Shap banker 42210

21.Shap banker banking

42210 lifting the rear half of a heavy freight on the 1 in 75 Shap Incline and about to pass the level crossing and signal box at Scout Green. March 1966.20.42110.Grayrigg 3-66

 

42210 has just finished banking a train up Grayrigg bank from Oxenholme and is running forward to use the crossover at Grayrigg, either to cross to the Up Main and return at once to Oxenholme or to go into the Up Goods Loop to await a path down the hill. Taken from the soorway of Grayrigg signal box. John Gardner, signalman. When I visitd he WCML/S&C from the Swindon area I went for a few days and lodged at John’s house in Sebergh. He releived signal boxes at Oxeholme, Grayrigg, Garsdale and Ais Gill.19.Shap banker 1966

42210, running home to Tebay, in evening sun after a hard day on the bank. March 1966

Chief Mechanical Engineer’s Office Swindon

Chief Mechnaical Engineer's building, Swindon.

Chief Mechnaical Engineer’s building, Swindon.

C.M.E's building, Swindon

C.M.E’s building, Swindon

coat arms

Worting Junction

Historic railway scenes photographs

50-1 warlock

Broad gauge express engine ‘Warlock’ at Westbourne Park, Paddington, depot. c1890

My collection contains hundreds of negatives of railway scenes taken in UK and Republic of Ireland  between 1900 – or earlier – and the 1980s. I would be pleased to be able to sell dark room prints or scans sent down the wire in an e-mail or on a CD or memory stick. Many of the negatives are very pictorial and would make large size prints to frame and hang on a wall.  There are pictures of locomotives or of signalling interest of station scenes. I might just have the very picture you are looking for – or I might not. You could e-mail me and tell me what you are looking for. Or write me a letter: Adrian Vaughan, 13 The Street, Barney, Fakenham, Norfolk. NR21 0NB.

The Great Western’s Last Year

I have completed what was going to be my last book. It is called ‘The Great Western’s Last Year’. I sent the corrected proofs to ‘The History Press’ on 5th June and mailed the Index to them on 16th.

That’s the end of  two years work, from May 2011 to May 2013, researching and writing.  Between travelling to the National Archives in Kew, to planting my crops, to changing the oil in the car and researching and writing quarterly articles for the North Norfolk ‘Joint Line’ Journal and what-all else it keeps a chap’s mind and body active – and bank balance  - unbalanced. The ‘weight’ off my back whenever a book is totally finished is a good feeling. But of course, I have the Autumn  article to finish for the NNR and I have to now write the text for ‘Railways in the Vale of the White Horse – or Vale Rail for short. I have done the 160 illustrations and captions but there’s the 40k words of anecdote and history to start and finish. While I was writing ‘Last Year’ with the intention of it being my last book – I suddenly remembered that I had had this ‘Vale Rail’ book in mind for a number of years. Pendon Museum have been very kind and helpful to me with the illustrations.

‘GW Last Year’ is 90k words and 100 pictures. The words are written to tell the story – or something of the story – of the Gentlemans’ Railway using nothing but the GWR’s Minutes and Reports. The illustrations are almost all scans of those used in the GWR Staff magazine. The few ordinary photos I’ve used were made in 1947 – except the very last one which my father made in September 1960. But that is a very special and relevant picture for the end of the book.

‘The Great Western’s Last Year’ was published on 13 September 2013. A signed book from me by mailing your request.

Norwich signalling and diesels

A large part of East Anglia was signalled in the traditional way. I arrived in this part of the world for the first time at Christmas 1982 and was astonished to see so much of the old style signalling. I set out to photograph all that I could from Ipswich to Yarmouth and Norwich and Cromer, Norwich to Ely, Melton Mowbray and Leicester, Spalding, Sleaford, Boston, Lincoln and on to Gilberdyke Jc near Hull. Goole swing bridge cabin  as well. The project took a few years. These ten views were taken with a Rolleiflex around Norwich Thorpe on 4 June 1983.

 

These levers operated the crossovers to release a locomotive to the ‘run round’ loop when it arrived at the buffers.

 

The crossover leading from platform line the run round loop.

The crossover leading from platform line the run round loop.

Interior of Norwich Thorpe Passenger Yrd signal box

The ‘Passenger Yard’ signal box with the ‘Telegraph lad centre and the signalman, right.

 

The Passenger Yard

 

Passenger Yard signal box and station. Behind Passenger Yard box a  Class 31 loco for a Birmingham passenger train and behind that the Goods Yard box. The Goods Yard occupies the site of the 1844 station. The existing Norwich station dates from 1887.

