May 1964

In which I continue work as a Management Trainee on British Railways.

Monday 4 May

I continued at Old Oak Common.  This week I am on Diesel Multiple Units (DMU).  I spent this morning at West London and this afternoon at Ranelagh Bridge.  We had to go to Paddington this morning so we thumbed a lift on Brush Sulzer type 4 No. D1699.  This was the first time I have ridden in the cab of a diesel locomotive in this country. I came up to paddington this afternoon in the cab of a DMU.  I also drove a diesel this afternoon.  We had to shunt Western class diesel hydraulic No. D1040 and I was alloed to do it.  It is very simple.  I only had her in the first notch and I didn't knock down the buffer blocks.

I am currently negotiating for a footplate pass.

Tuesday 5 May

I have been working at Reading Diesel Depot trying to learn about Diesel Multiple Units.  It was almost like coming home because quite a lot remembered me from my cleaning days.  Most of the people are very friendly and helpful, far better than the Old Oak Common crowd. 

Wednesday 6 May

An inspector suggested that I go on a diesel to see what they are like on the road. I think it was mainly to get rid of me.  Anyway, I went on Hymek D7061 from Reading Loco light to Didcot and then worked the 13.00 parcels train back to Reading. Before we had reached Pangbourne on the outward trip the driver had handed me the controls and I drove both there and back.  Going light I used the air brake which is very good. Coming back, with three vans, I had to use the vacuum brake which was slightly more difficult although with a clear run up the Relief Line it wasn't too bad.

Friday 8 May

Today I went out again with the same driver and same locomotive, same turn as on Wednesday.  This time I drove it right out of the Diesel Depot.  There was a speed restriction of 20 m.p.h. on the Main Line at Pangbourne.  On the way back we came Up the Main line and I gave her full throttle on starting away.  With only three vans this achieved rather startling results.  We were limited to 50 m.p.h. and I had to shut right down for a bit and then I found I could adjust the throttle to achieve 50 m.p.h. exactly.  We had to slow to cross to the Relief line at Scurs Lane and then had a successin of checks and halts into the station. Brian Ward was working at Reading West Junction Yard and I gave him "On I;kleu Moor Bar T'at" on the two tone horn.  The vacuum brake was a bit tricky to handle.  I started gently but had to increase the application so that I could feel its effect. By this time, however, it was too much and I had to apply the exhauster.  Coming into platform 9 at reading I had her down to a nice 5 m.p.h. The platform staff are very particular where the train stops and so the driver was giving me guidance.  He told me to stop and when I tried to do it gently he told me again, so I made a full emergency application.  I hope the guard was holding on tight!

Saturday 9 May

This morning I went down to see the special train hauled by Castle No. 4075 with two firemen.  It was going pretty fast through Reading even though it went round the curve towards Newbury where there is a 40 m.p.h. speed restriction.

I then went on the 10.28 from Reading to Newbury and caught the three times weekly freight from Newbury to Didcot.  This consisted of 0-6-0 pannier tank engine No. 8720, a van from Hungerford to Reading and a brake van.  We did some shunting at Hermitage where we picked up three empty coal wagons and were then right away for Didcot which we reached two hours early.  I jumped out going round the Didcot North Curve and came back to Reading.  A very enjoyable trip in fine weather.  I rode this line in November 1961 while it was still open to passengers. It is now in danger of being closed completely.

Sunday 10 May

I went to bed early last night so that I could go and see track relaying at Southcote Junction in the early hours of this morning.  It was very interesting and the thing that made the most impression on me was the sickening crunch when one one section of rail swung into place against another.

Monday 11 May

I am now getting into the swing of Coles-Phillips job which I must take over tomorrow.  I am a bit worried as I haven't had much experience and I will be moving in high circles.  Today I went with him and Mr. C.F.E. Harvey (Assistant Divisional Manager) to all the bus stop stations to see what alterations would be necessary.  At Bedwyn a bird was nesting in a letter box, probaby the last time it will be allowed to do so.  This time next year I doubt if there will be a station there.  I feel most sorry for the redundant staff - people like Lionel Gilbert who has spent his whole 45 years of working life at Kintbury. It doesn't help matters the way senior staff treat them like dirt.

Sunday 24 May

On the Sunday Mum, Dad and I went down to Dover for the day.  It was a wonderful day, hot sun all day.  We had a look at the castle - very interesting. Passing Ashford Works I saw ex-SER 01 class 0-6-0 No. 31005 waiting for possible preservation - getting very rusty - it just had an old tarpaulin over it.   I also saw C class No. 31279 and DS 329.  Perhaps the most interesting were two USA 0-6-0 tanks (ex- US Transportation Corps) in the service list.  They were painted green and named "H.S. Wainwright" and "R.E.L. Maunell.  Undoubtedly these will be the last locos in steam in Kent - I doubt if the tanks at Tonbridge will last much longer.

Tuesday 26 May

I have taken over W.F. Coles-Phillips job as Special Assistant to the Divisional Manager.  This means I see a good deal of the Divisional Manager which may stand me in good stead.  I now have a footplate pass for the next eight weeks and wish to make a record of all the trips I make.

1738 Paddington to Reading Hymek No. D7048 Reading Crew
Paddington d. 1738 T
Southall p. 1750 +1

Slough p. 1759  +1
15 mph pws Taplow (lost 6 mins)
Maidenhead p. 1810
Relief line at Ruscombe
Twyford a. 1821  -7

Twyford d. 1822  -7
Reading a 1830  -6
The Hymek rode very well and with 12 coaches we reached 72 mph before Slough.  The pws. cost us all the lost time- smart station work at Twyford.

Wednesday 27 May 
0815 Reading to Paddington (ex 0718 Bedwyn).  Both trips were quite uneventful and we caught up with the 0808 Reading at Slough.  Even so we were 2 minutes early.

Hymek D7078 Worcester crew.
Reading dep. 2000  -4
Oxford arr 2031  +2.
6 minutes effortless gain.  Loco driven at full throttle except for Didcot.
Hymek D7028 Oxford crew.
Oxford d. 2039
Didcot p. 2051

Reading a. 2109  +4
Reading d. 2119  T
Paddington a . 2201  -1
The driver was intent on showing me how good the loco was.  It was driven full throttle and we gained time in handfuls until we were severely checked at West Ealing by a freight train.
Warship No. D854 Newton Abbot crew
2230 (to Plymouth)
This was an easy timing because of the Sleeping Cars.  There is much more room in the cab but exhaust fumes are bad.  I spent a fair amount of time in the engine room - when the loco is opened up there is quite a gale.

Thursday 28 May 
0815 Reading to Paddington (ex 0718 Bedwyn).  Both trips were quite uneventful and we caught up with the 0808 Reading at Slough.  Even so we were 4 minutes early with 1 engine and final drive out.

1545 Paddington to Weston Super Mare, D1035, as far as Reading.
The slack at Taplow has been lifted to be replaced by a similar one at Burnham.  Due in at 1622, we arrived at 1625 but would have been on time had it not been for a freight train at Slough.  The loco rode heavily but not so bad as D854.  We spent a lot of time at 85 mph - we had to shut down to drift through Twyford at 75 mph.  The crew had some contraption which was ventilating the cab.  They wouldn't say what it was but hinted that it was illegal.

Friday 29 May

0815 Reading dep -1 slowed by 0808 Reading,  arrived Paddington 5 late.

Sunday 31 May
D7035 Paddington to Cardiff (as far as Reading).  Time to waste.

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