Train spotters

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Mickey
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Train spotters

Post by Mickey »

Does anyone remember the Finsbury Park train spotters viewing platform?. It was located high up above the retaining wall along side the running lines north of Finsbury Park station on the Up side of the line. From the photographs below it was definitely built by 1960 and I vaguely remember watching trains from it in 1964 as a youngster and hoping to see a 'streak' but I never did and I only remember seeing Brush type 2s passing by hauling 'block ender' inner suburban non-corridor coaching stock?.

See below-
https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-child ... 23118.html
https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-child ... 23125.html

I believe this viewing platform still exists buried under a mountain of overgrown vegetation.
Last edited by Mickey on Sat Dec 12, 2020 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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harvester
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Re: Finsbury Park spotters platform?

Post by harvester »

Mickey are these two shots of the same platform ? The railing seem a bit different round each !
Mickey
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Train spotters

Post by Mickey »

harvester wrote: Fri Dec 11, 2020 10:42 am Mickey are these two shots of the same platform ? The railing seem a bit different round each !
To be honest harvester I am not sure and from my vague memory of about 55+ years ago when I visited the place I thought it was built with more concrete than what is shown in both photographs?. I presume from 1960 in the top photograph and when I visited it in 1964 the structure was re-built with more concrete?.

In 1964 I remember standing looking down at all the running lines and wanting to see a 'streak' (an A4) but didn't see any steam at all just a few diesels passing by. I also remember looking to my left down towards Finsbury Park station and seeing both Finsbury Park 5 & Finsbury Park 6 signal boxes and also the footbridge that spanned all the running lines was nearby with the railway lines on the Edgware branch. Also a lone semaphore distant signal caught my eye on the Down goods line standing beside a brick retaining wall that ran along side of the Down goods line which I found out some years later belonged to Ferme Park South Down box.

I probably visited the place four or five times in all around 1964 and 1965. If you was going to visit the vantage point you would have to go into Finsbury Park it's self.
Last edited by Mickey on Sat Dec 12, 2020 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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harvester
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Re: Finsbury Park spotters platform?

Post by harvester »

Good memories Mickey . I never got that far south in steam days , but talk of signals out of Kings Cross always reminds me of the film "The Lady Killers" . We always liked to watch it for the shots of steam alone !
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Re: Finsbury Park spotters platform?

Post by Pyewipe Junction »

This strikes me as an uncharacteristically friendly and generous gesture by British Railways, not normally known as being very welcoming to trainspotters, who they regarded (not unreasonably at times) as little more than a nuisance. Was this location already well-known as a vantage point for spotting? If so, BR may well have erected the platform for safety reasons if it was on top of a high retaining wall - not that many of the kids in photo 2 seem to care!

I seem to remember that there were designated areas for trainspotters at certain major stations - York, Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads come to mind.

When did the term 'gricer' come into general use? I don't recall ever hearing it in the 60s. Was it a local or regional term, perhaps from the London area, that caught on?
Mickey
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Train spotters

Post by Mickey »

harvester wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 1:45 pm Good memories Mickey . I never got that far south in steam days , but talk of signals out of Kings Cross always reminds me of the film "The Lady Killers" . We always liked to watch it for the shots of steam alone !
With regards to the 1955 film The Lady Killers harvester yeah without a doubt a 'classic' film in it's own right that was funny and included a number of great colour shots looking down towards Belle Isle also the late John Huntley who was in the British film industry and was also a railway enthusiast released to the general public several video/dvds in 1989 and the early 1990s called Steam On 35mm 30s 40s 50s & 60s available from Video 125 of reels of professionally shot film scenes from railway films including The Lady Killers and also from the British Transport Films Corporation that made professionally made films of different aspects of British Railways during the 50s 60s & 70s. With regards to The Lady Killers film in particular John released a couple of dvds that in part featured 'outtakes' from The Lady Killers that were filmed either from above the tunnel mouth of Copenhagen tunnel overlooking the Up & Down goods lines and also from the eastern side above Copenhagen tunnel looking down towards Belle Isle in 1955 all in Eastman colour.
Last edited by Mickey on Sat Dec 12, 2020 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Mickey
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Train spotters

Post by Mickey »

Pyewipe Junction wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 3:46 pm This strikes me as an uncharacteristically friendly and generous gesture by British Railways, not normally known as being very welcoming to trainspotters, who they regarded (not unreasonably at times) as little more than a nuisance. Was this location already well-known as a vantage point for spotting? If so, BR may well have erected the platform for safety reasons if it was on top of a high retaining wall - not that many of the kids in photo 2 seem to care!

I seem to remember that there were designated areas for trainspotters at certain major stations - York, Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads come to mind.

