On Shed: January 2017 Edition


” Preserving the steam locomotive legacy.. and more..on film”

Now features at  Wonderful World of Trains & Planes, Birmingham



An old friend….Ron Cody on City of Truro as an observer! But happier with an LMS loco!(Leander)

Welcome…and news….
Editor’s Selections 2016 ..Andrew Martin, Michael Williams, Christian Wolmar,Flying Scotsman..
100 Trains….the journey so far….
Steam Tube Photographic Highlights
Steam Tube Video Highlights
Steam Tube Blogs (Steam Age Daydreams)
Tornado…The Story so far…
New & ReBuild News.
B & O Railroad Museum TV
Mainline Steam Schedule
On This Day in History.
Radstock to Frome Railway Project
Christian Wolmar… Railway Historian.Global Conquest: How Railways Took Over The World.(rescheduled)
Around the World in 80 Railways (No 77: Hanoi to Saigon with Mark Smith )
30742 Charters
Back Page


Welcome…and news….

A warm welcome to this January 2017 edition of “On Shed”, bringing the highlights of the past month from the world of steam and “Steam Tube- The Home of Steam on the Net”

Firstly, a look back at some of the highlights from the “Editor’s Selection” during the first few months of 2016(more 2016 highlights next month!!) ….a few video and photo highlights from the world of steam, a blog from Dave Wilson, updates from several UK and international new and rebuild projects, a look back in time at railway events in this month in years past, the UK’s mainline steam schedule for January 2017.

Editor’s Selections 2016 

Meet The Author .(1)…. Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin 2 August 2015


I first met Andrew Martin on TV… he presented a railway documentary in the BBC Timeshift series. “Between the Lines – Railways in Fiction and Film” in which he examined how the train and the railways came to shape the work of writers and film-makers….

Then there were cameo appearances in Great British Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo ..explaining the delights of London’s Necropolis Railway..and another appearance with the ubiquitous Mr Portillo on the BBC’s Great Continental Railway Journey Episode 1, when the joys of the channel crossing, before the days of Eurostar, were discussed.

It was at the Cheltenham Book Festival in October 2014 that I actually met Andrew face to face, albeit briefly. He was part of an eminent panel of railway writers discussing the theme      ” The Golden Age of Rail.” Under Paul Atterbury’s(Antiques Roadshow, “Lost Railway Journeys”) careful guidance , Andrew Roden(”Flying Scotsman”), Sean O’Brien (“Train Songs”), Andrew Martin(“Belles and Whistles”) and Christian Wolmar (“To The Edge of the World”) discussed their differing viewpoints.

On the day, Andrew Martin was not particularly impressed with his experience from London Paddington to Cheltenham via First Great Western…(since renamed and rebranded “Great Western Railway” to evoke memories of a legendary line)  …he abandoned the train because of serious delays…..and resumed his journey by car! More “Bronze Age of Rail” than “Golden Age”!

He had kindly consented to meet me at London Marylebone on 16th September 2015…essentially to talk about his latest book “Belles and Whistles” in which he  makes 5 (five) journeys  through time on Britain’s trains.

I asked him: If there was one journey you could revisit, which would it be?

His response? The Cornish Riviera…he had experienced this trip several times ..it was great fun!

But the Brighton Belle (which ran from London Victoria and Brighton between 1 January 1933 and 30 April 1972),  where the menu was not so much  “cordon bleu”… more “heart attack on a plate “  with a menu that included fried eggs, welsh rarebit, washed down with a G & T…now that would be a good way to spend an hour(or 4 minutes in the famous time lapse film!!!)

Jazz Age, Art deco, elaborate marquetry featuring the “sunburst “ motif then prevalent..these marked the “Belle” as something magical! Each of the 15 carriages’ furnishings were designed by a leading design house of the day ! And you had to be well dressed for 1st class on the “Belle” …attendants once turned away the actor Laurence Olivier…for not being properly dressed! Imagine!

(A clip from a recent BBC Timeshift episode “The Railways that Time Forgot”, giving an idea of the dress code of the day(!!) can be seen HERE at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p030z134

Andrew is unashamedly romantic.Not being known as a leading railway commentator…he feels that he should be allowed to be self indulgent and peddle the retrospective unabashedly romantic! Only Michael Williams ..who says a lot of things at the start of his book “The Trains Now Departed” that  he agrees with – such as why are there no dining cars,why are seats not  comfortable, and why the need for the terrible soundscape on modern railways – but he (Michael Williams) makes the point that he is not just a romantic. Nostalgia allows you to be romantic…

We moved on to the Jim Stringer books a few of which I have read, including the first “The Necropolis Railway” (2001).. and the latest in the series..the ninth “Last Train to Jamalpur”….

Available HERE

Accuracy is the bane of the railway writer…if you get a fact wrong, there are plenty of people who will tell you ! “Once upon a time” is not good enough! Andrew recalls  letters  from  an accountant in Kent.., usually beginning..”Dear Andrew, much enjoyed the latest Stringer outing. However..(then some criticism of the cover ..or for example ..an engine not about at the time!!)

Where is Jim Stringer now? Well, Jim is now in suspended animation…And the possibility of a TV series..?? The difficulty would be casting Jim as a 20-30 year old…since any actor of that age of good enough quality will probably be in Hollywood, or too expensive..or both!  We shall see!

And Andrew’s latest book? “Yellow Diamond” is the intriguing title ..and its not about the railways (although there is a 1st class journey to York included!)but about the international super rich in Mayfair who are policed by an imaginary unit of the Metropolitan Police, who happen to be based opposite the now  closed down “ Down Street  Tube Station”  ..See how Detective Inspector Blake Reynolds deals with a murderous conspiracy involving the super rich… HERE


Then we got onto liquorice….? I had read the expression “liquorice stick” somewhere… and the reason for the expression couldn’t have been simpler….The West Coast Mainline, what with all the industry surrounding the line, it’s gloominess, its pollution..so much more so than the East Coast Mainline…Well, the liquorice stick image came to mind….Or is it that its away from Yorkshire and alien territory?

