Friday, 26 October 2012

Flixborough Cab Ride

One catalyst for my interest in the North Lindsey Light Railway was an experience when I was about eleven. The branch from Dragonby/Normanby Park sidings to Flixborough Wharf runs round the site of Normanby Park Steelworks and the wharf itself was originally used for imported ore for the steelworks as well as, I believe, sending finished products out. Now it's more for commercial shipping but still sees steel exported from there which is tripped, even now, by rail.

When my Dad worked in local government he knew the then site manager quite well through work and arranged for a cab ride from Flixborough Wharf to Dragonby Sidings and return. Although the line is now direct, before the Normanby Park site was redeveloped fully there was a kick back where the train had to reverse. This was previously the route into the steelworks itself.

The journey was expectedly slow, bearing in mind that the loco was propelling its rake of wagons for half the journey in both directions - empties were taken from the wharf to Dragonby where they were left and loaded wagons collected and brought back to the wharf ready for loading on to ships for forwarding. The whole process seemed to take the whole morning! The loco was crewed by an ex-BR driver and an ex BR shunter, who enjoyed quite a laid back working experience on the branch.

Perhaps I was a little too young to appreciate the finer points of the whole experience? Certainly it was an area with which I was quite unfamiliar the area, knowing only Barnetby as that was one of the places where my Dad and I would go and watch trains (and what would many of us give to see a parade of 31s, 37s, 47s, 56s and 60s again now?!). However these photos of my Dad's are lovely reminders and the more I've learnt since about the area's railways has almost enhanced my memories. And it's probably why I get excited when I see Class 20s!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Return of the Exiled A4s

For most British railway enthusiasts. ex-London and North Eastern Railway A4s 60008 Dwight D. Eisenhower and 60010 Dominion of Canada are like mythical creatures; we've heard of their existence but only a small number have ever seen them... This, of course, has recently changed with their return to the UK...

Both locomotives have headed to Locomotion at Shildon where they've spent most of October on display - their condition is rather poor, 60010 looks particularly bad and uncared for, where as 60008 is very shiny with US style silver painted rods but isn't perfect either. But this didn't seem to matter as it was almost like seeing into the past. We're all used to the UK based A4s - living where we do we have easy access to York and the North Yorkshire Moors railway so 4468 Mallard and 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley are regular sights. However, despite that familiar shape the two at Shildon were still very much a novelty for all the visitors. Clearly for many men of a certain age who formed a significant population of the visitors, these provided direct links to days spotting on the East Coast Mainline.

Soon Dominion of Canada will be transformed into a single 'chimney'd' machine in LNER garter blue with the full Coronation condition as it was when first built and number eight will receive a new coat of green paint before a year of events to celebrate seventy five years since the 126 mph record.

I think it'll be great to see all the surviving A4s together!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Out and About

I've just finished a week and a half off work - the main aim was to keep both small person (Thomas!) and myself out of Suzi's way while she worked on her uni assignments. This has resulted in me doing over 1,100 miles over the course of a week or so! Given me time to get used to our new car though! We've covered pretty much from the bottom of the M25 while attending Scaleforum to the top bit of Yorkshire! Though admittedly at not Leatherhead with Thomas as that's too far for a small boy, it's bad enough for a group of adults! The really odd thing is that I used to do up to 20,000 miles a year purely for work and that used to include a huge number of motorway miles - now being spoiled with a short journey to work each day I have realised how little I miss motorways! So 450 miles of boring, wide roads was more than enough to visit the Scalefour Society's main show!

We've had a couple of trips to the NRM, a trip to a friend's in the Dales to see his layout and a ride on the NYMR on Sunday as an early birthday outing from Pickering to Goathland with lunch on the station at Goathland! So not a bad few days off! Just back to work to play with 'big trains'!

Class 47 Progress

Just a quick one to show that occasionally I make progress with models - it's almost there! It looks rather rough round the edges (I need to run a little black ink round the edges of the glazing pieces in particular to remove the white edges they have), but only a few small parts to add and finishing weathering the body and it'll be done all being well!