinting at the lateness of the season, but the day was very mild.  A tall church tower in the town centre was a good landmark, and I set off walking towards it, passing the ornate old station building; it is not now used for railway purposes, the station having a modern entrance.  Dominating the square in the centre of Oudenaarde was what I especially wanted to see: the Stadhuis or Town Hall, a beautifully ornate Gothic building with a profusion of pinnacles and gilt work.  Soon after a melodious carillon had sounded from the church tower to mark mid-day, I went into the Carillon Cafe in the corner of the square for a light lunch; it was very nice, and it did not seem to matter that I spoke English, the waitress spoke Flemish, and communication was a little imperfect.  I walked around the town centre for a little longer, and then returned to the station.  All was quiet for a time, but then a modern multiple-unit in silver-grey livery arrived on a service to Ghent, an older unit in dark red, similar to the one I had travelled in from Bruges, arrived on an eastbound service, and then a third train, a different type of unit again, its sides defaced with graffiti, came in en route to Poperinge, and I got on board.

This was not an all-stations train, and Kortrijk was the next stop.  I had not yet seen any locomotives since leaving the Brussels main line outside Bruges, all trains being electric multiple-units, but in a small yard I spotted diesel shunter 7826 in silver-grey livery, and just after I alighted at Kortrijk I was able to photograph 2743 in blue-and-yellow livery departing with a train.  I checked the list of departures in the entrance hall of the station, and decided that the 15.48 was the latest train I could catch to be sure of being back in Bruges in plenty of time for the bus to the ferry terminal and the ship home.  This gave me ample opportunity to explore the centre of Kortrijk and see the main square, the Town Hall, the Belfry, the houses of a former religious community known as the Begijnhof, and two massive medieval towers standing either side of a river and linked by a picturesque bridge.

I was back at the station in time for a coffee in the bullet before going on to the platform for the 15.48 to Bruges and Ostend.  For the last of the four trains I travelled in that day, I had locomotive haulage: 2733 in blue and yellow arrived with a rake of carriages, gleaming in the afternoon sun.  It was a very pleasant ride back to Bruges, the countryside looking very autumnal as the sun sank lower.  The train missed some stations, but at Izegem, Roeselare and Torhout.  In a yard on the outskirts of Kortrijk was diesel shunter 7360 in dark green livery; locomotives of this class now seem to carry the names of American states and cities.

The sun was still shining when I alighted at Bruges, providing dramatic lighting for photographs of 2733 departing for Ostend, a multiple-unit arriving, and electric locomotive 2364 passing with a container train.  I had time for a quick walk into the city to buy chocolates and to look at the fountains and sculptures in ‘t Zand square; the tall tower of Bruges Cathedral was glowing pink in the sunset.  It was nearly dark when the bus departed for Zeebrugge, and my day in Belgium was over.

 

What the Papers Say!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Train delay is just not cricket

(from The Northern Echo 4/12/2004)

 

A train had to be stopped after a plague of crickets invaded a carriage on the East Coast mainline.

Passengers screamed and staff ran around the Virgin Voyager when thousands of the insects started hopping around.

The 14.21 service from Newcastle to Cardiff was eventually halted at Derby and taken away to be fumigated when the crew gave up the struggle to try to capture the crickets.

The invasion was unleashed when a carrier bag filled with thousands of the insects was left on the train.

A spokesman for Virgin Trains said: “Between Darlington and Newcastle, the train manager discovered a carrier bag full of crickets which had spilt open in coach D.

“British Transport Police met the train at York and it was decided to close the shop on the train for health and safety reasons.

“Our staff were basically running around trying to recapture the crickets, which were jumping everywhere.

“It is certainly one of the most bizarre incidents I have ever come across.”

A passenger said: “We were all stunned.

“We’ve all heard of leaves on the line and the wrong kind of snow - but crickets is a new one.”

Virgin staff do not know why the crickets were on the train.

The spokesman said: “Crickets are used as food for exotic pets such as snakes and lizards, and it may be that they were intended for-that reason.

“But the passenger got off and left them behind and the bag was later damaged, producing fairly chaotic results.

“They were hopping around the carriage and we understand quite a few crickets alighted at York before the train was taken out of commission.”

 

 

A nod to people power

(from The Star, 30/11/2004)

 

We’re on Platform 4 on Sheffield railway station about to step on board the 10.51 ‘Nodding Donkey’ on the Penistone Line to Huddersfield.  After you’ve travelled 75 minutes and 37 miles your stiff back will tell you why it’s called that!

“It jolts because most of the rails are in short sections.  I wait for the long welded ones before getting my flask out,” says the Diary’s companion Stephen Gay.

Normally this page would call him an anorak but today he’s ‘freelance public speaker and railway author’ because he’s with us all the way through 17 stations, 10 tunnels and around 20 viaducts.

