Steam Railway (UK) - - MAILBAG -

On read­ing the ar­ti­cle on ‘Jellicoe Spe­cials’ (SR486), I was prompted to dig out an old book, North East­ern Engineman (D. Brad­ford Bar­ton, 1980) in which the mem­oirs of driver Syd Mid­g­ley are sum­marised by au­thor P.W.B. Sem­mens.

There is ref­er­ence to the-then new ‘T3’ (later ‘Q7’) 0-8-0s be­ing used on post-First World War min­eral trains and how their great

power al­lowed heav­ier trains to be taken on when com­pared to other 0‑8‑0 types.

Crews had to be care­ful not to take on longer trains than sid­ings could ac­com­mo­date, and ref­er­ence is made to this hap­pen­ing on one oc­ca­sion when a 107‑wagon train re­fused to fit into a sid­ing de­signed for 90 wag­ons, leav­ing the rear end of the train on the main line.

The guard had failed to count the wag­ons at the last col­lec­tion and the crew at­trib­uted the ex­tra drag to cold and stiff axle grease in the newly added wag­ons.

A lesser en­gine’s strug­gle with such a train would have been self‑ev­i­dent and in­dica­tive of a prob­lem, but the sheer mus­cle of the ‘T3’ masked the sit­u­a­tion to all con­cerned!

David Han­mer, by email

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