View Full Version : Steam?

tony draper
24th Jul 2011, 14:28
Watching Mark Williams prog on the industrial revolution(Fred would have approved of Mark)anyway he did a item on the first steam driven omnibus fired by coke(the smokeless fuel not the white powder popular with sutheners)and commented that coke was far superior to coal for fueling the boilers of steam engines in terms of its cleaness and ease of use and heart generated, this causes me to pose the question, why did not the railways ever switch to coke?
This may seem a strange question on a forum devoted to heavier than air machines but one knows we have experts on every subject under the sun lurking on prune.

24th Jul 2011, 14:38
Coke requires a process (although it did produce a by-product, towngas), so was. presumably more expensive, and the quantities required when all the railways were running steam engines were probably too high.

tony draper
24th Jul 2011, 14:46
Though it might be for economic reasons Mr G-C, and I remember when we had a coke/gas works outside every town and we generated all our own gas instead of relying on they furriners for it,you cant trust em you know.

24th Jul 2011, 14:54
Ah, 'towngas', remember it well. Water would actually boil when heated with towngas. I remember the fleet of 'TURRIFF' lorries which arrived one morning to convert our street to 'natural gas'.
And those amazing gas-holders! Remember the approach to St. Pancras, with a Midland Pullman passing them in the sunshine? Out of the other window you could see The Post Office Tower being built. :ok:
Gas- holders were also visible from Blackpool Tower, there were 3 in Loughborough, where J Sainsbury now has a small grocery shop.

Um... lifting...
24th Jul 2011, 14:55
In England in the first years of steam railway locomotives (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_railway_locomotive), coke was the normal fuel. This resulted from an early piece of environmental legislation; any proposed locomotive had to "consume its own smoke".[3] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coke_%28fuel%29#cite_note-2) This was not technically possible to achieve until the firebox arch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firebox_%28steam_engine%29#Brick_arch) came into use, but burning coke, with its low smoke emissions, was considered to meet the requirement. However, this rule was quietly dropped and cheaper coal became the normal fuel, as railways gained acceptance among the general public.

Apparently, Mr. D, this was written into the Railway Consolidation Clauses Act of 1845, and you were correct... economy. From Wikipedia... without apology.

One was seeking information on the density per BTU of coal v. coke, w/o success. One would imagine that transport costs to fueling depots might also have played a part.

24th Jul 2011, 14:56
I still direct people according to the (now demolished) gasworks.

Biggar still has its gasworks:- Biggar Gasworks (http://www.biggarmuseumtrust.co.uk/home/biggar-gasworks)

One would imagine that transport costs to fueling depots might also have played a part.
What about storage capacity of the tender?

24th Jul 2011, 15:04
Where do they get the coal from?
Slightly off-topic, but we drove through Biggar at 2am on the Millenium morning. It was madness. In the centre of town was a bonfire the size of a large detatched-house, tended by men in kilts who were on another planet, (but very friendly). Is it an annual occurrence?

24th Jul 2011, 15:09
It has continued at Biggar for hundreds of years.
BIGGAR BONFIRE 2010 website sponsored by ANDREW WILSON - Freelance Photographer (http://www.biggarbonfire.org.uk/)

Scotland's Fire Festivals - The Biggar Bonfire (http://gouk.about.com/od/whatsoninjanuary/qt/biggarbonfire.htm)

Um... lifting...
24th Jul 2011, 15:09
What about storage capacity of the tender?

That was along the lines of one's thinking, but one stated it poorly. Several issues:

1) How are coaling depots spaced?
2) Where is raw coal available, and is it economical to dedicate a train to move it to a depot?
3) Is it more economical to process coke and then transport it to a depot or;
4) Transport raw coal to a depot region, then process it and make use of the towngas and;
5) Make use of coke in tenders for individual trains.

One knows little of trains... but likes them.:)

24th Jul 2011, 15:15
G-CPTN, many thanks for that. Must go and see it.

24th Jul 2011, 15:27
Possibly depended on the engine concerned. I remember being told that at my dad's pit (Clipstone) they bought coal in from Warsop Colliery to run the pit shunter and that they had to do this because the Clipstone coal would have burnt out the firegrate (when I said "Why don't you use the coal you're digging out").

And, after all, it was my dad telling me this so it had to be true. And I do recall him having to buy a new firegrate for the house to replace the one that had melted (using Clipstone coal).

west lakes
24th Jul 2011, 15:30
When I moved up here the coking ovens at the steelworks were still operating. When they were demolished and an industrial estate built there I named one of the substations "Coke Ovens".
The council wanted it changed as they wanted to wipe any memory of what was there - it retained it's name!

24th Jul 2011, 16:00
Clipstone eh?
Home of The Dukeries Organ Centre.

tony draper
24th Jul 2011, 16:25
Many years ago,late sixties when they were building those hideous tower blocks one did work on they had to chop away the side of a hill and laid bare a seam of coal about a foot thick,couple of the lads buggad off and returned with a load of sacks and thus supplied they commenced to hack at this seam with pick and shovel, they filled the back of a transit van with sacks of coal to such a extent the back tire burst when they pulled away,anyway they manage to get get their treasure home.
Next morning many curses directed at this seam,apparently it just would not burn and just sat in the grate spitting lumps of itself all over the carpets.

24th Jul 2011, 16:50
Coal is very much a variable quality for steam locomotives. One of the problems of the 1948 locomotive exchanges when different companies locomotives were tried over "foreign" metals was the suitability of the fuel. The LNER A4 being designed to burn hard Yorkshire coal just didn't like the soft Welsh stuff that Castles and Kings thrived on.
I think that in relative terms coke may have been more limited in supply than coal.
My old Grandad was a face worker at Shireoaks pit and he always said that poor people burned coke. (Easy for him I 'spose 'cos he got the black stuff by the lorryload for free).

tony draper
24th Jul 2011, 16:56
Often wondered what happened to the miners guarantee of free coal for life when all the pits shut down?

24th Jul 2011, 16:58
Would there have been advantage in making the firebox of steam (railway) engines 'closed' like a modern wood-burning-stove - or was it exactly that when the fire-door was closed?

24th Jul 2011, 17:06
You have to provide sufficient air for combustion, so there are dampers which allow in air.

Coke was more expensive than coal because of the processing: I read somewhere that it produced particles which abraded the tubes to a greater extent than coal. In the days when they used it, they also had a tendency to go for brass rather than steel fire tubes, and they suffered from 'de-zincification' when exposed to high pressure steam, even when un -superheated.

Some of the worst coal for locomotives was supposedly the stuff from Bargeny in Ayrshire, producing a lot of clinker and not much heat.

24th Jul 2011, 17:18
Water surrounds the firebox, top air is supplied through ports in the firebox doors to allow combustion of gases produced by the coal.
To the best of my understanding coke is bad for copper fireboxes.

24th Jul 2011, 17:29
In addition to the economic arguments already made, one remembers well from one's sproghood that a bucket of coke weighed rather less than a bucket of coal, the bituminous ingredients having been distilled out as described at Wee Willy Wiky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coke_%28fuel%29). So, less energy per cubic foot of fuel and shorter distances between refueling stops, important for long-distance routes, perhaps?

24th Jul 2011, 18:01
Often wondered what happened to the miners guarantee of free coal for life when all the pits shut down?