The Carlisle & Settle it is not, nor the Hope Valley line, but the Penistone Line, dating back to 1850, offers a vista of post-industrial and rural Britain.

The government is turning the Penistone Line, one of several rural lines, into a partnership run by local people.  It must double the passengers while the subsidy is cut by a third.  Otherwise they may resurrect the ghost of Dr Beeching.

He tried to axe it back in 1963 but didn’t get his wicked way.  Lucky he didn’t because the two coach Arriva train, which set off from Lincoln, is stuffed full of passengers bound for Meadowhall, three minutes late.

We shoehorn ourselves into cramped seats but move to comfier side facing ones when the train almost empties at Meadowhall, which has proved the route’s lifeline.

“It’s very busy with morning and evening commuters and schoolchildren use it.  Then it’s quiet during the day although it’s popular with ramblers,” says Stephen.

We pass the old Attercliffe Road and Brightside stations, closed ten years next January.  On our right is a cycle way, once the Great Central route to Barnsley.  And there’s a month jazz special with bar.

We rumble into Chapeltown, where five people get on, rattle over the Ml, go through a tunnel and see the spire of Wentworth church.  Green fields and woods undulate away but we are soon back to scruff and graffiti as we stop first at Elsecar (“new waiting shelter here,” says Stephen) the Wombwell.

Barnsley’s station is bright and busy.  Shortly out of town we branch off left towards Dodworth leaving the Leeds line on our right and now we’re talking countryside.

The track rises steeply and becomes single line for seven miles towards Penistone.  We pass the bridge where police lowered down ransom money to Michael Samms, kidnapper of Stephanie Slater.

The train rattles through woods as it ticks off Dodworth and Silkstone Common stations, although a lot of the view is restricted by cuttings.  Then we are swallowed up by Oxspring tunnel before bursting out into the daylight to cross the Oxspring Viaduct.  Sadly, Oxspring does not match its viaduct.

By Penistone, “reputedly England’s coldest railway station, at 750ft,” says Stephen, our two un-air conditioned carriages are very hot and less than a fifth full.

There’s plenty to see, including Royd Moor wind farm, as we cross the border into West Yorkshire and stop at Denby Dale, Shepley, Stocksmoor and Brockholes, the stationmaster’s house is now a private residence adorned with railwayana.

Then it’s Honley, Berry Brow, Lockwood, where the residents use the embankment walls as a tip, and finally Huddersfield – on time.

Over a roast beef baguette and a cup of tea in Huddersfield’s Head of Steam railway bar owned by songwriter Pete Waterman, underneath a Heeley station sign or ‘totem’, Stephen points to action the new partnership has to take to persuade people to travel at night.

“The yobby stations are Penistone, where youths smoke cannabis in the waiting room, Wombwell and Dodworth,” he says.

Today Stephen, aged 44, is without his Alsatian Wrawby (named after a signal box) and he would not use those stations without him (nor Darnall, his own local station).

The Penistone line is coming to the end of its days with Arriva.  From December 12 the new operator will be Serco/Ned Rail and the Sheffield to Lincoln link will be scrapped.

 

 

Robin’s Review

 

No 27 DELTIC DEADLINE

 

One day in the mid 1960s a friend and I caught the No 38 bus from Lowedges to Pond Street bus station in Sheffield.  I had been looking forward to the trip for some weeks because at long last my parents had allowed me to go all the way to Doncaster trainspotting.  We caught a green liveried Derby Heavy weight DMU from Platform 4 at Sheffield Midland to Doncaster.

On our arrival at Doncaster we made our way to the south end of platform 4 (now platform 3A but much shorter then).  Not long after arriving we heard what is now the very familiar throaty sound of a Deltic horn and looked round to see D9010 “The King’s Own Scottish Borderer” on the down main passing South box, heading north.  As she passed us she opened up after slowing down for the permanent speed restriction through the station.  The roar of the two Napier engines sent a V shaped exhaust high above the station, then the long heavy train of some maroon and some blue and grey mark one coaches accelerated past.  Some of the coaches had maroon name boards on them saying “The Talisman” London King’s Cross - Edinburgh.  The time was about 10.25.  I now know this train was the 0800 King’s Cross - Edinburgh which at that time ran non-stop from Grantham at 09.38 to Darlington at 11.32.

From that day my favourite locomotive was the Deltic.

Every now and then I pick up a copy of Deltic Deadline from WH Smiths on York station…The journal of The Deltic Preservation Society Ltd.

Deltic Deadline is published 6 times a year; the current edition is No162, dated December/January 2005, and priced £2.

It is printed in A5 format with 20 pages of news, articles and pictures.

Like other societies it has a list of Committee members and how to contact them.  There is an editorial and interestingly a regular column “From The Chairman”…mmm.  Other regulars include “From The boardroom”, the DPS railtour programme and Notes and News.

