TRANS PENNINE

The Magazine of the Pennine Railway Society


 

No.155 - Spring 2011

Photos
Front Cover
The photo, taken by Chris Theaker, came 2nd in the Pennine Slide Competition held on 3rd November 2010.
It shows Pacer 142001 at Dawlish Warren on an Exmouth-Paignton service in June 2010

If you wish to see your photo in Trans Pennine, send it with details to the Magazine Coordinator, David Whitlam.

COMMITTEE BRIEFS

Peter Fox

It is with sadness that we inform you that Peter Fox passed away on 8 February. Peter (affectionately known as "The Lord") he founded Platform 5 Publishing and had been a great friend of the Pennine Railway Society from the start.
Peter was a staunch supporter of public transport and was for a time elected Councillor on Sheffield City Council where he certainly made his views known. He will be missed and we send our condolences to his family and friends.

Annual General Meeting
Following the cancellation of last year's AGM, we were able to hold one this year on Sunday 9 January. From the Committee, Robin Havenhand and Tony Booth were unable to attend and offered their apologies.

Chairman's Report
Robin referred to the severe weather conditions in early and late 2010 which had caused the cancellation of the 2010 AGM and a number of meetings, but the year was rounded of in style with Ken Grainger's presentation "The Master Cutler''.
In terms of events, the Society had visited the Railway Museum at Doncaster Grammar School on four occasions.
Further visits could be arranged in 2011. The social evening programme in 2010 had seen a number of excellent presentations and audience figures were good. A full programme for 2011 had been Arranged. Meetings would continue to be held at "The Salutation" (unless unavailable in which case we would meet at "The Railway".

Membership Report
Tony reported membership figures of around the 80 mark.
New members were joining, often through their attendance at social nights.

Web Report
The Pennine's website was maintained by Tony Booth and regularly updated. Members were recommended to use this for latest news, including any changes to meetings (address on first page of magazine). See Page 11 for stats on the website hits in 2010.

Magazine Coordinator's Report
Dave thanked contributors for their articles, details of sightings, quizzes and photos and welcomed continued contributions in 2011.

Treasurer's Report
John presented the financial report for 2010 and confirmed that the state of the Society's finances remained healthy.

Re-election of the Committee
The Committee was re-elected en bloc.

Open Forum

Items discussed in Open Forum included: Review the "digital revolution'' in terms of slide shows and competitions and the decreasing availability of slide film.  Potential visits to Barrow Hill and SY Supertram.

President's Address
Geoff |closed the meeting by thanking all who attended the AGM, and those members unable to attend, for their support of the Society in 2010 and looked forward to a successful 2011.

Membership Fee - Renewal
We would like to thank all those members who have renewed their subscription to the Pennine Railway Society for 201l . It is not too late to rejoin - simply send your cheque for 6.00, payable to the Pennine Railway Society, to Tony Caddick our membership Secretary, at the address shown at the front of the magazine.
For those of you who are not rejoining, this will be the final magazine you receive. In these circumstances we thank you for your past support and hope you may consider rejoining the Pennine at some future time.

Pennine Shield
The result of the 2010 Pennine Shield, held over one round only due to severe weather conditions was a win for the Great Pretenders, with Dore Loco Group 2nd and Pennine Railway Society 3rd. Subject to the agreement of Dore Loco the result will stand and Great Pretenders awarded the Shield for 2010.

Social Evenings
Robin has produced an excellent programme of social events for 201l . Come and join us on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month at the Salutation Inn, South Parade, Doncaster (approx 12 minutes walk from Doncaster BR and buses available from Doncaster Interchange). We have a well furnished, private, function room. Al1 welcome, members and non-members. Details of the programme are shown elsewhere in this organ.
Meetings start at 20.00|.

Loophole Allows Large January Fare Increases
Rail companies exploited a loophole allowing them to increase fares by varying amounts as long as the average rise in the cost of a regulated ticket did not exceed the government cap of 5.8%.
First Great Western season tickets between Bath and Bristol, Cardiff and Bristol and Bristol and Salisbury and Bath all went up 7.8%.
The routes - all direct - are overcrowded. However a season ticket from Liskeard to Plymouth was cut by 20%. There are no direct trains and few tickets are sold. First Capital Conned increased season ticket prices from Sandy to London by 6.7%, a route where it has no competitors.
An annual ticket from Gatwick to London went up just 1.9%, a route where there are two competitors.
Regulated fares are season tickets, long distance off-peak and short distance "anytime" journeys of less than 50 miles around big cities.

End of Wrexham - Marylebone Direct Link '
The direct service from Wrexham to Marylebone was withdrawn at the end of January 2011 after just 3 years of operation. The Wrexham and Shropshire Train Company blamed falling passenger numbers in the economic downturn.
The service had run five times a day, dropped to four and was reduced to three in December. It was now run by Chiltern an offshoot of DB, the German state railway operator.

GWR Electrification
The Government has agreed for electrification on the GW main line from Paddington to reach Oxford and Newbury and a decision about going on to Bristol and South Wales is awaited.

Airdrie - Bathgate Opens
The December timetable saw the introduction of services between Glasgow and Edinburgh via Airdrie and Bathgate but with fewer trains than planned due to commissioning the Class 380's intended for the Inverclyde and Ayrshire Coast routes, allowing class 344's to be cascaded to Airdrie-Bathgate.
For the first time there will be direct services from Helensburgh to Edinburgh.

M&S Move into Rail Distribution
Marks & Spencer are to send 25 containers per week from Daventry Rail Freight Terminal to Grangemouth.

More Krupps
Eurotunnel is purchasing two more Krupp's rescue locos, bringing the total to seven to haul stranded trains

Eurostar Expansion
The purchase by Eurostar of a fleet of 10 Siemens Velaros should enable its routes in 2014 to include Amsterdam, Lyon and Geneva.
These trains will be bigger than the existing Eurostar's as they will not need to fit with the smaller structure gauge that the original Eurostar's encountered when working to Waterloo and do not need to draw current from a third rail.

London Crossrail to Go Ahead
The Government has approved construction of London Crossrail to go from Maidenhead and Heathrow Airport to Shenfield and Abbey Wood. A westerly extension from Maidenhead to Reading is still being considered.

Sheffield Tap - Award Winner
The Sheffield Tap bar on Platform 1 in the former refreshment room has won the Modem Railways Restoration Award. Runners up were Middlesbrough station cafe and Ormskirk station.

The Gates of Jerusalem
Pennine's Religious Adviser, the Reverend Gerard Collins of the Diocese of Lincoln tells us that the portal of Shrugborough Tunnel in Staffordshire is based on the magnificent walls and gateways surrounding Jerusalem erected by Suleiman the Magnificent between 1537 and 1541. The triumphal arch is a copy of Hadrian's Arch in Athens.

12 Cars on GN
The December timetable changes saw the introduction of 12 car trains in the evening on First Capital Connect's Great Northern route to Royston and Cambridge.

c2c Franchise Extension
National Express has been awarded an extension to its c2c franchise which will run for up to 2 years in return for commitments to provide additional train services and staffing during the 2012 Olympic Games.

