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9 hours ago, Pilgrim in France said:

Spotters turfed off Grantham station?

It must have been about 1960. A friend and I bought a day return ticket from Boston to Grantham to do some trainspotting,. Around 3.30 an engine with a single luggage van turned up, at which point station staff approached all the trainspotters and asked to see a valid ticket. Apart from us, none of them had one, so they were herded into the luggage van and the train went off. About 40 minutes later some of them reappeared to collect their bikes on which they had come to the station. One of the lads told us they had been taken about a mile down the line and then unloaded at the trackside!

I don't know if this was a regular occurence but I can't see it happening today, thank goodness

A luggage van ride - what a treat!  I wonder what loco was used and how many of the spotters required it "for haulage"? 

 

Well worth a mile walk afterwards!

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5 minutes ago, great northern said:

Day trip to Grantham, early summer 1957.


That was a wonderfully evocative tale. Thanks for writing that out, I felt like I was there tagging along with the boys :)
 

5 minutes ago, great northern said:

Over to you. Would anyone else like to tell us about memories of a favourite place?


I can't reach back that far, or take everyone along to anywhere nearly as exotic as Grantham.
So here's "A day out at ... Purley ... in 19 ... 88".

Actually, this isn't really a day out. More like many separate half hours. I have no idea why we were in Purley, but we were. I was 8 at the time, and while I have plenty of memories from that age I don't have a complete record. The actual purpose of the trip obviously wasn't important enough to stick in my memory. Whatever we were doing must have had a definite booked end time though, and it was just at the "wrong" time. We'd always just miss our train home. But what happened afterwards is burned into my head. So I spent the same almost half an hour on the station every single week, for an entire summer holiday.

So I got used to the pattern of trains. They passed in almost the same sequence every time I was there. Not just the service trains, but the ones that weren't in service too. It was from this repeated experience that I internalised what a working timetable was, even if I didn't know what it was called yet. There was an order to it. A pattern. And I was soaking it up and working it out in my head.

The everyday stuff:

Express trains, in 8 or 12 car sets. 12 car sets often with a buffet in the centre of the formation making them CIG-BIG-CIG sets. Rushing past on the fast lines through platforms 1 (North) and 2 (South). Some of them in Blue/Grey, but more commonly wearing NSE. There were at least two different shades of NSE blue, a darker one and a lighter one. This is obvious when they were right next to each other in the same train, but perhaps not so obvious when they are in 32 year old photos with inconsistent lighting. There were probably 15 of these that passed in the nearly half-an-hour I was there.

CIGs and VEPs, singly or in pairs, stopping at platforms 3 (North) and 4 (South), then heading off north towards London, or south to Redhill and beyond. These were a bit less frequent, but between these and the expresses, there was rarely a period when there was not a train in sight somewhere.

There were also 455s -- using platform 4 heading north, and platform 5 south. Three north, and three south while I was there. One to Smitham, one to Tattenham, and finally one to Caterham -- this last one was my train. 

Then we get into the less frequent:

Bulleid design 2-EPBs were occasionally to be seen either on their own, or attached to a 4-VEP to make a 6 car train. I knew these were old, as I remembered we used to have them on our line before the 455s took over. (That might have been 4-EPBs rather than 2-EPBs though, now i think about it).

Gatwick Express sets with a Class 73, five Mk2 air con coaches, and a GLV driving van (the van always at the north end). I recall one or two each way while I was there. You could always tell when one was due because there would be a quiet spot just beforehand on the mainline.

Then there was a very shiny class 319 that would turn up, sit in Platform 6, wait for ages, then eventually go back north again. It seemed like no-one got off or got on. I wondered what it was for, and why an entire platform was dedicated to such a new train, doing something that no-one seemed to want. It seemed, in the words of a certain Sir Topham Hatt, not a very useful train. This is also tainted by me looking across at Platform 6, and recalling that we used to catch our train from that platform. And that it would be much easier to sit on that platform and look right across the station and see everything, rather than have to look from Platform 5 where the seats all faced the wrong way.

A pair of Mk1 DMUs would also come through northbound, briefly stop, then continue. Not long enough for people to get on or off, but there would be one single door-slam sound from it. It said 'Not in service' on the end destination blinds. The one in the middle, on the inner cab, said 'Redhill'.

