B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

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Mickey
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Britannia locos on the GE

Post by Mickey »

Some railway guards and goods guards in particular in decades gone by use to carry a bottle of cold tea around with them in there 'traps' because cold tea was apparently a refreshingly cold drink that quenched a thirst.
Last edited by Mickey on Tue May 11, 2021 9:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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rockinjohn
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days/channelsea sidings

Post by rockinjohn »

Hi all on reflection the view from the Stratford down sparks platform( with binoculars you could see the scrap line full of F6's&Clauds@ the Works) of Channelsea Sidings was always blocked by stowed parcel vans with it there would
appear no entry/exit fom the down lines apart from "the long way round" in/out, stock after being retrived would pass the stated platform with an N7 or L1@ the head & just past Stratford would queue awaiting a path into the "street" Summer Saturdays you could witness 2/3 trains head to tale the last in line having an immaculate Brit tender first just behind or buffered up(coupled)? suppose it saved pathways on busy days seem to remember this in early diesel days also,When I did eventually observe those particular sidings it was occupied by Met.Camm DMU rail cars(in that earlier lighter shade of green)or Craven DMU's.along with parcels stock mainly Gresley build.
Mickey
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by Mickey »

Did you like the 'Brits' on the GE jj?. They looked at home on the GE even under the wires between Liverpool street & Shenfield and all the way to Norwich.
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rockinjohn
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by rockinjohn »

Hi Mickey did I like the "Brits" is the pope catholic?a sight to behold when loved by their regular crews, when 70037 went to Crewe for shopping "30A" &its regular rostered crews all spent time brickdusting the brass/cleaning the already cream roof, burnishing the buffers etc "Hardy's" idea to show Crewe works what they really could look like, the crews drew straws to see who would take it to "1B"& offered to go all the way with the LMR crew which was declined,much anticipation/dissapointment on its return to "30A" after works overhaul looking grubby, but in fine fettle they soon had it sparkling,even when due to lack of shed staff @ "30A"& all the class ended up on the GE shedded @"32A" with maybe a few @"31B", they still looked good &due to the EE type 's 4(cleaners based @ the "street) allocation @"30A" found themselves on the Clactons, a cakewalk,I liked the high sided tenders for the LMR's late members for the North Wales runs(Irish Mail)etc, one of which remained unnamed its said when the names came out the hat for the LMR Build later allocation, they ran out of names, all that was left was size7 and a half, which didnt suit, so 70047 remained namless think what you will(ha)but a mystery for the time,shades of the unnamed "streak"!jj
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days/brits

Post by rockinjohn »

Hi Mickey I liked the Brits anywhere, although my fav.Standard would have to be the s/chimney 9F,I enjoyed the Brits @ Paddington/St Pancras& Euston(the Manchesters), also they did the long west country workings from Laira up,but seemed unloved there,but Canton got their head around them & just like the GE accepted them even if the driving position not as the GWR preferred,& after the "crash" all those holes in the side smoke deflector plates didnt deter the majesty of the "Red Dragon"/Capitals Express" arriving @ Paddington, sure the mists/fogs hampered the crews viewing & the stated cause of the accident,but wouldnt have thought those conditions in Essex/Suffolk/Norfolk& Kent much better or worse.
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thesignalman
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by thesignalman »

The problem with any left-hand drive engine on WR metals was signal positioning as many were on the right-hand side of the line to give good viewing to right-hand drive locos. The 9Fs got the brunt of the grumbles because their boilers were long, but surely not much longer than a Britannia?

The real failing was of the WR not reviewing the signal positions and configurations when those locos were introduced. Just making some a little taller would have made a big difference.

John
"BX there, boy!"
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Mickey
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by Mickey »

Following on from John's post above it always amazes me when watching B.R.(WR) dvds and noticing virtually all the semaphore signals positioned on the right-hand side for GWR right-hand driven locos although they did even have some left-hand positioned lower quadrant signals on the GWR/WR but what about later on during the 1950s & 1960s for left-hand driven locos such as the Britannia's & 9Fs especially being driven from the left side of the footplate plus if smoke & steam were beating down along the boiler as well those drivers just had to do the best they could.