Pendolinos from Italy
The first of Virgin Trains four new 1l-coach Pendolinos has arrived from Italy. It is at Alstom's Liverpool Traincare Centre at Edge Hill awaiting a 6 month testing programme on the WCML.

Metrolink Tram Stop Closure
Manchester Metrolink proposes to close the stop at Mosley Street in the city centre.

Stamp of Approval for Workhorses
Royal Mail has issued a set of stamps celebrating the vital role played in the past by the unglamorous steam workhorses.
The first sheet of stamps featured:
1st Class - BR Dean Goods No.2532 on a Newbury bound local service at East Garton in 1951
60p - Peckett R2 "Thor" built in 1925 for Tunnel Cement Co. of Purfleet.
88p - L&YR No. 1100 at Liverpool Exchange in 1909 hauling the 2.10pm to Hull.
97p - BR WD No. 90662 "Austerity"

East Angling News

Our East Anglian correspondent "Tractor'' Collins reports on the return of the named business train "The  East Anglian" the 07.40 Norwich - Liverpool Street. Class 90, No. 90008 will also carry the name.
Also, there is now an enhanced service between Ipswich and Saxmundham and in 2012 extra trains will run between Lowestoft and Ipswich was the installation of a passing loop at Beccles.

Barrow Hill 2011
The events planned for Barrow Hill Roundhouse in 2011 are: Fri/Sat 13/14 May - Rail Ale Festival.
Sat 23 July - DPS operating Deltic 9009 on shuttle trains as a celebration of its birthday.
Sat/Sun 24/25 September - Model Rail Live
Sat 8 October - A1 Steam Locomotive Trust "Tornado'' Convention.
Fri/Sat/Sun 14/15/16 October - Steam Gala

Rare Sight at Doncaster
An unusual sight in Doncaster West Yard on Tuesday 15 February was Carmine/Cream liveried ScotRail  EMU 320314. It is presumed the unit has come down for attention at the Wabtec Works.

Sheffield Railwayana Auctions
At the Sheffield Railwayana Auction held at the Derbyshire County Cricket Club's Gateway Centre on 11 December 2010 the following locomotive nameplates all sold for 6,000 or more:
*  LOCOMOTIVE NAMEPLATE: THOMAS HARDY as carried by the BR Standard "Britannia'' class 4-6-2 Pacific numbered 70034 built at Crewe and entered service at Longsight in December 1952. Soon transferred to the Eastern Region to join the stud of "Britannia's'' at Norwich (32A) on Great Eastern main line services, it was transferred back to the MMR  in March1963. It was withdrawn from Kingmoor in May 1967 and broken up by J McWilliam, Shettleston in October that year - 12,000
*  LNER locomotive NAMEPLATE: GAINSBOROUGH as carried by the LNER 4-6-2 Pacific as class loco No. 2597 built at Doncaster in April 1930. Renumbered 86 in October 1946 and BR 60086 in September 1948. A long-time Neville Hill allocation, it was withdrawn from there in November 1963 and cut up at Darlington the following month - 7,500
*  GWR LOCOMOTIVE NAMEPLATE: BECKFORD HALL as carried by Collett GWR Hall Class 4-6-0 No.5977 built at Swindon in September 1938. It was at first allocated to Worcester but by August 1950 could be found at Cardiff| Canton. By the end of that decade it was based at Reading and was withdrawn from there in August 1963. Scrapped at Cashmore's Newport in July 1964. Together with matching CABSIDE NUMBERPLATE "5977" and SMOKEBOX NUMBERPLATE "5977" - 6,000
*  BRASS LOCOMOTIVE NAMEPLATE: DUKE OF GLOUCESTER as carried by the unique Riddles designed BR standard 8P 4-6-2 paced built at Crewe Works in 1954. Robert Riddles requested this loco be constructed to replace LMS Pacific  "Princess Anne'' which had been decayed in 1952 in the Harrow disaster. The new loco entered service in May 1954 to take its place alongside Stanier Pacific's working heavy express trains between Euston and Scotland and was allocated to Crewe North motive power depot. It was a frequent performer on the "Midday Scot" but day-to-day performances and those produced during locomotive trails were mixed as were the opinions the loco crews. Withdrawal came in November 1962 and it was stored at Crewe until August 1967.
Originally scheduled by the British Transport Commission for preservation it was finally removed from the list and was instead heavily cannibalised, the outside cylinders being removed sectioned and sent to the Science Museum in London for display along with one of the nameplates. The hulk was sent to Woodham's at Barry for scrap but its journey there was not without incident as it ended up at Cashmore's in Newport in error, where it may well have been broken-up, had not the mistake been spotted and rectified.
Thanks to a dedicated band of volunteers it was rescued from Barry and despite its very poor condition, phoenix-like rose again. The rest is history. This nameplate was sold by BR in the mid-1960s as there was no perceived need to preserve two nameplates from the same loco. The nameplates currently fitted to the loco in preservation are, of course, reproductions - 29,000
*  LNER LOCOMOTIVE NAMEPLATE: BROWN JACK as carried by Gresley LNER Class as 4-6-2 built at Doncaster It was originally numbered 2508 by the LNER becoming 43 in 1946 and then 60043 in BR days. Discounting the replacement "Grand Parade'' which was constructed in 1938 it was the last production member of the Class. Always an Edinburgh loco it went new to Haymarket in February 1935
and did not move from there it's June 1961 and then only down the road to St. Margaret's from where it was withdrawn in May 1964. It was cut up by the Motherwell Machinery and Scrap company at Wishaw in July 1964. "Brown Jack'' was an equine superstar and probably the most popular flat-race horse ever, but began life as a hurdler. After winning the Champion Hurdle, he won the Queen Alexandria Stakes at Royal Ascot every year from 1929 to 1934 and also the Goodwood Cup, Doncaster Cup, Chester Cup and the Ebor Handicap. He was owned by Sir Harold Wernher - 8,500

Blackpool News

With the proposed Easter reopening drawing ever nearer the winter modernisation work on the tramway continues apace. At the beginning of February work finally began on the street running section around the Metropole Hotel and all the old track has now been removed.
The new layout will finally have the trams completely segregated from road traffic and will bring to an end years and years of near misses on this short stretch of track. A new three track layout has been installed at Talbot Square slightly to the south of the original.
Platforms for the new trams are being constructed along the whole length of the line from Starr Gate to Fleetwood with new shelters already in place at the Cabin stop.
The imposing new depot at Starr Gate is now structurally complete with tracklaying almost finished and overhead line now being erected.
It should be ready well in time for the delivery of the first of the 16 new Supertram's due in the summer. Blackpool is the first customer for the new BOMBARDIER FLEXITY tram with the first one due to be completed at the factory in Bautzen Germany by Easter.
They will be 32m long and 2.65m wide, low floor throughout was room for 74 seated/150 standing passengers/2 wheelchair spaces.
Sheffield Corporation Roberts car 513 finally left the resort on 16 February for its new home at the East Anglian Transport Museum at Carlton Colville. An initial 5 year loan has been agreed with the tram owners, the North East England Open Air Museum at Beamish.

