Search This Blog


Saturday, 21 January 2017

And Now Tornado Too

Perhaps the second most in-demand and famous locomotive in the UK after Flying Scotsman is Tornado.   In a double-whammy for the soon-to-re-open S&C news was broken this week that Tornado would haul twelve scheduled Northern passenger services over the roof of England on Valentine's Day and the two following days February 14, 15 and 16.

These are the timings

This will be the first time in fifty years that this has happened in the UK.

It is being done as a thank-you to the S&C's passengers whose line has been closed to through traffic for well over a year because of the Eden Brows landslip.

A huge attraction wherever it runs on the main lines, the chance to ride behind Tornado will be at normal day to day fares.  They go on sale next week and booked seats are reservable at any UK station or online on Northern's website.

As with Flying Scotsman (see a couple of posts ago) the planning has been done in secret.   For some months I was one of just three people who knew about it, which was quite a burden.   A leak could have scuppered the whole thing.

Now it is very much in the public domain and the clamour for tickets is already unprecedented.   Book early to avoid disappointment!

click to enlarge
Tornado in the National Railway Museum in York

and on a previous outing on the Settle-Carlisle line

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Might Have Found a Pinchbar

A pinchbar? I hear you cry.   They were once commonplace items of equipment wherever railway wagons or other rail vehicles needed to be moved short distances.

 National Railway Museum photographs taken in Kings Cross Yard.

In effect, a long lever that would provide enough purchase between a wheel and the railway line.

Well, there's one on E-bay right now.   Only trouble is it is in Wales and I'm in Settle so enquiries are in hand as to its weight.   Then I can see if a courier can be found who can oblige.

Meantime, I thought you would be interested.   Well, if it crops up at a quiz night you'll thank me for this broadening of your horizons.

Sadly this looks like falling through as carriage would be something north of £100 as the item weighs 26 kg and is just over 3m long.    Unless anybody has a van or lorry that goes to south Wales sometimes.    Some you win.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Book Now for The Flying Scotsman

Tickets have just gone on sale at £220 each for the re-opening train on 31st March, hauled by the magnificent Flying Scotsman.

click to enlarge

On that day the train starts from Oxenhope at the end of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (KWVR) and then via Keighley and Skipton it goes the full length of the by then reinstated Settle-Carlisle line, right to Carlisle.

This has been organised in some secrecy over the past few months and I have had the privilege to have been involved.

Tickets via the KWVR website.   Please form an orderly queue.

We hope the media that day will be full of S&C things and Flying Scotsman will be a great boost and crowd-puller.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

I am on Google Earth

This may not work but here goes,-2.2802548,3a,90y,124.57h,81.58t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s4ezUolz_hYBjQ3_H98RpwA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

It is Google Earth and if you navigate up the station drive you will see me - the chap in the green boiler suit, about to be run over by a Google Earth camera car.

click to enlarge

You can spin round and see the water tower in all its glory.

If you travel along Settle's roads you will see some excellent pictures of Flower Pot Men.

To followers in the Kremlin, ask one of your buddies at GCHQ what Flower Pot Men are all about.

Lob-a-dob.   Weed.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Croggy Station

Groggy is Leeds-speak for the suburb of Crossgates, on the eastern side of the city on the railway line to York.   The first two pictures below show what a large and busy place Croggy station was.   Generous canopies and wide platforms, lit by gas.

I spent much of my childhood there.   The station and booking hall were still then staffed.   The gas lamps were still how it was lit.   A twilight job was to go round with a long (to me) pole with a hook at its end with which to pull gently on a chain with a ring at its end to turn on the gas.   The kindly (but probably simply idle) men at the station used to 'let' me turn on the gas lights and to sweep the platforms with an immensely wide brush.   When from time to time new posters arrived I was allowed to paste them onto the notice boards.   These posters, usually of seaside scenes, castles and such were in the style of railway posters that nowadays sell for fortunes.

Posters were pasted on top of posters until the depth became absurd when they could be ripped off most satisfyingly.   What joy.

Notice the footbridge in the middle distance of the first picture.   That footbridge became home from home for me and any number of boys the highlight of whose lives was to watch the trains (all steam of course) and note their numbers.   

Sometimes a Leeds-bound stopping train would come to a halt with its chimney at or under that footbridge.   Temptation indeed for boys worthy of the word.   Stones, apple cores or whatever came to hand would be dropped down the chimney in the most times forlorn hope that they would be blown back up at us when the train set off.

Happy days.

 click to enlarge

 The two pictures below are more from my era.   Both seem to show A3 Pacifics - the same class of engine as Flying Scotsman - taken absolutely for granted then as part of the day to day scene.

There was a junction just to the east of Croggy station where the tracks divided - right to York and on to Newcastle and left to Wetherby.   The Wetherby line is no more.

Leeds bound express trains from York would take those points at speed - maybe 90mph or more - who knows?   Most did not have speedometers.   Etched on my brain still is the spectacle of a locomotive named Sugar Palm lurch sideways over those points looking for all the world as though it was going to derail.   It didn't but I bet some coffee was spilt at the very least.


Oh dear, this is Crossgates in April 2016:

There is no commentary, just wind noise.   You half expect a bundle of marram grass to come rolling along just like in those old, politically incorrect, cowboy films we used to watch at the now long-gone Ritz cinema alongside the station entrance on the main road.   There is little to show of what was.   The wide platforms and the distance between them - clearly enough for four tracks - remain as hints.   The one-time fast lines are becoming overgrown.   Wisteria will soon substitute for wailing steam whistles at speed.

The massive brick walls of the access ramps are still there but graffiti now defiantly triumphs over tolerant neglect.   What was a magnificent canopied main building is now a glorified bus shelter, branded Metro whatever that means.   Our cameraman wanders westwards towards the Leeds end, towards the road bridge, wafting to and fro but finding nothing of interest.   Oh, blessed relief there are cycle racks, with a generous roof too.   Was it a 'funded project'?   Part of a scheme no doubt, put there by the sort of funny money that is drip fed to the regions from time to time.   No bicycles though.   And, least said,  lamp posts.

But hang on!   Where is the footbridge?   MY footbridge..

Another leap forward three score years and ten.   Here is a Youtube view of Crossgates nowadays complete with commentary from today's enthusiast, armed not with an Ian Allan trainspotters book but with a camcorder.

Long gone are the days when trainspotters like me wrote down engine numbers in a notebook, to be neatly underlined later with pen and ruler in the Ian Allan book once back home.

Those books were regional and 'my' region was the LNER - the London and North Eastern Railway on which Crossgates was.   Locomotives from other regions like the Midland were of little interest.   Only six figure numbers beginning with a 6 were for us.

Your parents fuck you up* according to Philip Larkin.    My parents threw away my half-full Ian Allan book when it was decided that I must 'grow up'.   I am sorry I disappointed them.

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you."

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Taking on Water at Settle Down

This picture has popped up on Facebook -
click to enlarge

It shows Jubilee class locomotive Kolhapur taking on water at the Settle down side water crane - served by our water tower of course.   Kolhapur was a regular on the S&C at the very end of the steam era.   From the details below it is likely to have been between April 1966 and October 1967 when the locomotive was at Leeds Holbeck depot.

This is likely to have been a fast or semi-fast service to Carlisle, possibly with Appleby as its next stop.   A full tank of water from Settle would have given comfort that it had sufficient to climb over the 'roof of England'.