My mum and dad got his free coal at his pit house until they moved to a gas fired house. After that they got an allowance added to his pension to cover what the coal would have cost. (And, after dad died, mum continued getting the allowance until she died. The didn't welch on that deal at least).

24th Jul 2011, 18:16
Actually the type of question can be asked about the fuel used in Oklahoma for the production of electricity.

Oklahoma sits on an ocean of natural gas, everyday new natural gas wells are completed with a daily flow rate in the millions of cubic feet of natural gas. In other words, we have natural gas coming out of our ears.

Now, guess what the vast majority of the Oklahoma electrical power plants use for fuel?

Coal from North Dakota, transported on mile long trains.

Go figure. :ooh:

24th Jul 2011, 18:36
Germany's nuclear decision leads to RWE-Gazprom deal - Public Service Europe (http://www.publicserviceeurope.com/article/616/germanys-nuclear-decision-leads-to-rwe-gazprom-deal)

tony draper
24th Jul 2011, 18:51
They need their heads looked at, every nation should concider energy production as their most strategic,even if you have to rely on coal fired,keep the means of energy production within your own borders,we are heaping future problems and conflict one on top of another for the next generation.
Well we aren't, the feckwits at the top are.

24th Jul 2011, 19:19
For a while I lived in a railway town and had a few friends with dads who were footplate men. Occasionally they were supplied with coke when all other supplies failed, and they hated it. Locomotives at that time required a fierce draught to supply enough steam, but the same draught snatched the light coke off the shovel and did not allow the fireman (an artist in his way) to shape the fire adequately. "Like acorns to a pig" was one of the more polite descriptions... a lot of it got sucked against the tube plate and killed the draught.

Early steam engines used a 'soft' draught and were much better suited to coke.

24th Jul 2011, 21:13
Like many others of my age i was fasinated by the steam engines that used to pull the trains that we travelled on. I had a few rides in small engines when I was a kid but the only time i was involved in the operation of a large steam engine working was in Northern Rhodesia. I rode in and helped to fire a Garrat from Choma to Pemba and return. A Scottish driver and an Italian firman. Not the fastest in the world but incredible power.

It was like this, it may even have been this one.


24th Jul 2011, 22:26
As a child living in England it fell on my shoulders to be the warden of all things required to keep the house running. Had to feed a box a shilling for the electicty, coke to heat water and coal to burn in the fireplace to heat rooms in the house.

Never could figure out why we just couldn't use electricty for all of it. Dropping a shilling into a box was a lot easier than draging those buckets around. :p

24th Jul 2011, 22:42
My parents had a new house built in 1955.
Although there was mains gas installed, the choice of heating boiler was a free-standing coke-fired unit.
Each month my father would drive to the local gasworks and fill a trailer with coke (cheaper than getting it delivered, and I'm not certain that it was possible to get it from the coal-merchants anyway).
It was then my mother's job to carry hods of coke from the fuel store down the garden and pour them into the boiler, then remove the ash and put it into the (metal) dustbin.
As the garden was on a slope it wasn't unusual for her to fall on the concrete pathway when it was icy and at least once she broke her ankle!
It came to a head when the gasworks closed down and coke was no longer available, so they had a gas-fired boiler installed, but it never really coped with supplying hot water to the 2" diameter metal pipes that fed the cast-iron radiators.
They might have been very efficient (they acted as storage heaters) but the gas boiler wasn't powerful enough.
Both parents are long dead now (18 years), but I wonder how the current occupants of the house manage.

24th Jul 2011, 23:33
It was then my mother's job to carry hods of coke from the fuel store down the garden and pour them into the boiler, then remove the ash and put it into the (metal) dustbin.
As the garden was on a slope it wasn't unusual for her to fall on the concrete pathway when it was icy and at least once she broke her ankle!

Certain lack of lateral thinking here. If she had put the ashes on the icy path then she wouldn't have slipped.

Reminds me of the story of the young curate who presided at his first cremation. Icy day. Shaking hands and condolencing outside the crem. Inevitable prat fall. As he staggered to his feet, with horror he heard himself say,
"Someone should scatter some ashes there."

25th Jul 2011, 09:47
(cheaper than getting it delivered, and I'm not certain that it was possible to get it from the coal-merchants anyway).

Certainly was in Glasgow in the 50s. I can still hear the coalman on his rounds shouting out "coke briquettes! coke briquettes".

Still possible to buy coke on the streets of Glasgow (or anywhere really) but I'm not sure if it burns very well. Quite pricy as well, I should think.

Great loco, Fareastdriver":ok: Were they fired mechanically?

25th Jul 2011, 10:42
They need their heads looked at, every nation should concider energy production as their most strategic,even if you have to rely on coal fired,keep the means of energy production within your own borders,we are heaping future problems and conflict one on top of another for the next generation.
Well we aren't, the feckwits at the top are.

Hear, hear. The feckwits at the top down here are about to introduce a carbon tax which will effectively hamstring the domestic coal industry (power generation) but will not stop the wholesale exporting of the stuff to the rest of the world (never understood how it was cheaper for the UK to import coal from Australia when they're sitting on hundreds of years supply). However, the leader of our Green Party :yuk: has publicly stated that he wants to close down the coal industry.

did not allow the fireman (an artist in his way) to shape the fire adequately. "Like acorns to a pig" was one of the more polite descriptions... a lot of it got sucked against the tube plate and killed the draught.

Having spent a bit of time on the footplate of Sir Nigel Gresley I've got some wonderful video of the fireman plying his trade. The trick was to get the coal in the corners and immediately behind the firehole. Then, when the loco was pulling all the burning coal literally flew towards the tubeplates and arranged itself in a nice even flat bed of fire. Wonderful to watch.


Sir George Cayley
26th Jul 2011, 17:10
Mark Williams told me an interesting fact about coal. Apparently as there's none left in the UK all heritage steam lines import it from Russia. He had a straight face at the time so I believed him.


26th Jul 2011, 17:20
There are small amounts mined in South Wales still, but not enough for the steam railways that we have.

There won't be any firing of Sir Nigel Gresley until the welding in of a new piece of copper into the firebox is done....

27th Jul 2011, 01:17
I used to work in a steel factory that had a "gas plant" providing fuel for some of the furnaces: it was basically coke production taken past the coke stage, till only clinker was left. The resulting gas was mostly carbon monoxide (CO), which is highly lethal to humans, so there were CO sensors all over the place. So I think I'm glad we don't see much "town gas" any more ... :\

27th Jul 2011, 09:25
Mr Draper, sir, you might look out in your local bibliotheques for a fascinating history of the Tanfield Railway – not the modern restoration project but the original working line – which ran up through Gateshead to the mining area around Tanfield Lea. The railway had some flat sections interspersed with very steep gradients which were rope-worked. i.e. the descending (full) wagons would pull up the empties. Steam locos were used on the flat bits. The coal being mined was no good for fuelling them though, so every weekend they would go down into Gateshead to bring back a wagon or two of steam coal. These trips involved the steepest locomotive-worked climb on the entire British railway network.

Here they are going up Lobley incline which I believe was 1 in 9, there was a steeper incline at Fugar which I think was 1 in 7. Doesn't look so steep until you notice the houses in the background.


tony draper
27th Jul 2011, 09:51
Yer the incline was still working in the late sixties,I was working beside it one day when a kiddy pinching a ride on it had his foot cut off.:uhoh:

27th Jul 2011, 10:10
When I was a kid in the 1950's my brothers and I had a home made 'Go-Cart',self propelled of course,and it was our job to take it the local gas works with a large box fitted and get it filled with coke,I think it cost 6p a load and was a round trip of about 2 miles,that was our Saturday morning job.We had a free standing heating boiler in the kitchen just for water,there were no radiators.
British coal is still available,Daw Mill near Coventry comes to mind,but a lot of steam railways/locos do use Russian/Polish coal.Price and calorific value might have something to do with that.

