Tag Archives: Railway

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era 1941 – Gresley Lightweight 2-6-2 – London & North Eastern Railway

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era
1941 – Gresley Lightweight 2-6-2
London & North Eastern Railway

No.61701 as running in 1950

No.61701 as running in 1950

This was Sir Nigel Gresley’s last design, and consisted of two engines only, No.3401 ‘Bantam Cock’ and No.3402, unofficially known as ‘Bantam Hen’, although it never actually bore the name.
They were intended to become the prototypes of a new standard class of lighter general purpose engine to replace the aging ‘Atlantics’ and other types from the former GNR, GCR and the rest of the various LNER constituent companies, but owing to Sir Nigel’s untimely death no more were built. E.Thompson, who succeeded him, had different ideas on the subject, and introduced his B1 4-6-0 mixed traffic class for the same purpose. The two Gresley engines spent most of their time in Scotland, mainly on the West Highland lines, but as a non-standard class both were withdrawn in 1957. In 1946 they had become Nos.1700 and 1701, and later BR Nos. 61700-1.
Driving wheels – 5’ 8”, Cylinders (3) – 15”x 26”, Pressure – 250 lb., Tractive effort – 27420 lb., Weight – 70 tons 8 cwt., LNER classification – V4, BR classification – 4MT

Bantam Hen

Some Early Lines – The Stamford and Essendine Railway.

Some Early Lines

The Stamford and Essendine Railway.Stamford Station

Stamford Station

 A very cold but bright day this is Stamford station looking west towards Oakham on the Peterborough to Leicester line. The station building house is a book shop now.  © Copyright roger geach and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 There were two stations in Stamford, both outstandingly attractive, of which one survives as a station, the other as a private dwelling.

The first station in Stamford was called Town station and was built in 1848 by Sancton Wood for the Syston & Peterborough Railway. This company was a protege of the Midland Railway intended to resist incursion by the Great Northern into what the Midland considered to be its own territory. The Marquis of Exeter at Burghley House required the railway to be invisible as it passed through the grounds of his estate so immediately east of the station the railway enters a tunnel. The station itself is in the Tudor style with tower and belfry, gables and bay windows. It remains in railway use though most of the building is a bookshop.

Stamford East was built in 1856 by William Hurst. The Marquis of Exeter had initially rebuffed attempts by the Great Northern Railway to pass through Stamford with its main line, and so the railway was routed through Peterborough instead. He then had second thoughts, and himself promoted a short 6km.(4m.) branch line to the Great Northern line at Essendine. For a short time he operated it himself but gave up in 1872. Meanwhile a second branch was opened to Wansford in 1867.

To accommodate this modest little railway he had built a gorgeously extravagant Elizabethan style manor house, replete with gables, finials, perforated parapet, tall mullion windows, and a square tower with a pierced parapet. It survived as a station until 1957, whereupon it was converted into two houses.

The Stamford and Essendine Railway.

Source: The Illustrated London News, Jan. 3, 1857Stamford Railway Station

This railway was opened for public traffic on the 1st November. It forms a junction with the Great Northern main line at Essendine, which is distant nearly twelve miles north of Peterborough; and by means of this communication the fine old town of Stamford is brought within about two hours of the metropolis. The works, which are constructed for a double line of rails, were commenced about two years ago, under the auspices of the Marquis of Exeter, the promoter and principal proprietor of the line.

We engrave (from a drawing by Mr. W. Hurst, jun.) a picturesque View of the Stamford Station, as seen from the bridge at the foot of St. Mary’s Hill. It is a handsome stone building of Elizabethan character, and consists of a booking-hall, with offices and residence for station-master. The principal front includes two peaked wings, having ornamented gables, and a central projection with perforated parapet, carrying a shield in sunk panel, containing the arms of Stamford, surmounted with a coronet, and relieved by foliated scrolls and ribbon, bearing the name of the railway and the date of its construction.

The front elevation is pierced by mullioned windows of varied dimensions, after Burghley House, and bisected for its entire length with an overhanging screen or verandah, ten feet in width, which is carried upon brackets of appropriate design, and affords effective shelter for passengers alighting at the door of the booking-hall.

This hall, which measures 27 feet by 32 feet 6 inches, is lofty and of peculiar design—the roof being carried upon cambered timber beams, set in pairs, and springing from neatly-carved corbels firmly grafted in the walls. It is lighted principally from the ceiling, which is partitioned in recessed compartments, having pendant ornaments at the intersections of the panels.