Reference to the Night Mail, that iconic 1930s GPO Film Unit railway film…and associated with the “Liquorice Stick”( WCML) brought to mind how he used to play with his children, holding  out their coat, and they had to run past him and collect their coat as smoothly as the apparatus collected the hanging mail bags en route..as in the film…

WH Auden, author of “Night Mail”, romanticised about the railways and industry..they had an aesthetic appeal….the line “This is the night mail crossing the border” immediately summons up this nostalgic effect…unlike Wordsworth and Ruskin who were opposed to the railways, which, to them destroyed the environment. They would probably be at the forefront to oppose high speed rail today. “I wandered lonely as a cloud,  That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd,  A host, of golden daffodils;  Beside the lake, beneath the trees,  Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. ..HS2” (with apologies!)

But eventually, the Railways came to be viewed  as part of the landscape, and accepted…

Andrew and his wife did once consider buying a house near HS1..and whilst viewing the property, several trains passed, but they did not bother him particularly.Perhaps this had something to do with his early years in York, when he could hear the ghostly clanking sounds, during the night , of loose wagon shunting in the nearby Dringhouses marshalling yard ..almost comforting. As was crossing the St Helen’s bridge in York, and catching site of the men working there….

Writing a feature for the Telegraph….about people living near railways…He found that, generally, people didn’t mind. Rather,it was the sound of the horns that was the big issue, particularly with noise campaigners.

And speaking of York….his Dad (who sadly passed away early in 2015)worked for the railways…latterly at Hudson House, a 70s open plan designed office, and where a young Andrew was a cleaner, floor buffing. Flared trousers and  Zapatta moustaches were the order of the day amongst the railway office staff, but Dad’s offices were more sedate, as befits those working in the financial department,(for 35 years) where cutting costs was the important function engaged in..

Such a job could drive you to drink! Which , ironically is what the office became..! A drinking place…a Whiskey Bar in a 5* hotel. And we can’t shake off the drink reference…..his Dad had a lot to do with The Royal Train, and had to arrange for a large order of ice to be delivered, which seemed an excessive amount for gin & tonics….but which actually was intended for the air conditioning units….

So, now, to catch up with some reading……


“Meet The Author (2).. Michael Williams”

“Steaming to Victory..How Britain’s Railways Won The War”

I first met Michael Williams face to face at the British Library, next door to St Pancras and Kings Cross Stations on Wednesday 16th September 2015.

I had travelled up from Warwick Parkway, and arrived at London Marylebone at 1040 or thereabouts..(1 hour and 15 minutes!!) There are those who would say that this was a slow train, since HS2, when operational, will apparently be able to cover the entire Birmingham-London trip in a little less time than that….but it was fast enough for me…besides, HS2, if operational, would merely add to my travel time since I would have to get to Birmingham first… a small matter of about 1 hour and 15 minutes…!! Anyway, I digress!

But since I was meeting the author of “On The Slow Train”, and “On The Slow Train Again”, my travel choice seemed most appropriate….well, appropriate if comparing the journey time with the potential HS2 time!

When we met, we retired to the eaterie..,bought a couple of cups of coffee… and talked!

michael williams

It transpired that, only the day before we met (Tuesday 15thSeptember 2015), Michael had been filming on Hungerford Bridge in connection with a new TV series for the History Channel (H2) ..”Combat Trains”… based on  his book “Steaming to Victory. How Britain’s Railways” Won The War”

Of course, I had to obtain a copy of this volume…and so I was able to read for myself the supporting facts for such a title….After all, my late father used to repeatedly say that it was himself and Churchill/Montgomery/Harris who was responsible for defeating Hitler!

It was E. M. Forster who famously said that “..they also served who bore no arms” (1946 film “Diary for Timothy”.. a government commissioned film) The statistics of railwaymen and railway women, whilst doing their best ( Bernard Darwin, Southern Railway’s official war historian , wrote that railway men and women were “entirely resolved not to be fussed or rattled”, and took everything that happened “as part of the day’s work” – “War on the Line” 1946.)..certainly bear this out.

Actually, for a good many, one day’s work was to be their last… Page 340 of the book lists deaths and injuries for the major railway companies… London Transport and mainline 395 staff killed, 2,444 injured; Southern – 130 killed, 796 injured; LNER- 115/702; GWR- 52/241; LMS- 51/561; London Transport 40/111.

And yet, despite the difficulties… keeping the services running, repairing damaged track and infrastructure, dealing with air raids… 1944 returned figures that bettered by far pre war year returns! 50% more passengers carried per train mile run, and ton-miles per train were 30% better!

O.S.Nock wrote (in “Britain’s Railways at War”) “When one recalls that this increase in output was secured despite all the incidental hazards of wartime, air- raid damage on the lines, and to railwaymen’s homes, one can only marvel at the result”

Notice the phrase … “incidental hazards”!!..All part of a usual day’s work!

There were some events recalled that could hardly be described as “incidental”. The following lists some of these horrific moments..

16th April 1941 (p 199) Hungerford Bridge…. Danger from unexploded landmine suspended from a girder , and fires from nearby station creeping along the bridge. (This is where Michael was filming the day before we met  …)

28th April 1941 (p 179) GWR locomotive No.4936 Kinlet Hall ran into a crater on the Cornish mainline between Menheniot and St. Germans, taking four days to recover…and still in use today on the West Somerset Railway…86 years since being built!

3rd March 1943 (p 240) 173 men, women and children crushed to death at Bethnal Green… and there wasn’t an air raid in progress……

2nd June 1944 (p 292) The Soham Explosion, and the heroic  actions of railwaymen  Gimbert, Nightall Bridges and Clarke…… June 2004: DB Schenker locomotives ( a German owned company, ironically) are named in their honour..66077 (Benjamin Gimbert G.C. ) and 66079 (James Nightall G.C.)

“Incidental hazards”, all.