27th Jul 2011, 10:15
Great picture SSK. However I dont think that depicts the 1:7 or 1:9 incline, which surely would be impossible for normal locomotive operation, but more likely a point elsewhere on the line (which was around 1:40, still very steep in railway terms).

As I understand it, the inclines on the railway were operated by stationary engines which hauled the wagons up by cable.

27th Jul 2011, 10:23
Tankertrashnav: that's the point - yes they were rope-worked, except for this weekly trip downtown to collect steam coal.

EDIT: I've found a reference to them and I was exaggerating a bit, the Lobley Hill incline in the picture was 1 in 16 and the Fugar or Baker's Bank incline was 1 in 11 - and well over a mile long.

FURTHER EDIT: Some of the inclines on the line were worked by stationary engine, but the two big ones were gravity-powered. I believe the hitching and unhitching the wagons, and riding the trains up and down the hills as brakeman, was a rather hazardius occupation, as per Tony's post. Butthen again, so was digging out the coal.

tony draper
27th Jul 2011, 10:25
yer, I never saw a locomotive on the section that was still operating in the sixties it was pulled by rope.

27th Jul 2011, 11:04
Hang on – here’s chapter and verse:
‘The bottom photograph is especially interesting since it shows two N10 tank engines pushing two wagons of steam coal up Lobley Hill bank for the depot at Bowes Bridge. This was a special train run on Saturdays and the ascent of Bakers Bank incline was the steepest gradient (1:11) worked by locos on British Rail’.

From The Tanfield Railway, published by Gateshead M.B.C.

tony draper
27th Jul 2011, 11:24
Not sure Mr SSK but that looks more like the Leam Lane section rather than Loberly Hill,it ran North from the top of Wreckenton down through Leam Lane past Heworth colliery and on to the river.

27th Jul 2011, 16:14
In my other existence I'm a driver on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway - Gloucestershire's mainline heritage railway 'The Honeybourne Line' (http://www.gwsr.com)).

Coke is a less efficient fuel than coal as it has had all of the volatiles extracted but this means that combustion takes place just in the coal bed and not in the gasses above it. The short distace from the firebed to the tubes in the locos without a brick arch meant that, using coal, you'd burn the tubes. The brick arch lengthens the distance from the firebed to the tubeplate and so allows the volatiles to be burnt. The brick arch also acts as a 'storage radiator' and evens out the firebox temperature. Air comes from 2 sources, primary air through the dampers under the firebed and secondary air through the firehole (even when the doors are closed there are air passages in the doors). The firehole doors are used to regulate the secondary air to achieve a balance between letting in too much cold air and so creating thermal stresses and not enough causing incomplete combustion and black smoke.

Steam coal is still available from 3 mines in the UK (Wales, Scotland and the Midlands). Welsh steam coal is low on volatiles and burns hot. We tried it recently and melted a bunch of firebars; Midlands coal seems to be of variable quality so we avoid it; we used Scottish for a long while but it was very smokey and, again, started to get variable. Polish is available and is low smoke and very hot (more melted firebars). Russian seems a good compromise: high volatiles so a fairly quick response when you shovel some in; not too smokey; very little clinker (molten pyrites sticking to the firebars).

Locos were designed for their local coal and so GWR locos have less provision for secondary air but, at Heritage Railway speeds (25mph by law) it's not a big issue.

Tenders carry much more water than coal - 20 tonnes or more water, 7 or 8 tonnes of coal. We get through 10 tonnes of water and 2 tonnes of coal in a typical 70 mile day on a large loco.

Come and have a go! See the web site for details of fire & drive courses.

27th Jul 2011, 19:31

When Nunney Castle was relocating to Bristol the other Saturday, and couldn't go via Yate because of bridge clearance, (so much for Notwork Rail!) it came round by Gloucester and Swindon. Fitted in just before a service trains over the 15 miles of single track between Kemble and Swindon, it was doing a LOT more than 25 mph at milepost 83! Rather more than 70, I would judge, by the time it came under the roadbridge and then reached the occupation crossing. Only the one coach load.....I suspect they were told to get a move on to clear the section...and they did!

A grand sight. I hope the photos come out well (proper 35mm film, not this electronic rubbish!)

27th Jul 2011, 19:46
75 mph is Nunney Castle's max.speed on the the national network.25 mph is the max speed allowed on the preserved lines.The maximum speed allowed on Network Rails patch is decided by the diameter of the driving wheels.Differing diameters for different speed,75 mph being the maximum,I can't remember the precise details but I'm sure someone will know,6024 is also a 75 mph loco with 6' 6 1/2" drivers,5029 has 6' 9 1/2" drivers.

27th Jul 2011, 22:12
Whilst nothing matches a steam loco at speed - and boy are we spoilt up here - Scarborough Flyer with Tangmere on Friday past the Buffet Bar - Cumbrian Mountain Express on Saturday only five miles away - Scarborough Spas etc, during the summer; I learnt my trade at Astley Green Colliery on Austerity 0-6-0 saddle tanks - especially "my" loco, Harry which is currently under restoration in Wigan after thirty years in a scrapyard.

Harry is a proper austerity - hand fired, proper chimney, and worked - really worked for its living.

In 1969 / 70 however the colliery was on its last legs and a situation arose where coal stopped being brought up before 8 a.m. on Saturday mornings, but the engine crews were paid until lunchtime. We were unofficially allowed free rein with the eight mile railway system and the four locos.

Great pride was taken in smartening them up, and doing what we could to make them fit for purpose - espcially as regards the fire and boiler conditions when work was called for.

I will always remember my first go on the regulator when we coupled up to thirty empties and the driver slid out of his seat to watch me make a fool of myself - especially over the 1 in 19 over the Bridgewater Canal.

I didn't - gentling Harry up to about 30mph I let the loco have it at the foot of the climb and waited for the inevitable "slip" It never happened and we breasted the top at around walking pace to the driver's typical off hand comment - "Little Bugger's Done it"

Can you see H & S tolerating that now??? Thank God we lived when we did!

29th Jul 2011, 17:00
I was told that because of braking power, when running light engine or engine and support coach, the mainline speed was limited to 60mph.

30th Jul 2011, 09:55
That is correct. There is a table that shows the incremental speed reduction required for a loco hauled train of five coaches and less. I know when the Gatwick Expresses were loco worked if it was a five coach set (it was normally eight) the maximum speed was reduced to 80 from 90.

tony draper
30th Jul 2011, 10:51
One is forced to admit one of the few things the Cousins did better than us was the Engine Whistles,a glorious sound.:rolleyes:

30th Jul 2011, 11:45
Except for the A4 'Streaks', Mr. D. They had chime whistles as well (also Tornado but that's one someone nicked off a streak).

Beautiful sound that..

tony draper
30th Jul 2011, 12:16
Sir Nigel giving voice.:ok:

30th Jul 2011, 13:22
A4s are fine, but the Great Western whistle as used on a Castle is more melodius that the US whistles.

