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Parting Shot


kirley
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Just got my copy of this book and would recommend it as a must have.

 

Norman Johnston founder of Colourpoint Books in Newtownards passed away on August 31, 2014.

 

Before his death he decided to write a book around all the photographs of trains and stations he had taken down the years. The book, now published posthumously, draws from his collection of photographs taken on Irish railways between 1964 and 1973, accompanied by extended captions, anecdotes and personal reflections.

 

He dedicated the royalties to the RPSI for the restoration of Locomotive No. 131.

 

It can be got here

http://www.steamtrainsireland.com/shop/

 

 

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Duly ordered. Thanks for the heads up Kirley. I must have most of the Colourpoint books but never made the connection to Norman.

 

Edited to add a missing s

Edited by 108
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Yes, definitely recommended!

 

My only real gripe is that the pics are reproduced with fairly large borders, even a few mm more all round would have been better still.

 

GN section pics are most common so there is a modest selection of CIE subjects. The NCC section also gets good coverage. The author didn't often visit the Bangor Line in the period so only a couple of pics there. A good mix of different types of shots - some portraits of locos steam and diesel, some portraits of coaches or stations, with 'trains/railcars in the landscape/at work' or wide views of stations also plentiful. Lots of railcars and a decent dose of diesels (!) so not just 'more steam'.

 

It's an indispensibe source of photos (and informative captions) for anyone interested in NI's railways in the 1960s and 1970s.

 

'Be Careful, Don't Rush' by Robin Masefield (even knowing the subject was the history of the Bangor Line with coverage of Bangor & Holywood, it took me a while to decipher the title!) I'd also recommend, but it wins the prize for very small photos, they are mostly either huge or tiny, albeit it's a heavily illustrated history not a photo album.

 

dont.jpg

 

Still no wiser, though, what manner of beast was 'the turquoise train' on the early 1960s Bangor Line; answers on a postcard...

Edited by 33lima
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I would take it to refer to MED 14 which was painted in a similar shade to the "catherwood blue" or eau-de-nil which the UTA applied to new trains in 1959-60 and also retained for buses for some time after that.  The "Bangor" version had white upper panels which looked a bit better than the all over colour did on the MPDs on the NCC lines. I don't know for certain whether there was a complete set done, but I didn;t come across any pictures showing a set and my informant for DD told me that it was only one car.

 

post-4092-0-03957100-1438122304_thumb.jpg

 

DD p 103

 

 

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Thanks Colm!

 

I may well be wrong, perhaps getting mixed up with what I saw on the NCC section later, but I think that the Bangor Line 'turquoise train' was, if not a complete set, then more than one car. And I'm fairly sure that it didn't have the white, cream or (my vote) very pale green uppers on the sides. And possibly included a ribbed power car and a slam-door trailer in the eau di nil (maybe 'one MED' equals 'one MED power car?')

 

That pic of 14 looks to be about the right period, though, as the painted-over-but-not-removed UTA red hand crest disc on the front suggests the pic was taken about the time the UTA adopted the new coat of arms ie early 1960s which is the time of my sightings.

 

The relative lack of sources is strange. Only one photo (and a colour one, at that) has surfaced. Anyone I asked back in the 1990s - which included Richard Whitford, Charles Friel, Leslie Stafford and WAG MacAfee - had no recollection of this livery on MEDs, cream uppers or no cream uppers.

 

I mentioned the business back then to Steve Johnson when he was compiling a set of aircraft-style Irish railway colour profiles and lo and behold, the next set he sent me over for review (this was before email!) had this profile of No.14:

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=14158&d=1406

 

I hadn't told him anything else - not that it was only no.14, not that it had wasp stripes rather than pale cab front uppers, so he obviously had another source.

 

Another strange thing is a reference to the new MPDs on test in the January 1958 Irish Railfans news - which I only recently found online - describing a demosntration run by a new MPD set, says that:

 

'The sets, unlike the railcars on the Bangor line, are finished in Brunswick Green - the standard livery for steam rolling stock.'

 

IRFN isn't always fullsome on livery details but all the evidence I have seen completely contradicts that and indicates that by the late 1950s, ALL the Bangor Line MEDs were in exactly the same livery as the first MPDs - Brunswick Green, with (very) Pale Green cab front uppers (one reason 'the turquiose train' stood out to us, a couple of years later). Evidently, the writer knew or believed otherwise! Even with all the extra pale green details they carried initially, the MEDs were turned out from new with Brunswick Green (which as you'll know the 'MED Development' booklet describes as 'Deep Brunswick Green') as their main colour and aside from such variations in shade as there may have been, kept that basic colour even after losing most of the Pale Green. Yet here is the IRFN correspondent saying in early 1958 that MPDs, by virtue of being in Brunswick Green, were differently-liveried from Bangor Line MEDs!

 

Sorry about the drift off topic!

 

Ivor

Edited by 33lima
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Well, not really, now that we are really going back over 50 years (1) to the era under discussion, and study of any historical period you like, throws up these kind of interesting anomalies, and there will probably never be a definitive "solution" unless some new contemporary source comes along - a photo album (colour!) or "official" UTA diagram or whatever. And the likelihood of this gets less each year that passes; think about how much must have already been thrown out, burnt etc..  And after all, look at some of the disagreements modellers of the more recent irish periods get into about what loco/coach carried which exact livery and when...! 

The colour diagram above  is fascinating as italso shows a railcar with the UTA yellow(gold) line, my understanding was that this was not carried by railcars, only steam coaches. And I've never seen a photo of it applied. 

Oh what fun it all is. And people like me amusing themselves with model "neverwassas"  and spoof history, on the SCDR thread.  Who knows what may yet turn up?

 

Colm

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Ah now, Colm...! I'd always thought the pic on the front of a certain pretty definitive book on Irish railcars shows an MED with the gold linining below the window level - 'narrow waist lining of gold edged with red' as the MEDT Development booklet describes it. My copy of the latter booklet is only a photocopy but the partial side view with valences removed, in the series of detail/construction photos, also shows the lining...IIRC that pic is in 'DD' too. As does the colour pic on p.34 of 'UTA in colour' - there's no chance that it's just light reflecting on the beading. It was never on the ribbed MEDs but I'm pretty certain the original coach conversion vehicles had it.

 

Yes livery discussions offer endless scope for fun! Colour memory being what it is, just adds to the mix! I'm still stubbornly certain of what I saw (a 'turquoise train' of at least two vehicles in the same pale grey-green carried by some UTA buses, with no cream sides, probably MEDs); where I saw it (looking up from the seafront near Carnalea, probably to the west); and when (early 1960s, on more than one occasion). But in the absence of anything else, I have to assume it was no.14. That was one of the delights of 'Diesel Dawn' for me, a plausible solution at last to a long-unanswered minor mystery...even though I'm still searching for the UTA X-File that could reveal that my memories were maybe not so far out, either!

 

Edit - I've just looked and that 'valences off' side pic is in DD too...and the 1953 pic of 6, 7 & trailer on p.98 also shows the waist lining!

 

Ivor

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