August 1964

In which I continue work as a Management Trainee on British Railways and ride lots of locomotives.

Tuesday 4 August
D859 0945 Paddington Reading a. 1016.  with D867 working back to Swindon.

Friday 7 August
D860 1600 Paddington.  12 coaches for 415 tons
Reading a. 1708 -1
Reading d. 1715  -8
Newbury p. 1735
Bedwyn p. 1747 -5  
Savernake p. 1751 -5
Signals heywood Road Junction
Westbury a. 1814  -4
Engine was driven in notch 7, maximum speed 64 mph

D7042 from Salisbury
Westbury d. 1828  -8 attaching coaches and waiting DMU from Weymouth
Trowbridge a. 1844  -9
Trowbridge d. 1847  -8
Bradford on Avon 1853  -8
Bath Spa a. 1910  -6
Around Trowbridge we ran over a family of pheasants, two parents and four young.  We blew the horn continuously but they just stood and looked at us.

6937 4-6-0 Bath Spa d. 2003 -10
The loco was in excellent condition.  It steamed and rode well.  We stopped at Chippenham and Wooten Bassett.  I drove from Wooten Bassett to Swindon.  We picked up time all the way and were on time in Swindon.

D1020 Swindon 2105 to Reading - about 20 late.

Saturday 8 August
D819 0730 Paddington Royal Duchy
Reading d. 0817  -7
Newbury d. 0842  -6
Taunton a. 1006  +1
Taunton d. 1010  T
Newton Abbott a. 1113 T
D6333 attached in front because the load was 14 coaches
Newton Abbott d. 1120  T
Plymouth a. 1213  -3
Approaching Westbury, with the engine idling, the rear engine cut out twice through hbigh transmission oil temperature.  This was soon rectified and remedied by running downhill on notch 2.  The drier showed signs of acute discomfort being tied down to one place.

I returned to Reading on the Cornish Riviera on D1030.  We left Plymouth seven minutes late, Newton Abbott pass 1323 and arrived Reading (first stop) 4 minutes early.  There were many checks in the first part of the run and we stopped to report an open door on a down train just after Tiverton Junction.  Driver Finch of Laira.

Sunday 9 August
D1604 on 2128 ex Paddington.  Depart on time, relief line from Slough to Twyford, reading a. 2215 T.

Until now all the footplate work desctibed was using a Footplate pass which I wangled out of the London Division Regional Office.  As part of my training,I was allowed a one week regional footplate pass which commenced 10 August.

Monday 10 August
D1599 with Driver Fox of Old Oak Common
Reading d. 0856 -14 engineering work at Maidenhead.
Swindon a. 0930  -4
Swindon d. 0935  -5
Newport a. 1028  T
Really excellent work, picking up 14 minutes yet nowhere exceeding 84 mph.  This was my forst trip over the Badminton Route - very pleasant indeed.  60 mph over Motorway bridge, 50 mph Stoke Gifford, 40 mph Patchway

DMU Hereford driver.
Newport -
Pontypool Road d 1140  -14
Hereford a.  1230  -17
The delay was caused by engine failure to the Red Dragon.

4161 2-6-2T Hereford driver
Hereford d. 1347  -7
Ross p.
Gloucester a 1450  -1
Delay caused by late arrival of engine off previous working.

4161 2-6-2T Hereford driver.
Gloucester d. 1600
Hereford a. 1731  -1
The Hereford - Gloucester single line is due to be closed (in November I believe).  It is very picturesque and very pleasant.  It crosses the River Wye many times and frequently passes into tunnels (very expensive to maintain).  Signalling is by token.  The return trip was with the same engine and crew.  It included a lengthy wait at Ross for a passenger train to pass and another wait (at Hoathly?) for a freight hauled by a Hall 4-6-0 to arrive.  The weather wasn't too good which rather spoilt the view but nevertheless it was a memorable trip.

Hymek D7026 with three coaches.
Hereford d. 1740 T
stopping at most statins to Worcester
Worcester Shrub Hill d. 1856  -1
Stopping at Evesham, Moreton in Marsh, Kingham.
Oxford d. 2008  T
Reading a. 2043 T
Hereford driver (single manned) to Worcester, Worcester crew to Oxford, Oxford crew to Paddington.
The first driver had only passed on the Hymeks the Saturday before and this was his first trip.  He didn't do too badly.  We would have been almost 10 minutes early into Worcester if we had not been held at Worcester Foregate Street for signals.  Although it rained at Hereford it was a very sunny and pleasant evening.  It is wonderful country all the way back.  Memories that stick in the mind are the two single line tunnels before Worcester, Malvern and the dahlia garden on the platform at Kingham.  This was a very tightly timed train which must travel at 85 mph in order to keep time (only three coaches) It was sometimes annoying at having to throttle back at 87 mph in order to avoid the overspeed tripping at 90 mph.

Tuesday 11 August
D1599 Driver Fox Old Oak Common
Reading d. 0844  -2
Swindon a. 0923  +4
Swindon d. 0930 T
Newport a. 1026  +2
Driver Lewis Ebbw Junction. single manned.
We were then stopped at signals and carried out rule 55 (by phone) and the driver was again stopped  (by a red flag) and required to sign the train register.  ATC shoe failure to the train in front.  This caused about 20 minutes delay, arriving Swansea 1215 (stopped at cardiff, Bridgend, Port Talbot and Neath).