30th Jul 2011, 14:01
Just a quick word re the lack of coal, and having to import
the stuff from Poland/Russia.
The truth is that this lovely little island of ours is floating on
the stuff.
There are estimated coal reserves in Britain of 400 years supply
of the stuff beneath our feet.
The only thing that we do lack is the will to go and dig the stuff out
and pay a fair wage to the blokes that are willing to go and dig it out.
It's cheaper to employ Polish and Russian cheap labour. At present.

The situation will change when the Natural gas begins to run out, and
the local Gasworks will need to be reborn.

EXO FUMO DARE LUCEM. As it said outside the gasworks in Luton.

30th Jul 2011, 15:19
Thanks Mr. D. Didn't know from where or how to post the noise.

And sorry, Radeng, the Castles (and, for that matter, the Kings) may be more melodius........ But. It's like the way the Continentals play tunes on their church bells while we play mathematically perfect patterns. Tootling your hooter is all very well but that soulful sound echoing across the prairies (whether they be of Kansas, Canada or North Nottinghamshire) is the sound that grabs your soul.

tony draper
30th Jul 2011, 15:58
Loads of these clips on youtube Mr D.:)
Here be a Castle for you,

30th Jul 2011, 16:03
Whilst a terrific railway which produced some magnificent workhorses the best that the LMS could come up with was like some down-at-heel factory hooter.


30th Jul 2011, 16:09
Nice to see the old LMS livery again.
Can still remember them on the line at the end of our garden.
A dismal hooter though compared to the American ones.

west lakes
30th Jul 2011, 16:09
The truth is that this lovely little island of ours is floating on
the stuff.

I look out over farm land where it is known there are a few million tons under it!

30th Jul 2011, 16:52
Notice how the new-old steam engine chugging sounds are different

New fangled steam engines I guess

Well at least the whistle sounds the same

‪CVRR.m2t‬‏ - YouTube

30th Jul 2011, 17:02
:OThere are currently 3 mainline locos in steam at Bristol Barton Hill depot.
6024 King Edward 1
60163 Tornado
34067 Tangmere
Happy days.

30th Jul 2011, 20:17
Great loco, Fareastdriver" Were they fired mechanically?

Tankertrash Nav.

They were fired conventionaly though some had a screwfeed system but they required ground coal and were unpopular. The firman had steel curtains for the firebox operated by a pedal on the floor. Press the pedal as the shovelful of coal was going in and release it when the shovel came out.

Two Africans rode on the back of the tender and their job was to keep pushing the coal forward for the fireman. On the way back it was dark and when my attempts to synchonise the shutters with the shovel failed I could see two sets of teeth laughing in the black sky behind me.

31st Jul 2011, 00:14
Thanks for that info - my only attempt to fire a steam locomotive was on an A3 at night. I was a pretty fit teenager then, but I rapidly tired and realised just what a physically demanding job being a fireman was.

Drapes, agreed about American whistles. A4s excepted they were miles better than ours. Same went for their early diesels and their trucks too.

31st Jul 2011, 00:21
As an 18 year old I spent my last school Summer holiday working on the Ffestiniog. I stayed with Bill Hoole and his wife in a cottage just next to the ‘works’ at the end of the cob. First few weeks were spent firing Prince, (Oldest steam engine in regular service,) and Bill tried to teach me how to keep a fire hot and how to place the coal.

The second month we were on the double Fairlie. The footplates, one on each side, were about ten inches wide and maybe 3’ 6” long with the firebox between. The fireman’s side had two fire doors, one for each end, and on the outside a gap of about 18” in the side. The technique was to wedge oneself against the corner of the rail, pull the coal from the bunker and then swing the handle of the shovel outside the loco to line it up with the fire door. Some places on the line one was doing this on a dry slate embankment maybe thirty or forty feet up on the side of a very steep hill. Actually that was a site less dangerous than forgetting for a moment and putting hands or any other body part outside the engine while scraping down the side of a rock cutting. I don’t think my parents had really thought the job through and for sure we’d never even heard of ‘elf and safety.’

The real difficulty was that Bill couldn’t monitor the fire from his side and very occasionally with a heavy train we’d get short of steam.

We also had a small tank, Blanche, borrowed from another line which we sometimes used to double head heavy trains with Prince. One day working Prince behind Blanche up one of those embankments Bill suddenly close the regulator and put on the brakes. Blanche was about ¾” inch out of gauge and she had derailed once again. I thought this would be an enormous bru-ha but with a king size bottle jack and a couple of huge crow bars the two drivers had Blanche back on the track in about twenty minutes. I’d guess today we’d have to have an experts’ inquiry, suspended service, mandatory counselling for passengers and six months in a psych ward for the crew. Times have changed.

31st Jul 2011, 19:04
Many years ago, I had an afternoon with a complete set of books on how to run a railroad. They were published in 1910 or so by the Pennsylvania Railroad. The one I chanced on was the Fireman Apprentice's Training Manual. You had to know an awful lot just to shovel coal into one of those things. Book had a lot of math up to and including a few differential equations, some metallurgy, some classical thermodynamics and a lot of practical advice. There was, for instance, a form to be nailed to a fencepost adjacent to one you'd stolen to block the valve on a damaged side. This enabled the farmer to claim the value of a fence post!

After an excellent landing etc...

tony draper
31st Jul 2011, 19:56
I think in the UK the way the railways promotion ladder worked you had to be a Fireman before you became a Driver,in fact I think even the Drivers started out at the very bottom cleaning out the firebox and such.

31st Jul 2011, 20:11
Bill Hoole - Engineman extraordinary.


Captured by Bishop Eric Treacy awaiting departure from Retford with 60034 'Lord Faringdon'.

Lon More
31st Jul 2011, 20:54
Biggar still has its gasworks

Probably have the coal delivered in Albions (http://www.albion-trust.org.uk/) since the railway closed.

I think in the UK the way the railways promotion ladder worked you had to be a Fireman before you became a Driver,in fact I think even the Drivers started out at the very bottom cleaning out the firebox and such
That's correct. They also had to change unions IIRC as they progressed p the ladder.

Requiem for Steam - Dave Goulder

31st Jul 2011, 21:28
On leaving school a chap could join a Motive Power Depot (MPD) as a cleaner aged about 15/16. His duties would be just that, cleaning the locomotives, emptying the smokebox, mashing the tea, fetching and carrying. After a few years the chap could be allowed to fire under the supervision of a passed fireman with experience. When he was considered trained and had taken the rules exam and road knowledge tests for his depots routes he would be classed as a 'passed cleaner' and could be rostered to fire a loco but was still essentially a cleaner.

Promotion to Fireman came in time. When the chap was a fireman he could attend Mutual Improvement Classes where he was taught the intricacies of driving a loco, and making the most of the steam that he provided to the driver, by senior drivers. This was unpaid but very popular with both the firemen and the drivers. After another few years he would be considered competent enough to be classed as a 'passed fireman'. Still a fireman but able to be rostered to drive a turn of duty if needed.

Promotion to driver was then based on seniority. It was not unusual for it to take upwards of 20 years to get into the drivers seat. Thats a lot of experience.

Cleaners were usually, I believe, members of the NUR and transferred when firemen to ASLE&F. Today many drivers are members of ASLE&F, RMT, ATCU and others.

galaxy flyer
31st Jul 2011, 22:12

On another thread, there was mention of how much coal a fireman was required to shovel, regulation, I suppose. In any case, it did seem like an awesome amount of work.


