Steam Railway (UK) - - MAILBAG -


In July, I was at Ex­po­rail in Saint-Con­stant, near Mon­treal, ten miles from the home of Do­min­ion of Canada (SR485). Even in sum­mer, there were very few vis­i­tors.

The ‘A4’ had pride of place just past the en­trance hall, where there was a fine dis­play of the Le Grand Re­tour (The Great Re­turn) with in­for­ma­tion about the ‘Great Gather­ing’ in York.

Vis­i­tors could look into the cab, walk down the cor­ri­dor ten­der and walk un­der­neath it, although there is no mo­tion for the in­side cylin­der.

It was a beau­ti­fully pre­sented ex­hi­bi­tion, so I’m sorry to read that No. 4489 has moved into stor­age with Wad­don.

Staff at the mu­seum (mainly vol­un­teers) were very help­ful and ami­able.

I shall be watch­ing this story with in­ter­est.

Dave Wis­nia, by email


Read­ing John Pet­ley’s in­for­ma­tive ar­ti­cle re­gard­ing ad­vance­ments and de­vel­op­ments in the UK’s rail­way preser­va­tion move­ment over the last 50 years, I see no men­tion of the is­sue of fund­ing.

The po­ten­tial for sourc­ing fund­ing for this in­dus­try to the level we now see has also de­vel­oped to un­prece­dented lev­els in the past 50 years.

But there is now the se­ri­ous pos­si­bil­ity that much of the wealth that funds and sup­ports preser­va­tion is en­dan­gered; in the near fu­ture it will not ex­ist at any­thing like these past lev­els.

We now see em­ploy­ees be­ing forced, en masse, off de­fined ben­e­fit pen­sions to less ben­e­fi­cial pen­sion schemes and, in some cases, fi­nal in­comes are re­duced by as much as 50% be­low those formerly ex­pected for the same in­vest­ment.

Larger pro­por­tions of the work­force are now en­gaged in lower in­come work, so they might not even be able to build up rea­son­able lev­els of pen­sion sav­ings. Never mind the ever-ris­ing state pen­sion ages, with in­evitable low­ered ben­e­fits over time. Home own­ers are not en­joy­ing the in­creases in eq­uity that they have been used to, and those who do are hav­ing to help their chil­dren into home own­er­ship by re-mort­gag­ing their own prop­er­ties.

The Na­tional Lot­tery is suf­fer­ing from a con­tin­u­ing trend of dwin­dling re­ceipts. Like­wise, the Trea­sury and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are hav­ing to deal with di­min­ished fund­ing, with no re­al­is­tic hope of im­prove­ment in the long term.

And never mind our im­mi­nent de­par­ture from the EU and the sev­er­ing of those valu­able fund­ing streams.

What strat­egy are those groups that op­er­ate the pre­served rail­ways, lo­co­mo­tives, rolling stock and other para­pher­na­lia as­so­ci­ated with this sec­tor go­ing to em­ploy to mit­i­gate against this in­evitable down­turn in fu­ture in­come? How will they en­sure the in­tegrity and safe­keep­ing of what has been painstak­ingly built up to date?

We have al­ready seen one ‘so­lu­tion’ with the NRM and other sim­i­lar bod­ies: de-ac­ces­sions. What hap­pens, how­ever, when the cu­ra­tors of these arte­facts can no longer fund their op­er­a­tion, up­keep and safe­keep­ing? Max Win­ter, Tingewick, Buck­ing­hamshire


I first met Bill Ford (SR485 Cel­e­brated Lives) when he was man­ag­ing direc­tor of the fam­ily com­pany Ford & Slater, that pro­vided com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle ser­vices. The com­pany had a long as­so­ci­a­tion with my em­ployer at the time, Tate & Lyle. As a young busi­ness an­a­lyst, I was asked to visit the com­pany for ad­vice on op­er­at­ing ve­hi­cle fran­chises (T&L had many of them across the coun­try at that stage and I was a direc­tor of most of them).

I walked into his of­fice in Le­ices­ter and the first thing I no­ticed was a fine, large-scale model of Fly­ing Scots­man. His com­pany was pur­chased by Unilever and Bill was ap­pointed as chair­man of the UAC Mo­tors Group. It was over lunch at Unilever House, circa 1980, when we had a fairly wide-rang­ing chat. He ended up sell­ing me my new com­pany car from one of his busi­nesses, while he ended up buy­ing Galatea.

He had al­ready pur­chased Leander and in­sisted that I should travel on the foot­plate as own­ers’ rep­re­sen­ta­tive some time (it never hap­pened, un­for­tu­nately). Bill

had been of­fered Barry-con­di­tion Galatea for spares. He wasn’t sure whether or not he should go ahead with it. I thought it was a good idea as it didn’t sound ex­pen­sive.

He sold Leander some time later, and Galatea ended up as a re­stored lo­co­mo­tive in its own right. And, to cap it all, I still have the car he sold me nearly 40 years later – a clas­sic, lim­ited edi­tion VW Scirocco Storm. Mean­while, he had one of my framed lineside colour pic­tures of Leander that the com­pany pre­sented to him one Christ­mas. He will be missed. Paul Cooper, by email


I have only just read the ar­ti­cle on Ba­hamas in Down Main (SR483). I may be able to help an­swer your ques­tion about a date for the colourised pho­to­graph of Ba­hamas north of Ox­en­holme in the 1930s.

If in­deed the train was the Liver­pool to Glas­gow ex­press, due to ar­rive at Carlisle at 7.21pm, then it looks as though it was run­ning some­what late that day.