Calder Valley Excursion
by Paul Slater

The smart black-and-orange Adelante forming the 10.50 Kings Cross - Bradford departed from Doncaster, lightly loaded; and I was soon my first ride on Grand Central's new West Riding service. We took the Leeds line, passing 66567 on a container bin, and hurried through Bentley and Adwick. Beyond South Elmsall the train slackened speed.
Near Fitzwilliam we passed 66200 on an oil train and then a 67 running light..
Now going quite slowly, we turned off the Leeds line at Hare Park Junction and joined first the route from Pontefract and then the line from Normanton to run into Wakefield Kirkgate station, where we stopped at the outer platform.
From here my train was running on the Calder Valley main line, which as far as Horbury Junction is quadruple track.
We passed under the long viaduct carrying the Leeds line at the approach to Wakefield Westgate.
I noticed a signal box of Lancashire & Yorkshire pattern at Horbury Junction, where the line to Barnsley and Sheffield diverged and near here we passed 66596 on a mineral train. A few wagons could be seen in Healey Mills yards, but trees were growing among the rusty tracks.
Progress was slow on the triple track section through Mirfield.
Beyond the divergence of the Huddersfield line the Calder Valley main line had been for some years a freight-only route, although it is now used by some local services; it was a new line for me as far as the stop at Brighouse.
The country was becoming more hilly, the sides of the valley higher. The train turned off the main line at Greenland Junction, and slowly climbed the 1 in 50 gradient to Dryclough| Junction where the connection from Sowerby Bridge came in. One of my videos shows steam trains being banked over this section in the 1960s. I alighted at Halifax, where the station consists of an island platform on the edge of the town. There is another signal box of Lancashire & Yorkshire design, and nearby are extensive industrial premises, with a tall white painted chimney making quite an attractive picture against a wooded hillside.
Halifax is served by frequent local services, and soon I was on my way in a 158 on a Leeds - Manchester working. It took the right hand turn at Dryclough Junction and after a few miles rejoined the Calder Valley main line. The train called at Sowerby Bridge, Mytholmroyd - a station where I had never stopped before - and Hebden Bridge, where I alighted.
The station at Hebden Bridge is on the edge of the town. It looks like a station on a preserved railway, with old- fashioned signs and name boards and a traditional signal box. Once, after a writing course at nearby Lumb Bank; I had driven a car full of people to Hebden Bridge station to catch trains home.
I bought a drink at the station cafe, took some photographs then boarded a 158 on one of the hourly Blackpool - York semi-fast workings; it was in one of these trains that I had my first ride over Copy Pit Summit a few years ago.
The Calder Valley looked green and attractive in the summer sunshine. Mills and chimneys at Sowerby Bridge made a traditional industrial scene, and the old station building there has been restored as a cafe, with signs in the old North Eastern Region orange colour.
I was back at Halifax in plenty of time for the return Grand Central working, the 15.22 Bradford - Kings Cross. There were not many passengers. the train rejoined the Calder Valley main line at Greetland Junction. I enjoyed the leisurely ride eastwards, with a stop at Brighouse, the country becoming flatter as the hills were left behind.
There was a lengthy wait outside Wakefield, and then we ran into the outer platform at Kirkgate station.
The return route to Doncaster was via Pontefract. We passed Streethouse, Featherstone and Pontefract Tanshelf and made a long stop at Pontefract Monkhill, where we passed another Adelante forming the 14.20 Kings Cross - Bradford. The train passed behind Knottingley station and depot and I was now on another route I had never travelled over before. The country was very flat, a contrast with the Pennine scenery earlier in my journey, and there were many level crossings. I looked out for the attractive station houses at Womersley and Norton. There was a long and severe speed restriction approaching Shaftholme Junction.
After a few miles travelling along the East Coast line we were back at Doncaster.
I alighted and photographed the Adelante departing on its non-stop run to London. It had been an interesting day out.

Tosca's Travels
(Beer and Bashing Abroad)
Part 16

Having split up with the girlfriend in September 1995 I was at a loose end as to where I should go for my leave in October. I had planned a week Norfolk but now I thought "sod that" and ordered my continental passes for a week in the Low Countries and Germany.
Saturday (14th October 1995
The Blades were away at Southend so my plan was to go to the the match and then catch the overnight ferry to Oostende.
DMU 153307 Sheffield - Retford
91021 Retford - Kings Cross
EMU 321326 Liverpool St - Rochford
Did two beer guide pubs in Rochford - Milestone, had Greene King Black Baron and Golden Lion had Fullers Summer Ale.
EMU 321323 Rochford - Prittlewell
The Southland ground is outside Southend in Prittlewell. There is a very good pub next to the ground called the Spread Eagle. I spent an hour in the pub and sampled Haycocks 118, Hampshire Pendragon and Charrington Barmaids Pleasure. It was a really warm day so the beer garden became a little part of Sheffield for a while, with the usual Blades chants etc. Then went to the match, which the Blades lost 2-1 in a very inept display.
EMU 321447 Prittlewell - Southend Victoria
EMU 310064 Southend Central - Fenchurch Street
EMU 1507 Victoria - Ramsgate