31st Jul 2011, 22:31
No regulation, only the requirement to deliver enough steam to the driver for him to be able to do his job. Perhaps one of the hardest I know of was a freight job from Saltley in Birmingham to Carlisle over the Settle and Carlisle route. It was a lodging job where the driver and fireman stayed in company lodgings for about 12 hours before doing the back working. Usually an 8F or 9F loco it would have about 800 tons behind it.

The long drag up to Dent and over the top would have totally knackered him. So much so that the driver often took control of the shovel to give the man a break (the fireman then had to drive it). The non-stop Flying Scotsman had a tender that carried 9 tons of coal, given that 1 ton was reserve, then one fireman would shovel 4 tons of coal in about 3 hours, crews changed just north of York through a poky corridor in the tender. That was done on a road that was a billiard table compared to the S&C or the WCML.

31st Jul 2011, 22:51
I believe the BR limits were 1 ton per hour... in theory!

On the Durango and Silverton in the US, the fireman shifts around 4-1/2 US tons in about 3 hours as the train climbs about 3000 feet. He was a fairly slim chap - not surprising!

The Durango and Silverton is very highly recommended by Mr and Mrs radeng.

31st Jul 2011, 22:58
Not only getting a ton an hour into the firebox the chap had to deal with the water. The boiler when full and happy will produce steam, a boiler that is nearly empty will still give steam but a large injection of water will take time to get steam up again. Bit of a balancing act, keeping the kettle boiling while providing the means to boil it.

Windy Militant
31st Jul 2011, 23:07
And of course avoiding the ultimate embarrassment of dropping the Plugs! ;)

tony draper
31st Jul 2011, 23:12
Concidering he also has to fry the bacon and eggs on his shovel that is no small task.

31st Jul 2011, 23:21
Bishop Eric Treacy.
Along with Winston Link, the 2 finest railway photographers ever?
Garnish with Terence Cuneo's paintings, (and the occasional mouse). :ok:

Lon More
31st Jul 2011, 23:45
The O Winston Link Collection (http://linkmuseum.pastperfect-online.com/) is available on line

His work was also featured in Trains magazine which also carried many articles by David Morgan, brother of Len (http://forums.jetcareers.com/general-topics/17254-len-morgan-obituary.html)

1st Aug 2011, 02:57
David Shepard, of elephant fame, also painted some cracking pictures of locomotives.

Krystal n chips
1st Aug 2011, 03:53
Lon...nice clip....:ok:

On the subject of firemen, the recent BBC series ( which I am sure was commented on here ) had a very poignant interview with an ex fireman...he was made redundant along with many others with the introduction of diesel and commented that "he thought he was a skilled man..until he tried to find work again ".....the sad irony is that they were very skilled indeed... in the work they did....and note the word work here.

Once knew a chap in the RAF who started his working life as a fireman / 2nd man...on Southern Region electrics...so rather limited in some respects...cough !...said he spent most of his time sitting in a cab eating toast / drinking tea in the sidings..hence the change of occupation.

The best fireman clip I have ever seen though was Clarkson sweating like a pig ( apologies to pigs for the analogy here ) .....mind you, I also enjoyed watching him throw up in various flying scenes.....:ok: :E

1st Aug 2011, 04:35
The non-stop Flying Scotsman had a tender that carried 9 tons of coal, given that 1 ton was reserve, then one fireman would shovel 4 tons of coal in about 3 hours, crews changed just north of York through a poky corridor in the tender

The said 'poky corridor' in an LNER corridor tender (this one belongs to A4 Sir Nigel Gresley)


1st Aug 2011, 11:51
In the USA, any firebox over 50 square feet had, by law, to be mechanically fired. The downside of mechanical stokers is that a lot of the coal became more or less dust and didn't get burned - which is why so many pics of US steam trains have a lot of black smoke. When the GWR sent King George V over to the US in 1927 for the 'Centenary fair of the Iron Horse' on the Baltimore and Ohio, it was widely remarked about how little smoke it produced in comparison to US locos.

There were three 9Fs with mechanical stokers which were often used on the Saltley to Carlisle freight over the Midland route.

Lon More
1st Aug 2011, 12:07
A lot of Muriccan steam locos were oil-fired. Must have been a bugga to shovel.

SP cab forward

Long walk from the tender to the firebox on this with a bucket.

1st Aug 2011, 12:07
HOW did mechanical SIOKERS Manage to get the coal into
the corners of the fireboxes?
That's always puzzled me. It was important to have the fire
even in all parts of the firebox, so I was told.

Lon More
1st Aug 2011, 12:15
HOW did mechanical SIOKERS Manage to get the coal into
the corners of the fireboxes?The screw conveyor (driven by an auxiliary steam engine) feeds the coal into the firebox. The coal is then distributed across the grate by steam jets, controlled by the fireman

tony draper
1st Aug 2011, 12:27
Watched a few clips of that Union Pacific Big Boy Locomotive on youtube yesterday, oh boy now that was a monster.

1st Aug 2011, 12:36
The original Original Honky Tonk Night Train Blues

(Words and music by Pete Atkin)

I'm the original honky tonk train
I'm the one that you see when you're watching a western
That's me chugging by
Of the ones that you see in the films I'm the best 'un
I'll tell you why
'Cause no other loco can ever compare
With the places I've been 'cause I've been everywhere
And I never once stopped for a moment of restin'

And if my fire's burning properly the hot air oughta
Rise and go along a lot of tubes
That are surrounded by water in the boiler till eventually it moves
On down the engine's aorta out to the funnel where the cloud of smoke exudes

And now the hot air in the tubes has made the water in the boiler turn to steam
-- hot hot hot
The steam also rises and collects inside that large symbolic dome at the top
top top
But if you think that now the steam is just as hot as it is gonna get you're wrong
'cause it's not not not

Because this is where the driver opens up the regulator valve handle --
The steam becomes alive again and goes back through the boiler or can
Which I call it only 'cause I've a shortage of rhymes ending in -an

So having been through the superheater tubes the steam is hotter than ever
it was before the heat is more you may be sure the steam now
Passes on into the piston cylinder and pushes the piston for-
Wards and backwards by means of valves which reciprocate in alternation
According to simple mechanical law

The piston then pushes connecting rods fixed to the wheels
That are set on the rails
But that's not the end of the story 'cause then all that steam
As you will have seen
Is blown out as exhaust through the funnel whence it can expire
Thereby increasing the draught of the fire

So now apart from some rather superfluous detail which doubtless will seem to you
obvious, hardly worth saying
The story's over in its basic essentials -- the rest is merely overlaying
What you can see for yourself quite easily although I would just like to mention the
thing on the front that always comes in handy when you want to catch cows

1st Aug 2011, 12:48
When I lived in Doncaster in 1970 my next door neighbour was a railwayman who had known Bill Hoole well. As a Yorkshireman he thoroughly disapproved of Hoole, as he had committed the cardinal sin of being famous, which my neighbour regarded as "showing off". I rather suspect there was more than a touch of jealously though.

Lon More
1st Aug 2011, 13:28
Just posted a steam photo on trabb, post 9556, very O Winston.

1st Aug 2011, 14:09
It's pity that there isn't a preserved working cab forward. I've seen the one in the Sacramento museum - which is a VERY unimpressive railway museum.

1st Aug 2011, 15:47
Now that just proves there's no accounting for taste!