Articles include Deltic Locomotive nameplates their origins and history.  In this edition the loco is 9003 MELD.  This is very interesting because it also gives an interesting insight into the life of the racehorse and the races won.

The Saga of the Plastic Nameplates looks at correspondence from the works manager at Doncaster.

Many Years ago or was it looks back at Deltic events in selected years.

Freedom 2003 - the inside story looks behind the scenes at running a railtour with catering.

Pictures: the covers are in colour with the prototype at the new annex to NRM at Shildon.  Inside there is a black and white photo of 55003 Meld on the 1215 Kings Cross - York at Henwick Hall south of Selby.  Other pictures are of work on 55019 at Barrow Hill.

 

VERDICT:  If you want to be fully up to date with The Deltic Preservation Society and their world then this is a good well presented magazine and excellent value at £2.

 

 

Pennine Quiz No. 119

 

Andy Barclay

 

 

 

Which stations did these named train services operate between in British Railways Timetable May 14th 1984 to May 12th 1985.

 

1 THE EAST ANGLIAN

2 THE HOOK CONTINENTAL

3 THE EUROPEAN BOAT TRAIN

4 THE MASTER CUTLER

5 THE CLANSMAN

6 THE ROYAL SCOT

7 THE IRISH MAIL

8 THE ROYAL HIGHLANDER

9 THE NIGHT LIMITED

10 SAINT DAVID

11 BRUNEL

12 MERCHANT VENTURER

13 RED DRAGON

14 THE NIGHT RIVIERA

15 MAYFLOWER

16 THE TORBAY EXPRESS

17 THE CORNISH RIVIERA

18 GOLDEN HIND

19 THE ORCADIAN

20 THE HEBRIDEAN

21 THE NIGHTRIDER

22 THE HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN

23 THE CLEVELAND EXECUTIVE

24 THE HUMBER LINCS EXECUTIVE

25 THE TALISMAN

26 THE ABERDONIAN

27 THE LEEDS EXECUTIVE

28 THE NIGHT SCOTSMAN

29 THE LIVERPOOL EXECUTIVE

30 THE MANCHESTER PULLMAN

31 THE FLYING SCOTSMAN

32 THE BRADFORD EXECUTIVE

33 THE HULL EXECUTIVE

34 THE WEST MIDLANDS EXECUTIVE

35 THE NEWCASTLE EXECUTIVE

 

Pennine Quiz No. 118

 

The Answers

 

 

 

 

1            Saltley

2            83A

3            Selhurst

4            41C

5            Retford

6            30F

7            Ryde IOW

8            Canklow

9            9G

10          Langwith

11          34D or HI

12          Hull Botanic Gardens

13          Consett

14          65F or GM

15          EM

16          Stockport Edgeley

17          26A

18         70A

19          Doncaster Works

20          Mexborough

 

 

Pennine Quiz No. 118

 

The Winners

 

1st Ken King

2nd Phil Lowis

3rd John Dewing and Steve Payne
All 4 got all the answers correct, so the result was decided by drawing the names out of a hat.

 

I have just got room to include my slide that came 3rd in last years Slide Competition.

Also just another reminder that this October you can enter up to 5 slides.

 

 

 Pennine Meetings 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

All meetings are held at The Salutation Inn, South Parade, Doncaster starting at 20.00 on 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month.

 

Wednesday 6th April 2005

Robert Hay

 

Wednesday 20th April 2005

Trefor Evans

 

Wednesday 4th May 2005

Andy Barclay

 

Wednesday 18th May 2005

PENNINE SLIDE QUIZ by Tony Smith

 

Wednesday 1st June 2005

Phil Lowis / Geoff Bambrough

 

Wednesday 15th June 2005

Robin Skinner

 

Wednesday 6th July 2005

Andy Dalby

 

Wednesday 20th July 2005

David Whitlam

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

I would like to thank the following for their generous contributions to this issue: Andy Barclay, Tony Caddick, Andy Dalby, John Dewing, Steve Payne, John Sanderson, Robin Skinner, Paul Slater and Glenn Williamson for the photo on the front cover.

 

 

Next Issue

 

The Summer 2005 Issue of Trans Pennine is due for publication on 15th June.  Would contributors please let the coordinator have their information by Wednesday 25th May - THANK YOU.  Remember, you can email your contributions to david@whitlam145.freeserve.co.uk.

