With the whole Country on near "Lockdown" ,and going out is "Verboten", (and quite rightly so) ,and as we enthusiasts are a very resilient breed ,I have decided to digress from the 08 pages ,and put random phots ,thoughts/jottings, on for your possible interest and amusement! Of course you could buck the trend and send me something to post of your own ,providing it falls within the boundaries of the law!
Yesterday ,I self isolated at Rowsley.Well very nearly as there was only Shaun and myself there ,both I quickly add drove our own cars ,preferring this to the "Russian Roulette" scenario of going by public transport,and being fair getting to Rowsley by service bus from Sheffield ,is becoming increasingly difficult as the local bus companies juggle with their routes and timings.You could be almost be forgiven for thinking that they dont want to all work together ,when a bus is timed to arrive in Bakewell ,and a rival bus companies bus, is timed to depart for the onward second leg of the journey some two or three minutes later ,but that might just be cynisism on my part.This is most probably an "Old Man Moan",BUT did you know that; GDPR was introduced ,quite rightly to protect our privacy,and hopefully reduce the rainforests cut down every week in the interest of sending endless quantities of junk mail,eg No I dont want to buy a lawnmower with a lifetime guarantee ,that ensures my lawn looks like a grass court at Wimbledon and has a wireless connection ,so I can operate it from my smart phone, trouble free ,from the comfort of my lounge!(You get the idea),being serious I can understand the need for protecting people's privacy but did you also know that attached to this is now another "bureau", set up by the government, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which you now have to now register with if you hold personal details of people, pertinent of course if you have a membership base.Unsurprisingly this comes at a cost,,,,,,,,,,, of only £35 if you pay by Direct Debit, for our category, or £40 normally(Every Year by the way).. I may be tempting fate here, but fresh air to breath is still free,but for how much longer??
Getting back to the serious stuff ,nows the time to catch up (electronically or phone ),to that mate ,you saw two years ago and you had promised him that photo that no-one else had got,and you would supply him with a copy? I have still got to find an efficient way of cataloguing and being able to retrieve any given slide when required, and before someone says "save them electronically" ,this opens up a whole new debate about the longevity of using this medium .After saying that I find colour slides far harder to manipulate ,and colour negs even harder than these so for the time being they will all stay in little plastic boxes ,away from direct light.The worrying part being this has been the case for the last forty to fifty years.Finally isnt it just sods law that when the proper stuff was there to photograph ,we were limited to the amount of film we could afford,using light meters either built into cameras or as an independent item.Cameras were relatively heavy compared to the DSLRs(digital cameras), of today that you can switch on put into auto mode and virtually guarantee a decent shot,or delete and repeat ,if of course the object of your attention is still in sight.I well remember gravitating to a Pentax 6x7 which is basically like an old 35mm SLR camera on steroids,but that large it had its own case as big as a small hat box and weighs an estimated 4 kilos!They take 120 roll film and boy are those cameras heavy .Memories of the slaughter of locos at Swindon works spring to mind,so the compulsion of visiting reguarly ,walking from the Station to the Works a guided tour of the Works and back to the station all on foot ,a round trip of probably four miles , and boy did that camera weigh heavy! ,I was nearly on my knees by the time I was travelling back on the train to Sheffield. Happy Days!!
We will never know ,and thats probably a good thing,but how many Ian Allan shedbooks with those precious personalised underlinings in them,note books with Rail Tour Details,Sheds visited forty plus years ago,prints with now lost negatives or negatives in sleeves have been disposed of by Women,who knows whats best for their son ,partner or Husband ???I shudder to think!!
