8th April 2019 · ‘Steam in and around York’

Presenter: Chris Nettleton

Monday, 8th April brought a return visit from Chris Nettleton, who travelled from Eaglescliffe to speak, with film and slide accompaniment about “Steam in and around York”.

His first offering was the film “This is York”. This film was quick to set the scene for what followed. To think that we thought that road traffic was busy causing traffic jams in 1953 when this film was shot – the roads around York looked positively empty compared with today, but on rail, much the opposite was to be the effect! Life as filmed through the daily tasks of the Station Master was shown through a series of shots including more than steam locomotives.

We then moved onto pictures from Chris’s own collection, and a few highlights included the “lost” A4 pacific, in it’s guise as a garter blue number 14, known to most of us as 60014, but surely, as the first of the Class and it’s early exploits, worthy of preservation in his eyes. Chris reminded us that York was similar to Carlisle in the number of pre-grouping railways that served the station in days gone by. A3 60074 on the northbound “North Briton” in 1959 with the well-mixed coach combinations of red and cream mixed with the later maroon of the times was a gem, as was Raven Pacific 2400. Those present expecting to see those Bank Hall, 27A engines almost unknown at the bottom end of the WCML were pleased to see the particularly evasive 45717 “Dauntless”, but when 27A allocated and unashamedly un-rebuilt and grammatically incorrect Patriot 45517 came into view, its Willesden past credentials were noted! D20 62387 on a June 1957 RCTS special, was very welcome as was the sight of Bulleid pacific 35007 on another special.

Disaster was shown when A3 60036 arrived in an unexpected and short bay with a local from Sunderland in 1958. Luckily the most hurt was the front bogie of “Columbo”, and possibly that of the driver……

Further shots adequately covered the shed at 50A, and a further short 1945 film showing the servicing routine of a local B16 4-6-0 actually showed that steam locos were actually rather more expensive in terms of “time on the road” versus revenue earning movement than we had perhaps tended to believe in our youth!

As the ever popular Chris had to suffer a “double booking” and had to dash off earlier than he had originally intended, it should be pointed out that, in the manner of 2.15pm kick-offs before floodlighting, it was often considered that the best method was to “turn straight round”, which was effectively what he did, so a grand afternoon was still to be had by all.