I remember these Mk1 DMUs were in the schedule only a couple of minutes before my train arrived. On one occasion they were a bit late, and I was insistent that this wasn't our train that had arrived, because I hadn't seen them yet. I was persuaded to get on the train anyway, and just as we were pulling out of the station from platform 5, they rolled in to platform 3. Okay, maybe we are going home, after all, and not off to some random place...

Very occasionally, other things happened:

One day a big blue diesel was idling in the sidings. I don't recall it moving. I kept looking at it, expecting it to do something. It was still there in exactly the same spot when I left. I later determined it would probably have been a Class 56.

Another day a freight train passed southbound through platform 4. Lots of long wheelbase vans IIRC? My primary memory of this train was how dirty it was, and how much dirt swirled around it. I also remember the flashing tail light, which I considered highly unusual as almost nothing else had one. This, of course, is the land where two dim red squares in the headcode box counted as a tail lamp...

I also once saw a (presumably late running) Cross-Country InterCity service. Class 47 on the front, and Mk2 air con stock. A mixture of Blue/Grey and InterCity. This train really stood out to me as everything else I saw was made of fixed sets, and there were cabs where the liveries changed. It all made logical sense to me -- where the livery changed, the train could be taken apart and each part was a complete separate train that could be driven to separate places. But here the liveries changed several times in the middle of the train, without any pattern I could discern for why, and you certainly couldn't separate the train there and have each part be a complete set. It was all very foreign and interesting, and I had to know more...

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11 hours ago, great northern said:

Back to PN in 1958, and it is now long past the time when all the spotters will have gone home. Gannet appears with the 7.30 KX - Aberdeen. [snip] ... this is the only formation to be seen on PN which includes sleeping cars, so here they are.

 

1092095362_8sleepers.JPG.9818e004945069e539188b562a0074dc.JPG

Impressive beasts, those Thompsons.

Would this be the train formerly known as 'The Aberdonian' ... or a relief to it? First time I recall seeing these sleeping cars on PN. See - it was worth lingering on at PN this evening and enduring the 'telling off' when I got back home late:punish:

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12 minutes ago, great northern said:

Got to go for a hearing test, with expensive new aids in prospect. Apparently the new type only last about five years, and mine are within three months of that. Can't manage without them though.

 

Based on a conversation I had a couple of years ago, with a directly employed NHS hospital-based audiologist, you might benefit from speaking to such a person about the need for, and the characteristics of, different kinds of hearing aids, before you pay large amounts of money to an independent provider for something "fancy", even if that provider holds the NHS contract for your area. You may find that something more basic and less expensive is equally suitable.

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Being a '59 model, steam had gone before I was allowed to explore on my own, so this is mostly blue (with the odd green )diesel era, sorry!

 

Saturday morning would see me catch the 33 bus to South Shields town centre, where at the station a dirty, rattly met-Cam class101 2 car set would be waiting to rasp and shake me the 30 minute ride to the great curving arches of Newcastle Central Station, the object of my desires!

 

My preferred spot was at the south end of platform 9/10, where the freight lines could be seen plus the Carlisle line.  Other preferred the north end with the south and north tyneside suburban services in view, but that wasn't for me - no idea why!

 

A constant stream of ECML expresses would come and go, the chugging of 45/6's and 47's got to be a little boring, and then the highlight would arrive a Deltic hauled train.  You couldn't hear yourself think next to one of these beasts.  Hopefully it would be 'Deltic 3', Meld, but hardly ever was - hence it being my favourite.  The excitement built, the signals cleared the route and the starting bell would ring, then the mighty Deltic ran up to notch one under the great roof - the sound was absolutely spine tingling as they engines revved up, then again as the train began to move out.  Steam man or not, you could not fail to be impressed by the sheer volume and power these locos exuded.  On a good day maybe this would be repeated three or four times, before either the model shop enticed me away, or the boring ride home had to be undertaken.  Yes, antother fary 101, that was all we ever got.

 

I still love Deltics, but seeing them away from Newcastle or York stations under the roof just isn't the same, sound wise.

 

Back to our sponsor......