Along with the acts of bravery and heroism, there were the more mundane supporting acts…..and these certainly would have been most welcome at the time, whilst all these “incidental hazards” were playing all around them..

For example, Preston Station buffet ..open 24/7, serving tea etc to uniformed personnel..and doing so to the tune of 12 million cups during the 1939-45 period. On Platform 3 and 4 , on the site of the old buffet, a commemorative plaque acknowledges the service offered.

And on page 188, we can read of Reg Coote’s   response to kindness showed him and his mother when they were bombed out in  May 1941…He set up a relief society for sick railwaymen…running it until the early 1990’s when, following the unwillingness of the newly  privatized railway companies to make the deductions through their payrolls, and his not having a computer, Reg was forced to give it up.

Shame! And that would only have been “incidental” for major corporations, surely.

And you may find the account on page 181 upsetting, given those who deserved some form of compensation, and those who received an honour. You make the judgement!

But there can be no doubting the overall contribution the railways….and the railwaymen and women made to the war effort on the home front.

Still, even given all the facts, it must have been heart breaking for railway people to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer Hugh Dalton, say in December 1946 , in the House of Commons..”..the railways are a disgrace to the country. The railway stations and their equipment are a disgrace to the nation” Of course, since compensation would be due the shareholders, his remarks were obviously designed to justify reduced payments…but what a kick in the teeth to those who gave their all, who coped with “incidental hazards”, many losing lives and livelihood  in the process.

Perhaps the History Channel series, based on  Michael William’s book, will address these issues, and help more to see that truly..”Britain’s Railways Won The War”


Michael Williams has also penned another railway book   “The Trains Now Departed. Sixteen Excursions Into The Lost Delights Of Britain’s Railways”

Whilst researching and writing this book, Michael contacted us..(Andy Thompson and I co-own www.steamtu.be, www.railtube.info  and www.smj.me..

SMJ….The Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway..

Andy set up the site(2008) after visiting his brother in Towcester   .. and chancing upon the information that the local Tesco supermarket was stood upon the site of the old railway station, he immediately set about  researching the line’s history.. and became something of an expert on the subject. He set up the website www.smj.me with the express aim of inviting contributions, photos, documents etc to further  knowledge of the line’s history…

There are now 291 members of the website…and many of these are really knowledgeable on the subject of the SMJ….the Slow, Mouldy and Jolting…. Save Me , Jesus (new to me!!) and more.

Michael did us the honour of showing us the chapter in the book dealing with the SMJ ..Chapter 7 “On The Slow, Mouldy and Jolting..the railway that time forgot”… and with some assistance from a well versed member, some edits were made….

And it is very pleasing to see that the book is doing extremely well on Amazon! So, the SMJ site can give itself a little pat on the back…. (We shall look out for an acknowledgement in future editions!!)

Michael is currently working on another book….and it will no doubt transport you back to the time..in the 1950s, particularly, when holidays to the seaside, by train, of course, were the order of the day.

We would like to thank Michael for his valuable time in talking/communicating with us at Steam Tube (www.steamtu.be) In due course, we hope to be able talk again, “incidental hazards” notwithstanding!


“Meet The Author – The Great Railway Revolution by Christian Wolmar”

To get a full account of the railroads’ progress in the United States, you will need a copy of Christian Wolmar’s excellent history..”The Great Railway Revolution”

CW The Great Railway Revolution

Get Your Copy Here

Christian Wolmar. “The Great Railway Revolution- The Epic story of the American Railroad”Atlantic Books.

436 notes. Drawn from an extensive Bibliography.   414 pages.32 illustrations. 5 maps

Christian Wolmar ‘s latest book gives us as comprehensive overview of the history of US railroads as you would wish to read.

Before I read this volume, my own appreciation for American railroad history was minimal, apart from passing acquaintance with one or two key events (such as the meeting at Promontory Point).

Christian Wolmar writes in such a way that you almost believe that he witnessed the unfolding events himself…that is the mark of the historian…he demonstrates a grasp of all the key issues.

So, what will we find, as we read this epic story of the American Railroad?

The Railways Win Out

Charles Carroll, at the ceremonial turning of first sod for the start of Baltimore and Ohio on 4th July 1828 said: ” I consider what I have just now done to be among the most important acts of my life, second only to my signing the Declaration of Independence,If indeed, it be even second to that.”

Of course, there is another view…and railway development , using the crucial legal precedent (notably illustrated in a 1837 New York court case) ..to obtain “eminent domain”, (which was the right to take over whatever property was needed in return for fair compensation…on the basis that the railway created wider benefits for the public, despite any damage caused to the land owners or property owners) did not always work in the best interests of unfortunate landowners – the public advantage outweighing the disbenefits to the few unlucky proprietors whose land just happened to be in the wrong place.

A Passionate Affair

Local railroads, enabling travel to the next town, were broadly welcomed. Demonstration runs were festive affairs..brass bands , parties, local celebrities on hand and given a ride on the train……

The railways were meant to be private businesses, but financing a capital hungry business was- and is -just a dream with federal or local funding also needed….somehow….

The Railways Take Hold

According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Americans were taking to this “contrivance….as if it were the cradle In which they were born”. Yet parochial and small minded approach to development initially delayed the vision of a unifying national force….Perhaps the 450 mile Erie Railway epitomized the potential of the railroad, with its linking Lake Erie with the Atlantic Ports.

Politicians preferred local small, fragmented railroads….It would be something of a two edged sword, for now people could travel far away from their own home town, and also, goods could come in from afar, threatening the very people, and farmers, who had hope to benefit from their reaching markets farther afield.

Consolidation would later occur between smaller lines..and so by 1850 US railroad mileage had risen (tripled!) to 9,000 miles. Chicago became established as a major railway hub.

Not all travellers were enamoured of the railroads – Charles Dicken’s travel experiences in 1842 were not to his liking..

The Battle Lines

Southern lines were not as advanced as their northern counterparts, which would be costly in the ensuing Civil War…

In fact, the Civil War, and its outcome, despite the ebbs and flos, can partly be explained by the superiority of the railroads in the North’s areas of influence…

Harnessing the Elephant

In this chapter we are acquainted with the skulduggery and chicanery that have bedevilled similar projects elsewhere.