A gallery, supported on tastefully-scrolled brackets, runs round the building, and is faced with elegant cast-iron railing; from which, at the angles, rise ornamented columns with globular gas glasses at their tops.

This gallery leads, on the one hand, to the directors’ room and offices; and on the opposite side are ranged the living-rooms and other apartments of the station clerk.

On the ground-floor, opposite the entrance, and looking over the passenger platform behind, is the booking-office; and on each side the hall are placed the first-class waiting-rooms, parcels and other offices; while the area is provided with movable seats for second and third class passengers.

At the south-east angle of the building is a massive stone tower, in which, on the ground floor, are the porters’ and lamp rooms, &c.; and above are “stores,” well protected by a never-failing tank of water on the roof, which is surrounded by an open parapet, with projecting angles, carved finials, and columnar chimney-stack.

At the back of and adjoining the booking-hall is the passenger platform, covered by a light wrought-iron trellised roof of timber and glass. The up and down lines of railway are on either side the platform, and the whole is illuminated by lanterns hanging from the tie rods of the iron roof, and by wail-lamps mounted in cast-iron brackets of a neat and novel character.

The station is approached through light wrought-iron gates, hung on posts of pierced castings, harmonising with the principal elevation of the booking-hall and offices before described.

The goods warehouse, granary, and other buildings common to terminal stations are plain and neat in design, and the arrangements generally are well compacted and complete. The whole of the works were constructed by the late Mr. Thomas Hayton, the well-known contractor on the London and North-Western Railway, from designs and under the superintendence of Mr. William Hurst, the Company’s engineer.Site of Stamford East Railway StationSite of Stamford East railway station – frontage

 Former railway station, terminus of the Stamford & Essendine railway.  Built to match the architectural style of Burghley House.  © Copyright Bob Harvey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.



Ecclesbourne Valley Railway – Wirksworth to provide first railcar for the Bluebell Railway




Wirksworth, 30 December 2013: The Bluebell Railway has hired a two-car Diesel Railcar from the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway at Wirksworth, Derbyshire. The set will operate some winter weekend services on the Bluebell Railway between East Grinstead and Horsted Keynes whilst maintenance works take place on the line between Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park.

The arrival of these railcars will represent a first for the Bluebell railway as they will be the first ever to visit the line: Passenger services were withdrawn in 1958 and diesel railcars seldom ventured into Sussex.

The two carriages have been refurbished maintained and repainted by volunteers from the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway DMU Group.Over the past decade, this group of youthful volunteers has created a facility at Wirksworth dedicated to the restoration and operation of Diesel Railcars (also known as Multiple Units) ranging from the 1956-vintage railcar ‘Iris’ to a Cross-Country railcar restored in 2013 to concours standard from a bare body.

Mike Evans, head of motive power for the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway said “It is great that the hard work of our youthful DMU Group can be appreciated not only at home, but also on other important preserved railways such as the Bluebell.”

Passengers will be able to enjoy the Sussex scenery through the driver’s cab for the first time during January and February.1505_lo

258 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Autumn & Winter 2002 Part 4 Narrow Gauge – Early Days

258 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News – Autumn & Winter 2002

 Part 4 Narrow Gauge – Early DaysCW NG 1CW NG 2CW NG 3Narrow Gauge

More up-to-date!

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era – More from David Ives archive

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

More from David Ives archive

4247 Preservation Society Leaflet 198-Literature sent to Chasewater Railway in the 1980s

4247 Pres. Society Application Form

A report from the Flour Mill Locomotive Repair Shop


On behalf of the Bodmin & Wenford Railway Trust we overhauled the boiler of 1916-built GWR 2-8-0 tank 4247 (owned by 4247 Ltd), which needed a complete new steel backhead along with other significant work: the work also involved a lot more than just the boiler. It took just over a year and 4700 hours, 60% on the boiler. 4247 returned to Bodmin in November 2011.

4247 GWSR Toddington  8-8-2004Phil Scott’s Pic at Toddington 8-8-2004

 This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The Great Western Railway (GWR) 4200 Class is a class of 2-8-0T steam locomotives. They were designed for short-haul coal trips from coal mines to ports in South Wales, working 1000+ ton coal trains through the Welsh valleys. The locomotives were built with large boilers and narrow side tanks; these engines would pass numerous water stops along their routes so the limited tank capacity was not a constraint. Because of the class’s heavy water consumption and limited tank capacity they were nicknamed “Water Carts”.