Sunday 15th October 1995
Having got to Oostende very early and with no train for 45 minutes, I found the cafe du Buroo open and had an early morning beer. Only Jupiler, a bland lager, but at 04.30 something too strong would have been a bad move.
SNCB EMU 834 Oostende - Gent St Pieters
SNCB 6237 Gent St Pieters - De Pinte
SNCB 6391 De Pinte - Gent St Pieters
SNCB 6213 Gent St Pieters - De Pinte
SNCB 6301 De Pinte - Gent St Pieters
SNCB 62 1 1 Gent St Pieters - Gerrardsbergen
Having covered 5 diesel turns and not needing any I was a bit miffed. I had decided to cover the line through to Gerrardsbergen as I had not previously done it. Had a bit of time before the unit to Enghien so found a beer guide pub, the "saf Verhaege Caves" was the beer and a nice smoked cheese to accompany it.
SNCB EMU Gerrardsbergen - Enghien
SNCB 2737 Enghien - Bruxelles Midi
SNCB EMU Bruxelles Midi - Berchem
SNCB EMU Berchem - Antwerpen Central
I then checked into the Florida Hotel, before catching a tram out to Antwerp's football ground. I watched the local derby, Royal Antwerpen 1 Beveren 1.
Surreal to see the police at the stadium approaches carrying rifles! Sundays in Belgium, at that time were poor loco wise so after the match I had an evening of beer in various locations.
SNCB EMU 808 Antwerpen Central - Berchem
SNCB EMU 801 Berchem - Mechelen
Beer - Mechelen - Stillen Genieter Bar, had Martens Sezoens Quattro
SNCB EMU 841 Mechelen - Bruxelles Central
Beer - Bruxelles - Lunnnette, had Lamot Ginder. Mort. Subite Bar, had Maes Pils. Imaige de Notre Dame Bar had St Freuillan Blonde.
SNCB 1192 Bruxelles Central - Berchem
SNCB EMU 808 Berchem - Antwerpen Central
Beer - Antwerpen - Waagstuk had Belle View Jack-op.
Bierland had De Konnink Beer.
Monday (16th October 1995
Having had the beers that I had yesterday there was no way it would be an early start today. So after a leisurely breakfast I came out for the 10.19 to Charleroi and was rewarded with my 2nd winner of the trip.
The plan today was to end up in the Netherlands.
SNCB 2109 Antwerpen Central - Mechelen
SNCB 2514 Mechelen - Leuven
SNCB 2514 Leuven - Mechelen
SNCB 21 1l Mechelen - Berchem
SNCB 2743 Berchem - Mechelen
SNCB |2503 Mechelen - Leuven
SNCB 2149 Leuven - Liege Guillemins
SNCB 2234 Liege Guillemins - Flemalle Haute
SNCB 2204 Flemalle Haute - Liege Guillemins
SNCB em 408 Liege Guillemins - Maastricht
NS 1627 Maastricht - Eindhoven
NS 1314 Eindhoven - s'Hertogenbosch
I checked into the Terminus Hotel near the station before heading back out to hopefully get some winners. I had a reasonably good evening.
NS 1642 s'Hertogenbosch - Eindhoven
NS 1637 Eindhoven - s'Hertogenbosch
NS 1651 s'Hertogenbosch - Eindhoven
NS 1654 Eindhoven - s'Hertogenbosch
NS 1612 s'Hertogenbosch - Utrecht CS
NS 1613 yacht CS - s'Hertogenbosch
I then had a few beers in Den Boss, as s'Hertogenbosch is known. Did the Duvelke and had Huyghe La Guillotine as as well as the bars own Wagons Blood Beer. Then back tothe Terminus for Dommelsch Dominator. Is Dommelsch Dutch for Dennis, I wondered?
Tuesday (17th October 1995
Tonight's plan was to do an overnight so again I didn't get up too early. I got to the station about 10.00 and got a beast on my first train of the day.
NS 1221 s'Hertogenbosch - Eindhoven
NS 1638 Eindhoven - Weert
NS 1658 Weert - Eindhoven
NS 1636 Eindhoven - s'Hertogenbosch
NS 1623 s'Hertogenbosch - Eindhoven
NS 1629 Eindhoven - Utrecht CS
NS 1620 Utrecht CS - Bunnik
NS EMU 850 Bunnik - Utrecht CS
NS 1735 Utrecht CS - Amsterdam Amstel
NS 1221 Amsterdam Amstel - Amsterdam CS
NS 1736 Amsterdam CS - Amsterdam Muiderport
NS EMU 475 Amsterdam Muiderport - Amsterdam CS
NS 1779 Amsterdam CS - Amsterdam Muiderport
NS 1718 Amsterdam Muiderport- Amsterdam CS
NS 5750 Amsterdam CS - Sloterdijk Low Level
NS 1712 Sloterdijk Low Level - Amsterdam CS
NS 1717 Amsterdam CS - Sloterdijk Low Level
NS 1768 Sloterdijk Low level - Amsterdam CS
After a successful day it was time for food and beer.
Sam at Cafe Maximilian, which as well as being in the beer guide did good food. The beer was Amsterdam Brouwhus Betanien.
Then did 3 other beer guide bars - Brakke Grond had De Kluis Verboden Vrucht; Belgie had Achouffe La Achouffe; Wildeman had Amsterdam Brouwhus Maximator. Then it was a walk back to the station for the Berlin overnight.
NS 1644 Amsterdam CS - Bad Bentheim
Wednesday 18th October 1995
DB 112114 Bad Bentheim - Braunchweig Hbf
DB 112137 Braunchweig Hbf - Neubeckum
The Moscow to Bruxelles overnight wasn't supposed to stop at Neubeckum, but due to a signaling problem was stopped. in the adjacent platform was required 141451 on a local, so a leap was done.
DB 141451 Neubeckum - Dortmund Hbf Arrived in Dortmund a bit early to find my hotel, so as my reason for staying here was to go to the Champions League game that evening I went to get my match ticket from the stadium.
DB 141272 Dortmund Hbf - Dortmund Westfallenhalle
DB DMU 628509 Dortmund Westfallenhalle - Dortmund Hbf
Then I checked into my hotel before some serious nedding around.
DB 143353 Dortmund Hbf - Dortmund Barop
DB 143030 Dortmund Barop - Dortmund Hbf
DB 143245 Dortmund Hbf - Dortmund Doestfeld
DB 143853 Dortmund Doestfeld - Dortmund Hbf
DB 143855 Dortmund Hbf - Dortmund Doestfeld
DB 14|39 Dortmund Doestfeld - Dortmund Hbf
DB 143619 Dortmund Hbf - Dortmund Doestfeld
DB 141172 Dortmund Doestfeld - Dortmund Hbf
DB 143317 Dortmund Hbf - Dortmund Doestfeld
DB 143615 Dortmund Doestfeld - Dortmund Hbf
DB 143085 Dortmund Hbf - Dortmund Doestfeld
DB l43045 Dortmund Doestfeld - Dortmund Hbf
DB 14603  Dortmund Hbf - Dortmund Doestfeld
DB 141176 Dortmund Doestfeld - Dortmund Hbf
DB 143840 Dortmund Hbf - Dortmund Doestfeld
DB 143586| Dortmund Doestfeld - Dortmund Lutgendortmund
DB 143287 Dortmund Lutgendortmund - Dortmund Doestfeld
DB 143619 Dortmund Doestfeld - Dortmund Mengade
DB 141330 Dortmund Mengade - Herne
DB 141110 Herne - Dortmund Hbf (direct)
BB 11013 Dortmund Hbf - Kamen
DB 103241 Kamen - Dortmund Hbf
DB 141184| Dortmund Hbf - Dortmund Westfallenhalle
Then it was time for the match. The park leading to the ground was full of beer stalls and food sellers. Had a couple of IRS, a bratwurst and some spicy potato wedges.
The match was Batista Dortmund 1 Staua Bucharest 0.
On arrival back at the station a footex was waiting to go to Hamm. I bailed on as it was calling at be main station.
DB 141302 Dortmund Westfallenhalle - Dortmund Hbf
Thursday 19th October 1995
Plenty of new engines today, with a plan to end up in Liege.
DB 141388  Dortmund Hbf - Dortmund Horde
DB DMU 624647 Dortmund Horde  - Schwerte
DB 110423 Schwerte - Wuppertal Hbf
DB 216092 Wuppertal Hbf- Wuppertal Barmen
DB 143329 Wuppertal Barmen - Wuppertal Hbf
DB 143336 Wuppertal Hbf - Wuppertal Vohwinkel
DB 216034 Wuppertal Vohwinkel - Wuppertal Hbf
DB 103210 Wuppertal Hbf - Solingen-ohligs
DB 141127 & DB 110137 Solingen-ohligs - Koln Deutz
DB 218134 Koln Deutz - Koln Trimbonstrasse
DB 111131 Koln Trimbonstrasse - Koln Deutz
DB 218133 Kohl Deutz- Deutz Trimbonstrasse
DB 218139 Koln Trimbonstrasse  - Koln Deutz
DB 143601 Koln Deutz - Koln Hbf
DB 143613 Koln Hbf - Koln Deutz
DB 143578 Koln Deutz - Koln Hbf
DB 143258 Koln Hbf - Koln Deutz
DB 111170 Koln Deutz- Koln Hbf
DB 143600 Koln Hbf - Koln Deutz
DB 218248 Koln Deutz - Koln Hbf
DB 215099 Koln Hbf - Euskirchen
DB 215019 Euskirchen - Kuchenheim
DB 215119 Kuchenheim - Euskirchen
DB 215094 Euskirchen - Odendorf
DB 215139 Odendorf- Euskirchen
DB215046  Euskirchen - Koln Sud DB
DB 110159 Koln Sud - Koln West
DB 215033 Koln West - Koln Sud
DB 215034 Koln Sud- Kola West
DB 110144 Koln West - Koln Hbf
DB 111128 Koln Hbf - Aachen Hbf
SNCB 1805 Aachen Hbf - Liege Guillemins
Checked into the Hotel monopoly then went out to Angleur to have dinner in the Vaudree.
SNCB EMU 618 Liege Guillemins - Angleur
Beer - Vaudree,  had a bottle of Malmedy Brune.
SNCB 5531 Angleur - Liege Guillemins.
Beer - Vaudree II, had a bottle of Vander Linden Vieux Foudre Kriek, followed by a bottle of De Smedt Napoleon.
Friday 20th October 1995
Last full day as I wanted to be back for the Blades game on the Saturday.
SNCB 2221 Liege Guillemins - Namur
SNCB 1505 Namur - Liege Guillemins
SNCB 2249 Liege Guillemins - Charleroi-sud
SNCB 6221 Charleroi-sud - Berzee
SNCB 6243 Berzee - Charleroi-sud
SNCB 2722 Charleroi-sud - Nivelles
SNCB 2737 Nivelles - Charleroi-sud
SNCB 6282 Charleroi-sud - Cour-sur-Heure
Time for a beer break. The St Jean Bar near the station was the venue. Had Artois, Campbell's Scotch and Moortgat Duvel.
SNCB 6285 Cour-sur-Heure  - Charleroi-sud
SNCB EMU 437 Charleroi-sud - Namur
SNCB 224| Namur - Andenne
SNCB 2014 Andenne - Statte
SNCB 22|9 Statte - Huy
40 minutes for the next train, ah well must be time for a beer!
Bar opposite the stations no name visible, but it was good for a bottle of Haacht Primus followed by a Hacht Tongerlo 8.
SNCB 2249 Huy - Liege Guillemins
SNCB 1605 Liege Guillemins - Bruxelles Nord
SNCB 2383 Banking out of Liege Guillemins
SNCB 2116 Bruxelles Nord - Bruxelles Central
SNCB EMU 373 Bruxelles Central - Bruxelles Nord
SNCB 2021 Bruxelles Nord - Bruxelles Central
SNCB 1806 Bruxelles Central - Oostende
Did the overnight ferry back to Ramsgate
Saturday 21st October 1995
EMU 1561 Ramsgate - Victoria 91025 Kings Cross - Doncaster
It had been a good week with 92 new locos for haulage, two new footy grounds seen matches at and loads of new bars and beers.
Soon 1996 came along and bashing took a back seat as I met a new girlfriend, this time it was serious - I married her in 1997.