Rear of Passenger Yard box looking towards Thorpe Junction

A Norwich – Birmingham train is leaving.

The post has  the Starting signal out of the station and the Starting signal with route indicator for entering Sidings or Station from Sidings

The post has the Starting signal out of the station and the Starting signal with route indicator for entering Sidings or Station from Sidings

Looking outwards towards Thorpe Junction with a train arriving from Birmingham and a CLass 37 on the Headshunt awaiting its next duty.

Looking outwards towards Thorpe Junction with a train arriving from Birmingham and a CLass 37 on the Headshunt awaiting its next duty.

37030 waits for the signal

Goods Yard and derelict steam engine shed

Flowering weeds on filled in turntable pit

 

 

 

Engines on Gloucester shed

I will always regret the haphazard way I took photos and the negligent way I did not take photos. But anyhow here are three more pictures I took whilst waiting for 7035 to be prepared for the return journey – and I suppose there were only 12 exposures on a 120 film in a Rolleicord so I had to ration myself.

On Gloucester shed yard with 7335 1962/3

On Gloucester shed yard with 7335 1962/3

On Glucester shed yard 1962/3

On Gloucester shed yard 1962/3

 

On Gloucester shed yard in 1962/3

On Gloucester shed yard in 1962/3

 

 

 

Welsh steam coal

The supply of decent coal for steam locomotives is, so I am informed, becoming scarce and what there is is rarely thoroughly suitable for the engines’ furnaces and in that respect the GWR locomotives have a special diffculty. Their combustion chambers – otherwise  known as ‘fireboxes’ were designed to burn South Wales steam coal. I guess the number of people who can recall the look of this very special coal is growing less by the year. So I’m attaching this view of the tender of 7035 ‘Ogmore Castle’ taking water on Gloucester shed  in 1962 . It had brought in an express from Paddington for Cheltenham and I rode on the footplate from Swindon to Gloucester and back. When the train arrived in Gloucester station the tail lamp end of the train was facing Cheltenham and a large 2-6-2 tank engine backed on to that end to  take the coaches, or some of them, north to Cheltenham. 7035 went to shed to clean the fire, take on Welsh steam coal and water for the return trip. I think the  aspect of the shny, sparkly, Welsh coal will be a surprise to many. It was lovely looking stuff as befitted lovely engines.

7035 Ogmore Castle preparing for the next journey on Gloucester shed in 1962

7035 Ogmore Castle preparing for the next journey on Gloucester shed in 1962

Festiniog Railway

'Linda' arriving over the road bridge into Tan-y-Bwlch AGM Spl. April 1965

‘Linda’ arriving over the road bridge into Tan-y-Bwlch AGM Spl. April 1965

 

Seen from 'Linda's cab. I fired on Linda  to the General Manager's engine whenever I fired it. That was in my early visits. But one day I accidentally dropped the water hose on him at Tan-y-Bwlch - it was at full flow - he was soqaked and I was ';fired' as far as being his fireman was concerned. After that I was with Davy Bascombe on 'Blanche' or Evan Davies' on the 'Earl'. Although I do recall firing to Keith Catchpole on 'Linda' after the debacle with Mr. Garraway. -

Seen from ‘Linda’s cab. I fired on Linda to the General Manager’s engine whenever I fired it. That was in my early visits. But one day I accidentally dropped the water hose on him at Tan-y-Bwlch – it was at full flow – he was soqaked and I was ‘;fired’ as far as being his fireman was concerned. After that I was with Davy Bascombe on ‘Blanche’ or Evan Davies’ on the ‘Earl’. Although I do recall firing to Keith Catchpole on ‘Linda’ after the debacle with Mr. Garraway. -

 

We had a trainee with us on 'Linda' or 'Blanche' and I could get this picture on the rocking footplate of firing coal. Note the water guage glass on the right which gave a constant indication of the level of water in the boiler.

We had a trainee with us on ‘Linda’ or ‘Blanche’ and I could get this picture on the rocking footplate of firing coal. Note the water guage glass on the right which gave a constant indication of the level of water in the boiler.

 

 

The 'Earl' on Whistling curve Driver Evan Davies in charge with his trademark roll-up dog-

This was Roger Goss's engine.

This was ‘Roger Goss’s engine’ when I took this. It was too small for work on he passenger trains and I never saw it used for anything. But videos of the more recent FR show it being used for shunting.