Many of the lines in South Wales had sharp curves. To traverse these curves, the locomotives were constructed with side play in the trailing driving wheels and coupling rods with spherical joints to allow for movement in any direction.

The later 5205 Class were very similar.

105 4200s were build between 1910 and 1923. Fourteen of these were rebuilt between 1937 and 1939 as 2-8-2T of the 7200 Class. In later years many of the remainder were upgraded to 5205 specification with outside steam pipes, larger cylinders and in some cases curved frames at the front end.

Chasewater Railway Museum News – A couple of old photographs

ChasewaterRailwayMuseum News

 A couple of old photographs

5818 - Works SidingsThe first one is a photograph of the ‘Works Siding’ notice in situ in the old Brownhills West yard.  Also in the photo is the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln carriage, looking quite smart considering it was kept outside in those days.  Now the notice is standing on the hand-pump truck outside the museum.


The other photograph is of Much Wenlock  station. Much Wenlock StationThis one comes from a selection of paperwork and photographs from David Ives – a long-time Board member.  On the reverse of the photo are two Newspaper articles in small, very neat hand-writing, which I have reproduced here.

Much Wenlock Station Picture reverse

December 1895 – The Wellington Journal

During the railway mania the heart of Dr. Brookes was stirred to the very depths.  He saw lines after lines projected and schemes of railways propounded in all sorts of directions, some merely speculative, others ‘bona fide’, and he wooed in vain the great companies to look in the direction of Wenlock, but the most reckless stood aghast at the steep gradients and the abrupt curves to be encountered in climbing the hill; besides, several companies gave the project the greatest opposition.  Ultimately, mainly through the unwearied exertions of Mr. Blakaway, the Town Clerk, aided and seconded by Dr. Brookes and his brother, Dr. Q.G.Brookes, who became Chairman of the Company, and continued so till his death, these efforts were crowned with success, and the hitherto isolated town of Much Wenlock found itself in communication with the productive district of Corvedale and Ludlow on one side, and Coalbrookdale, Wellington and Birmingham on the other.  The line is 16 miles in length, the gradients, the greatest of which is from 1 in 40 to 1 in 45, are not so great at this time of day as to frighten anybody.  If anyone travelling that way is struck with the beauty of Wenlock station, its rocky pile on the Abbey side, studied with flowers, rare plants and shrubs, asks, as many do, who was the author of so much beauty, he is told – Dr. Brookes.

July 1962 ‘The Last Train’ The Birmingham Post

 Engine No. 4406 is not the most glamorous of railway locomotives and there was nothing spectacular about the two coaches which it pulled from Wellington to Craven Arms and back again on Saturdays.  The majority of passengers from Wellington alighted at Much Wenlock, and on the return journey only one ticket was issued at the booking office at Craven Arms.

Yet this was one occasion when the rather elderly engine and the empty carriages could have been fêted along the 14 miles between Craven Arms and Much Wenlock, for it was the last journey to be made along this line, which was opened in 1867.  But in its demise the Craven Arms to Much Wenlock line aroused as little interest as it had attracted custom these latter years – and that lack of custom is the reason for its closure.  The one ticket issued at Craven Arms was for Mr. J.F.Anstey, the District Commercial Superintendent, who was there to give official recognition to the last journey.  There was another railwayman or two, one or two returning passengers and a party of railway enthusiasts from Birmingham and District – for Birmingham took a greater interest in the closing of the line than did Shropshire.

There was no ceremony at Craven Arms.  Driver Joe Watkins looked down the platform at Guard Dick Davies.  There was a wave and the driver said to his passengers: ‘Well, I suppose we had better be off.’ And off we went, with Driver Watkins taking the train along the single track as he had done for twenty-odd years.  Beside him, shovelling coal into the furnace was Fireman Tony Falkner.  At Much Wenlock Mr. K.Carpenter was there, also Mr. D.Luscombe of Northfield, Mr. D.Woodhouse of Smethwick, Mr. Tandy and Mr. R.T.Russell

Much WenlockGWR 4406 2-6-2TMuch Wenlock 4406 on train railuk.inforailuk.info

Some Early Lines Narrow Gauge USA Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Some Early Lines

Narrow gauge USA

All Aboard! Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Durango and Silverton NG Railroad

For 130 continuous years coal-fired steam engines have powered up the narrow gauge tracks that connect Durango, Colorado to Silverton. Originally constructed to haul workers to, and precious metals back from, gold and silver mines in the San Juan Mountains, the line now operates exclusively for the benefit of tourists.