 

Crusading to Cornwall

(from magazine 43)

 

David Bladen

 

For those of you who are like me and believe that 6.15am is the product of an alarm clock maker’s imagination, I have some news - it really does exist!  It was at this unearthly hour that Linda, myself and a few other Pennine masochists (sorry members) stood on Sheffield’s bleak platform on Saturday, February 5th, to await the arrival of B.C.Railtours “The Cornish Crusader”.  This would, if all went well, take us to Newquay and be double-headed all the way, firstly to Bristol T.M. by 2x31s, then to Plymouth Friary by 2x37s and finally to Newquay by another pair of 37s.  As we waited the familiar sound, a 31 was heard and sure enough 31235 and 31327 rattled into the platform with a rake of 11 Mk.1 coaches.  The usual scramble for photos ensued, followed by the usual scramble for the correct seats!  However, everyone was soon settled and we departed on time at 6.30am.

Our two locos soon proved that they were in fine form.  In no time at all we were through Bradway Tunnel and heading for our first stop at Chesterfield.  The boilers too, worked well. John Sanderson soon had his anorak off, closely followed by his scarf.  We waited in trepidation to see what he would take off next.  Thankfully it was only the lid from his butty-box!  A brief stop was also made at Derby, Loughborough, Leicester, Nuneaton and Birmingham.  One loco of note at Leicester was D7076, the ex-Old Dalby “Hymek”, which was in the sidings to the north of the station and looking in a very poor state.  This loco has been bought by the E.Lancs R.P.S. and should shortly be moving to Bury.

At Birmingham, the arrival of double-headed 31s certainly caused a stir of excitement amongst the enthusiasts on the platforms, however they had only a few minutes in which to admire the beasts, before we had received a green and were threading our way through the suburbs and on towards the Lickey incline.  Now, going down Lickey is good at the best of times, but with two fine locos such as those at our head, it was positively marvellous!  Many of those timing the run down the incline claimed that the magic “ton” was reached and I for one would agree, but the thrash took its toll and we arrived in Bristol with only one loco working fully.

Bristol was the scene of chaos and confusion.  In their efforts to secure good photos, many people spilled onto the track, not only in front of the train, but onto the through lines as well.  It was only the prompt action of the BR staff and the train stewards that prevented, in my view, a nasty accident.  The 31s were uncoupled and 37176 and 37189 were attached.  More confusion reigned when it was found that the lamp bracket on the lead loco was in the wrong place and that the headboard would completely block the driver’s view!  Thus, “Boris the Caveman” was consigned to the brake.

One thing I have never realised before is just how many people try to board railtours without paying.  After we left Bristol, the train stewards carried out a full ticket check and discovered 60 people without tickets.  They were given the option of “pay-up or else”.  As far as I know, all paid!  The 37s showed too, that they were no slouches and made short work of the run to Plymouth, finding the summits en route, no problem.  I don’t think the branch to Plymouth Friary is meant for long trains and judging by the noise coming from the wheel flanges as they took the sharp curves, the train didn’t think so either! Nearing the end of the branch we passed the two 37s which would take us on to Newquay, 37182 and 37207 ‘William Cookworthy’.  We also passed several policemen and later learned that they had arrested a few would-be “Crusaders”.

And so out of Plymouth, across Brunel’s bridge and into Cornwall we rolled.  The Cornish weather decided it didn’t like “emmits” (Cornish slang for tourists) and promptly threw everything it had at us.  A rainstorm is no place to discover that your window won’t shut properly!  We left the main line at Par, turned onto the Newquay line and entered the lunar landscape of china-clay pits.  At 14.15 GMT (Goonbarrow Mean Time), we entered the Goonbarrow loop to allow the Par-bound unit to cross and then finally it was on to Newquay, where just outside the station, 37207 detached, so that it could shunt the stock and release 37182 to run round.

Newquay, on a winter Saturday afternoon, is one of the sleepier places on earth, however, it had a rude awakening as close on 400 people braved the gale-force winds and left the station in search of supermarkets, bakeries and shops in general.  The beer counter at Lipton’s did a roaring trade - there was no alcohol in the train buffet due to licensing problems.  However, the town wasn’t awake for long 35 minutes after arrival, it was time to depart on the long journey north.

The trip homeward proved fairly uneventful, most of the passengers seeming glad of the chance to catch up on their sleep.  But confusion reigned again at Bristol, because of a mix-up over which locos were to haul us back to Sheffield.  Then an hour was lost at Leicester after one of the coaches developed a “hot-box”.  The station pilot 08471 was summoned to remove the offending vehicle and the station supervisor was summoned to remove several dozen offending enthusiasts who had stayed in the coach in the hope of getting some unusual haulage.  Eventual arrival back at Sheffield was 50 minutes late, but this did little to mar what had been a highly enjoyable day.  This was B.C.’s first railtour and they are to be congratulated - let’s hope it won’t be their last!