On the GN during the late 1960s & early 1970s even though for decades 'our' steam locos were mainly left-hand driven 'we' still had a few right-hand positioned semaphore signals on the main line several that come to mind were at Hitchin South the Up fast line home signal near the tall over bridge with the Up fast to Up slow line stop signal beside it also at Huntingdon North No.1 the tall Down fast line home with the Down fast line distant beneath it for Huntingdon North No.2 also with the Down fast to Down slow line stop signal beside it also x2 right-hand side semaphore stop signals on the Down fast line were at Peterborough North one no.3 signal just beyond the station on a bracket post and positioned beside the Up fast line the same side as Peterborough North box and another stop signal beyond no.3 being no.4 stop signal 'slotted' with Spital Junction box (Spital Junction Down fast line home signal) and positioned on a right-hand positioned bracket post on the approach to Spital Junction.
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Mickey
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by Mickey »

I had a unexpected ride down to Newcastle during the early hours of a Saturday morning when I was a late teenage secondman at Kings Cross back in 1975 when the booked secondman for the job 'blew it in' for the 1:00am Newcastle. At the time I was either in no.4 the Peterborough link or no.3 the Doncaster link I can't recall anyway the Newcastle jobs were in no.1 link or the top link for drivers & secondmen at Kings Cross. The Kings Cross foreman came over to me because I had booked on duty 'spare' and asked me to go on the 1:00am Newcastle that was up no.8 platform (formerly the celebrated no.10 platform prior to May 1972) so I left the train crews mess room and made my went down to the loco at the country end of no.8 platform at the head of it's train. The loco on the 1:00am Newcastle that night was a Brush type 4 (class 47) and the driver was known to other drivers at Kings Cross as 'Angry Silence' who only spoke but few words and who had probably been on the loco for some 20+ years at that time so he was probably a ex fireman on steam locos?. The outward journey Down to Newcastle with a stop at York was uneventful and we arrived at Newcastle city station around 6:20am on the Saturday morning in broad daylight and then after being relieved by another loco crew spent the whole of that Saturday just up the hill from the station in the West Parade hotel where Kings Cross train crews lodged.

At around 9:30pm on the Saturday evening my driver and myself along with our guard left the West Parade hotel and we made our way down to Newcastle city station to await our return working back up to Kings Cross which when it appeared was a Deltic hauled express known as 'the 1st mails' which may have originated from Aberdeen?. After we relieved the 'northern loco crew' off 'the 1st mails' we shortly departed Newcastle city station sometime after 10:00pm and headed south over the King Edward VII bridge and the 'coaly Tyne' and towards York our first and only stop on route back up to Kings Cross which we arrived at sometime around midnight. After a prolonged stopover at York of maybe around 20-25 minutes we departed York station for Kings Cross except that we made a stop at 'Donny' to take on a 'pilot driver' because due to engineering work that Sunday morning on the main line via Grantham we were diverted off the Up fast line at Black Carr Junction (south of Doncaster) to go via Lincoln for a 'moonlight ride' across the Lincolnshire countryside before re-joining the GN main line at Werrington Junction (north of Peterborough) sometime a little after 2:00am and after dropping the pilotman off at Peterborough station it was 'right away' Kings Cross!.

At 3:23am by the hands of the large clock on the footbridge on no.1 platform at Kings Cross on a quiet Sunday morning the distinctive 'humming sound' of twin Napier turbines could be heard of an approaching Deltic arriving up no.1 platform to a empty Kings Cross terminus as we came to a stand just off the hydraulic buffer stop.

