Oh! Mr. Wheel TapperOttawa Valley Associated Railroaders - OVAR, The Interchange, November 2007.
4-6-0 7816 is the pilot at Reading in 1963. It has a few pretty dirty parcels vans similar to the one that was used on the Worcester to London train.
I was looking at the Will Hay classic black and white movie “Oh! Mr. Porter” the other day. One of his jobs on the railway in this 1937 film was Wheel Tapper. When I was at British Railways, Reading I had a wheel tapper on staff. Wally was a qualified Carriage and Wagon Inspector who had a small hut just off the centre island platform. This was a useful location for me because I could “disappear” when I needed to and there was always a cup of tea available. We used to enjoy a chat in front of his stove when he would extol about the good old days.
Wally was very a very experienced mechanical inspector and he could often be seen walking alongside the trains stopped in the station not only tapping the wheels with his small hammer on a long handle but ensuring that the brake gear was in good order.
happened that the powers that be had decided to remove
one of the guard’s Brake Vans from the trains on the
“It’s got to come off”.
To which I replied:
Wally, it has only got another 35 miles to go to
“You either run it at 15 miles per hour and stop for me to examine it every five miles or it comes off. Your choice.”
just before the evening rush period and 15 mph on a
90 mph line would have caused chaos. At
least it was the last vehicle on the train so we were able to take it
without too much problem. I found a
dirty old baggage car which had a brake compartment in it and we used
instead that much to the annoyance of the
Wally proved his point. For the rest of my