Pennine Observer Notes

Eastern Region
Recent sightings at Doncaster have been:
Dec 15 66056 track-cleaning 
66081, 66557, 66711 Coal
66170 Minerals
66176 paw. train
66505 Containers
Dec 16 Coal 66040, 66402, 66511, 66522, 66539, 66716, 66717
Intermodal 66147, 66172, 66708
Light engines 60010, 66037, 67026
Rails 66043
Gypsum 66157
Stand by 67026 67003 assisting a class 91
Freightliners 66538, 66591
Stone 66158 66020 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley/47804 Kings Cross - York excursion
Jan 6 67003 thunderbird
66175, 66716, 66723, 66525 Coal
66568, 66576 Freightliners
66001, 66132, 66719 Intermodal
66170 Sand
66614 Limestone
66015 Light engine Jan 27
67024 Thunderbird
66005, 66161, 66707 Intermodal
66615 Limestone 66001 Light engine
66018 Rails
66207 Engineers
66084 Sand
66133, 66405, 66510, 66519, 66595, 66714, 66717 Coal
Feb 3 97025 Thunderbird
66001. 66084, 66722 Intermodal
66201 Rails
66731 Gypsum
66575, 66567 Freightliners
66553 Light engine
66207 Sand 66057, 66136, 66232, 66560, 66585, 66551, 66605, 66705, 66714, 66715, 66717, 66951 Coal
Feb 10 67020 Thunderbird
66114, 66197, 66732 Intermodal
66711 Gypsum
66183, 66185, 66213, 66548, 66552, 66556, 66953, 66607, 66714, 66716, 66722, 66731 Coal
66102 Engineers
6623| Stone
66516, 66593 Freightliners
66055, 66153, 66501 Light engines
Feb 17 66843 Light engine
67016 Thunderbird
66164, 66165, 66722 Intermodal
66180 Rails
66715 Gypsum
66075, 66160, 66520, 66549, 66952, 66703, 667|, 66707, 66713 Coal
66078 MEA's
66541, 66572 Freightliners
66230 Stone
Recent sightings on the Gainsborough - Barnetby line have been:
Dec 13 66716 on coal train
Dec 17 66717 on coal train
Dec 18 66711 light engine
Dec 29 66715 and 66725 on coal train
Dec 30 66027 on coal train
66131 on oil train
 Dec 31 66027 and 66725 on coal trains
Jan 7 66008 on oil train
Jan 8 66213 on coal train
Jan 9 66004 and 66065 on coal trains Jan
12 66004, 66714 and 66732 on coal trains
Jan 14 66017 and 66710 on coal trains
66080 on oil train
Jan 16 66027 on coal train
Jan 17 66719 on coal train
Jan 18 66122 on coal train
Jan 19 66711 on coal train
Jan 20 66091 on coal train
66151 on oil |train
Jan 21 66091 on coal train
66122 on oil train
Jan 23 66093 on goods train
66133 and 66160 on coal trains
Jan 24 66137 id 66716 on coal trains
Jan 25 66714, 66715 and 66717 on coal train
Jan 26 66120, 66715, 66716 and 66717 on coal trains
Jan 27 66023 on oil trains
66081, 66120, 66714 and 66716 on coal trains.
Jan 28 66003 on oil train
66019, 66091, 66714 and 66715 on coal trains
Jan 30 66044 on goods train
66 148 on ballast train
Jan 31 66019 and 66057 on coal train
Feb 1 66401 and 66717 on coal trains
Feb 2 66019, 66705 and 66717 on coal train
Other recent sightings have been: Dec 15 47804 on special and 66592 on container
train at Retford
Jan 5 66505 on container train at Retford
66056 and 66213 in yards at Worksop
Jan 13 66015 on mineral train and 66034 on coal train at Retford
66017 and 66136 on coal train and 66027 in yards at Worksop
66124 on stone train at Sheffield
Jan 19 66095 on mineral train and 66534 on container train at Retford
Feb 3 66207 on mineral trains 66537 on container train, 66701 on coal train and 66238 light engine at Retford
66232 on coal train at Meadowhall
66545, 6654% 66090, 66716, 66160, 66952, 66113, 66168, 66041 Coal, 09201 with wagons for repair and 66719 Empty biomas at Knottingley