Another Deltic hauled express train known as 'the 2nd mails' that followed the 'the 1st mails' about 15-20 minutes behind 'the 1st mails' were both regular workings on the Up line into Kings Cross during the early 1970s.
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Mickey
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by Mickey »

A funny secondman's job at Kings Cross was being booked on the Wood Green & Rowntree's shunting pilot which was always a 350hp 0-6-0 class 08 diesel loco. The job was a 5 link drivers & secondmen's diagram and after signing on duty at the Kings Cross signing on point you and your driver would catch a train out to Wood Green (renamed Alexandra Palace in 1982) and find the loco which would be somewhere around the Wood Green or Bounds Green area.

The Rowntree's siding on the Up side of the running lines just beyond the Down Hertford line flyover would be shunted first which didn't take long as it was only one road going into the Roundtree's warehouse and 3 roads outside the warehouse anyway usually the bloke who was doing the shunting would come up to the 0-6-0 shunter and hand the secondman a box of Roundtree's chocolate bars after which the 0-6-0 shunter would make it's way down to the south side of Wood Green station to shunt the sand sidings. Later on the 0-6-0 shunter would make it's way around to the old Palace Gates side of Bounds Green carriage sheds and shunt Palace Gates then finally the 0-6-0 shunter would makes it's way back around to the main lines side of Bounds Green carriage sidings and shunt the carriage sidings.

Those 350hp 0-6-0 diesel shunters being of a short wheel base could 'throw the loco crew around in the cab' when going over sets of points and poor quality sidings track.
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rockinjohn
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by rockinjohn »

Hi Mickey I do await your memories &enjoy, I never know where to post some of my memories as they sometimes come back & this seems the best/easiest for moi, this time the Brit "cream roof"got me thinking around mid '56/'57 summertime I had got the 611 trolleybus to Moorgate, then walked around the back of the lower level of Broad Street goods depot then along Primrose Street?&started down the cab throughfare to the station itself, looking over the right hand wall stood the Brits&Sandringham's on the "street" stabling point,but over on the left side I spied a well oiled B12 gleaming in the sunshine, gaining the platform gave me a view of the footplate a 32B(ipswich) class member with shed plate &smokebox numberplate picked out in white, number long forgotten, I asked the crew could I come up &wish granted, immaculate clean overalls&caps still after the up journey?, but that Cab roof was cream /polished brass&copper, all surfaces including tender plate were painted a light chocolate brown(dark fawn)?& easily a match for the West&East side N7/J69 pilots in finish, that the crews spent most of their rostered shifts cleaning, seldom moving.jj
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days/

Post by rockinjohn »

Hi signalman totally agree with you on signal sightings on curves &driving postions along with drifting smoke, witness the terrible crash @St Johns Lewisham in Dec'57 34066 Spitfire tailending an electric sub unit @ 30mph & the tragic aftermath on a most foul night,sadly that crew having survived suffered badly mentally&physically for many years after, if not all their lives.Mr Hardy once said when travelling with the crew of a steam hauled passenger train on approaching Barnsley Court House Station(I think)he climbed down from the footplate & climbed the ladder of the signal post to check the signal was off,for them to enter the station the fog being so bad that night.jj
Mickey
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days/

Post by Mickey »

rockinjohn wrote: Tue May 25, 2021 3:54 am Hi signalman totally agree with you on signal sightings on curves &driving postions along with drifting smoke, witness the terrible crash @St Johns Lewisham in Dec'57 34066 Spitfire tailending an electric sub unit @ 30mph & the tragic aftermath on a most foul night,sadly that crew having survived suffered badly mentally&physically for many years after, if not all their lives.
To make things even worse it was thick fog across south London that evening when no.34066 Spitfire a unrebuilt Battle of Britain light pacific and it's train departed Canon street over an hour late after the late arrival of the ECS to form the train with the loco Spitfire already attached to the rear of the ECS on a 'roundabout journey' up to Canon street so 'she' was consequently 'low on water' in the tender on arrival at Canon street. The crew received the 'right away' a little over an hour late as no.34066 crept out of Canon street with it's train packed full to the rafters with homeward bound evening commuters in thick fog and crossed the river Thames passing Borough Market Junction s/box and then London Bridge station while heading in a south easterly direction through thick fog towards New Cross. The last 'green' that was seen by the driver on Spitfire was at the end of New Cross station with the two colour light signals before 'the red' at St Johns showing double-yellow and a single yellow respectively which were both missed by the driver of no.34066 as they were both sighted on the right-hand side of the footplate. On approaching Lewisham St John's on a right-hand curve the fireman suddenly shouted "Whoa!. A RED tail light of a standing EMU was seen ahead on the same road as the approaching Spitfire at around 30 mph!.