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3 hours ago, LNER4479 said:

Would this be the train formerly known as 'The Aberdonian' ... or a relief to it? First time I recall seeing these sleeping cars on PN. See - it was worth lingering on at PN this evening and enduring the 'telling off' when I got back home late:punish:

The Aberdonian had left KX at 7.30pm for years Graham, but in summer 58 it was moved back to a 1015pm departure. The one I run left at 7.30 on Fridays only, and I chose it because it only had three sleeping cars in the formation. Andy (The Green Howards), very kindly built the two Thompson cars for me, and the SLF is, for the time being, standard Hornby.

 

A full sleeping car train is beyond me at the moment, though I'd love one with a number of the 66ft 6in Gresleys in the formation. Unfortunately there seems to be no way of getting those except by scratchbuilding.

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3 hours ago, gr.king said:

Based on a conversation I had a couple of years ago, with a directly employed NHS hospital-based audiologist, you might benefit from speaking to such a person about the need for, and the characteristics of, different kinds of hearing aids, before you pay large amounts of money to an independent provider for something "fancy", even if that provider holds the NHS contract for your area. You may find that something more basic and less expensive is equally suitable.

I'Ve tried NHS aids, and I just didn't get on with them at all. I have widgets with my present ones that allow me to hear TV and phone through them, and they are an essential for me now, so I really have to go with the same manufacturer for compatibilty. Hearing is such a vital part of life, so I'm prepared to pay to get the best, despite my little whinge about the cost.

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13 hours ago, Pilgrim in France said:

Spotters turfed off Grantham station?

It must have been about 1960. A friend and I bought a day return ticket from Boston to Grantham to do some trainspotting,. Around 3.30 an engine with a single luggage van turned up, at which point station staff approached all the trainspotters and asked to see a valid ticket. Apart from us, none of them had one, so they were herded into the luggage van and the train went off. About 40 minutes later some of them reappeared to collect their bikes on which they had come to the station. One of the lads told us they had been taken about a mile down the line and then unloaded at the trackside!

I don't know if this was a regular occurence but I can't see it happening today, thank goodness

That seems extreme, to say the least, but looking back now I can understand why spotters weren't tolerated at Grantham, particularly at weekends. There really were a lot of us, and like all small, and some not so small boys, we could get very excitable, not to mention what we got up to when we were bored becuse there hadn't been a train for several nanoseconds.

 

The platforms weren't, and still aren't, very wide, and having a mob of kids running among a load of passengers just trying to get on and off trains was a real nuisance. So, the platform ticket ploy was easily rumbled, and even those of us who had come by train were normally firmly removed, so we turned our attention to Retford, where we were tolerated if we stayed down the far end of Platform 1.

 

By 1960 I was 15 and armed with my mother's camera, and from then on I was not challenged at Grantham. Newark always seemed to be zero tolerance, and Doncaster varied depending who was on duty. Platform 10 at Kings Cross was always allowed though, not that I could afford to go there very often.

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20 hours ago, great northern said:

Back to PN in 1958, and it is now long past the time when all the spotters will have gone home. Gannet appears with the 7.30 KX - Aberdeen.

 

We've temporarily moved on a few months, by the way, as Gannet has a double chimney. this is the only formation to be seen on PN which includes sleeping cars, so here they are.

 

 

1092095362_8sleepers.JPG.9818e004945069e539188b562a0074dc.JPG

Impressive beasts, those Thompsons.

Always good to see the sleepers make their one appearance every three(+?) months!

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8 hours ago, great northern said:

A full sleeping car train is beyond me at the moment, though I'd love one with a number of the 66ft 6in Gresleys in the formation. Unfortunately there seems to be no way of getting those except by scratchbuilding.

Sleeping car trains and in particular the recreating of them in model form, is something that's exercising my mind at the moment. I'm looking to do a similar thing in time with my Carlisle project as you have done with Peterborough, ie recreate a complete day sequence based on the actual timetable.

 

Having had a first 'stab' at putting together a schedule (based on a treasured copy of the 1955 Bradshaw's timetable), I did include the full 24 hours, 'just to see'. Guess what? 22 - yes, 22! - sleeping car trains passed through the station during the hours of darkness. Of course the sensible thing to do would be to 'draw stumps' at 10pm and start again at 7-8am. But I find myself fatally drawn to the mystique of the hours of darkness, not least because there was so much else of interest traffic-wise going on at the same time ... so I might have to start a programme of building sleeping car vehicles of my own.