 

I took this on the Festiniog Railway's AGM Day. So much for me - a signalman - denigrating working on 2ft guage - the great LNER speed fiend Bill Hoole was a regular driver on the FR and on this engine - a far cry from 100+ on A4 'Pacifics'.

I took this on the Festiniog Railway’s AGM Day. So much for me – a signalman – denigrating working on 2ft guage – the great LNER speed fiend Bill Hoole was a regular driver on the FR and on this engine – a far cry from 100+ on A4 ‘Pacifics’.

 

I was firing to Davy this day when, coming down the hill from Ddaullt we were waved down by a group of walkers - one of them had had a heart aqttach. He was loaded into the train and at T-y-B the telephone was used to summon an ambulance. The two young lads wee totally ignored by Davy but then...

I was firing to Davy this day when, coming down the hill from Ddaullt we were waved down by a group of walkers – one of them had had a heart aqttach. He was loaded into the train and at T-y-B the telephone was used to summon an ambulance. The two young lads wee totally ignored by Davy but then…

 

a handsome young woman turned up to ask how long we were going to stand there.

a handsome young woman turned up to ask how long we were going to stand there.

 

The ambulance finally arrived - a very difficult drive from Portmadoc. I never heard how the casualty fared but he had had a long wait.

The ambulance finally arrived – a very difficult drive from Portmadoc. I never heard how the casualty fared but he had had a long wait.

 

I worked with the Manchester group of 'Deviasionists' once a month through the winter 1968-69. Some of those who worked here appeared on TV on 21 May 2013. I did not recognise any of the men or women on the TV. None of us, back in 1969, aged in our 20s ever though we would be 70+ one day! But maybe one or two on that programme are in this picture and I wish them 'all the best'.

I worked with the Manchester group of ‘Deviasionists’ once a month through the winter 1968-69. Some of those who worked here appeared on TV on 21 May 2013. I did not recognise any of the men or women on the TV. None of us, back in 1969, aged in our 20s ever though we would be 70+ one day! But maybe one or two on that programme are in this picture and I wish them ‘all the best’.

 

Pnuematic drills were used to bore holes for sticks of dynamite to be inserted. Enough explosive was used to heave the rock forwards and break it up but not for it to go flying about. And then we shovelled up the shattered shale, threw up into the tipper truck, heaved the truck along the track and tipped it onto the growing embankment - although each tipping looked like a teaspoonful! But the embankment up to the bridge over the old line was finally complete

Pnuematic drills were used to bore holes for sticks of dynamite to be inserted. Enough explosive was used to heave the rock forwards and break it up but not for it to go flying about. And then we shovelled up the shattered shale, threw up into the tipper truck, heaved the truck along the track and tipped it onto the growing embankment – although each tipping looked like a teaspoonful! But the embankment up to the bridge over the old line was finally complete

 

The signal originated on the Liverpool Overhead Railway but it has been taken away now. Shame.  The view looks over the penned-up river towards Snowdonia.

The signal originated on the Liverpool Overhead Railway but it has been taken away now. Shame. The view looks over the penned-up river towards Snowdonia.

end clearly to be seen.

raise steam.2Raising steam in Boston Lodge shed. I was firing and polishing on ‘Blanche’ and ‘Earl of Merioneth’ had Chris Byrne as cleaner and fireman. I think this was the summer of 1968.

Taken without flash, probably 1/4 second at full aperture. Not bad those factors considered. Maybe around 8 a.m on a summer morning in 1968. I was firing 'Blanche' Chris Byrne on 'Earl of Merioneth'. These were the two engines I did most of my work on.

Taken without flash, probably 1/4 second at full aperture. Not bad those factors considered. Maybe around 8 a.m on a summer morning in 1968. I was firing ‘Blanche’ Chris Byrne on ‘Earl of Merioneth’. These were the two engines I did most of my work on.

 

The 'Earl' was about to come out of the Works for a trial run. Possibly 1967.

The ‘Earl’ was about to come out of the Works for a trial run. Possibly 1967.

 

I took this on the return trip of the trial run c.1967

I took this on the return trip of the trial run c.1967. Evan Davies, as usual, driving. I often fired to Evan. This was a lovely engine to fire and ride on. It was a comfortable as a coach and could have run even faster than Evan made it go if we’d have had the quality of track.

 

The firemen worked a 14 hour day from lighting-up to emptying the smoke box and ashpan in the evning. We had 14 minutes from arriving at Portmadoc to departing with the next train. In that time we cleared the smoke box of cinders, cleared the ash pan, took water and loaed coal. We got our break coming downhill from Tan-y-Bwlch and later from Ddault. It was great fun, a great challenge. I was there almost every week-end!