 

Locos noted during the day:-

 Derby: 08208, 20136/157/189, 25164/209/233, 31143/301, 45128, 47200

Leicester: D7076, 08471, 20143, 25083/251, 47182

Nuneaton: 08461, 47026/338/365
Birmingham: 08742, 81013, 85002, 87016

Lickey: 37180 ‘County of Dyfed’, 37270

Bristol: 08259/322/483/491/756/795/891/942/951, 31158, 33020/21/42/52, 37158,

47091/115/175/196/203/466/551, 50034, 56043/44

Taunton: 97652

Exeter: 47473

Plymouth: 08760/839/840/895/953, 31260, 47189/203/448, 50001/28/35/41

St. Blazey: 08113, 37142/181/274

Goonbarrow: 51310 and 51325 (unit no. P468)

 

 

Toton & Derby - 12th February 1983

(from magazine 43)

 

Mike Bloomer

 

‘Twas a cold February morning, the snow lay o’er the ground as we journeyed through falling snowflakes to a place well known to us since childhood but before we reached our destination, there suddenly came a strange noise from without, bump; bump; bump; it went, rumble; rumble; rumble.  Our thoughts were of fear, horror and great puzzlement, a sickening feeling came over us, could it be the dreaded E.T. trying to get a lift home?  Alas, no, it was the perilous, haunting sound of a deflated wheel, yes folks - you’ve guessed it, we had a puncture and only nine minutes to get to Toton.  All hands to the ‘wheel’ or was it the ‘pumps’ - probably both!  Within four minutes, after taking suitable ‘inflationary’ measures ( not a word to Maggie about that ) we were on our way and there waiting for us, six cars loaded with appropriately clad members with cameras, binoculars, books and pens - no clothes, just cameras, binoculars, et. ,et., (sorry that should be etc, etc, - that Alien gets everywhere).

Toton was littered with rather more than it’s usual number of locos - 56 in all and the Class 31 contingency was represented from six different depots (i.e. BR, GD, IM, TE, TI and TO).  25151 stood all alone in the south yard looking rather the worse for wear, with extensive collision damage, whilst 968002 stood proudly at the entrance to the depot, as if on guard, or is it waiting for a buyer?

Toton list as follows:- 08021/275/293/320/829/856, 20016/041/073/077/113/134/141/142/147/159/166/170/182/185/186/187/188/189/190/196, 25131/139/151/152, 31127/145/154/162/163/209/216/237/271/282/296, 40133, 45034/040/042/043/062/077/134/136, 47107/187/197/200/203/326/329/343/349/377/378/447, 56056/059/061/063/064, 975465/481, 977052 (M56145) Sandite, 977122 and 968002.

We arrived at Derby almost an hour ahead of schedule and so various pastimes were followed - ranging from snowballing and cricket, to the more sensible members sitting inside a warm car eating varying breeds of ‘sarnies’, washed down with all manner of ‘slush’.  A couple of those ‘Journey Shrinkers’ passed through the station; 43187, 41167, 40032, 42313, 42310, 42311, 42312, 44089, 43188 on a Newcastle - Plymouth and 43082, 41048, 41047, 40334, 42069, 42070, 42071, 44023, 43196 on a Leeds - St. Pancras.  In the works, HST. power cars under repair were 43016/017/067/070/080/112/122/123/130.  Stripped of almost everything was 40018 - Carmania, an unusual sight was a Class 25 with two different numbers on (perhaps not so unusual at Derby as we’ve seen two 25s, one in the workshops and one in the yard both carrying the same number on a previous visit).  The explanation for this latest oddity, was that 25035, which carries a number on the side panel, had suffered cab damage and a cab had been ‘borrowed’ from sister engine 25036, complete with number.  The cab carried 25036 and the loco still had 25035 on the side - there are no prizes for guessing the number it carries when it returns to duty.

Other visitors in the workshops were 25049/305, 27014/104, 45115.  Two APT. power cars 49001/4 were evident, the former in the test area along with HST. power car 43079, which, together with 43075, had their respective numbers painted on the front panels instead of the usual set number - what a good idea, could we have shed plates on the front too please?

The yard was well stocked with a goodly number of ‘well worn’ locos, 27203 being a more recent arrival, with its ‘Droop style cab’ - it stops the wind you know - and so do Polo Mints.  Another loco with a similar designed cab, was 25150, but why is this style cab fitted to one end only?  A sorry sight of three ‘Rats’ being cut-up 25216/261, the third wished to remain anonymous.  25170 and 25290 were being de-asbestosized - (that’s a good word!) and power cars 43018/9 were undergoing dehydration process (the removal of fuel and water) before entering the works.

Our guide, who was extremely helpful, continued a very informative tour through the Fabrication Shop, explaining as we went, the various functions of the numerous machines and offered our party a sneak viewing of the Automatic Bogie Spraying Plant, which proved to be of great interest.  We also saw the first batch of Bogies for the new breed of London Underground Trains - unlike the previous square type, these new ones are circular.  All in all, a very interesting visit, which I’m sure was enjoyed by everyone, in spite of the bad weather.