Midland Region

On 29 Jan voyager 221 137 on the 06.37 Nottingham to Southampton failed near Derby and the train was terminated at Burton about l hour late.
In an interesting development that took most enthusiasts by surprise Virgin Trains began hiring in a FREIGHTLINER Class 90 over the Christmas period to work WB64, the ''Pretendolino'' rake of Mk3's, and usually worked by a DBS example. The stock is normally only on the Fridays only diagram but due to a backlog of cold weather related maintenance problems on the Pendolino fleet it has been out most days on a regular Euston - Birmingham New Street working.
For the first couple of weeks ''Powerhaul'' liveried 90045 was employed and since then 90047 and 90041 have had a turn with 90044 taking over on Sunday 13 February.
The Monday to Friday diagram
1G04  07.03 Euston/B'ham NS
1B29 08.50 B'ham NS/Euston
lG15 10.43 Euston/B'ham NS
1B44 12.30 B'ham NS/Euston
1G27 14.43 Euston/B'ham NS
lB68 16.30 B'ham NS/Euston

Railtours and Charter Trains

Locos seen on railtours and chartered  have been: 
Jan 29 (Rother-Don Rambler) 66070, 31601, 31190, 60099 and 66127
Feb 19 (Cumbrian Crusader) 20309, 37409, 57004, 57601, 66417, 66418 and 37667

Preserved Railways Locos used at the Wensleydale Railway "End of Season Diesel Day'' on 3 January were 47715, 20020 and 20166.
Locos working at the East Lancashire Steam Gala on 22nd January were 71000, 45337, 73129 44871 and 46443.
Locos used at the Great Central Rollway Winter Steam Gala on 29 January were 1450, 3717 "City of Truro", 3850, 4953 "Pitchford Hal1'', 5526, 30777 "Sir Lamiel", 45305 and 994 ''The Great Marquess".
Locos working at the Barrow Hill Diesel Day on 5th February were 20132, 20121, 20096, 20107 and 09012.

Pennine Quiz No. 143

Compiled by Roger Griffith
Supplied by Tony Booth

North British Sheds

Find the shed from the clue

1 In Fife, a rent hurts!
2 Bovine hideaways here
3 Deer hideaway here
4 At this stabling point I've hit NER king!
5 Sounds like Captain James T., was in the cash Register with the Scottish water holder!
6 Did Sir Harry come from this Borders town?
7 Scottish shellfish town!
8 Use this place to party
9 It stood by the Old Course
10 A very pale measure at Victoria Park
l l At this junction, Gail lashes out!
12 Find the entice for a GWR 4-6-0
13 Left aside in Glasgow
14 Sounds like it commonly sleeps in Coatbridge!
15 Modus three, where it still stands
16 Neddy, I treed a bug!
17 Nevertheless, the boxer, Mr.  Lewis did not come from here
18 No.6232 was the local "Lady" hereabouts
19 Hometown at the end of the line for short Jedediah!
20 You could cruise past this depot on the Border City waterway
21 Joint CR/NBR deals mixed up!
22 Could you get a head kilt here?
23 Sound, no middle and mixed-up!
24 You can get here via Mingle
25 Obey flare for direction from Strathendrick

Pennine Quiz No. 142
The Answers

1 Penance
2 Bodmin Parkway
3 Dawlish Warren
4 Exeter St Davids
5 Yeovil Junction
6 Salisbury
7 Basingstoke
8 Reading West
9 Didcot Parkway
10 Leamington Spa
11 Birmingham New Street
12 Wolverhampton
13 Sandbach
14 Manchester Piccadilly
15 Salford Crescent
16 Horwich Parkway
17 Oxenholme Lake District
18 Penrith North Lakes
19 Carlisle
20 Newcastle
21 Berwick upon Tweed
22 Prestonpans
23 Edinburgh
24 Inverkeithing
25 Burntisland
26 Blair Atholl
27 Carrbridge
28 Inverness
29 Achnashellach
30 Kyle of Lochalsh

Pennine Quiz No. 142

The Winner
lst Paul Slater
2nd Ken King and in Shenton

6 all correct entries received so winners drawn at a Pennine meeting
 

Penning Meetings 2011 .
Meetings are held at ne Salutation Inn, South Parade, Doncaster starting at 20.00 on lst and 3rd Wednesday of each month.

Wednesday been March 2011
Tony Caddick -  'Tony 's Travels '

Wednesday nth April 2011
Ken Horan -  'Those Black and White Days'

Wednesday 20th April 2011
Robert Pritchard

Wednesday 4th May 2011
THE ANDY DALBY MEMORIAL SLIDE COMPETITION

Wednesday (18th May 2011
Roger Butcher

Wednesday lst June 2011
Trefor Evans

Wednesday 15th June 2011
Martin Fisher

Website Stats
The following table shows the number of hits on the Pennine website during 2010.

1. United kingdom 1,974 92.0 %
2. United States 38 1.8 %
3. Australia 22 1.0%
4. Germany 15 0.7 %
5. Ireland 11 0.5 %
6. Netherlands, ne 11 0.5 %
7. Canada 10 0.5 %
8. New Zealand 8 0.4 %
9. France 8 0.4 %
10. Italy 6 0.3 %
11. Czech Republic 4 0.2 %
12. Japan 3 0.1 %
13. Belgium 3 0.1 %
14. Hungary 3 0.1 %
15. Spain 3 0.1 %
16. Russia 2 0.1 %
17. Finland 2 0.1 %
18. Greece 2 0.1 %
19. United Arab Emirates 1 0.0 %
20|. Sweden 1 0.0 %
21. Norway 1 0.0 %
22. China 1 0.0 %
23. Ghana 1 0.0 %
24. Portugal l 0.0 %
25. Malaysia 1 0.0 %
The rest 14 0.7 %
Total 2,146  100%

Acknowledgements
I would like to thank the following for their generous contributions to this issue: Tony Booth Tony Caddick John Dewing, Ken King, John Sanderson, Robin Skinner, Paul Slater, and Tosca.

Next Issue
The Summer 2011 Issue of the Pennine is due for publication on 15th June would contributors please let the coordinator have their information by no later than Wednesday 181 May - THANK YOU.
Remember you can entail your contributions to david@whitlam145.freeserve.co.uk.

 

Tunnel vision of the men who always worked in the dark
Keeping the county's railway tunnels open for business was a dirty and dangerous job, as Roger Redfern recalls.