When did the term 'gricer' come into general use? I don't recall ever hearing it in the 60s. Was it a local or regional term, perhaps from the London area, that caught on?
An interesting post Pyewipe Junction and with regards to the term 'gricer' I only became aware of it may during the 2000s I believe?. I believe the term 'gricer' is directed at those people who are mainly interested in 'number taking' or collecting loco numbers (an old fashion train spotter) than 'railway enthusiasts' who have a much wider interest in different aspects of railways?.

Gricer's these days are much more organised than in the days of old with having access to 'social media' and obtaining 'inside information' on train movements 24/7 where they can all link up and exchange information on particular train movements or locos, it's a far cry from the 1950s & 1960s school boy image of a youngster with a pencil and note book.

A true story...

I was at a box once back about 20 years ago on the North London line and two 'gricers' turned up on the station where I was at one Friday morning and proceeded to remain on the station platform for the following 24 hours!. One of the two blokes I spoke to on my way home after being relieved at the box around 6:00pm that evening was Scottish and during a brief conversation he appeared to know more on what was 'going on' around the railways in 'real time' with regards to 'train movements' than our Control did??. Anyway the next morning at about 6:00am I arrived back on the station platform to make my way to the box and those two 'gricers' were still on the platform after staying all night on the station!. Anyway at around 11:00am that morning the two of them departed the station after turning up 24 hours earlier!!.
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silverfox
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Re: Train spotters

Post by silverfox »

How did i miss this thread??

The paltfor was certainly there in the early 50s as my Dad used to take me there after visiting Eastmans Dental Clinic in Grays Inn Road or visiting my Nan who lived in Mildmay St The first stop was always KX on the way back

IU can recall seeing blue? engines ( it was 70 years ago!!) Were any repainted back to Garter Blue? all my records are squieeelled up in the loft awaiting the light of day again,
It was situated in Finsbury Park itself, just south of the Endymion Road underbridge ( funny how road over railway is an underbridge and v/v overbridge)
And was well attended IIRC correctly to the mid 60s

When i was there last a few years ago i tried to fins it,but Mother nature seemed to have taken hold. brought back lots of a three year olds memories
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thesignalman
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Re: Train spotters

Post by thesignalman »

Mickey wrote: Fri Dec 11, 2020 8:37 pm
harvester wrote: Fri Dec 11, 2020 10:42 am Mickey are these two shots of the same platform ? The railing seem a bit different round each !
To be honest harvester I am not sure and from my vague memory of about 55+ years ago when I visited the place I thought it was built with more concrete than what is shown in both photographs?. I presume from 1960 in the top photograph and when I visited it in 1964 the structure was re-built with more concrete?.

In 1964 I remember standing looking down at all the running lines and wanting to see a 'streak' (an A4) but didn't see any steam at all just a few diesels passing by. I also remember looking to my left down towards Finsbury Park station and seeing both Finsbury Park 5 & Finsbury Park 6 signal boxes and also the footbridge that spanned all the running lines was nearby with the railway lines on the Edgware branch. Also a lone semaphore distant signal caught my eye on the Down goods line standing beside a brick retaining wall that ran along side of the Down goods line which I found out some years later belonged to Ferme Park South Down box.

I probably visited the place four or five times in all around 1964 and 1965. If you was going to visit the vantage point you would have to go into Finsbury Park it's self.
Here's a view of the platform taken on 9/8/75.
~NC7998.jpg
Photo: N L Cadge/433shop.co.uk

John
"BX there, boy!"
Signalling history: https://www.signalbox.org/
Signalling and other railway photographs: https://433shop.co.uk/
Mickey
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Re: Train spotters

Post by Mickey »

I think I had the hardback Ian Allan Combined Volumes for 1969 & 1970 and maybe 1971.

Done most of my spotting on the Eastern region at Kings Cross and around the Kings Cross suburban area between 1968-1971 which featured the usual diet of blue livered Deltics seeing everyone of the 22 of the class dozens of times over along with green & blue livered Brush type 2s & 4s plus the odd green livered English Electric type 4 (2000hp) and the last few Baby Deltics and BTH class 15s on 'the Ashburton Grove Pullmans' which finished in 1971.

I visited Euston, Liverpool Street, Paddington & Waterloo all in 1970-71 which was an eye opener after being on the Kings Cross area most of the time.

Paddington the summer of 1970 with multi-coloured Western diesel hydraulics maroon & blue liveries and Warship diesel hydraulics working side by side with Western region allocated blue livered 'named' Brush type 4s such as George Jackson Churchward, North Star & Sir Daniel Gooch and ex Eastern region blue livered Brush type 2s all mouth watering stuff...

