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Steam on the Southern and Western: A New Glimpse of the 1950s & 1960s

Steam on the Southern and Western: A New Glimpse of the 1950s & 1960s

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Steam on the Southern and Western: A New Glimpse of the 1950s & 1960s

170 pages
49 minutes
Sep 30, 2018


Steam on the Southern and Western is a personal record of railway views that were captured on black and white film in the late 1950s and 1960s, until the demise of steam on British Railways.The style of the book is the well-tried and- tested picture and captions format, and the majority of the pictures are black and white photography. Not every picture portrays a train as there are interesting branch line and infrastructure scenes to view as well. Furthermore, the book is intended to represent an eclectic mix of subjects and not to solely show main line scenes, for example.The book covers the Southern and Western regions of British Railways, with the Somerset and Dorset Railway included for good measure, as it fits neatly into the areas of the country for this volume. It also carries its share of photographs of British Railways standard locomotives in the locations appropriate to the regions. Where preservation starts to overlap with the still-active steam scene, some historic photographs are included.Photographs are grouped together by a particular location, for example, the Redhill to Reading line of the Southern, and Oxford on the Western. Each of these topic areas provides a flavour of the railway activity at the time. Overall, the book presents the reader with a gentle meander through the 1950's and 1960's railway scene and will stir the memories that so many of us have seen and still treasure today.
Sep 30, 2018

À propos de l'auteur

Aged five, David Knapmans railway interest was triggered at Reigate station by a Wainwright 4.4.0. Reading his fathers pre-war Railway magazines and regularly taking Trains Illustrated fostered a lifelong interest. The Reading Redhill line provided much steam interest and early main line trips included the Bristolian and the Kentish Belle in 1958. Photography started with a Brownie Box camera, which was soon overtaken by a 35mm Agfa Silette. A move to Brentwood and a career as a Chartered Accountant enabled the steam interest to flourish further and main line runs today still enthrall. The author hopes his photographs prove to be of much interest to the reader. Floreat Vapor!

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Steam on the Southern and Western - David Knapman






Betchworth Station is located beneath the North Downs in Surrey, between Deepdene and Reigate on the ex-Southern Railway’s Reading to Redhill line. The station building originally dates from 1849 and in the 1930s the signal and level crossing controls were housed in the station building in the room overlooking the westbound platform. The signalmen were generally helpful to youthful enthusiasts, and Paddy, in particular, would advise when non-timetabled special workings were due. More time was spent at this location than at home during the holidays! Betchworth Station had the distinction of a link to the Dorking Greystone Lime Company by means of a standard gauge siding so that lime products could be transported by the national network.

The first picture taken with the 35mm camera depicts Maunsell ‘U’ 2-6-0 31616 with a set of coaches by the same designer. The train is a mid-morning departure for Reading. Note the dip in the platform levels by the first coach. The photographer is standing on the platform extension, which probably saw little use. To the left of the picture is the siding to the Dorking Greystone Lime Company network. 28 June 1959.

This picture is of interest on a number of counts. The train is the afternoon working to Margate from the Midlands. It was running late and the signalman was concerned about its progress. Instead of the customary British Railways (BR) standard ‘4MT’ 2-6-0, the motive power was being manfully provided by ‘L1’ 4-4-0 31786, a substantial task for such a locomotive over this hilly route. At the end of the platform are the diagram and levers for the ground frame used to access the Lime Company siding, the connection to which is seen at the right. 28 June 1959.

On a hot summer afternoon, ex-London Brighton and South Coast railway (LBSCR) ‘C2X’ 0-6-0 32450 arrives at Betchworth with a brake van in tow. This working is to collect a single wagon of lime from the Lime Company siding. The locomotive is passing the signal room in the station building. 4 July 1959.

The shunter can just be seen gently releasing the lime wagon brake to allow the wagon to reach the main line connection, by gravity. 4 July 1959.

Having shunted the wagon and guard’s van into the appropriate order, ‘C2X’ 0-6-0 32450 takes its enlarged train away to Redhill. Not exactly an economic proposition, but full of interest. 4 July 1959.

My first ever railway photograph depicts the Dorking Greystone Lime company’s 0-4-0T No. 3, Captain Baxter. The locomotive was built by Fletcher Jennings & Co of Whitehaven in Cumbria and became part of the Lime Company’s fleet in 1871. The locomotive is seen at the top of the freight exchange siding, whilst the main line is in the cutting to the right of the chalk covered employee. August 1958.

An example of unusual workings on the Reading to Redhill line is depicted passing Betchworth Station. ‘River’ rebuild ‘U’ 2-6-0 31807 is taking an out of steam ‘Q1’ 0-6-0 in the direction of Redhill, for mechanical attention. Note the Lime Company’s buildings above the locomotives. These buildings housed Coffeepot and Captain Baxter. November 1958.

Ex-London and South Western Railway (LSWR) ‘T9’ 4-4-0 30732 has arrived at Betchworth Station with an afternoon train for Redhill. The driver is sharing a joke with the signalman. The delight of the Reading to Redhill line was the variety of motive power which appeared unexpectedly. 4 April 1959.

On a lovely summer’s day in August 1959, Maunsell ‘U’ 2-6-0 31625 pulls into Betchworth Station with a morning train for Redhill, formed of BR mark one stock. The locomotive is now preserved and I had the privilege of driving this engine on the Mid Hants Railway for a day. Right hand drive 31625 has a modified BR chimney and new frames construction.

It is 1 April 1963 and ‘Manor’ 4-6-0 7813 Freshford Manor is entering Betchworth Station with the two coach 11.20am train from Redhill to Reading. This train had been delayed by a preceding freight, but the timetable provided a lay-over at Guildford, so recovery time was available. Ex-Great Western Railway (GWR) locomotives

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