With the development of the railways across Britain after the first quarter of the l9th century came a sort of entrepreneurial  mania. Railway companies constructed networks across the land in the hope of financial reward,  no matter how flimsy the evidence for demand.
This meant driving routes through all types of terrains often at huge expense - none more so than through upland areas where construction costs involving viaducts, cuttings, embankments and tunnels were phenomenal.
Here in the North Midlands, some of the country's longest tunnels were driven through the Peak District and adjacent foothills. Once up and running, the tunnels required consistent maintenance to both the structure and the tracks and this led to the development of a new breed of specialist underground workers. The railway companies used different gangs of men to care for their tunnels, teams of gangers whose entire working life was spent in the dank dark polluted environment far from the light of day.
Rowland Hill reminded me of a Viking warrior was his tall broad frame and walrus moustache. I knew him in old age, when he came to prune our roses and fruit trees; at that time he was what we'd now call a tree surgeon for he liked nothing better than "a spot o' swarming" This consisted of climbing trees to attach a rope high up before it was cut down. He was as active in his nineties as he'd been in his seventies and I can well remember Rowland pushing barrow loaded was several hundredweight of logs up the 1 in 5 gradient near his Dronfield home when he was in his late eighties.
Rowland via was a Lincolnshire man, born near Louth in 1874 and he came to north Derbyshire to work for the Midland Railway Company. He worked in all North Derbyshire's longest railway tunnels - Cowburn, Totley, Bradway and Clay Cross - as gang foreman.
The high ridge at Bradway, between Chesterfield and Sheffield had deterred George Stephenson when he was planning the North Midland railway route north of Derby and into Yorkshire. In the end he built it from Chesterfield, via the Rother Valley, to Rotherham and so bypassed Sheffield It opened in 1840 but for the next quarter of a century, influential business interests in the Sheffield area insisted on a better railway link for their growing industrial centre - it only had a four-mile branch line from Rotherham! Long after Stephenson had departed the scene, a direct route was built northwards from Chesterfield through the new Bradway Tunnel and so down the Sheaf valley to the new Midland Station in Sheffield. It opened to FMC in February, 1870.
Rowland Hill remembered his time in north Derbyshire's longest tunnels but particularly his many years in Bradway Tunnel up until his retirement in 1939.
"In wintertime I used to walk down't middle, between t'tracks, with a long ickling pole held up t'roof and fastened in a belt round mi waist to take some o' weight - that were to knock off ice and some o'them icicles used to rattle down and clout yer on t'ead !'' A mate held a paraffin lamp up towards the roof so that Rowland could see the icicles which had to be dislodged before train could pass through. "Yer 'ands very near dropped of wi' cold in them days'' he explained. "By gum! It were cold for that job.''
Cowburn Tunnel, carrying the Sheffield - Manchester line from the Vale of Edie westwards towards Chinley and New Mills, suffered this same sort of problem in winter - long icicles hanging down from the eastern portal which, when they reached a certain length had to be knocked off. These days, though that long tickling pole carried by a ganger has been replaced by easier, mechanical means.
Joe Wildgoose worked with Rowland Hill in Bradway Tunnel and he once reminded me that other hazards were smoke and darkness, particularly before the advent of diesel traction.
The gang he worked with was responsible for that length of tie main line between the Drone Aqueduct through the one mile and 267 yards of the tunnel and on though a deep cutting as far as Dore & Totley station. He was nearly 40 years in that tunnel and the hard work in such adverse conditions didn't seem to adversely affect him because he lived well past 100, only dying a couple of years since.
"Our main problem was always smoke, thick black stuff" Joe remembers. "It was so bad at times when a train had passed through you couldn't see the flame in your lamp paraffin lamp just beside your feet. There was only a couple of feet between the rails and the side of the tunnel so you had to find a recess (manhole) if you weren't going to risk having your nose-end knocked off.
This problem of orientation is something a layman wouldn't think of. In the blackness, keeping one's balance was difficult and all work had to stop, of course, whenever trains roared past and there followed that awful, swirling, choking smoke.
"In bright, frosty weather the smoke cleared quite quickly (there are eight smoke shafts along the length of Bradway Tunnel but in hot muggy weather it never really moved away and conditions would be bad right through a shift". Joe continued.
When a train was approaching, the look-out - called the horn blower because he blew a long blast on his horn - would warn the gang and everyone retired to a line-side manhole in the tunnel wall. There was the ever-present danger that a ganger, waiting in the choking blackness for the smoke to clear, would drift off to sleep and fall over.
"We used to carry a stick'', Joe explained, "and trail this along the side of the rail so we knew where we week's. Even then it was difficult to tell which rail your stick was touching and several deaths resulted from gangers not being where they thought they were" and being knocked down by an oncoming train. |" "I learned my lesson soon after starting work in Bradway Tunnel'' Joe recalled. As we waited for the smoke to clear, I began to nod off. Luckily a ganger close aside me saw this in the glimmer of our lamp and grabbed me. I came too with a jolt and never did that trick again" .
Later that day they were having the midday break in the line-side shed just outside the south portal and Joe began to doze. The thunder of an approaching train shocked him to full wakefulness - a powerful memory of the tunnel incident a couple of hours earlier!
Water was the other enemy. When Bradway Tunnel was being constructed in the 1860s 16,000 gallons an hour flowed from the workings. As soon as a small "pioneer tunnel'' had been opened, this water caused the builders little trouble as it drained away and was of such purity that it was piped to Sheffield and formed "an unfailing supply for all station purposes". For later maintenance gangs, though water was a problem. The area near the south portal was especially wet as were the ventilation shafts at the northern end. Gangers were issued with waterproof coats but they otfen finished an eight-hour shift drenched to the skin. Teams usually numbed six - two men walked the length of the tunnel every day to check the security of the wooden keys in their chairs that kept the rails in place. "We carried a supply of new keys in a shoulder bag" Joe explains "and struck loose keys back into place with our long-handled hammer. Sometimes we needed four or six new keys every day, on a bad day perhaps thirty.'' The rest of the gang spent the shift lifting the track where it had sunk into the ballast and doing small repairs. The roof clearance in Bradway Tunnel was always very small. It varied between four and six inches for steam locomotives. At one time, Joe's gang got a new foreman called Jim Ashley. "Jim always thought he knew best'', Joe recounted "and though we warned him he insisted on lifting the back to get it level. Locos passing thereafter caught their funnels - there weren't half some sparks - and of course, we had to lower the track again."
Gangs were never allowed to move damaged rails when the line was open for traffic. Only when single line operating was in force, or when both lines were closed (as on some Sundays) was a team allowed to replace worn or damaged rails. Major replacement jobs often involved other teams of gangers being brought in from other sectors of the system to help get the work done in a specified time.  In his early days in the tunnel, someone had to run through the bore to the signal box near Dore & Totley station if a broken rail was found, to stop trains becoming derailed. Later on, Joe remembered that two telephones were installed 500 yards inside each port so to emergencies could be phoned to the same signal box. He never experienced a derailment in the tunnel because "maintenance was first class".
For all the herd work and danger, Joe Wildwood and his workmates were paid just half a crown (12.5p) a week above the basic rate. Wages were two pounds a week before World War Two and by working eight hours on, eight hours off throughout an entire week when there was a major job to be done in the done, he earned five pounds a week
In his youth Joe had known the hardship of unemployment, of having to walk behind a coal delivery cart with a shovel over his shoulder, touting for casual work by moving dumped coal into people's sheds and cellars fog two shillings (10p)
When I was a child, I remember a coal train backing onto be down siding south of Wreakes Lane Bridge (to let an express through) and running of the end of the track and into the River Drone. The guard's van and two or three wagons went into the river and we watched the proceedings with great interest It certainly enlivened our train spotting for a few days! A few years ago, Joe explained to me that the coupling between locomotive and full train broke as it started to reverse onto the siding. The wagons gathered speed and be guard's van brake wouldn't hold it so the guard jumped out the last moment. The train crashed through the buyers and down a steep bank into the river. After the crane had lifted the derailed vehicles back to the line,  Joe and his gang had to shovel and wheelbarrow all the spilt coal out of the river and along the banks up to the trucks again - "ever" last lump!'' I can still hear the gangers now, coming and going up and down High Street - 5.45 on a bleak winter mornings their clogs ringing on the pavement and red sparks showing their passing. Long gone - but not forgotten.