Outright fraud, the Credit Mobilier scam, merciless displacement of Native Americans are a not too happy legacy of these times. The pity is that the tremendous engineering achievement, especially of the Transcontinental, pales almost into insignificance when taken as a whole with the mistreatment of contractors, workers (including Chinese immigrants) and native Americans.

Railways to go Everywhere

Lines built on the cheap using convict labour, were a particularly nasty piece of exploitation…

The Hoosac Tunnel, 4.5 miles long, was a Herman Haupt initiative, but he was forced out by claims (unfounded) that his engineering methods were at the root of the problems being experienced. Eventually completed in 1875, 23 years after being started, and 10 times over the original $2m dollar budget, and with 200 construction workers killed.

Railway company agents operating in Europe, were offering cheap land, in typical sales fashion, to try to lure settlers out west. They targeted minority groups..such as the Russian Mennonites….34 of these families were persuaded to Kansas in 1874..

And wild west was a fitting name too, since , undisciplined and unruly towns were left in the railway’s wake .

Dodge City was named after, and full of, crooks!

Getting Better All The Time

For some , travel became a little more comfortable. Webster Wagner’s sleeping cars- (Cornelius Vanderbilt put up the money for some of these cars)- but George Pullman is remembered best for this advance in travelling comfort….His name has become synonymous with luxury railway travel.

Still, even with increasing comfort levels, accidents were known… there were 2 serious ones in 1853

And the Picnic Train disaster (17th July 1856) on the North Pennsylvania Railroad (with 56 fatalities….and an engineer, later exonerated of blame, who committed suicide) speeded up the use of telegraph communications.

Development of the automatic coupler, the air brake, and George Westinghouse’s “continuous braking”…some railroads slow to adopt, but Lorenzo Coffin’s zeal resulted in these safety items being made mandatory, by law. (The Railroad Safety Appliance Act –August 1900).

Then there were the issues associated with train robberies.. (the Pinkertons reputations) …hoboes….immigrant train discomforts….snobbery, segregation.. and farmers complaining about sky high prices, at a time when fierce competition between rival railroads had seen reductions in freight rates..The ensuing farmers’ campaign, painting the railroads as “monopolistic villains”, started to see the railways being turned on by the public…..

Strange, isn’t it, that the railways, which were at first seen as the height of modernity, and brought certain tangible benefits wherever they went, came to be seen, not as local business, but remote corporate affairs not really concerned with local Issues and peoples. Christian Wolmar suggests that this is part of the “natural cycle” with developing railroad companies being viewed as “rapacious monopolists”. The love affair had ended.

The railroads had a burgeoning commuter market, had opened up tourism, made national conventions possible for more people….and had to respond to the increasing interurban systems, labour disputes and more.

The Roots of Decline “started in the 1920s when the federal government dithered over what to do with the railways that they controlled”…culminating in the consolidation of the railways , not always popular , with some railroads (such as the Pennsylvania Railroad which took the view that it was above the others!) reluctantly involved.

By now, the automobile, and the airplane, were fast becoming serious threats. And the development of the Interstate Highways appeared to put the final nail in the coffin of the railroads.(Although freight increased during this period…carrying the materials necessary for the highways project!)

The speeding up of certain services was an attempt to combat road and air competition..

An article appearing in “Trains” magazine of April 1959 entitled “Who Shot The Train” (Christian Wolmar describes this article as “remarkably prescient”) gave a series of reasons for the railway’s demise..”…profitability has been frustrated by archaic regulation, obsolete labor contracts, unequal taxation, and publicly sponsored competition”.

Where has that claim been made before?

The railroads wanted to get out of the passenger business, and concentrate solely on freight, and used some underhand methods to try to achieve this…but government intervention saw the creation of Amtrak…(much better sounding than Railpax!!)

Today, there is much talk in the US about high speed trains (California.. will it? Or won’t it?) and Amtrak’s hopes to speed up its services.

Many cities operate suburban and commuter rail services, and a younger generation not so attached to the car, may find rail travel more attractive since they can still use their electronic gadgetry whilst travelling..(an interesting observation!)

And the increasing cost of flying and environmental concerns may yet give America the opportunity to “relearn the joys of railways which have served them so well in the past”.

An excellent book which will come to define the history of the American Railroad.

An important contribution to American Railroad history.

Review by Peter S. Lewis 

Rail Tube  in conversation with Christian Wolmar, and his book “The Great Railway Revolution”

And in the meantime, Christian is putting the finishing touches to a history on Indian Railways..

Editor’s Selection: The Return of “Flying Scotsman”

Well, at last ..the moment arrived..and passed off, almost without incident….but leaving a bad taste in the mouths of responsible railway photographers and enthusiasts.

Firstly..the event itself..The inaugural run of the expensively refurbished “Flying Scotsman” from London King’s Cross to York on 25th February 2016. The National Railway Museum, carers of the iconic locomotive, produced a film for YouTube, which we share here….

The disappointing aspect was the non attention – by some – to Network Rail’s Guidance for Photographers and Enthusiasts..

Responsible photographers will see these as a benefit, not a restriction, and will make every effort to abide by the letter..and spirit..of them.

Editor’s Selection : The Return of “Flying Scotsman”(2)

Flying Scotsman

Location? From an old slide.(C) Nigel Auckland on Steam Tube

It was built in Doncaster , emerging from the works on 24 February 1923 and initially numbered 1472. It was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class – the most powerful locomotives used by the railway. And made its name on the East Coast Main Line between London and Edinburgh, being named after the service between the two cities which had started in 1862.

In the following years, its reputation as the flagship locomotive of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) was enhanced by being selected to appear at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924, when it sported the number 4472, and was secured by reaching the first officially recorded and verified 100mph (30 November 1934) .. and by setting a record for the longest non-stop run by a steam locomotive when it ran 422 miles (679 km) on 8 August 1989 while in Australia…whilst under the ownership of Sir William McAlpine. Indeed, for a time, Flying Scotsman was the only steam locomotive allowed by British Railways to run on the main network, hauling steam special excursions.

