‘DOMINION’ STAFF WERE VERY HELPFUL
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
A LOOMING CASH CRISIS
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
LATE BAHAMAS !
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
‘2MT’ CONVEYED TANKIE
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
No. 46112 WAS BEING FORMALLY STRIPPED OF ITS IDENTITY WHICH, WITH MILITARY HONOURS, WAS THEN CONFERRED ONTO CLASS 45 No. D100