Also as mentioned no.34066 Spitfire was 'low on water' before departing Canon street and it has been speculated that this was on the mind of the the driver amongst other things so a out of course stop had been arranged at Orpington approximately 13 miles from Canon street to take on water which may have added to his thoughts as he set out from Canon street.
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Mickey
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by Mickey »

Meanwhile back on the ECML in 1975

A nice job I was on for a week during the summer of 1975 was 'the fish' that possibly originated from Grimsby docks?.

The diagram was in no.3 link 'the Doncaster link' with the Down working from vague memory being loco hauled with a Brush type 4 (class 47) with a rake of B.R.Mk.1s on behind the drawbar from Kings Cross and possibly stopping at Peterborough and Grantham before being relieved at Doncaster with the train it's self probably going on to Cleethorpes it's ultimate destination?. This particular train probably departed Kings Cross sometime time before the 8:00pm overnight Scottish express from platform no.8 (previously no.10) and it's arrival at 'Donny' was around 10:30pm from memory after which after being relieved at Doncaster by a northern train crew my driver and myself and the train guard would make our way over to the Up platform and enter the train crews messroom to make a can of tea and to await 'the fish' a vacuum braked rake of fish vans which was the return working on this diagram that arrived around midnight at Doncaster or soon after and was bound for Kings Cross Goods yard.

Sometime around midnight the approaching sound of a EE type 4 (class 40 'whistler') would be heard arriving on the Up fast line outside the messroom as my driver and myself along with our guard would leave the messroom and jump down into the Up slow line and then climb up into the cab to relieve the loco crew with the guard doing the same in the back cab. Once the crew change over was complete and the other crew had climbed back up onto the platform with a green signal ahead and the guard giving the 'right away' from the back cab it was next stop Kings Cross Goods yard!.

Travelling through the night in the darkness of a unlit loco cab of a diesel could become slightly hypnotic* and usually no conversation or words were spoken between a driver and his secondman plus the noise of the locos diesel engines behind you was heard but the noise melted into the background as mile after mile of darkness was travelled with the regular spaced intervals of green colour light signals being seen in the approaching distance before on approaching one the AWS bell would ring loudly inside the cab and then it would be passed by in a flash!. Occasionally a double-yellow colour light signal would be seen in the far distance before changing to a green again or on the mechanically signalled long sections at places such as Abbots Ripton or Offord or Arlesey just a single yellow colour light distant signal would be seen but usually it would change to a green before passing it as the lonely signalman got down to pulling off his signals. On the sections of ECML that were still mechanically signalled with line side signal boxes still in existence during 1975 at places such as High Dyke, Stoke (summit), Corby Glenn, Little Bytham & Essendine between Grantham & Peterborough and also on the still largely mechanically signalled main line south of Peterborough at Holme and going through to Hitchin South that section was interesting because a number of those old boxes were usually located in isolated locations in the middle of nowhere surrounded by open countryside all around such as at Conington South or Everton (to the north of Sandy) or Three Counties and were passed in the dead of night with only a solitary electric light bulb alight outside above the doorway of a box to show you where they were while inside the box that was usually just lit by a electric light over the train register book laying on a high desk with the rest of the box being in darkness.