Other locos on site were as follows:- 08199/456/536/598/605/681/696/783, 25036/062/088/093/105/114/129/142/150/220/248/274/304/312, 27203, 40075/132/140/163, 45014/056/108/109/110/112/124/130, 47339/434, HST. 43050, 40516, 40519, 40520, 44094.  (In store - alongside shed) 25088 still keeps a lookout over the works from the side of Etches Park.

Thanks to everyone for making the trip one to remember.

 

 

The Glasgow Underground Railway - Was This the Original MGR.?

(from magazine 43)

 

By G.E.C.

 

The Glasgow Subway (as it was originally called) was opened on 14 December 1896, and the route formed a rough circle some 6½ miles in circumference.

Instead of being steam hauled as most underground railways were at the time, the Scots had to be different. The rail gauge was 4 feet, and traction was by cable.  Each cable was hauled by a stationary l500h.p. steam engine at a speed of 13.5 m.p.h.

Individual rail cars were connected to the cable by a “gripper” underneath the front of the train.  The gripper was operated by the driver or “grip man” who had to release the gripper on entering a station, and stop by using his brake gear.

On starting, the gripper was gradually applied to the cable and a smooth start required considerable experience.  (I don’t know if the passengers shared the gaining of this experience!).  Humping the track at each station helped stopping and starting.

At the point where the cable was taken in and out of the engine house, the grip man had to release in good time and coast until the cable re-emerged, and then re-engage the gripper.  However, there was an automatic disengaging device for forgetful drivers!

The cable was 1½ inches in diameter and the 6½ mile length weighed 57 tons.  Two new cables were always available in case of breakage, as their life was variable - between less than 7 weeks to over two years.

Fifteen stations were built, but over the years some became incorporated into other buildings, making the station insignificant and hard to find, especially if you’d had more than a wee dram!

The track had no points or sidings, but did have “proper signals” - lower quadrant and interlocked with the next signal ahead, thus allowing a simple form of block working.

After a number of financially poor years, the line closed in 1922, but was later reopened by the Glasgow Corporation who took over responsibility.  By 1935 the system had been converted to electric traction at 575 volts D.C.

You might think that this would have speeded the trains, and it did!  The 13.5m.p.h. cable speed gave an average train speed of 10m.p.h.  With electrification, this average speed was raised to 14m.p.h.  The present Clockwork Orange trains average 18m.p.h.

By 1960, the whole system was life expired and breakdowns became more and more frequent, until in 1977, the railway closed so as to completely modernise the system.

In 1974, 800,000 passengers per month were carried, and this number fell to 100,000 just before closure.  Now that the new railway is open, 1,000,000 passengers a month are carried.

May the Centenary in 1996 see this figure still holding.

 

 

THE WEST SOMERSET RAILWAY - A PERSONAL VIEW

(from magazine 44)

 

Paul Slater

 

The West Somerset Railway is one of my favourite steam lines and to me it is unique among the various preserved railways in that I first read about it in a story-book.  It was then simply the Minehead branch of B.R., and it appeared at the beginning of Penelope Lively’s story for children “The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy”, published in 1972.  I am not, at my age, a particular devotee of children’s stories, but I have always liked Penelope Lively’s books, with their strong sense of the past and their beautiful descriptions of the countryside, and I was especially attracted to this book because it’s theme is folklore and folk-dancing, subjects in which I am very interested.  The story begins with Lucy Clough, the heroine, travelling alone by train to spend the summer holidays with her maiden aunt in the Somerset village of Hagworthy and the opening chapter is a detailed description of the ride on the Minehead branch train from Taunton.  At the time I first read the story, I was beginning to be attracted to the West Country as a possible place to visit on holiday and I was quite captivated by the description of Lucy’s journey through the Somerset countryside.  The slow branch-line train is contrasted with the express on which the girl has travelled from London as far as Taunton and the intimate scale of the country through which it passes is particularly emphasised.

 In 1978 I finally got to visit and ride on the West Somerset Railway and I have seen something of it every year since.  Sometimes I have been spending a few days in the Minehead area while making my way either to or from a writing course at Totleigh Barton, near Okehampton in Devon; at other times I have been on a country dancing holiday at Halsway Manor, which is situated only a couple of miles from the line.  It seems appropriate that, as I first became interested in the West Somerset Railway through a fiction book dealing with folk-dancing, my visits to the line should all be connected with either creative writing or country dancing!

It must be admitted that the West Somerset Railway does not have the locomotive interest of many preserved lines.  It’s stud of working steam locos is small; on my first visit, Great Western 0-6-0 PT no. 6412 was working the trains but on every subsequent visit it has been an industrial 0-6-0 ST no. 2994 ‘Vulcan’ that has been doing the haulage.  Two Western Region diesel-hydraulics are among the stock of the West Somerset Railway, also a London, Brighton & South Coast “Terrier” and two Great Western “45xx” class 2-6-2 tanks awaiting restoration.  A mixed steam and diesel service is operated, with the majority of the trains during the week formed from two-car diesel multiple units.

