Glory Days


One of the many interesting aspects of a website, is incoming e-mails. A recent correspondent - who had lived in the Bath area - asked if I had any photographs from the "Glory Days of Steam" around the area. My reply was that my interest had mainly been the making of sound recordings - an interest which led to the sound track for "Puffed Out". After that, your webmaster continued with modern traction photography for magazine & book reproduction. However, I felt I could and should respond to the idea with this selection:-
Box Tunnel - and a King Here we see a Bristol to Paddington train entering the vast southern portal of Brunel's famous Box tunnel, with King Edward the something slogging up towards Corsham, after which the line levels off for Chippenham. The truth concerning the sun shining through on Brunel's birthday (April 9th) appears to be that it can - if the fumes have cleared, the weather is good, and you are a few days late. When your webmaster visited the site specifically to check the story out...there was a heavy mist.
Turn out on a Summer Saturday, and you could enjoy the Somerset & Dorset's through expresses. Wellow was a great place to see and hear them - you could hear them coming several times over the course of some minutes: a unique location down in a twisting, echoing valley.
Double-headed southbound express, Wellow. Double-headed northbound express, Wellow.
A wisp of smoke hangs in the air as a southbound through express is drawn through Wellow behind BR class 4MT & 5MT Standards. In the reverse direction a rebuilt Bulleid West Country class light Pacific comes through, piloted by another Standard, not reliably identified.
The class 9Fs proved themselves capable of replacing double-heading, turning in magnificent performances. Senior management was clearly not inspired by this to keep the S & D open - to them it was a nuisance needing to be closed, and close it they did. (Photos ca. 1962). A class 9F hammers through.
The swash-buckling style of the 9Fs is conveyed vividly in this lively impressionistic painting of a Crosti-boilered 9F, by commercial artist John Palmer:- Crosti-boilered 9F - original oil by John Palmer
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