8 thoughts on “Loco no.69016, Thomsons Scrapyard

  1. The real mistake that was made dates from the Modernisation Plan of the 1950s, when after years of dragging its feet British Rail switched everything over to diesels. This gave no time for manufacturers and British Rail to gradually develop the new technology. Furthermore apart from the Deltics, most diesels were little better than steam in terms of power output. It would have been more sensible to have run down steam more slowly.

    Beeching, in rationalising the railways, was obviously influenced by the USA where passenger travel had declined, with the main income being freight. Hence the Freight Terminal on the Billingham Branch Line


  2. I am a lifelong railway enthusiast who gave many years service on the NYMR in their signalboxes. I love the steam locomotive but modern trains are fast, bright and far cleaner than anything pulled by a steam engine. The big mistake from the Beeching era was loosing the railways rights of way after lines were pulled up. I’m afraid this country would be turned into one giant theme park if preservationists, whether of railways; buildings; the open countryside; wildlife etc etc were to get their way. You have to remember the past to avoid the mistakes of history, but you don’t have to live in it.


    • I do not disagree in the least with your sentiments Eric and I totally agree that the railway now is much better than the steam era that existed when I joined the railways in 1958 and the improvements in the 50 years I witnessed working with them were laudable but if you worked on the NYRM then you must agree that some things are worth preserving, I have never advocated that we should have retained steam or all the antique methods of working which I have witnessed and experienced and the improvements now, and as regards turning the country into theme parks Eric well I will leave that one with you, and I would not like to live in the past or witness some of those days, but my point is we have a glorious history and some things are worth remembering and keeping and I am thankful that some people like yourself go out and give their time to retain those little slices of our past. Keep well.


  3. Having worked for the railways for 50 years I very much doubt that British Rail ended up with a better system, the short sighted doctrine of doctor beeching ripped the guts out of a railways that included lots of scenic leisure branch lines that enthusiasts have purchased and brought back to life and people flock to them in droves. It is not the so called millionaires that purchased steam engines but hundreds of ordinary people who have spent lots of time restoring these old engines back to life so generations can see what the age of steam looked and felt like. I doubt very much that people wanted to keep everything but I also doubt that people wanted a mass destruction of everything old if in doubt, take a trip to the North Yorks Moor Railway and see the joy on peoples faces experiencing steam and all this restoration and throughout the country with not one millionaire in sight.


    • Gordon. I give you Alan Peglar, Tony Marchington and William McAlpine to name but a few of the very rich people who dabbled and got burnt fingers.
      My point is if you never lived through those thirty years from 1930-60 you will never understand the mindset which was ours, we wanted change, new, modern, clean and it was happening, new estates, some loose change in our pockets and goods to buy, it had taken a long time.
      We have all had the ride on the North Yorks Railway more than once, the second time I got ash in my eye, that brought back the memories. I used to travel to Goathland to my Uncles Farm on the train from Norton as we could then, good job really as there was very little transport apart from the train.
      It took me from nine to eleven hours to London by train a journey I had to do many times, when it got to four hours by Diesel we cheered now it is just over two. Do we really wish to go back, some will I know, others like me would be frustrated as it was often cold, no buffet, people sleeping in toilets, those of us in the know kept big lemonade bottles.
      Nostalgia is a wonderful feeling as it makes you forget the true situation, I often look back as you will have noticed by my writings on here but go back? no way.


      • My point is Frank I did live through the majority of the years you mention, nostalgia as you put it does not make me forget, and I know full well through all my years on the railway probably better than you of the faults that existed but that doesn’t mean all was bad. You miss my point that somethings were worth preserving and it is proven by all the people who flock to these preserved railways, you can hold your point of view Frank and I respect that but I also have my point of view and believe me you will not change that. You quote three examples of people who have dabbled in steam but there are thousands out there who have made a great success thankfully of preservation.


  4. Built January 1950, withdrawn October 1964. When it was built, a longer life than fourteen years would have been expected, although most of her sisters built after 1949, didn’t last that long. They must have been good locomotives, the first was built in 1898, and the rest in batches under the NER, LNER, and BR. It’s a pity only one was preserved. They were small engines, ideal for preserved lines, and would have been cheap to purchase, if the will was there. On the Southern Railway, a similar small engine Class, AX, and AX1, have nine loco’s preserved, and they were taken out of service in 1962/63, so private scrapyards would have had little involvement in selling these withdrawn locomotives. Most of the later built J72’s were also withdrawn 1961/63, but only 69023, withdrawn October 1964 (same as 69016) was saved. Could not some interested party have inquired BR about purchasing some of these locomotives as they were taken out of service?.


    • Nice thought David though at that time people were not thinking of the past, the future was the place we were all going to. Old smelly noisy and difficult to maintain we went for the clean fast and much easier Diesels. I was travelling a lot by rail and know which I preferred and it did not include dirty clothes off sooty seats or even ash in the eye through open windows.
      The couple of millionaires who did buy them soon discovered the Vulcan Boiler inspections had upped the ante, men who could change boiler tubes were vanishing as the old Boilermaking trades changed, parts had to be machined and the whole cost was more than even they could manage in the end.
      We have several museum’s around the UK and as with my interest cars where I have to go to the museum to see what I drove that did not fall to bits first, we feel nostalgia but that does not pay the bills incurred in maintaining those old machines.
      Some people would like to keep everything, they did not see the mass throw out when the war ended as we went to “G” Plan and plastics, they would like to have kept the Stockton High Street as it was, they did not see the mess behind the facade. I am afraid my generation did the damage, after the Depression, the war, and then Austerity we said enough, we want what we see in the pictures in America and were still trying to get it as BR decided not before time to get a decent railway system.


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