The lo­ca­tion for the pho­to­graph is al­most cer­tainly 54.30908º north, -2.72056º west. The pho­to­graph shows the tele­graph wires at train height, in­di­cat­ing the line is on an em­bank­ment, and a skew oc­cu­pa­tion cross­ing is un­der­neath the lo­co­mo­tive and ten­der. Ac­cord­ing to the OS 1:25,000 series map of 1937-61, an em­bank­ment is shown with a skew un­der­pass for a track lead­ing to the Park, about half a mile north of Ox­en­holme sta­tion. The un­der­pass is still there on to­day’s Google Maps.

At this point the LMS line is trav­el­ling al­most due north on a slight left-hand bend (Google Earth shows the di­rec­tion to be 1-2º east of north). Ac­cord­ing to the light­ing of the lo­co­mo­tive and the di­rec­tion of the shad­ows, the sun is al­most at right an­gles to the di­rec­tion of travel (note that buffer­beam rivet heads are high­lighted but the buffer­beam it­self is not). This would in­di­cate that the sun is nearly due west, which, dur­ing Bri­tish Sum­mer Time, would be at 7pm, say 7.05pm to al­low for the slight off­set from due north of the line at this point. If the train stopped at Ox­en­holme, that would mean a de­par­ture at or soon af­ter 7pm. Ar­rival at Carlisle would in­evitably be late!

The lo­co­mo­tive is ev­i­dently brightly lit, im­ply­ing the sun is still high in the sky at that time. That would place the tim­ing of the pho­to­graph near the date with the lat­est sun­set, i.e. late June.

Steve Quar­rie, Bel­grade


Hearti­est con­grat­u­la­tions go to Driver Matthew Earn­shaw and Fire­man Lewis Ma­clean (SR485) on crew­ing a lo­co­mo­tive on the main line at such young ages; it bodes well for the fu­ture of steam op­er­a­tions. You com­ment on their com­bined ages of 49 years, but this is not the youngest ‘com­bined ages’ crew.

As far as one can es­tab­lish, that claim would seem to be held by Driver Peter Smith and Fire­man Aubrey Punter on Evening Star, which hauled the last Up ‘Pines Ex­press’ from Bournemouth West to Bath on Satur­day Septem­ber 8 1962. Their com­bined ages did not even equal the 45 years of ser­vice to that date by the leg­endary Driver Don­ald Beale on the ‘S&D’. Roger Mac­don­ald, Ryde


Now-pre­served Ivatt Class ‘2MT’ No. 46512 hauled the Oswestry to Welsh­pool freight, bring­ing No. 823 to Welsh­pool Yard on Oc­to­ber 5 1962 (SR485, Mod­ern His­tory).

Credit must be given to Oliver Vel­tom, BR District Traf­fic Su­per­in­ten­dent at Oswestry, who man­aged to keep the two Welsh­pool & Llan­fair lo­co­mo­tives in Oswestry Works from 1956 to

1962 as he knew there were ef­forts to save the line.

Vel­tom saved the Vale of Rheidol Rail­way through his ef­forts in the 1950s when it was un­der threat of clo­sure. He loved the VoR so much that the staff called the line ‘Vel­tom’s own rail­way’.

The other BR man­ager to save lo­co­mo­tives from scrap was Camp­bell Thomas, sta­tion­mas­ter at Machyn­l­leth, who saved the two Cor­ris lo­co­mo­tives Nos. 3 and 4 by hid­ing them be­tween 1948 to 1951, sheeted over in the lower yard at Machyn­l­leth be­cause he knew the Ta­lyl­lyn Rail­way needed them.

Chris Mag­ner, by email


The pho­to­graphs of ‘Royal Scot’ No. 46112 Sher­wood Forester at Not­ting­ham in 1948 on the oc­ca­sion of its reded­i­ca­tion (SR484) prompted mem­o­ries of its de-nam­ing cer­e­mony a dozen or so years later.

One af­ter­noon in 1961 or 1962 I was pass­ing through Derby Mid­land sta­tion when I was drawn to an event tak­ing place on Plat­form 1. There, No. 46112 was be­ing for­mally stripped of its iden­tity which, with mil­i­tary hon­ours, was then con­ferred onto Class 45 No. D100.

This leads to my ques­tion: have other lo­co­mo­tives been cer­e­mo­ni­ally de-named?

Brian John­son, by email


I was dis­mayed to read the re­cent let­ter by J. Li­hou (SR485).

The ticket il­lus­trated is from the re­cent Sev­ern Val­ley Rail­way gala. A quick scan of the SVR timetable/ cal­en­dar shows that they are open to the pub­lic for 224 days this year, of which 30 days are deemed spe­cial events, so re­quire a spe­cial ticket. This means that for the re­main­ing 194 days it is pos­si­ble to pur­chase a ticket and be given an Ed­mond­son ticket for the jour­ney, which would duly be checked, and ‘gripped’, by the ticket in­spec­tor on board.

For the last two years I have at­tended the West Som­er­set Rail­way’s ex­cel­lent spring and au­tumn galas. I pur­chase my tick­ets in ad­vance on­line, and print off a pa­per ticket and timetable. This saves both my­self and the WSR money, and was very use­ful this year as I was de­layed en route by mo­tor­way lane clo­sures. As I had al­ready got my ticket, I did not have to worry about join­ing a queue at the book­ing of­fice, and was able to jump straight on the first train.

I also did the same for the re­cent Llan­gollen Rail­way gala. In spite of the poor weather,

I had a great day and did not even think about the lack of an Ed­mond­son ticket!

All pre­served rail­ways do this sort of thing to a cer­tain ex­tent; in fact mod­ern times al­most de­mand it, and it is not all about en­thu­si­asts as all pre­served rail­ways need to ap­peal to a broad spec­trum and put on a range of events to get the money to pro­vide the at­ten­tion to de­tail that the writer men­tions.

Many things like this have evolved over the years for the con­ve­nience of all.

Dave Phillips, by email


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.