 

To bring us slightly back 'on point', I am also too young to regale you with trainspotting tales from the steam days .... but plenty from more recent times. One such concerns Carlisle station - in the middle of the night! For reasons that I won't bore you with, I ended up spending the night on the station in the summer of 1983 (I was 19; you just did those sort of things then). Effectively 'dossing down' on a station bench I couldn't get any meaningful shut-eye - the place was far too interesting at 1-2am in the morning! Non-stop train action with sleepers, mail trains, parcels etc all being attended to.

 

So, recreating that in model form really interests me. We used to operate my Dad's layout throughout the night time period of the timetable. The stations all had grain-of-wheat lighting, the depot had yard lamps so we switched the big light off and just operated the railway like that, aided occasionally with a torch. Great fun!

 

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1 hour ago, stewartingram said:

Referring back to that day at Grantham, 63 years ago? Now just think 63 years back from that, what would it be like?

 

Stewart

As it happens, Nov 19th was my grandfather's birthday, and that had me counting back. He was born in 1889, and I jumped a bit when I realised that my family memories now go back over 130 years. He would have been five in 1894, a bit young to be spotting, I should think.

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2 minutes ago, great northern said:

The K1 got its portrait took. I'd have got a clip round the ear if I'd said that at home when I was a kid. 

And a good thing too. Your use of English is often better than mine, and I appreciate that. 

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30 minutes ago, Oldddudders said:

And a good thing too. Your use of English is often better than mine, and I appreciate that. 

Well, having a mother and a favourite aunt who were both teachers, I suppose you could say that I had the advantage of being brung up proper like.

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4 minutes ago, great northern said:

Well, having a mother and a favourite aunt who were both teachers, I suppose you could say that I had the advantage of being brung up proper like.

A legal career no doubt re-emphasised the need for good unambiguous English, albeit with Random capital Letters thrown in for Good measure just like my iPad insists on doing!

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12 minutes ago, thegreenhowards said:

A legal career no doubt re-emphasised the need for good unambiguous English, albeit with Random capital Letters thrown in for Good measure just like my iPad insists on doing!

I know it is very old fashioned, but I happen to think that the English language is a glorious thing when properly used. I despair when I use a descriptive word and a young person asks "what does that mean?"  Even more so, when I try to think of a simpler synonym, and get asked "why didn't you say that in the first place"?  "Cool" cannot describe every positive emotion known to humanity, whatever most younger people seem to think. And am I one of the last alive who cringes at the notice that tells me that something is closed " Due to.......whatever it is?

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1 hour ago, great northern said:

The K1 got its portrait took. I'd have got a clip round the ear if I'd said that at home when I was a kid.

And in certain parts of RMweb too.

 

Oops, I know that one should never start a sentence with "and".

 

Or "but".

 

But not always.

 

And I know that those are not proper sentences coz they ain't got no verbs...

Edited by St Enodoc
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2 hours ago, great northern said:

I know it is very old fashioned, but I happen to think that the English language is a glorious thing when properly used. I despair when I use a descriptive word and a young person asks "what does that mean?"  Even more so, when I try to think of a simpler synonym, and get asked "why didn't you say that in the first place"?  "Cool" cannot describe every positive emotion known to humanity, whatever most younger people seem to think. And am I one of the last alive who cringes at the notice that tells me that something is closed " Due to.......whatever it is?

I agree wholeheartedly. I have spent a lifetime as a lawyer writing and negotiating contracts in the oil industry and recall arguing with a very nice gentlemen from a big oil company over the effect of the placement of one comma. There was a mere $87million at stake. The use of precise language is not always just of academic interest. There is something rather elegant in something well written.

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1 minute ago, David Bell said:

I agree wholeheartedly. I have spent a lifetime as a lawyer writing and negotiating contracts in the oil industry and recall arguing with a very nice gentlemen from a big oil company over the effect of the placement of one comma. There was a mere $87million at stake. The use of precise language is not always just of academic interest. There is something rather elegant in something well written.

It was my cynical belief that legals were distinctly parsimonious with commas, precisely so that differences in interpretation could prolong dialogue and keep everyone in fees!

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