Alan Pegler and John Huntley at King’s Cross and St Pancras 4472 Flying Scotsman anniversary run, they discuss plans to go to the USA, 4472 departs King’s Cross(Courtesy: Huntley Film Archives)

Over the last 90 or so years, the name Flying Scotsman has been associated with Sir Nigel Gresley, the LNER, Alan Pegler, Sir William McAlpine, Dr Tony Marchington, the National Railway Museum..and now Riley and Sons,Bury. The three private owners prior to the NRM had all found that restoring Scotsman to its former glory came at a price.

Sir William McAlpine in conversation with Christian Wolmar at Fawley event in May 2014.

Indeed, in a recent BBC Film on Flying Scotsman’s inaugural run after restoration, Sir William said that, whilst he owned the locomotive, he never really felt that he was anything other than the guardian of it for the nation…And he now enjoys the pleasure of watching Flying Scotsman without having to worry about paying the bills!

flying scotsman

“Flying Scotsman” at the NRM York ..June 2011 (C) Graham Rogers.

Originally, when the NRM acquired the locomotive for the nation in 2004(after a fund raising appeal) it had hoped to get the locomotive back into action by 2010. .. but it was not to be..
Additional problems were discovered, a 2012 report setting out the reasons for the delay and the additional costs. Finally in 2013, the tendered contract was awarded to Riley & Sons at Bury to bring the locomotive back and ready for mainline use…originally hoped for in mid 2015.

Rail Tube was able to speak with Colin Green a director of Riley and Sons. He was able to give us the sense of how the project almost took over the lives of those involved in it! “Blood , sweat and tears”, sometimes literally.
When Paul Kirkman, the director of the NRM made the announcement regarding the contract being awarded to Riley & Sons, he said that “We are pleased to have appointed a contractor with the specialist skills and expertise required for the final stages of the project.”

So Riley and Sons , Bury, started on the work, which included the alignment of the middle steam cylinder. All three steam cylinders were also oversize and needed to be fitted with new liners and rebored to a nominal 19 inch diameter. This corrective work on the cylinders meant that they were to be separated from the frames of the locomotive, which would then allow a section of the main side frames to be examined.

A3 4472 'Flying Scotsman' in the works at NRM York

..in NRM York workshop (September 2009) (C) Ian Glen 

But nothing was easy to accomplish… Colin Green explained that during the project, boys had become men! They had worked on the boiler 10 years ago… but this involved special dies and forms, sussing out what was wrong, ordering the new bits, press the plates, and rebuild the boiler with the old technology .. hot rivetting…traditional skills as per the original LNER drawings. In this extensive modification, the boiler….the 18th in Flying Scotsman’s lifetime, was an original A3 boiler acquired by the NRM as a spare with the locomotive.

Some might wonder how much of the locomotive is the “original “ Flying Scotsman! Ian Riley explained that all the working parts had been renewed, and the front third of the main frame…
But whatever percentage is original or otherwise, the words of Creagh Maywald, who had been involved at Riley & Sons for the last 18 months, are relevant…”It’s soul is original”…and he has a point. “Put a fire in it, and it comes to life”

And seeing the tremendous turnout of enthusiasts ..and others.. who crowded platforms of the East Lancashire Railway when it did its first testing runs, and those who were at London Kings Cross to see it depart on its run back home to York, resplendent in British Railways green livery, and bearing the number 60103, you get the sense of achievement that all those who worked on it will have felt, making all those “Blood , sweat and tears” worth it.

LNER “Flying Scotsman” makes it’s hugely long anticipated return to service at the East Lancs Railway, as it’s hauls a special service..(C) L Marsh on Steam Tube

As Colin Green said on the day of that auspicious run to York……….. “Cinderella didn’t want to go to the ball.. ….but we were determined that she was going..whether she was kicking her legs, or not..and here we are…and here she is today…running like a sewing machine….everything running at the right temperatures…everything’s perfect…Its been an uphill struggle…its been blood sweat and tears…and its given the engine a new lease of life”

Colin Green was keen to single out a couple of those who had given their all in seeing the project through…Chris Chesney (Project Manager) and Greg McGill…as well as all those at Riley and Son who had worked tirelessly on the project. And not forgetting a word of thanks to suppliers and all others whose involvement at various stages of the project meant that the world’s most iconic railway locomotive would once again grace the mainline, and continue to bring delight and pleasure to all those fortunate enough to travel behind her, ..or see her… and to the nation.

So, an expensive restoration? That hardly matters now, does it?

Congratulations to the NRM, but especially Riley & Sons, Bury.. for an excellent job, well done.


“Flying Scotsman” at the head of the 0930 ex Grosmont,NYMR. (C) Nic Burden.

Rail Tube would like to extend sincere thanks to Colin Green for his help in putting together this article.

P.S. “Flying Scotsman’s” Inaugural run following restoration from London Kings Cross to York is featured in the opening episode of “Great British Railway Journeys” Series 8 with Michael Portillo


More 2016 highlights next month…..

100 Trains….the journey so far….

Iain McGeachin, aka The Kilted Walker, is continuing with his epic project…

Upcoming Events: 24th – 27th March 2017   Arran Walk

Next:  April/May 2017. A Walk Across Canada (From Coast to Coast)             Distance: 3,900 miles    



We wish Iain well with his project. He deserves to succeed.

Steam Tube Photographic Highlights

Steam Tube Video Highlights


Czech and Slovak steam trains in 2016 (Dominik Schön‎)


The Alexander Tramway.(Clive Town)
No. 5 is an ex Sugar Mill engine built by John Fowler of Leeds to Works No. 11885 in 1909. Initially at the Gin Gin Mill at Wallaville in Queensland.On entering preservation No. 5 was at Goulburn museun, Victoria, for a spell before arriving at the Alexander Tramway Museum near Healesville.

Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway From the Lineside Pt 1.(Clive Town)
Queensland Rail Class PB15 No. 488 RV Armstrong is seen working a Footplate Experience Course between Box Flat and Swanbank


Steam Tube Blogs

Steam Tube is grateful to Dave Wilson of Steam Age Daydreams. His thoughtful pieces on steam age history are always worthy of a careful read.

His opening effort for 2017 follows……

“When The Party’s Over”

This year it is fifty years since beasts like this one, Ex-SR B-o-B Class 4-6-2 No.34053 Sir Keith Park, hurtled along the main lines of the old London & South Western Railway routes from London to points west; I had some memorable moments with them on those routes.  Up round Woodfidley, in the New Forest, in the early hours of an Autumn morning, watching the deer ‘floating’ through the sea of ground mist,  being alongside big ships, with boat trains from Ocean Liner Terminal, special stop orders for Idmiston Halt – a boffin going to  Porton Down, a rail tour special to Exeter and back.

You remember too  the card games and the banter, the drivers and firemen you worked with, many of them, sadly, no longer with us; gone to that great engine shed in the sky,  where they’re all top link and every turn is a mileage job. The swapping turns, working rest days,  down the Brook for a pint before closing – always a lock-in, gone, like the coal tower, pit road, and tallow lamp, snuffed out by the future.

You can preserve the engines, run them up and down the tracks, but for the crews who worked them in everyday service, ‘running the railway’, fifty years ago, in July 1967, the party was over.

If you enjoy my photographs why not have a look at my 2017 Calendar, which, for the first time, is being published by calendar company Calvendo and sold on line or by order at your local bookshop using this ISBN number: Steam Age Daydreams (Wall Calendar 2017 DIN A4 Landscape) / 978-1-325-22545-3

Here are the online links to it.:


and on Amazon at:


If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it:



Tornado…The Story so far…


Tornado’s packed main line and heritage railway diary for 2016 can be seen below or you can view/download the Tour Guide here:


  • Saturday 4th February – ‘Belmond British Pullman’ – The Golden Age of Travel (Surrey Hills)
  • Saturday 11th February – ‘The Red Rose’ – London Victoria to Cosford, Telford Central and Shrewsbury –  A1SLT promoted tour – bookings through UK Railtours
  • Wednesday 1st March – ‘The Saint David’ – London Paddington to Cardiff – A1SLT promoted tour – bookings through UK Railtours
  • Friday 31st March – ‘Belmond British Pullman’ – The Golden Age of Travel (Surrey Hills)
  • Saturday 29th April – ‘The North Briton’ – Leicester to Carlisle – A1SLT promoted tour – bookings through UK Railtours
  • Monday 1st May – ‘The Heart of Midlothian’ – Peterborough to Edinburgh – A1SLT promoted tour – bookings through UK Railtours
  • Saturday 6th May – ‘The Talisman’ – London King’s Cross to Darlington – A1SLT promoted tour – bookings
    through UK Railtours
  • Monday 29th May – ‘The Cornishman’ – London Paddington – Penzance – A1SLT promoted tour – bookings through UK Railtours
The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is proud that Tornado will continue to be operated on the Network Rail main line by DB Cargo, which has worked successfully with the Trust since the locomotive’s completion in 2008.

The Trust respectfully requests that anyone wanting to see Tornado follows the rules of the railway and only goes where permitted.


New & ReBuild News.

General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society


The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society will be hosting its first annual general meeting on Saturday 18th March 2017. The AGM will be hosted at the Nog Inn in Feniton near the former Sidmouth Junction. This pub is right opposite the railway station with trains regular trains on the Exeter to London Waterloo line, and is an old fashioned, friendly and locals village pub. The meeting will be timed to allow people to be able to travel by public transport with the station having a direct train to London every 2 hours.  The reason we selected this location for our first meeting was it was geographically a large portions of our members and we hope for a good turnout. Most of the General Steam Navigation team and trustees as well as some of the newly purchased parts will be at the event.  Full details will be given in the next issue of ‘The Packet’ will be getting sent out in the beginning of January.

With this being the last update in 2016 it seems a good time to reflect on what an eventful year this has been for our project. When we launched the GSNLRS in February we were delighted with the response we got and now 10 months down the line we own 35011, have built and machined our first part, launched a share scheme which allowed us to purchase some components  and work has begun on the locomotive to prepare her for the long road back to restoration.  2016 has been a great year for us and with the exciting plans for 2017 that will be revealed in the next issue of ‘The Packet’ confident 2017 will be equally successful.

As always thank you for your ongoing support


The Clan Project..72010 Hengist


Latest News at  www.theclanproject.org

The Brighton Belle 

Excursion programmes will be launched in early 2017!



Mark Allatt (Chairman,The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust)

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has recently announced that it will be holding a series of presentations on the project to build new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales at venues along the route of the East Coast Main Line from London to Edinburgh and all the way to Aberdeen during 2017. Each presentation will feature key Trust personnel including Mark Allatt (Chairman) and David Elliott (Director of Engineering) and will cover the background to the project, progress to-date, future plans and details of how to get involved. The presentations will run from 11:00hrs to 13:00hrs on each of the days listed below and are open to existing supporters and interested members of the public:

• Saturday 14th January 2017 – The London Transport Museum, London
• Saturday 18th February 2017 – The Great Northern Hotel, Peterborough
• Saturday 18th March 2017 – Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery, Doncaster
• Saturday 22nd April 2017 – York Railway Institute, York
• Saturday 13th May 2017 – Darlington Locomotive Works, Darlington
• Saturday 17th June 2017 – Newcastle Mining Institute, Newcastle
• Saturday 1st July 2017 – Edinburgh Jury’s Inn, Edinburgh
• Saturday 14th October 2017 – Dundee Heritage Trust Discovery Point, Dundee
• Saturday 25th November 2017 – Aberdeen Jury’s Inn, Aberdeen.