Waterloo the summer of 1970 a sea of southern green & blue EMUs along with a few maroon & blue livered Western region Warships diesel hydraulics on the west of England workings

Liverpool Street in the summer of 1970 Stratford allocated 'toffee apple' green & blue livered Brush type 2s along with Stratford allocated green & blue livered Brush type 4s and green livered English Electric type 3s (class 37s) enough to send you into loco spotters heaven!!.
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giner
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Re: Train spotters

Post by giner »

Well, they say variety is the spice of life Mickey, and you certainly had your share. Myself, 30 miles down the line and 10 to 15 years prior to you, my diet was pretty much all steam. By the time diesels started to appear I'd discovered young ladies and my railway interest had waned somewhat. Not that I could ever get interested in anything other than steam, anyway.
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Re: Train spotters

Post by Mickey »

giner wrote: Sat Sep 18, 2021 9:26 pm Well, they say variety is the spice of life Mickey, and you certainly had your share. Myself, 30 miles down the line and 10 to 15 years prior to you, my diet was pretty much all steam. By the time diesels started to appear I'd discovered young ladies and my railway interest had waned somewhat. Not that I could ever get interested in anything other than steam, anyway.
Steam locos giner?. Yeah I loved steam locos from the day I was born in the middle to late 1950s and still do 'the magic of a steam locomotive' has never left me right up to the present day. Whenever I see a picture of a British steam loco my interest levels go up 100%!!. I am one of the generation that still wanted to be a engine driver when I was a youngster growing up in the early/mid 1960s although unbeknown to me at that time steam locos only had two or three more years left to go before they would disappear altogether from the railways.

I always had a broader interest in railways in general and not just in the steam and diesel locos that ran on them so once steam had finished in 1968 signal boxes and the B.R. regions were still around for another couple of decades which kept my interest levels up.
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strang steel
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Re: Train spotters

Post by strang steel »

Being born in the early 1950s and living in the wilds of rural Lincolnshire, my interest in railways seemed to come from my grandma's house, where the garden backed onto the M&GN line to Spalding and the Norfolk coast. There were not that many trains outside of summer holiday times; but it was a great way of adults getting the children out of the house to stand at the back hedge and watch steam trains pass by very close.

Our original house was not very close to the railway, but I remember being taken to the level crossing as my mother was a friend of the gatekeeper's wife. Once again, the infrequent trains passed very close and must have impressed me.

Imagine my delight when my parents moved to a new property with a back garden which overlooked a railway about 50 yards away. This was the line from Grantham to Boston, which at that time was busy with trains to/from Boston docks and Scunthorpe steelworks, although the daily passenger service was already diesel units. However, things became hectic on summer weekends, when between 0900 and about 1230 there was a non-stop procession of steam hauled trains to the Lincolnshire coast; and if I missed any going east, they would all start returning in the opposite direction later in the day.

I could sit out in the garden for hours on end, often on the branch of a tree for a better view, and just watch everything passing by to my heart's content. The drawback to this was that I had no real desire (or monetary funds) to go anywhere else, and like Mickey also experienced, I had no idea at the time how rapidly steam would vanish. I couldn't afford monthly magazines or brand new Ian Allan ABCs, and so made do with old ones for years. When I did get a new one for a birthday present, I had a thorough shock when I saw how many classes had suddenly vanished. I don't think I ever recovered mentally.

However, the spotting bug had bitten and because diesels and electrics all had numbers and I loved the excitement of anticipation and not knowing what might turn up next (although locos from certain 'dark side' classes were never going to appear), I just carried on trainspotting intermittently for many years.
John. My spotting log website is now at https://spottinglogs.co.uk/spotting-rec ... s-70s-80s/
Mickey
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Re: Train spotters

Post by Mickey »

Interesting post John...

The 'train spotters' these days or gricers as they are known as are usually aged between about late 50s & late 60s because I usually see 5 or 6 of them show up where I am when a class 37 'tractor' is due on a train which means they know where certain trains are?.
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rockinjohn
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Re: Train spotters

Post by rockinjohn »

Hi Mickey,Strang,Giner&all,a very nice post for us rail fans from another era,I'm amused @ the new found intrest in steam,when in my teens/early adulthood had to suffer such comments among others such as "you still like the chuffers then"& "arent you past that yet" it really was a social barrier to advancement forget the "iron horse" sillyness,"lounge lizards" still didnt have the 13gns for a train trip,me a Merrymaker or two with an EEtype4 in grn with the "D" painted out, 2quid ea., kids free, but@ least I got to see those abandoned goods sheds/yards &MPD's that still stood, went to Fort William/Malliag stood on Crianlarich platform, thought of the B1's&K1's coming down from Tyndrum,yeah I know the Deltics went their to, but this was my time freeze, could have rode the "Jacobite"not many of "my"people on it, elitest possibly, but chose the Sprinter instead, the wife made up the difference in savings, trust me for it on the MasterCard, all part of life's wonderful tapestry @ least my wife thinks I was head of the game bless her only took her 50+ yrs+....JJ
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