The firemen worked a 14 hour day from lighting-up to emptying the smoke box and ashpan in the evning. We had 14 minutes from arriving at Portmadoc to departing with the next train. In that time we cleared the smoke box of cinders, cleared the ash pan, took water and loaed coal. We got our break coming downhill from Tan-y-Bwlch and later from Ddault. It was great fun, a great challenge. I was there almost every week-end!

 

I was fireman. We had a learner with us. Sometime 1965-70

I was fireman. We had a learner with us. Sometime 1965-70

 

I was introduced to the Festiniog Railway by a Swindon locomotive fireman, Peter Martin, in March or April 1965. He came into my signal box off a 92 class steam loco, wanting to make some tea. I had been a keen, amateur steam loco fireman and driver since I was 12 in 1953 and by 1965 there were not many steam engines still running on my part of the Western Region and thus few opportunities to indulge in my hobby. I said to my visitor how nice it was to see a steamer and he said ‘Are you starved for steam?’ ‘Yes’ says I. ‘Why not go to the Festiniog  there’s all steam there and you could become a fireman and driver. ‘I said I was already well known to that work but I couldn’t see the point on tiny little 2ft gauge engines. ‘Oh!’, says the fireman, ‘I’ve fired the “Kings” during the week and fired “Palmerstone” over the Cob at Portmadoc at week-ends and if that’s good enough for me it’s good enough for a signalman.’  I could only agree with him and he said, ‘I’m off up Portmadoc at the week-end – get yourself to Swindon and I take you there – you’ll be surprised.’ So I went and was put straight on the footplate on account of previous, standard gauge experience and that was the start of 5 years of very regular firing work on the FR.  I packed in in 1970 when – for excellent reasons – the railway changed over to oil firing.’

These pictures are the few that I took over that 5 years. I only ever went there to work on the engines, not to take photos so I don’t have a large collection of views. The FR closed for public transport each winter but lots of work went on ‘out of season’ including building a new railway to get past the lake that had flooded the northern part of the route above Ddault – it was part of the Trawsfynydd atomic power station scheme. In 1968 I joined the Manchester or ‘Northern’ Group Deviationists to dig the cutting at Ddault Spiral which raised the railway to a higher level so it could run alongside this lake and so into Blaneau Festinog – its original terminus. I took only two pictures while attending monthly for a week-end of digging.

Working on books

In March 2013 I finished working on ‘The Great Western’s Last Year’ and sent it to the publishers – The History Press. Ninety thousand words about 100 illustrations and 15 or so line diagrams to help a reader understand the story I was telling in the text. The book is an attempt to give a impression of Britain’s best railway company’s activities in Britain’s worst year and the Company’s last year – 1947. I intended to give a chapter to each month – the first part of each chapter would describe the business activities of the company – what it achieved, or did not achieve, in appalling conditions and the latter part of the chapter devoted to stories of snow drifts, collision, derailments, train breakaways – and how efficiently and swiftly these were dealt with. Some chapters became so long that I  split  those into two chapters. Of course, everything written in the book is pure fact, all the text is drawn solely from GWR Company Minutes and the Company’s records of incidents.  There are several Appendices compiled from the Company’s records. The illustrations are,  mostly,  scans of pictures published in the GWR Staff Magazine for 1947 with a few photographs of  GWR trains taken during 1947.

The work on this was exhausting for me – I was 72 and 3 months old when I sent it off and I have been producing books on the GWR, or biographies or general railway history since 1970 I think I have written 32 books and contributed chapters to books produced by Universities and also the Encyclopedia of the GWR.  I knew I was getting worn out and that had some bearing on the use of words in the title of  the book – The GWR’s Last Year and my Last Book. But then I remembered I had a long standing ambition to write a book about ‘my’ railway – that bit of the GWR main line from Steventon to Wootton Bassett. This will be 160 photos of almost every station and signal box on the line – some places do not seem ever to have been photo’d and I’ve been searching for several years – and 40,000 words of reminiscence and history. I’m trying to put this book together now – along with writing my usual, quarterly, history article for the North Norfolk Railway’s ‘Joint Line’  journal. I have been turning those out more or less continuously for maybe 13 years – I’ve lost count.

 

But now I must leave off this and go into the garden for my wife, who is already working there wants me to lend a hand.

 

26 Feb.2012 after tree pruning

26 Feb.2012 after tree pruning