I very much like the Sacramento museum with its animated tableaux and railroad noises. Mind you - any museum where the curator comes to work in a 1959 Caddy can't be all bad!

The last time I was there in 1999 was Railfest - 844, 3751, 3985 and 4449 all in steam - Magic!

1st Aug 2011, 15:55
The Yanks don't seem to have the same feeling for old steam engines.
But there again, they didn't invent them did they?

tony draper
1st Aug 2011, 16:41
Not so Mr Norm,tiz my observation that the Cousins seem to have more respect for their historical kit than we do, especially military stuff,they are not so quick with the scrap yard and gas axe as we.
The limp wristed arty farty buggas that hand out cash here are more keen on aquiring or retaining squares of canvas with the demented daubs of some absinth swigging continental neurotic upon them than our own history.

1st Aug 2011, 17:04
You're not a fan of Modern Art then Cap'n Drapes?
I'm surprised.

I think, with regard to Military Equipment, the Cousins DO excel
our efforts, but I have this "Quaint" idea that Britain, the Birthplace
of steam railways has probably more preserved stuff, per capita, than
they do. But, there again.....

Wonderful photo RT, Thanks.

tony draper
1st Aug 2011, 17:10
Here be one of them critters at work Mr Thunder,(behind the Draper family out shopping):)

1st Aug 2011, 17:12
Is that YOU in the boater Cap'n Drapes?

1st Aug 2011, 17:18
I've been to the California State museum in Sacramento, and I didn't like it - too much aimed at the kiddie winkies in my opinion. The San Diego County museum is more a preserved line as we have over here. The Pennsylvania Railroad museum is much better - a bit on the lines of York, plus some. The best one is, I think, the Baltimore and Ohio museum in Baltimore, while very specialised but good, is the Durango museum of the Durango and Silverton. An interesting collection is at the NHRA South Eastern chapter at Duluth, Ga.

One I keep meaning to visit is the French museum at Mulhouse. Didn't see any railway museums as such in Oz, although the Power House museum in Sydney has the first loco in NSW in it. Interestingly, it has exhaust cocks....

tony draper
1st Aug 2011, 17:20
Coud be could be,I think it is time straw boaters made a comeback.:)
Here's a mystey one for you,well ahead of its time it were.

1st Aug 2011, 18:19
What purpose the pipes on the roof of RT's picture?

Being a mere tram it's unlikely to have been shifting freight (even though the upper deck of the trailer looks like a workmans' hut).

Edited to add:-
Kitson-Tramlok with elaborate exhaust steam condenser tube array on the roof.
Kitson & Co. started to build tram engines in 1878. They used a roof-mounted, air-cooled, condenser of thin copper tubes in which the exhaust steam was condensed. This is rather like the radiator on a modern road vehicle. The air-cooled system eventually became standard for steam tram engines.


1st Aug 2011, 18:38
Didn't see any railway museums as such in Oz,
Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum, Blue Mountains Australia (http://www.infobluemountains.net.au/locodepot/)


1st Aug 2011, 23:45
When I lived in Doncaster in 1970 my next door neighbour was a railwayman who had known Bill Hoole well. As a Yorkshireman he thoroughly disapproved of Hoole, as he had committed the cardinal sin of being famous, which my neighbour regarded as "showing off". I rather suspect there was more than a touch of jealously though.

And Bill originally being a Liverpudlian came from t'wrong side o' t'Pennines.

1st Aug 2011, 23:58
Nice little video that - I was, unfortunately, only in primary school then!

42 years later in Roseville - UP 844 passes by


The following year was my 50th - 25th Anniversary etc - so we went to Vegas - so did UP 3985


I wonder where Walt got the idea for his mountain railroad - Windy Point on the Cumbres and Toltec!


27th May in the Animas Valley


There's lots more that I have uploaded tonight onto my Photobucket page under "45596" album as I don't want to get into bother for using too much bandwidth - but there is plenty more where these came from - but don't you envy Winston Link the "real years"

2nd Aug 2011, 00:12
Mr. D. If you like big American locos, you'd love this one Transportation and Mobility (http://www.thehenryford.org/museum/transportation.aspx). It is enormous :eek:

I've never yet managed to find the time to ride on the Durango and Silverton but we did have a short trip on the Conway Scenic Railroad in New Hampshire, just so we could say we'd been in dome car. There are odd bits of American and Canadian railroad history preserved and parked all over the place. A streamlined diesel power car in Golden, Co; a rotary snowplough in Breckenridge, a Hudson at the station in Jasper. All this more exotic than the Black Five puffing up down the Watercress Line near us. :(

2nd Aug 2011, 00:55
Last steam tram piccie seems to be one of those time-limited ones. Here's a replacement.


2nd Aug 2011, 01:18
The Yanks don't seem to have the same feeling for old steam engines.
But there again, they didn't invent them did they?

Oh Golly! Stormin'; with great respect, some posts ought not to be made: too ill-informed!

Make a trip to "Steamtown, USA", now I think in Illinois.

It used to be in Vermont, some hours' drive south of Montreal. Acres and acres, if not square miles, of track and locomotives, from small ancient to giant not-so-ancient but ancient enough. It is almost forty years since I was there, but I think they had "Big-Boy"available for climbing over. They had miles of operating track, and steam trips open to the public.

Then some years ago I was going to go again, but I learned it had been moved in all its splendour to a new location. I am sure you will find it in Google.

P.S. Yes, it was at Bellows Falls, VT, then moved to Scranton, PA. It has fallen on less happy days of late. See Google.

2nd Aug 2011, 02:07
Didn't see any railway museums as such in Oz,

I think most of it is still in use!:)

2nd Aug 2011, 06:05
I don't count the Zig Zag railway in the Blue Mountains as a museum, but it is impressive.

2nd Aug 2011, 07:17
Didn't see any railway museums as such in Oz,

Halfway reasonable one in Perth (Bassendean)



Lon More
2nd Aug 2011, 07:25
CarryonLuggage it's a pity there's no human in the photo. It really is enormous.
Unfortunately the Ford musem is a big disappointment, everything just seems piled up on top of itsself.
Stateside, there's nothing to really compare with York, the B&O at Roanoke VA (http://www.steamlocomotive.com/bomuseum/) or Steamtown (http://www.nps.gov/stea/planyourvisit/directions.htm) at Scranton PA, as mentioned by Davaar, come closest.

2nd Aug 2011, 09:15
No offers yet on your picture Drapes. Looks like an early attempt at an 0-8-8-0 Mallet arrangement, although most sources date the intodution of Mallets to around 1900, this is obviously much earlier (pre-1850?). I'm assuming there's another cylinder round the other side driving the left hand set of wheels. That's only two cylinders to drive 16 driving wheels, unless I'm missing something. All in all a mystery, as you say, and I bet it was a one-off.

tony draper
2nd Aug 2011, 09:34
She was the Middlesbrough Millipede, 1837 Mr T,:)
See here
The Middlesbrough Millipede - Gazettelive - Remember When (http://rememberwhen.gazettelive.co.uk/2010/04/the-middlesbrough-millipede.html)
Oh Dear! just noticed the date on the above article, 1st April,perhaps the reason nobody has ever heard of the Millipede.:\

2nd Aug 2011, 09:42
Talking about Oz. Did not Rockhampton have the largest circular engine shed in the world at one time. I remember dodging the trains going down the main street in 1968. I saw them being used as a storage area or suchlike on Google Earth a couple of years ago but the latest picture is dark and indistinct so I cannot find them.