This article is reproduced, by kind permission from the November 2010 issue of Reflections, a monthly magazine delivered free to home in North Derbyshire or available in subscription. Please visit www.reflections-magazine.com or call 01246 550488 for further information.

Back on Track
Step on board Nick Larkin to celebrate 150 years of cheap aid cheerful tam travel

No wonder traditional trams were loved so much. They clattered, whined and whirred and though the streets of towns and cities across the country for more than half a century, daily and without fail. Even today, older city dwellers recall the relief at emerging from air raid shelters and hearing trams in action - at least some aspect of civilisation had survived.
People grew up with tramcars as much a part of their landscape as the town hall. Often, trams would be the only way to escape and grab some fresh air on a Sunday afternoon, or visit Aunt Matilda for tea and scones. You'd go by tram to school work, the station or a football match. Trams were brilliant for transporting large crowds of people cheaply - some British systems had among the lowest fares on earth. As a callow youth you might have put farthings on the track to be flattened, or remember a particularly painful tumble when your bicycle wheel met the tram line! Not only were trams part of the scenery but they actually influenced it, not just because of all the wiring and track they needed but because tram lines in the suburbs often encouraged building development. By day, their rich liveries added much appreciated touches of colour as they gently swayed like tall ships through streets of soot and smoke-blackened damp buildings. There were deep maroons, greens and blues, normally accompanied by dashes of cream and probably some gold lining to finish off. Plus a few adverts for Rinso, Typhoo Tea Nixey's Refined black lead or the local drapers.
Imagine being transferred back to be inter-war heyday of these wonderful vehicles. You're waiting in the rain for your tram at night acrid smoke from a thousand chimneys nudging the back of your throat; water dripping from your hat and the cold finally finding its my though your raincoat.
After what seems like an eternity but is probably only a couple of minutes you might hear the tram before you see it. But then like a submarine rising from the depths you see the distinctive rounded front appearing through the swirling fog. Ghostly- looking figures can  be seen through windows misted up inside, looking snug in the bright cream glow from exposed light bulbs, which accompanied by a large spotlight make the shiny tram tracks glow bright like two huge illuminated drinking straws.
The tramcar pulls up was a manic squeal and hiss of brakes. You clamber up the steps into the "lower saloon" glance to your left and notice the tram driver sitting in his |trenchcoat and peaked cap, his hand on an enormous lever. He could have been in the job for forty years and be giving silent thanks for the fact that he is now in a driving cab with windows - not exposed to the elements.
A bell sounds, there's a loud hiss as the brakes are released and a symphony of musical whines as the tram picks up speed.
There are acres of brightly polished dark wood from floor to ceiling, and you're sitting on a surprisingly comfortable moquette-covered seat though, definitely made for people who were smaller in the days when they didn't eat so much.
The impression is of being in the snug of a friendly pub or even a church especially if you negotiate the narrow stairwell (after checking this is a double-decker tram of course). You open what looks like the front door of a very nice house, complete| with bevelled glass, and head on to the upper deck, noticing what look like curved pews at each end. A uniformed conductor comes round fairly quickly, issues you with the correct coloured ticket from a long wooden rack he's carrying and hands it to you in exchange for tuppence.
Now you are enjoying your journey, although the gentle rocking of the tramcar, the rain streaming down the windows outside, condensation doing the me inside and the stench of Woodbine cigarette smoke make you wish the tramway operator issued oxygen masks.
If you've had enough of trying to make out the darkened streets outside you can enjoy reading lots of notices telling you the rules of travel, and others made from paper advising of service changes.
Some may even be telling you that the end of the tram is nigh or at least that individual routes are closing.
 

Beginning, end and the renaissance

Although rail systems were well established, what is credited to be Britain's first street tramway didn't arrive until 1860, thanks to a flamboyant, slightly mad and appropriately named American called John Francis Train.
Born in Boston in 1829, 2l-year-old Train moved to Liverpool to manage this arm of his family's shipping business. After a spell in Austria he returned and persuaded  the authorities in Birkenhead that an American style horse-drawn tramway would be an asset to the town. He set up tie Birkenhead Street Railway Company to operate the initial mile-and-a-half route.
Train had always set his sights on London, but three experimental systems he opened there closed were closed within months.
A horse tram could carry up to fifty people, twice as many as a Noddy-powered bus, meaning systems were opening in many other places. Blackpool introduced electric trams in 1885, and this method of power eventually replaced the horse - though some operators dallied with steam trams and cable systems.
More than 350 tram systems would eventually operate in Britain, many passing to, or being set up by, local authorities. By 1910, the London County Council was Britain's largest tramway operator, with more then 120 miles of routes covered by electric tramcars.
Trams blossomed but by the mid-1930s, their fate was sealed. Motorbuses had become a far more feasible alternative, needing none of the elusive infrastructure demanded by trams. Some operators turned to the trolley buses, which required overhead wiring but didn't require track and was a much more flexible.
Wartime saw a temporary reprieve for some systems. not least because him trams on cheap to produce local electricity rather than imported oil, they fulfilled their traditional role as crowd shifters admirably and few new buses were being delivered. It would be fair to say that there was a general feeling that trams had no place in the post-we era. Tramcars, track and wiring were utterly worn out, not helped by lack of maintenance during the years of conflict. Replacement would have cost a fortune and there was little money around in those austere times.
Nationalisation of the electricity industry meant cheap power generated by local authorities was no more. The undeniable inflexibility of trams, especially when people had to cross into the middle of the road to catch them, was another factor which meant that one by one, tram systems disappeared. Manchester ran its last in 1949, London in 1952, Liverpool's legendary green Goddesses' went in 1957, Sheffield said goodbye in 1960 and Glasgow's final 'caurs' - as the city's much-loved trams were generally known - disappeared in 1962.
Vast crowds turned out to say goodbye to trams on ceremonial final journeys, with hundreds of thousands of people witnessing the London finale.
Only one town decided to keep its trams - Blackpool - where even today streamlined 1934 "Balloon" double-deckers are still running alongside more modern and converted cars.
Unbelievably, Blackpool is no longer the only place you'll see trams. They have returned to several cites, beginning was Manchester m 1992, Sheffield and South London, with the Croydon Tramlink in 2000. Nottingham and the West Midlands also now have tram services.
Modern sleek and efficient the newcomers may be, and they as certainly very welcome, but surely they'll never be as loved as the clanking, stately, polished wood-laden old boats of yesteryear.

This article is reproduced from the April 2011 issue of Best of British a monthly magazine available from newsagents and on subscription. Please visit www.bestofbritishmag.co.uk or call 01778 342814 for further information.