Posts Tagged ‘May 2016’

The Beattie Bash

June 25, 2016

Back in 1962 I travelled on a special train around the suburbs of South West London. For much of the journey it was hauled by a pair of truly old steam locos – engines which dated from the 1870s. The previous year I had been to Wadebridge in Cornwall to see these engines. My dad, bless him, seemed to realise that it was important to me. Both the visit to Wadebridge and the special train have featured on this blog.

Sadly, I had no usable camera for the special train so I have no photos. But on May 29th 2016 a chance came to sort of rectify that for the identical two engines were due to be at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre at Quainton Road. And we were there, complete with camera. It was possible, once again, to ride behind those two locos and see them in action.

The engines were designed by an engineer called Joseph Beattie and the railway centre dubbed this event, ‘The Beattie Bash’.

First off there was just one loco running.


It is a lovely little engine but up at the end of the yard, the other old lady had been prepared and was about to appear. This loco was detached from the train.

image004And then the other loco was backed out of the yard.


For a moment these old girls – each some 140 years old – were side by side but soon they were getting organised on the train.


And here they come.


And here are my two old friends – first met at Wadebridge on 24th July 1961 – as they take a breather at Quainton Road 0n 29th May 2016.


The song thrush

June 20, 2016

I always rather liked thrushes. We do see them from time to time but just recently, presumably with a growing family to feed, a pair have been coming much closer to the house – close enough for a reasonable photo.


As is often the case with birds, they alternate having a good and careful look around with time spent hunting for suitable food.


What a fab bird. Beautiful!

Guard Training

June 15, 2016

On a recent trip to the Swanage Railway (last month) we knew there would only be one passenger train operating but we were caught unawares by a freight train awaiting our passenger train at Corfe Castle station.

As we approached, I snapped a hurried photo of the loco at the head of the goods train – a steamy and atmospheric sort of photo on what was a grim day for weather.


Later we discovered this train was out and about for guard training. We caught up with it again later in the day when we alighted at Corfe Castle

The loco is number 31806 and she is of class U – often called U-boats. The first ones were rebuilds of the ill-fated River class tanks. They had been introduced in 1917 and they became U class from 1928. 31806 had been one of those powerful tank engines.

During my train spotting days she was based at Basingstoke and never came my way although I saw 42 of the 50 engines of this class.

Anyway, in atrocious weather she pulled her assorted wagons into Corfe Castle station, there to await the arrival of the passenger train down from Norden.


And here comes that passenger train.


A moment later the man in the hi-viz jacket was exchanging single line working tokens with the footplate crew on the lovely M7 tank on the passenger train.image008

Meanwhile, the guards in training were waiting patiently in their 1942 built guards van.


That really shows the rain!

Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum

June 9, 2016

I thought this museum was fantastic, even though some is outside and the day we were there was very, very rainy.

The museum is sited at the Norden station of the Swanage Railway. This has a large car park and gives scope for a grand day out. But the museum is somewhere not to miss.

The bits of tramway are just lovely. They look the part and I love this junction for hand pushed mine trucks.


That square of metal in the background is a sort of four way junction.image004In better weather we might have spent more time outside. There are good explanation boards and things to see. But it was throwing it down so we headed for the recreation of a mine head.

The ball clay that was mined had all sorts of use.


It was ideal for clay pipes but also used in products from insulators to a cleansing agent for piano key hammers.

A very child friendly model of a pit tramway. Well, it amused me!


When ready you can descend into the mine. There had been a mine here but this is pure re-creation and 100% above ground. But as you descend you’ll forget that you are well above ground level. It has the feel and atmosphere of a mine. It is dimly lit – enough to see by, but I used flash to show up mine and wife.


At the end of the mine you get to the clay face.



Having admired all there is to see you turn to the right and find yourself outside and right by the entrance to the site.

Guess what. It’s free but donations are requested with a suggestion of a pound a person. Having seen it, it is worth more – a lovely bonus for a day out on Purbeck.