Durham Station Bankers

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Beamish
GER J70 0-6-0T Tram
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Re: Durham Station Bankers

Post by Beamish » Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:03 pm

Maybe this will jog a few memories?
Attachments
Durham banker V1 67637.jpg
V1 67637, Durham 1960, copyright D Milburn

EKTARPLASM
NER Y7 0-4-0T
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Location: Durham

Re: Durham Station Bankers

Post by EKTARPLASM » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:58 am

Beamish wrote:Maybe this will jog a few memories?
It certainly does!
I lived on Durham railway station between 1958 and 1964 in No.2 Station House which was located directly above the parcels office.
I recall seeing the remnants of the G5's and ugly A8's but mostly V1/V3's as station pilots during this period which in turn where eventually superceded towards the end by those small diesel electrics, BR class 24.
I was privileged to have been taken for rides on the pilot a few times when I was a toddler much to my mothers apprehension and sometimes panic. My mother said I was often snatched out of her arms by the driver who would say "stop worrying, he'll love it". "He will remember it for ever" and the like.
My memories of most of those rides are vague with the exception of one in particular which I remember vividly and began when I found the station pilot (V1/V3) parked in the long bay platform (unmarked platform 5). The same platform depicted in the previously posted photo.
On this occasion I was invited onto the footplate and given a full and detailed run down of all the controls, gauge glasses etc. and recall the vacuum brake was a Gresham and Craven job. I got a bit of a fright when the action of the "blower" and fire dampers was demonstrated as it created a sudden rush of hot air back into the cab from the open firehole door. After the "lesson" I was expecting to be asked to leave the footplate but to my surprise and delight the driver closed the cab door and asked me to take the hand break off which I think was behind the fireman's-side seat. Being only 4 years of age I had trouble getting the tight handle to turn so the fireman did it. We then trundled gently back (bunker first) out of platform 5 onto the up-slow line, past Durham North signal box and into a siding just north of the box, where we awaited the arrival of the next train to be assisted over the viaduct.
After some time had elapsed I saw a Peppercorn-headed passenger train flash past the fireman's side window. I know it to have been a Peppercorn loco because of the unique shape of the smoke deflectors on those engines, other than that it was too fast to allow me to read its nameplate.
Not long after this we moved gently forward onto the up-slow line again and gently buffered-up to the last carriage of the passenger train standing in platform 4. The driver told me to keep my head down when we pass through the station because if the station master sees me he would get the sack. At that age I did not know what getting the sack meant but instinct told me it was something bad. After two "crows" on the whistle we began to move and pushed the passenger train out of the station and across the viaduct helping it on its way South. We stopped about 3/4 of the way over the viaduct and after a short delay ran slowly back towards the station. It must have been the last pilot job of the day as we were routed through the crossover on the viaduct from the up line onto the Down line and then onto the Down slow line into platform 3 where we stopped and I was helped off the footplate. There was a large crowd of children of all ages waiting on the platform all shouting "what was it like" and so forth but being a very shy boy in those days, I pushed my way through the crowd and ran off home to tell my mother all about it. The pilot continued on to Gateshead.
I was so impressed with all the copper pipes, brass handles and gauges, the next day I drew a full-size picture of all the pipe work etc on my bedroom wall with wax crayons, which were subsequently confiscated.
The driver who gave me this most memorable day was Tommy Thompson. He lived at Prospect Terrace, Nevilles Cross in Durham City and the last time I saw him was the mid-1970's when he was confined to a wheelchair following a stroke. Sadly, another stroke finished him off.
My early years on Durham Railway station and the generosity of people like Tommy Thompson and the signalmen and some porters led me eventually to become a volunteer steam locomotive fireman on the NYMR in the 1980's. The seed had been planted.
Another regular duty carried out by the station pilot at Durham usually occurred around about mid mornings. The pilot would assemble a small goods train consisting of an open wagon, a box van and a guards van, all assembled and taken from the engine shed area. Sometimes this tiny goods would be taken straight off to the south and be back within an hour or hour and a half. Other days it would be assembled as usual but backed into platform 7 (bay platform opposite Durham South signal box) before the afore mentioned would take place. I think it may have been dropping off supplies to signal boxes etc and the branch lines off Relly Mill junction (triangle).

Upon its return, the three wagons would be separated on the engine shed roads and sidings ready for the next time. Sometimes a little pole shunting was employed too with a purpose made pole device.

Beamish
GER J70 0-6-0T Tram
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:23 pm

Re: Durham Station Bankers

Post by Beamish » Sat Oct 04, 2014 5:02 pm

67687.jpg
67687 banking a train away from Durham over the viaduct.
Thanks Ektarplasm for that fascinating account of an early brush with the footplate. I first saw the bankers at Durham when I was in the county hospital with a broken arm. The ward had a magnificent view of the viaduct, but it was A8s then.
Hope the attached pic jogs a few more memories. September 1960.

Dixie
LNER N2 0-6-2T
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Re: Durham Station Bankers

Post by Dixie » Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:51 pm

During my visits to Durham around 1950, I recall that any banking needed was provided by G5s. I also seem to recollect that a slip coupling may have been attached to the front of the G5s. Can anyone confirm the latter?