However, what the line lacks in steam locomotive interest is made up, for me at least, by the attractive countryside through which it passes and by it’s literary association with Penelope Lively’s story.  The train service has been progressively extended eastwards from Minehead and I have enjoyed being able to travel further on successive visits.  In 1978 I rode behind steam to Blue Anchor and in a multiple unit to Stogumber, in the Quantock hills.  In 1980 I travelled on one of the occasional “Quantock Rambler multiple units which went as far as Crowcombe, the summit of the line.  In 1981 I travelled by steam to the next station, Bishop’s Lydeard, on the eastward side of the hills, from where a bus connection operates into Taunton.  In 1982 I did not ride on the upper end of the line, contenting myself with a steam ride from Williton to Watchet and then walking back to my car at Williton; but I made a point of watching and photographing the Sunday steam train to Bishop’s Lydeard in the rustic surroundings of Stogumber and Crowcombe stations, among a maze of narrow lanes, tiny hamlets, fields and woods.  The sight of “Vulcan” and its train, and the sound of its exhaust beats and its sonorous chime whistle, gave me great pleasure in the setting which had delighted me when I read Penelope Lively’s book several years earlier.

In 1981, when I first rode to Bishop’s Lydeard, I walked down to Stogumber Station from Halsway Manor and stopped the steam train especially, Stogumber being a regular stop for the multiple units but only a request stop for the steam trains.  The novelty of stopping a steam train just for me, as if it were a bus or a taxi, combined with the beautiful sunny weather that day, and the enjoyment of my ride on the railway, and the happiness I felt during my first holiday at Halsway Manor, made a deep impression on me.

I have over the past few years tried my hand at writing short stories with a railway setting and I decided to build a story around my day on the West Somerset line.  The result, “Marilyn”, is I think one of my best stories.  As I first got to know of the West Somerset Railway through a story, it gave me great satisfaction to repay the debt, as it were, and put the railway in a story of my own!  I wonder what associations with the West Somerset Railway future years will bring?

 

 

THE SPELL OF THE S & C

(from magazine 44)

 

Bob Peach

 

Many books have been written about the Settle and Carlisle line.  In pre-grouping days the Midland Railway, in competition with the GNR/NER and LNWR, simply called their line the ‘Best’.  Certainly in terms of scenic value the S & C is unsurpassed.

For many years, before the word ‘Nationalisation’ brought fear to those secure lines, people would travel along the S & C just to gaze at its beauty, both natural and man-made.  Names such as Helwith Bridge, Ribblehead, Ais Gill and Dent Head conjure up mental images of men battling with nature to transport passengers and freight on a line that can, at its worst, be arguably the worst in this country to traverse.

107 years after it was opened to traffic, the S & C is still doing the job for which it was intended, i.e. to transport. people and their baggage from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’.  Unfortunately during the passage of time it is no longer possible to travel to such famous stations as Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Ribblehead, Dent, Kirkby Stephen, Crosby Garrett, etc., except by the infrequent ‘Dales Rail’ trains during the summer months.  Indeed some of the stations, including a couple mentioned above have been demolished completely.  The Down side of Ribblehead Station, for example, has made way for the rail connection to Ribblehead Quarry.  The branch from Garsdale, (Hawes Junction), was closed and lifted years ago.

The Settle and Carlisle line is ignored by many, hated by some and loved by others.  I feel that I belong to the last category.  The S & C is even able to cast its spell on people at night.  Those Pennine members who went on the Merrymaker to Mallaig during April 1981 may know what I mean.  I have been fascinated by this stretch for a few years and I was ‘as pleased as Punch’ when, the other day, I was given a list of freight workings and their times for this line.  So, in conjunction with Gerard Smith and General Lee (his car), I set off on Thursday April 7th for a day of adventure, sun and mud!

Naturally enough the Settle and Carlisle line starts at Settle Jn., so with the aid of an early start we got north of this point for

our first photos.  En route to Settle we passed Hellifield Station and could see a Class 25 which had been looped for the 08.57 Leeds - Carlisle the train which we were racing to Stainforth.  Our arrival at a bridge just to the north of the short Stainforth Tunnel was only minutes before 1M09 which passed with 31404 in charge.  We went north, heading for Horton-in-Ribblesdale Station, but hadn’t got more than a mile when a ‘Peak’ was seen heading south. (In these hills it should have been a Class 44.)  We parked on the road-side and after consulting the map, realised by accident that we had photographed 46014 with its load of Ballast Wagons at Helwith Bridge.  So, it was back to General Lee and a fast sprint to Horton Station.