Its very sad to me that for all intents and purposes ,the Dartmoor Railway may disappear without trace. I dont like anywhere closing ,and for me the site of the quarry where it was based conjures up special memories of years ago.Our old spotting Club ,would always visit this on an overnight Plymouth trip ,by motor coach which was our usual mode of transport .Due to the intense itinaries we followed this meant leaving Manchester at around 20.00 hrs Saturday evening to return to Manchester for around 19.30 hrs on a Sunday evening .Most of our usual overnight tours worked to this format ,but I suppose because of the distances involved on this particular trip you could "Cat Nap " more than say an over night midlands trip.However and its a large one,Meldon Quarry situated on Dartmoor ,had to be visited while we were travelling down rather than back up ,for the purpose of continuity. On this particular trip that was run probably annually through the seventies/early eighties.This meant arriving on the main road,(around 2.00-3.00am?), approximately half a mile from the very small,open ended shed based in the quarry .As memory serves there were no gates to encounter or for that matter fences.They didnt really need them as standing between the main road and the shed was very uneven terrain with a very liberal sprinkling of clumps of saplings and soon to be mature treesThere was a very narrowish track that went from the road to the quarry but this wound around various obstacles ,with no lighting on it so for the purpose of a speedy visit remained largely for us unused.The other aspect to consider was ,hardly anyone thought to bring a torch ,the efficient ones where then ,heavy cumbersome and not as user friendly as torches of today.Its was dark,no black!with no distant lights nothing. With the lights from the interior of the coach quickly getting swallowed up in the night. We disembarked as a semblance of a group heading off in the general direction of the usual location to see D3509.Oh i forgot to say !, it was always, or should I say a given this was the loco to be seen or groped depending on your preference .Almost as soon as the main party had left the coach screams could be heard eminating from the darkness, lads falling over saplings ,up and down banks,tripping up in rabbit holes etc,etc.Its fair to say and some did give up enroute that the party that departed from the coach wasnt the same party that returned to it, some thirty minutes later.Muddied ,scratched by brambles ,(that incidentaly you dont want to get tangled up in the pitch black of Dartmoor!),nettled ,leaves and twigs in their hair, you get the general idea!I have to say the brainier ,accomplished members that had been before and already seen D3509 ,would sometimes "wimp out ",and not bother getting off the coach.I loved going there ,as the masochist in me loved the challenge and hearing comrades literally fall by the wayside ,or in reality into bushes etc.I did manage on at least one occasion to visit in daylight as you can seen from the photo below.However I am now mortified ,as I never got a shot ,showing its number as D3509 or 08394 as it went to the great locoshed in the sky from Vic Berry's at Leicester in 1989,or did I?I will have to double check all my slides again as I did a lot of photting there just before its demise? oh for a decent slide filing system!
D3509,Meldon Quarry shed. sorry not been able to date this,but got vague recollections it was a car trip(carbash),to the South West.As far as I am aware ,the Buckley Wells or Northern Counties never did this location in daylight, it certainly was and still is to some extent a remote spot.This shed must have kept the worst of the weather off,but by no means could be termed as secure,and its a good job for us ,as of then it wasnt.
Werent we spoilt in those days?these are on the same strip of negs as the shot at Meldon quarry.If it was a choice between still having days like this, or the Internet,I know which I would pick! The speed that the Westerns were decimated , was staggering,and probably just a clerk with a red biro who decided they were non - standard,what a waste.The wizzos ,with a look and sound all of their own,Brilliant ,i wouldnt have missed them for the World!!Notice the secondman ,adjusting the headcode by manual means of a key to connect a square drive in a hole.Today I believe the driver(What secondman??) just "twiddles "(A Technical term!) buttons,in the cab and hey presto the digital display is set.Fantastic till something goes wrong.....................
Titley junction on the Welsh borders,and unfortunately its not a junction anymore.Now truncated its still a nice little place to visit,privately owned so invitations are necessary,either through a Railway club or their website. The station is a taste of how GWR branchlines used to be.The loco in front of you is an escapee from Peak Rail.owned by Roy and Les Smethurst ,it had a nomadic lifestyle for a couple of years, (after they had decided to sell up and retire) before settling here.Witness the 17D Rowsley shedplate it still wears .It also still has the nameplates "Margaret Ann",also bestowed on it ,by the two brothers.Its a little off the beaten track but well worth a visit if you get the chance ,and the bonus being theres an 03 there too!!
Sorry should have mentioned its a dual braked 03, the number being 03158.
Donny Plant ,Early 1981,and the writings on the wall for the Deltics.As previously mentioned if they could have eeked out another five years ,when there was more awareness re presevation ,im sure many more may have been saved.Not sure this would have been 100% a good thing ,as with their inherent complexities ,and the care and attention and of course a great amount of skill plus knowledge to keep them in running order, it would have just diluted all of this down,in the diesel preservation world.Probably at no time before (or since),had seven been seen together,and just like the long lamented Finsbury Park their home depot,sadly still missed.