Usually 'the fish' would have a good run up from Doncaster all the way along the Up fast line and be through Hitchin around 1:40am and then through New Barnet on the outskirts of the north London area around 2:00am before passing through Wood Green, Hornsey, Harringay and Finsbury Park and then it was down the 'Holloway bank' towards the bottom before being 'turned in' off the Up fast line at Holloway South Up and through the Up slow line connection and then onto the Up Goods line and over the flyover outside and through Copenhagen goods line tunnel to emerge from Copenhagen goods line tunnel at a reduced speed and passing underneath the tall North London line bridge in Belle Isle and passing Goods And Mineral Junction box at around 2:10-2:15am on an arrival road heading towards Five Arch shunting frame cabin before being routed up around into the potato market shed and underneath the overall covered roof before coming to a stop. The class 40 loco from memory would have been 'screwed down' (winding the hand break wheel around until it stops) by me and the loco was probably 'shut down' by the driver after which the driver, myself and the guard would have left the loco and walked back down towards Kings Cross station where the driver would have 'put the drivers ticket in' at the signing on point while I would have disappeared to the country end of no.9 platform on the suburban west side of the terminus to catch the 3:10am Hitchin news papers back to WGC which would have meant a ride in the back cab of a Brush type 2 (class 31) and away home.

* Class 47s (Brush type 4s) in particular use to 'sway gently from side to side' when riding in the cab at higher speeds.

A link to several of the signal boxes that are mentioned above between Sandy & Holme during 1975- http://ukrailways1970tilltoday.me.uk/Ev ... albox.html
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Mickey
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by Mickey »

Another 5 link job I remember doing a handful of times probably during the second half of 1974 as a secondman was with a Kings Cross driver working a diesel hauled set of 'block enders' up from Cuffley on the Hertford loop to Moorgate over the Widen lines.

That particular job would have meant signing on at the signing on point at Kings Cross probably around 04:45hrs and the driver being told by the foreman what loco number we were to have for the diagram at Finsbury Park MPD or Clarence yard as it was also called and then and with your driver we would then both make our way together out to Finsbury Park and then walk down to Finsbury Park MPD to get our loco which would have been a blue livered Brush type 2 (class 31). After getting on board the loco and 'preparing it' the driver would usually go through the engine compartment to have a quick look around and once he was back in the driving cab he would start up the loco by using his 'drivers key' and let the air pressure build up and he would also activate the AWS handle mounted on the cab wall above the cab door on the drivers side then after pulling the AWS handle down he would almost simultaneously cancel the AWS horn from sounding off!. Also drivers would usually have a look in the locos 'fault book' before going off shed to make sure any faults that had been reported by previous drivers for the fitters attention had been rectified?. While the driver was doing his preparations the secondman would be firing up the Spanner boiler for steam heating the train coaches especially during the autumn and winter months and also putting the correct headcode for display up in the headcode box in the roof (before they were all blanked off soon after during 1975 and just showed two dots) and also switching on the red tail light on the rear of the loco and also switching on the headcode box light bulbs to illuminate the headcode plus importantly unscrewing the locos hand break via a large black metal hand wheel mounted on the back wall of the loco (hand breaks were in both cabs) and also attending to making a can of tea. Once those jobs had been done we would be ready to go off shed around 06:00hrs which would entail stopping the loco at a STOP board and 'ringing up' Finsbury Park No.3 signal box and telling the signalman (or box lad) where the light engine was heading for?.

***I vaguely recall on some diesel locos small hand brushes for sweeping out the cabs were to be found although they weren't to be found on every loco?.***