EKTARPLASM
NER Y7 0-4-0T
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Location: Durham

Re: Durham Station Bankers

Post by EKTARPLASM » Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:35 pm

Beamish wrote:
67687.jpg
Thanks Ektarplasm for that fascinating account of an early brush with the footplate. I first saw the bankers at Durham when I was in the county hospital with a broken arm. The ward had a magnificent view of the viaduct, but it was A8s then.
Hope the attached pic jogs a few more memories. September 1960.
Thank you "Beamish". Its nice to know something good came out of your broken arm.

Nice photo again, and of my favourite variant of the V1/3's, namely with straight steam pipes and hopper style bunker. Its a great shame that none of these handsome engines were preserved. I recall that light engine they could accelerate like a sports car, very, very nippy and without any wheel slip.

My father was responsible for maintaining/repairing all things to do with the track points, signalling etc. in those days from beyond Newton Hall, to Durham, and all the way to Ferryhill in the other direction. His workshop was on the Wharton Park side of the station just a little way along from the separate toilet building. It had a bay window onto the platform. In front of the bay window there was a red painted machine on which you could stamp embossed letters/numbers onto aluminium or tin strip, a sort of very early Dymo labelling machine if you like. Today, my fathers workshop is now a café.

Seeing the end of the viaduct in your latest photo upload reminds me of the time he said a finial had dropped off the signal gantry which spanned the viaduct in those days, just a little further to the right of the scene in your photo. The station master at the time went for my father and asked him to follow him onto the viaduct. They stopped at the signal gantry and the station master said "what do you think of that?" My father was looking at a mark on the railing top on the viaduct and said "it looks like something has hit it" to which the stationmaster replied "no, not that, look down there". My father looked over the side of the viaduct and saw a two foot square hole in the slate roof of a house below, in North Road. Close to the viaduct was a doctors surgery in the upstairs of what looked like a terraced house. The finial had fallen from one of the small shunting signal lattice posts at the end of the gantry and gone straight through the slate roof of the surgery and the ceiling, finally coming to rest in the waiting room. Its just sheer luck that it happened at a time when the waiting room was empty. My father was instructed to visit the surgery by his supervisor and ask if he could have the finial back but he was told they were keeping it as evidence, presumably for insurance purposes.

Following the incident, all other remaining finials had to be inspected which my father said was difficult because the finials were not bolted or riveted onto the tops of the lattice posts but were instead kept in place by cleats which were on the inside areas of the posts/finials. Rusting and disintegration of the cleats and their tightening bolts was the route cause.

On another issue, a man was called in once a year to inspect the interiors of the hollow vertical columns of the viaduct to ensure there was no build up of water etc inside as this would have caused extra stresses on the structure. There were manhole covers along the centre of the viaduct (between the tracks) to allow such access. Apparently the inspection was a very long job in those days. Don't know what the situation is today.

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richard
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Re: Durham Station Bankers

Post by richard » Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:40 pm

Beamish: So the county hospital was near the station? I'm thinking that photo looks like it is taken from the park that overlooks the station & viaduct today.

I think have a photo of a 'Swallow' Class 91 from that location. Not quite the same :-) (I used to live across the other side of North Road in my postgrad days)
Richard Marsden
LNER Encyclopedia

STAFFORDA4
NER J27 0-6-0
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Re: Durham Station Bankers

Post by STAFFORDA4 » Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:52 pm

Wharton Park was a lovely place from which to spot locos and have fun playing, in between trains. My favourite memory is July 1963, Falcon & Gannet passing on the viaduct.

Beamish
GER J70 0-6-0T Tram
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Re: Durham Station Bankers

Post by Beamish » Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:20 am

Yes Richard, the photo was taken from Wharton Park, a rather precipitous, pretty backdrop to the north side of the station. The County Hospital lay further to the south in the shadow of the viaduct. It's screened with trees I believe now, but in the 50s, there was a clear view not only of the railway but also the familiar green Durham city buses that paused in the street below.
I was thrilled to see the footage, some years ago of Tornado tearing over the viaduct at 75 mph or so. Things were much more sedate in the latter days of steam. My father, who worked at the pit often told me that the 'coal owners' ( as he termed them) had given undertakings not to mine beneath either Durham's fine Norman cathedral or the railway viaduct. However subsidence was inevitable and it gave rise to severe speed restrictions and the use of banking locos to reduce stress on the structure from train locos struggling to get heavy expresses underway. Durham, with its seven platforms was quite a station then.
I started this thread referring to a journey I made from Durham to York in January 1959. The platform was crowded that day and our train, already late continued to lose time. It was an age before we departed Durham and I wonder now, after all these years whether the banker, by then a V1/3 as the A8s had been withdrawn a month before) had added extra stock to the overcrowded train before giving it a shove!

EKTARPLASM
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Location: Durham

Re: Durham Station Bankers

Post by EKTARPLASM » Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:59 pm

EKTARPLASM wrote:
Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:35 pm
Beamish wrote:67687.jpg

In front of the bay window there was a red painted machine on which you could stamp embossed letters/numbers onto aluminium or tin strip, a sort of very early Dymo labelling machine if you like. Today, my fathers workshop is now a café.
SPEAK OF THE DEVIL:
Dymo prototype2.jpg
Dymo Prototype

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