Pulling restored 1880-era passenger cars, the locomotive winds along 45 miles of the Animas River as it climbs to Silverton’s 9,035 feet elevation. During its three-hour trip, the train clings to canyon walls, passes waterfalls, and gives views of 14,000 foot peaks that are often topped with year-round snow.

Is it any wonder the Society of American Travel Writers chose it as one of the World’s Top 10 Train Rides.

USA_6764Photo by David Jackson

 The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNG) is a narrow gauge heritage railroad that operates 45 miles (72 km) of 3 ft (914 mm) track between Durango and Silverton, in the US state of Colorado. The railway is a federally designated National Historic Landmark and is also designated by the American Society of Civil Engineers as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

The route was originally built between 1881 and 1882, by the Denver and Rio Grande Railway, in order to carry supplies and people to and silver and gold ore from mines in the San Juan Mountains. The line was an extension of the D&RG narrow gauge from Antonito, Colorado to Durango. The last train to operate into Durango from the east was on December 6, 1968. The States of New Mexico and Colorado purchased 64 miles of the line between Antonito and Chama, New Mexico in 1970 and operates today as the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. The trackage between Chama and Durango was abandoned and rails were removed by 1971.

The line from Durango to Silverton has run continuously since 1881, although it is now a tourist and heritage line hauling passengers, and is one of the few places in the United States which has seen continuous use of steam locomotives. In March 1981, the Denver & Rio Grande Western sold the line and the D&SNG was formed.

Some of the rolling stock dates back to the 1880s. The trains run from Durango to the Cascade Wye in the winter months and run from Durango to Silverton during the summer months. The depot in Durango was built in January 1882 and has been preserved in original form.

USA_7158Photo by David Jackson

Barclay No.1964 at Snibston

Barclay 1964 at Snibston, Friday 13th May – There are two short video clips on the youtube link  – Photo and clips, courtesy of Bryan Marks, Chasewater Railway.  Thanks Bryan.

AB1964 will, of course,  be at Snibston for the Festival on Sunday, May 15th.

Halloween comes to Chasewater Railway

Welcome to Halloween at Chasewater Railway, Staffordshire.

The Chasewater Railway Junior Team put together a first-class evening’s happenings in Chasewater’s Brownhills West station and on the train.Lynda and co. did their usual excellent job with the buffet.

The youngsters put an awful lot of hard work in to making the evening a great success.

After the train ride, there was a spooky story told in one of the wagons by a very spooky story-teller!  Congratulations to Mitch for his very vivid imagination!

The Halloween Secial waiting for the off.Bryan’s never looked so good – and the same could be said for other staff members – well done to everyone!!

If you missed this year’s event, please make a note to come next year – the Junior Team are already thinking of new ideas to make it even more creepy!

The things they find in Hednesford….

West Cannock Colliery

West Cannock Colliery No.5,  from Hednesford Hills

This week saw the launch of the Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society’s latest book – the Annals of West Cannock Collieery – written by Alan Dean, which coincided with the unveiling of a memorial information sign at the site West Cannock No.5 pit, now the Cannock Chase Enterprise Centre.

Also around  this time the bridge from West Cannock 1, 3 and 4 pits was partly uncovered by the road builders working on the new road through the Pye Green Valley.   I have spoken to one of my dog walking friends, who was a relief fireman, and had actually been on a train under the bridge on the way up to No.1 to collect some rail!

The map below shows the position of the West Cannock pits.


This follows another bit of underground West Cannock Colliery activity from a few years ago.

It is actually the tunnel that went from West Cannock No.4, 1 and 3 plants down to the other side of the main Cannock to Rugeley mineral line, from where it emerged alongside West Cannock No.2 plant which closed in 1887 in the valley below East Cannock Colliery, it then ran over land going under the East Cannock Road below the Globe Inn to end at East Cannock canal basin.

For much more information about the West Cannock Colliery Company a new book has been published by the Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society, written by Alan Dean – price £10.00