Latest News at : www.lms-patriot.org.uk



Latest News at www.125group.org.uk


US Projects…


Big Boy, PRR T1, and Chesapeake & Ohio  2-6-6-2 projects..

Updates: Big Boy: www.up.com

The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) T1 Steam Locomotive Trust

More information at: http://prrt1steamlocomotivetrust.org/news.php

Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2

Latest news on Facebook HERE


Photo courtesy B & O Museum


Project 6029 (Beyer Garratt 6029 ex-NSWGR)

Latest news from The Project 6029 blog HERE

UPDATE! The buffer beam has been made. Thanks to all for your support and donations to the group so far….. More details at: http://www.claudhamiltonlocomotivegroup.co.uk/

With design work well underway and the cab being handled by the fabricators, we would now like to ask for your continued support.

By signing up to pledge $5 a week ($22 per month) we will be able to produce more new parts and drawings of V499.

If you would like to help us out and see the locomotive built, please visits our website and click the PayPal buttons.

See more

Welcome to the official website of the Victorian Steam Locomotive Company, which will keep you up to date and informed about the V499 Project.

B & O Railroad Museum TV

Each month the B&O TV Network, starring actor Michael Gross, spotlights a moment in B&O Railroad history. Take a journey into the past and view one or all of these episodes posted on YouTube.

Mainline Steam Schedule

This listing is offered in good faith, so there is no guarantee offered or implied.Please confirm running with the relevant tour operator.
And adhere, please, to Network Rail’s photographic guidelines…..HERE
The tour schedule for December 2016..and beyond..can be found  at  Railway Herald

On This Day in History.


2012   In  January 2012, the then Secretary of State for Transport announced that the creation of a new high speed rail network for the UK would go ahead, providing vital infrastructure links and boosting the economy for generations to come.


Opening to traffic of the Gotthard Tunnel (15 km (9 mi)), completing the Gotthardbahn in Switzerland


First of an eventual 863 Great Western Railway 5700 Class 0-6-0 pannier tank steam locomotives to C. B. Collett’s design completed at its Swindon Works, England


All major railways in Great Britain are amalgamated into the “Big Four” companies, the Great Western Railway, London and North Eastern Railway, London, Midland and Scottish Railway and Southern Railway, under terms of Railways Act 1921

01/01/1948     The UK’s railways were nationalised.

01/01/1905     The Trans-Siberian Railway officially opens..allowing travel from Paris to Vladivostock in 21 days

??/01/2003 The electrification of the Trans-Siberian Railway, a project begun in 1929, is completed.

CW To-the-Edge-of-the-World

Get your copy here

01/01/1915       The Ilford rail crash in England kills 10.

01/01/1932       William Stanier appointed CME of the LMS succeeding Ernest Lemon


The national railway operator in the Republic of Ireland, Great Southern Railways, with responsibility for the southern part of the Irish railway network is merged into a new national transport operator, Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ).


A CIE loco hauled service arriving Cobh, Co Cork. May 1980


British Railways adopts a new corporate identity including the name British Rail and the ‘double arrow’ symbol.


First Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST steamed, earliest of 377 built for war service to British Ministry of Supply order


Creation of SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français), bringing the principal railway companies of France together under government   control.

??/01/1933       London Underground diagram designed by Harry Beck introduced to public.

03/01/1917       The Ratho rail crash in Scotland kills 12 people.

05/01/1997   Further British train operating companies begin operation of their passenger service franchises as part of the privatisation of British Rail: Anglia Railways (GB Railways); Great Eastern (First Group); Virgin CrossCountry; and WAGN (Prism Rail).

Cross Country at Dawlish August 2013

A Cross Country service at Dawlish. August 2013


Full freight and passenger service is restored through the Channel Tunnel, just short of two months after a devastating fire.


The Hixon rail crash occurs when a low-loader road transporter is struck by an express train on an automatic half-barrier level crossing at Hixon, Staffordshire, England. 11 people are killed. This has repercussions on the arrangements for automating level crossings on British Rail.

09/01/1900         The first through passenger train goes from Cairo to Khartoum

05/01/1969      Last trains over the Waverley Route from Edinburgh in Scotland to Carlisle.

09/01/1886       The first GWR coal train runs through the 4 ½ mile Severn Tunnel

11/01/1864     The South Eastern Railway opens Charing Cross Station. Sir John Hawkshaw  designed the station.

12/01/2009    Official opening of Docklands Light Railway London City Airport branch extension under the River Thames to Woolwich Arsenal

16/01/1961     Eastern Region of British Railways takes delivery of D9001, the first production “Deltic” class diesel locomotive

19/01/1918     The Little Salkeld rail accident in England kills 7 people

19/01/1993   The British Coal and British Rail (Transfer Proposals) Act is passed. allowing the Secretary of State to issue directives to boards – such as the British Railways Board – as to the disposal of holdings ,previously prevented by earlier Transport and Railways Acts. One of the first directions issued under the law by a Secretary of State was the creation of Railtrack PLC, thus paving the way for the Railways Act 1993, which privatised British Rail.

20/01/1838   The Grand Junction Railway introduces the first ever travelling post office

21/01/1905     O. S. Nock, English railway author and signalling engineer (d. 1994)

??/01/1865   The first train departed to Nice from St. Petersburg.

23/01/1955     Sutton Coldfield train disaster, England: a passenger train rounds a sharp curve too fast and derails; 17 people die as a result.

23/01/1911   The Pontypridd railway accident in South Wales kills 11 people

24/01/1955     British Transport Commission produces a report on Modernisation and Re-Equipment of British Railways which proposes the large-scale replacement of the steam locomotive by diesel and electrification together with major resignalling projects

26/01/1921   The Abermule train collision was a head-on collision which occurred at Abermule,     Montgomeryshire, Wales on 26 January 1921, killing 17 people. The crash arose from misunderstandings between staff which effectively over-rode the safe operation of the Electric Train Tablet system protecting the single line. A train departed carrying the wrong tablet for the section it was entering and collided with a train coming the other way.