I spent a couple of hours looking around swansea.  It seems a pretty good shopping centre - not as bad as I had expected.  This was helped by the good weather.  I came back on D1015 (Desert Sand - ugh!), again with Driver Lewis (to Newport) and Driver Brown (Ebbw Junction)
Swansea High Street d. 1420  T
Neath a. 1433
Neath d. 1435 T
Port Talbot a. 1443
Port Talbot d. 1445  T
Bridgend a. 1500
Bridgend d. 1502  -2
Cardiff a. 1526  T
Cardiff d. 1530  T
Newport a. 1544  -1
Newport d. 1546  -1
Swindon a. 1642  T
Swindon d. 1645  T
Signals stop 8 minutes Swindon Goods - extra delay caused by guard not giving the tip quickly.  Distant on at Challow - looping a parcels train.
Paddington a.  1803  +2

Wednesday 12 August
DMU 0910 Reading to Paddington a. 0951 +4.

Paddington d. 1010 T
High Wycombe d. 1039  -1
Signals Saunderton
Leamington Spa a. 1134  +1
Leamington Spa d. 1137  T
Birmingham Snow Hill a. 1200  +5
I think this was the most memorable run of the week.  The driver was Alf Perfect and Brian Green was his mate.  Alf was the senior driver at Old Oak Common.  He had me in fits of laughter all the time.  He had driven the City of Truro Jubilee Special from London to Plymouth  (with Brian Green and his regular fireman).  They reached 97 mph when the firebars melted and the fire fell out at Lavington.  They then took a very dirty Hall and managed to knowck up 97 mph out of her as well before changing to another Castle at Taunton.  He also drove the Flying Scotsman when it came down this way earlier in the year.  Brian Green did all of the driving and Alf perfect acted as a tour guide.  I think the 97 mph claimed fot the Hall is wrong, it should probably be 87 mph.  They both felt that the work done with the Hall was technically better than the work with the Castle.

From D.J. Everson, Yateley in Steam Days.
In 1964 I was an apprentice at Old Oak Common shed.  One of the jobs undertaken was the preparation of 'Castles' Nos. 4079, 5054 and 7029 for the Ian Allan special of 9 May 1964.

Special care was taken with 4079 including draining all the water out of the tender  to enable it to be cleared of sludge, coal or anything else that might have fallen in.  All the coal in the tender was also replaced with hand-picked coal.  Perhaps the coal was too good because it burnt out the fire grate by Westbury.  Anyway, when the tender was recoupled to the engine on 8 May, and filled with water it sprung leakes round some of the rivets (perhaps the interior was cleaned too well!)  It was decided to swap tenders with withdrawn No. 5070, and this was duly towed round to the factory to have its tender uncoupled.  

The tender was filthy inside and out but the cleaners made a good job of it.  So 4079 had 5070's tender and vice versa, if anyone saw 5070 after this date and wondered why it had a clean tender.  All the hand-picked coal was transferred over.  I have often wondered whether 4079 still has 5070's tender  It was a shame she failed at Westbury after all the hard work dome to get her ready.

The accompanying photograph shows Driver Perfect at Old Oak Common before backing 4079 down to Paddington.  The white plate dearing his name, mentioned in your article, can be seen.  'Perfect the man, Perfect the Driver', I remember him joking.

D1694 1000 Manchester (The Pines Express)
Birmingham Snow Hill d. 1246  -3
Leamington Spa a. 1311 -5  pws
Leamington Spa d. 1315 -6 draw up
Oxford a. 1359  -3
Change engines 34040 4-6-2 Southern crew and a pilotman
Oxford d. 1407  -3
Reading West a. 1441 +2
Basingstoke 1510 a. 1510
The Southern West Country was very rough.  I had difficulty in firing it at anything above 50 mph.  It had been banned from working on the Bournemouth waterloo line.  She wouldn't steam too well but the fireman didn't seem particularly bothered.  A cheery sort with a flat hat.  It was the driver's last day on the railway as he was retiring next day.  He brought along his camera to take a photo of the last engine he had driven.

Thursday 13 August

D1051  0945 Paddington
Reading d. 1027  -4 pws Maidenhead
Didcot a. 1044  +2
Swindon a. 1113  T
Swindon d. 1117  -1 station overtime
Chippenham a.  1134  T
Chippenham d. 1139  -2 drawing up
Bath Spa a. 1153  -2
Bath Spa d. 1155  -2
Bristol Temple Meads a. 1212  -2 would have been on time but almost stopped by signals.

D138  The Devonian
Bristol Temple Meads d. 1240  -10
Birmingham a. 1430  T
Birmingham d. 1438  -3
Burton on Trent a 1509  -4
Derby a. 1528  -5
Sheffield Midland
Bristol crew to Derby, Leeds driver (single manned) onwards.
In Bristol the guard came up to us and gave us the tonnage.  he said we were over the limit for the Lickey and we would be stopping for a banker.  The driver grudgingly agreed.  As we approached Bromsgrove the driver opened the throttle fully.  I said "Aren't you going to take a banker,"  to which he mumbled "F--k that".  With a run at the bank we sailed up to the top.

We took a Sulzer type 2 at Derby right through to Sheffield Midland.  The driver didn't know the diesels and I pointed out to him that, although the throttle handle was open the engine was not loading because the throttle had been opened too quickly.  He then said "Bugger it, you do it," so I drove it through to Sheffield Midland.  There wasn't a great deal to do with another locomotive ahead of us.  No signals to look for and I didn't have control over the brake.

This trip was made using a Western Region Footplate Pass!

Sunday 17 August
Paddington d. 1738  T
Slough p. 1758  (72 mph!)
Twyford p. 1815  -2
Reading a. 1824  -1
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