2nd Aug 2011, 09:57
One area of steam preservation where we do do better than the US is the amount of main line running. My understanding is that in the US it is limited by the track occupancy, with so much freight travelling. I heard that also is why Amtrak are limited in increasing the number of their trains.

Here it's the other way round.....But we took alternative routes for freight away. An example used to be the slower freights from Manchester way to Birmingham would be routed via Nantwich, Audlem, Market Drayton and Wolverhampton. This didn't block the two tracks south from Crewe.

2nd Aug 2011, 10:05
Oh Dear! just noticed the date on the above article, 1st April

A special thanks to first year history student Lola Ripof for providing the research material for this feature.

As soon as I saw it I immediately thought "photoshop" ! 'Tweren't ain't like anything I ever saw in the books and magazines that I've spent all my earnings on.

2nd Aug 2011, 10:06
Cor, imagine one of those Big Boys on the S & D climbing from Radstock up on to the Mendips.

Bet that would rattle a few windows in Midsomer Norton and Chilcompton!

2nd Aug 2011, 11:13
In the last hour 5 wide-bodies have taken off from 08L which is a mile from me. Good thing I'm still awake at 0314.

2nd Aug 2011, 12:38
Lot of years ago when I spent some time there I visited the Transport Museum in St. Louis several times. Superb collection but it was slowly rusting away as there wasn't enough cash to pay for restoration and not enough volunteers (volunteering to run railways - as opposed to mines or quarries - seems to be more a British thing, see also 'General Strike'). They had a Big Boy there. The size was suitably impressive but the rust holes in the boiler and cylinder cladding weren't - hope it got cleaned up later. There was another engine as well, similar configuration I think and nearly as big, but I forget the type (and I think that was steamable).

tony draper
2nd Aug 2011, 13:33
Would those Big Boys fit through our tunnels bridges and such? they seem a lot taller than our machines.
Or indeed go round our bends.

2nd Aug 2011, 14:16
Wouldn't worry about the tunnels and bridges too much.
The monstrosities would knacker the tracks way before
they got anywhere else.

tony draper
2nd Aug 2011, 14:22
I dunno,they still use them wooden trestle bridges across in the Colonies dont they?:uhoh::rolleyes:

2nd Aug 2011, 14:33
Yer, that's true. But I never saw anything bigger than one of
those little wood burning engines, that were forever being held
up and robbed by the Baddies on a Saturday morning, crossing
They couldn't even outrun a 'Oss them things!!!

2nd Aug 2011, 15:18
And they're still at it! Must be all those trillions of debt that the cousins have racked up




2nd Aug 2011, 15:36
Grand Canyon Railway I presume - corny in the extreme, but it brings in the tourists - and the dollars

Next to the Big Boys the Challengers were the second biggest - 4-6-6-4s

Like 3985 climbing Sherman Hill in 1993 - pretending to be 3967 - good holiday that was!


I didn't do the trip to Barrow Hill - perhaps with my liking for things LNER, I should have - but night shoots are quite regular on the East Lancs - I quite like night-time photography, when it works

90733 on freight at Bolton St


Electricity is made by steam - does it count??? - a favourite of mine which hopefully will be possible again next year - Th' moon and 717 at Fleetwood on the last Friday of service 2009


2nd Aug 2011, 15:40
Grand Canyon Railway I presume - corny in the extreme, but it brings in the tourists - and the dollars

Correct! Part of the honeymoon in '07. And the barstewards took actual cash. Never did get to find out what it was in aid of.

2nd Aug 2011, 15:42
My Great G'Dad used to drive a Blackpool tram.
I heard he got the sack for having his tea-can full
of beer.
Dunno what the problem was, it would be difficult to
take the wrong route driving one of those things.

A put-up job I reckon.

2nd Aug 2011, 16:19
One thing I've never really understood about steam engines is the numbers used such as 4-6-6-4, is this to do with the wheel arrangement or am I missing something obvious?

2nd Aug 2011, 16:27
yep - front bogie - two axles - 4 wheels, drivers three axles - 6 wheels, rear bogie no axles - no wheels 4-6-0

Challenger - two sets of drivers on a single loco 4-6-6-4

2nd Aug 2011, 16:32
What about the diesels, bo-bo, co-co and all that?

A guy in my year at school was called Bobo, but that's because he had BO, with some to spare.

2nd Aug 2011, 17:04
On a diesel or electric locomotive Bo-Bo is two driven axles in the front bogie and two on the rear, Co-Co is three on each. Asymmetric configurations such as Bo-Co have been tried in the past, as has A1A-A1A where the middle axle of each set of three is undriven. (Wikipedia has a section with more information on AAR wheel arrangements).

Lon More
2nd Aug 2011, 18:14
Steam, diesel or electric.; I don't care. Come on train!!!!


2nd Aug 2011, 18:31
Re wheel arrangements, even though we started the whole railway thing, the Frogs had to be different and complicate things, so they count axles instead of wheels. Then to complicate matters further they give the driven axles a letter instead of a number, so a 4-6-2 becomes a 2C1. Hope you're following this, there'll be a short test later!

The American Whyte notation formalised the British system, and allocated names to most of the commonly used wheel arrangements, thus a 4-4-2 is an Atlantic, a 4-6-2 a Pacific etc. I always liked Mikado 2-8-2s, mainly because of the G & S operetta of that name. The Americans patriotically renamed them 'MacArthurs' during WW2.

2nd Aug 2011, 18:49
Was the Southern Railway already owned by the French before selling off national assets became a government pastime?? Is that why Mr Bulleid adopted that weird numbering system for his spam cans?

2nd Aug 2011, 21:37
Some eye candy

an attaboy if you can identify the city or rail line the engine are on.



tony draper
2nd Aug 2011, 21:44
That looks like that big castle thingy on the cliffs in Quebec,sailed past it a few times.

2nd Aug 2011, 22:14
That looks like that big castle thingy on the cliffs in Quebec,sailed past it a few times.

Probably, both are Dutch. Hmmm I wonder if they were built at the same time.

Time for giggles

add: Both The Chateau and this building were built within 20 years of each other (turn of the last century) and both housed Rail Road offices at first.

I was imprisoned for a summer in the tower of the building in my picture

tony draper
2nd Aug 2011, 22:20
Nah the thingy in Quebec is a Castle,a French one I think,it has no battlements like on a proper castle,well there wouldn't be much point in battlements on a French Castle would there.

2nd Aug 2011, 22:37
Au contraire, mon brave.

‪French Taunting - Monty Python and the Holy Grail‬‏ - YouTube

3rd Aug 2011, 00:56
Hey Lomo - here's the second loco - yes it is the same one - because 6229 was masquerading as 6220 Coronation on her American tour.

She is now preserved in the National Railway Museum, York


The photo was probably in Chicago

The other question - need to do some research on that

3rd Aug 2011, 01:20
I posted two pics of English touring Locos here in the states.

The second picture is posed with coaches on the New Haven track next to the freight building in Hartford Connecticut (a trifle obscure I'll admit)

The first picture in in a different city but with an elegant gothic building in the background (Offices of a Major RR at the time). The light colored smaller buiding adjacent to the tall towers is the main office for a major river boat company which originally competed with the rail lines of the time for both passengers and freight. That building has a tie in with its dutch heritage and both the name of the river and the railroad.