26/01/1998   The Konkan Railway , India opens. This 741-kilometre line connects Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka States, from Mumbai to Mangalore.     59 stations, 91 tunnels, 179 major bridges, 1,819 minor bridges.( Longest Bridge : Across Sharavati river in Honnavar (2065.8 m) Tallest Viaduct : Panval Nadi (64m. high). The project was completed in 7 years.

Courtesy: Konkan Railway website.

27/01/1911  James Joseph Allport was born. In 1850  appointed General Manager of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, and took up the same post in the Midland Railway in 1853. Apart from three years when he was managing director to Palmer’s Shipbuilding Company (1857-1860), he retained this post until 1880. Oversaw the development and growth in importance of the Midland Railway, and was instrumental in the building of the company’s Main Line to London (to St. Pancras) and the Settle to Carlisle Line. He retired in 1880, at which point he joined by board, and died in 1892.

29/01/1959:     Fog brings transport chaosDense fog – the worst for seven years – has brought road, rail and air transport in many parts of England and Wales to a virtual standstill. Many long-distance trains from London were cancelled. Suburban services were also seriously disrupted.

Radstock to Frome Railway Project

Latest News from this group can be found HERE


Christian Wolmar… Railway Historian.Global Conquest: How Railways Took Over The World.(rescheduled)

Book review: The English Railway Station

Next event:Tuesday 21st February 2017: Global Conquest: How Railways took over the World.

Venue: Conference Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
NW1 2DB – See more at: http://www.bl.uk/events/global-conquest-how-railways-took-over-the-world#sthash.ui5wcZhy.dpuf

..and check ticket availability…

Railway network map

In 1830,  the world’s first railway opened between Liverpool and Manchester. By the end of the century, there were 200,000 miles of track across the world, and this continued unabated into the 20th century, with the world’s longest, the Trans Siberian, completed in 1916. By the time Harry Beck produced his influential London Underground map in 1933, cities and whole countries had been re-shaped by the possibilities of mass transit. Author, commentator and railway historian Christian Wolmar charts how the iron road spread so rapidly and extensively. – See more at: http://www.bl.uk/events/global-conquest-how-railways-took-over-the-world#sthash.ui5wcZhy.dpuf

Around the World in 80 Railways (No 77: Hanoi to Saigon by train, in 9 minutes…)

Mark Smith (The Man in Seat 61)

  Mark Smith is an experienced rail traveller…
Enjoy this brief trip through Vietnam…

For timetables, fares & Vietnamese train information see http://www.seat61.com/Vietnam.htm.

A 1,070-mile journey from Hanoi to Saigon on the Reunification railway, including the wonderful coastal scenery between Hue and Danang along the cliffs and through the Hai Van Pass, in just 9 minutes 32 seconds…



“At the moment we are preparing the case for the continued use of coal in steam locomotives and how members can reduce their carbon footprint when operating steam traction. One of our longer term projects is we intend to create an electronic version of the Alexandria Library. This was set up in the eighth century BC by Ptolemy 1, Pharaoh of Egypt, to collect all the world’s knowledge. Whilst we don’t want to collect all the worlds knowledge we do want to collect as much knowledge on railways as possible. It is hoped that this will not only disseminate information and advice but also facilitate the search for those seeking to resource specialist parts, equipment and services..”

The next WATTRAIN Conference is in 2018 in Frisco Texas.


The APHTRO conference 2016 was held in New Delhi, India (19-21st October 2016)

A presentation on Indian Heritage Railways, by Rajesh Agrawal can be found  HERE

Principles of our international co-operation (Kyoichi Oda, President)

This year, our conference in New Delhi, India was the biggest we have ever held and successful thanks to much effort and support of our dearest Indian friends and Indian Railways. I would like to thank them very much and hope it was fruitful for all participants. To confirm premise of our activities, I would like to show three principles for our international co-operation by heritage railways.

Firstly, for every country, for every activity, all must be treated equally. Each country has its own history of railway development and the extent to which railways have been used and are used today can be very different. People’s understanding of railways, industrial heritage and heritage railway can vary from country to country. In some places activities are more advanced, in others, less so. It would be unfair to see and evaluate only their present state without considering the social and historical context.

Secondly, administration of an international organisation must not be done solely to one country’s way of thinking or business style. Things can be very different by region or country. We have members and potential members in; New Zealand and Australia in Oceania, China, Japan, Taiwan and Korea in Eastern Asia, South East Asia, each country in a different social situation, India and Sri Lanka in Central Asia, and Jordan in the Middle East. Their ways of thinking, business styles and social situations are not the same region by region, or even country by country in the same region. It is very important that we try to understand such differences. Our international organisation of heritage railways must be administered by balancing ways of thinking and business styles. This might not be so easy, but administration as ‘one size fits all’ is entirely wrong, because that could never be supported by people with different backgrounds.

Thirdly, we must not forget our friends who are making the effort in difficult situations in developing countries. Around three quarters of our members and potential members are from developing countries, or third world level. We know ordinary life is not so easy in some developing countries so we have to consider this in administering this, our international organisation. For example, we must keep our conference fee at less than 300USD. It is very good price this year, 105USD for APHTRO members thanks to the efforts of our Indian friends. If the price is too expensive, say more than 500USD or 1000USD, it would be like saying to the people in developing countries: “We don’t need you”, even though this were far from our purpose. If our administration were to be planned only from the viewpoint of people in richer countries, we would not be an Asia-Pacific organisation but a rich countries’ organisation. We must never allow this.


New Europe Railway Heritage Trust Logo

NERHT is a voluntary society founded in 1999 to help railway preservation in the former Soviet Union and the other ex-Communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

Access the latest Eastern Star newsletter: HERE

30742 Charters

Latest News from Martin Creese….
Find 30742 Charters on Facebook at www.facebook.com/30742charters

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The Flying Scotsman at the Locomotion Museum ~ Original Watercolour
The overall framed size is 39″ x 25″, the price on it is currently £495

Contact Lynn:  lynn@bondgategallery.co.uk