After getting the road out of Finsbury Park MPD via a ground position light signal it was then right away down the Hertford loop to Hertford North to crossover and then travel light engine back up to Cuffley. The reason why the loco had to crossover at Hertford North was after the closure of Cuffley box the main to main crossover outside the box was abolished and plain lined so the loco had to go to Hertford North to crossover. At Cuffley back in 1974 was a single road siding on the Up side of the line just off the Up platform which was probably abolished and lifted decades ago(?) anyway usually a train of blue livered inner suburban non-corridor coaches or 'block enders' would be stabled in this siding overnight for the next mornings peak service up to London. This single road siding was entered via the operation of a x2 lever ground frame (a blue/brown release leaver and a black points lever) although I am not sure which box gave 'the release' to use it either Herftford North or Gordon Hill(?) and was worked by the Cuffley railman/shunter at the station. As for the guard for the train I don't recall him travelling down 'with us' on the loco so I presume he would have made his own way down to Cuffley from Kings Cross on a Hertford North train. After the loco had been coupled up along with the steam heating pipes to the train of 'block enders' and coupled up by the railman/shunter who operated the ground frame a 'brake test' was carried out by the driver and the guard would come up to the loco to speak to the driver about how many coaches he had on behind the loco plus what stations to stop at?. Just before departure time the Cuffley railman/shunter would operate the ground frame again to let our train out of the Up siding and and into the Up platform and once the rear coach was clear of the siding the ground frame would be restored to normal again by the railman/shunter. The departure time was sometime around 08:15-08:30hrs although I can't recall the exact departure time(?) anyway on departing Cuffley it would have been all stations up to Kings Cross York Road station before going down onto the Widen lines and stopping at Farringdon, Barbican and finally Moorgate. Kings Cross LT station wasn't in use at that time during the 1970s although subsequently from the late 1980s until the present day it is a stop on the Bedford/Brighton line.

***Until the mid 1970s the Widen lines between Kings Cross on the Eastern region and St Pancras on the London Midland region were shared train wise with Eastern region trains either made up of diesel hauled locos (class 31s) hauling inner suburban non-corridor coaches or Craven DMUs or on the St Pancras London Midland region the trains were all Derby x4 car Rolls Royce DMUs.***

Once at Moorgate the procedure was an arriving loco hauled train of 'block enders' would stop at the end of Moorgate platform and then be uncoupled by a shunter and then the crew the driver and secondman would change ends and then await for the train they had brought in to depart being worked by another loco that had previously brought another train into Moorgate. Once the train immediately ahead of our loco departed our light engine would then move along the platform and then be turned into a dead end siding road via a LT 'flood lit' disc signal to await the next diesel hauled train of coaches to arrive in Moorgate. Once the next train of diesel hauled 'block enders' arrived in the platform at Moorgate the road out of the dead end siding would be set up and cleared via another LT 'flood lit' disc signal and then 'our loco' would back down onto the just arrived train of 'block enders' standing in the platform and was then couple up by the shunter and a brake test carried out by the driver then it was a case of waiting for the road to depart Moorgate station and travelling back over the Widen lines and back up into the 'Hotel curve' platform at Kings Cross and back on the GN.

***I do recall on a couple of occasions around the same time the latter part of 1974 the train that we were to work started from Hertford North because 2 or 3 sets of 'block enders' were stabled in the Up sidings at Hertford North usually for working weekday morning 'peak hour' services up to either Kings Cross or Moorgate.***.
Last edited by Mickey on Mon May 31, 2021 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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rockinjohn
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Re: B.R.(ER) 1970s diesel days

Post by rockinjohn »

Hi Mickey that was good, for someone who dreamed of doing the same,but ended up on the factory floor(printing works)that paid very well, I hasten to add (gotta bring home the bacon cause I'm a Family Man)as Frankie Miller on US Starday sang,got released on Melodisc drk grn label in the UK, a rare 45rpm on a bluebeat associated family label, out of the London area,(dont start me talking I'll blow everything I know) aka Sonny Boy Williamson,funny saw those F6 tanks/ Clauds&J15's.....( to early/valuable to get rid of the N7's&buck jumpers @ that time),after seeing them in Norfolk/Suffolk&Essex alive&weathered but covering their less rostered ardous duties, then coming home to Stratford to be cut up, reminded me a bit like Elephants or Blues Singers returning home to die after all those years to their place of birth.jj
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