Our wait at Horton was short.  Almost as we arrived the signalman pulled off the down signals and along came 25257, also with Ballast Hoppers.  As we found out later, this train was en route to Ribblehead Quarry.  It was almost time for 6E54, 10.31 Ribblehead Quarry - Healey Mills, so we remained at Horton.  At 10.33 off came the up signals and five minutes later we heard whistling from round the bend.  Seconds later 40196 passed us and went off into the distance.  Horton was turning out to be a nice spot, not only for the trains.  The sun had put in an appearance and would keep us company for most of the day.  We decided to ‘fester’ at Horton for the 10.00 Carlisle - Leeds, 1E23, which in due course, strummed past with 47515 in charge.

A change of location was called for, so it was back to ‘the General’ and off to Ribblehead Viaduct.  It was on arrival here that we found 25257 in the Quarry.  We parked in a small parking place just to the south-west of the Viaduct, on the Ingleton road.  In due course ‘257 came out of the sidings with it’s now loaded Ballast Hoppers.  Photos of it crossing the viaduct were taken, then with the aid of binoculars it was confirmed that the loco was running round at Blea Moor box.  This gave us a short time in which to find another suitable location and then to photograph the train.  About 1.1/2 miles south of Ribblehead is a small road bridge by Lodge Hall Farm.  It was here where we got ‘257 yet again, then back to the Viaduct.

During the early afternoon nothing was booked to go in either direction so we took this opportunity to do some exploring and see how near to Blea Moor box we could get.

A few weeks earlier this location had been full of fellow photographers waiting to catch 46229 on the Cumbrian Mountain Pullman, now it was just us two and the sheep.  Using the path taken by the signalman would have been too easy.  We crossed under the railway using a ‘sheep-way’ and started to climb the lower, and slippery, slopes of Blea Moor.  With all the rain and snow that had fallen here in recent weeks the ground was one big bog and more than once I nearly slipped ‘Base over Apex’, stepped out of my shoes and slightly twisted my ankle.  (Shame!). Still we plodded on.  As we approached the box, ever so slowly, a Class 25 arrived in the loop from the north and this, like the last 25 we had seen, started to run round.  We moved faster than ever before - more slipping and more ‘Base over Apex’. This was 25195 on a short unfitted train.  After photographing its departure we made our way to a bridge about 1/4 mile north of Blea Moor Box.  It was barred. Sheep-proof no doubt, but it wasn’t rail enthusiast-proof.  I refused to go back the way we had arrived, so we slithered round the western side of Blea(k) Moor box, eventually regaining the signalman’s path.  Trudging downwards Gerard looked back one last time.  Lo and behold, the up signals were off.  So we waited, and waited and about seven minutes later a Class 25 (another), made its way past the box and onto the Viaduct.  25120 with 6E01, MSX 23.25 Mossend - Healey Mills mixed Vacs.  Mixed it was, mineral wagons, rail flats, the odd oil tank wagon.  Off to General Lee.

Our last spot north of Ribblehead was to be at Dent Head Viaduct.  Despite being on constant alert we nearly missed 40129.  Indeed I did because I had the wrong lens on the camera.  Gerard managed to get cine film of it.  As there was nothing now due for quite a while and as the afternoon was getting on we headed south, back past Ribblehead and on to Settle Jn.  Here we waited on a bridge just north of the box, for both the evening passenger workings.  The signalman pulled off both ways at once, making things difficult for us.  We expected 47515 to return with 1M26, the 16.05 Leeds - Carlisle, but instead it was 31235 which appeared.  As that passed us 1E33 was quickly approaching so it was over to the other side of the bridge for 31404 returning.  If we weren’t held up in traffic we might be able to race ‘404 and get another shot east of the Skipton stop.  As we drove along the Skipton By-pass I glanced left towards the station.  Not only did we look as though we would get 31404 again, but also 40129 and 25120.  We pulled up at Crosshills, just west of Keighley, as Kildwick L/C barriers were going down.  311404 was here, so a fast light reading was taken then it was past. 
We waited for 6E01 which came past about ten minutes later. While we waited for the 40 it gave me an opportunity to find out what it was working.

Consulting the times I had been given it was deduced that 40129 was on 8E13, the 13.10 Carlisle - Healey Mills Mixed Vacs.  After a wait of fifteen minutes we had ‘descent’ at Kildwick and we took up our positions.  As 40129 came round the bend about 200 yards away from us, the rails started singing.  Pandemonium reigned as a DMU scuttled past the other way.  Phew, it cleared the 40 just in time to get a decent photograph.  It was after 5.00pm and the weather, which had been so nice during the morning and early afternoon was now turning cold and blustery, so regretfully we headed off for home.  Cold, muddy, but happy at having had such a nice day out.  Another is being planned and this will no doubt cover Ribblehead to Ais Gill.  Long may the Settle and Carlisle line remain.

(Ooh my poor ankle!)