I'll admit the pics were for eye candy and the rest was just to share a little history as we colonials developed our transportation from canals & rivers to rail and onward:)

My main hobby is Rail Road nostalgia so I have 4000 pics on my hard drive (99% boring to most)

3rd Aug 2011, 07:46
Although origionally a Kiwi, Bulleid spent some time in France at Freinville with Westinghouse. Which was why his French was so good and so he was sent by Gresley with Cock O'the North to the loco testing plant at Vitry.

Lon More
3rd Aug 2011, 08:47
lomapaseo Milwaukee? The CMSt.P or Milwaukee Road

3rd Aug 2011, 14:32
Milwaukee? The CMSt.P or Milwaukee Road


was there a tie in to the name of a river ?

spInY nORmAn
3rd Aug 2011, 17:52
I recently stumbled upon a bit of nostalgia in the form of a piece of British Light music titled "Coronation Scot". My research filled in the blanks about this great looking engine - too bad they don't make 'em look so good anymore! Here's a video with the music and some pictures and artwork that may be of interest:

‪The Coronation Scot‬‏ - YouTube

tony draper
3rd Aug 2011, 18:09
A very familiar tune from my sproghood,most of my generation would recognize it instantly.
Wasn't it used as the intro to some wireless or early TV prog?

3rd Aug 2011, 18:17
Very good. Somewhere I have a 78 rpm record of it. The music was commissioned by the LMS, and it was, of course, the theme music for the 'Paul Temple' series on the radio - some of which we have on cassette.

tony draper
3rd Aug 2011, 18:19
Yer Paul Temple that were it.:ok:

3rd Aug 2011, 18:56
That would be the Delaware and Hudson HQ in Albany with loco no 652 on display outside.

Now it is the New York State University administration building

3rd Aug 2011, 19:15
That would be the Delaware and Hudson HQ in Albany with loco no 652 on display outside.

Now it is the New York State University administration building

Congratulations :ok:


There gothic-style buildings were usually churches, all built around the middle of the 19th Century, and all share the same gothic design. In addition to these churches, many of the government buildings in Albany which were built during this period share a gothic taste. But, love of the gothic style did not end in the 19th Century, in fact perhaps the most prominent, and largest, example of gothic architecture in Albany is the D&H Building. The D&H was built in 1915, and when all four portions of it where connected together, it measure 660 feet long. This massive building was the headquarters of the D&H Railroad, which was a prominent railroad at the time. Currently, the D&H Building is the headquarters for the State University System of New York.

So there you have the river name Hudson for both the river and the rail road

The smaller buiding in the foreground is the offices of the Hudson River Dayline, which carried passengers and freight between Albany NY and New York City. I got to ride that boat once in my life, but my wifes' family were chief engineers on it and pilot throughout the last century in its use.


tony draper
3rd Aug 2011, 19:52
Tanker I was on used to run a cargo up from Curacao to Perth Amboy then we would sneak up the Hudson past West Point and Sing Sing and steal twenty thousand tons of fresh Hudson water then haul it back to Curacao,they didn't have much water to run the refinery in Curacao,they reckoned we got out bunkers in exchange for the fresh water,I remember the beautiful scenery going up that river.

3rd Aug 2011, 22:46
Tanker I was on used to run a cargo up from Curacao to Perth Amboy then we would sneak up the Hudson past West Point and Sing Sing and steal twenty thousand tons of fresh Hudson water then haul it back to Curacao,they didn't have much water to run the refinery in Curacao,they reckoned we got out bunkers in exchange for the fresh water,I remember the beautiful scenery going up that river.

The Hudson River is the thirty-third most polluted river in the United States. Contaminants such as PCB's (Polychlorinated biphenyl's) and DDT are present in the Hudson River. Two GE facilities alone contaminated over 200 miles of the river from Hudson Falls to the New York Harbor. It has been declared as a superfund site. GE was guilty of dumping more than one million pounds of PCB's for 30 years. Some of the fish were said to be deformed and abnormal.

Thanks for leaving off your Zebra mussels :)

tony draper
3rd Aug 2011, 23:00
Twere half a century ago dont think they had that polythingy stuff then,beside dont think it were intended for the Curacaoians to drink.

4th Aug 2011, 05:09
Great weather today. Gathered up the grand kiddies and took a steam train ride to get the smell and cinders in my eye. Rode the open car behind the engine.

‪Essex Deep River Valley RR, CT USA‬‏ - YouTube

4th Aug 2011, 15:05
Lots of live steam in Australia. For those interested check out R707, Steamrail and Newport Rail Museum. Take a look at the Junee Roundhouse, 100 ft diameter turntable. Over 10 years ago worked on R707, cleaning the pipes and general repair work. Good fun.

4th Aug 2011, 16:22
Found this steam site in Oz circa mid 60s.

Photo :: Preparing to Shunt (http://gallery3.qrig.org/members-gallery/Mike-Quirk/Men-at-Work/Lowood-983-shunts)

4th Aug 2011, 21:29
Thanks for posting that vid, myself and some colleagues rode on that line in the early 90s, whilst on a training course at New London. It was the US Fathers Day and we didn't have to pay, even though our kids were back in the UK!

5th Aug 2011, 00:00
Yesterday the Mallard went steaming past whilst I was at work from upline passing through Egham to Sunningdale and thence to who knows where.

5th Aug 2011, 00:43
Well - not exactly Mallard - but one of her sisters - Bittern - currently dressed up as 4492 Dominion of New Zealand

Yesterday was the 43rd Anniversary of the end of mainline steam in Britain - I went out and did the scenic splendour of York, Normanton, Wakefield, Leeds, York, behind 46115 which had been withdrawn three years before the end

Who could possibly have thought back then how fortunate we would be today to have people and businesses so committed to steam that we could overcome all the financial, legal, and technical difficulties in returning steam to the main line and keeping it there

46115 climbs from Wakefield Kirkgate to Wakefield Westgate last night


5th Aug 2011, 07:31

or that when Southern Electric failed due to snow, Tornado would be able to take commuters home.....

tony draper
5th Aug 2011, 07:58
Watched that 'End of Steam' Documentary on the Yesterday Channel tother day one comment was that the upper echelons of British Rail themselves ensured that examples of most of their engines were preserved and saved from the gas axe.

5th Aug 2011, 13:20
We had an obligation to offer historical material to the Science Museum when it was a unified industry.

BRB certainly took the initiative in some instances, in others the NRM specifically requisitioned items or material.

When disaggregation of the industry occurred in 1994 so much of potential interest was lost that, when redundancy threatened, in 2001 I made sure that anything that I had encountered was handed over.

There was a big black shed in York with some interesting material that needed checking - the Delft plate commemmorating the loan of "Tommy" had been appropriated to someone's office from the York HQ Conference Room - I requisitioned it back and it is now on display in the NRM.

Whilst I was embarked on this last ditch exercise the phone rang - "Hello - FM, Stanier House here - we understand you are gathering up historical material before the closedown - we've got a big brass plate in the cleaner's cupboard here. Is it likely to be of interest?"

I asked for a description and back came the details of the nameplate Sir William Stanier FRS off 46257. Railtrack wanted this memento of the "old" railway off their wall and had hidden it from public view! plonkers!

As the NRM had one plate I arranged for this to go to auction and it duly made £56,500 - a record it held for sometime.

Moral - never throw out anything without thinking first!