The plaques in this post were photographed at Steam. Museum of the Great Western Railroad that I visited in 2015. Unfortunately my images did not come out well, it really has to do with camera shake and long exposures associated with not using a flash. I have sharpened them as much as possible.
The Great Western Railway had it’s engine works in this railway town, and even built housing for its workers there, it was the biggest employer too and the Museum tells the story of the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway. In wartime the works would have played a major part in maintaining the steam engines and in some cases using their heavy industrial facilities for wartime production. The labour force of men would have been affected by volunteering and conscription, and women began to play a role in keeping the works running. The carnage of the Western Front would have also affected the men who worked here, and a number of plaques have survived, commemorating those who never returned.
Lime Street Station in Liverpool has seen a lot in the years that it has served Liverpool since it officially opened in August 1836. It also saw many men leave for war, and probably many returning victorious years later. When I saw it in May 2018 it was somewhat of a mess, with ongoing renovations and the station due to be closed for 2 months.
Naturally my 2nd question was: where is the War Memorial? and somebody who worked there said that it had been removed to the railway museum at York, which did not help me much. However, there are two memorials if you look for them. The first is a reasonably new addition and was unveiled by HRH The Earl of Wessex on Sunday 31 August 2014.
The Liverpool Pals Memorial is in the form of two large friezes stuck high up on a wall where you are not likely to see them. The £85,000 artwork was designed by Liverpool sculptor Tom Murphy and was funded through donations, I am not sure whether the place where they are sited is the original site or final site.
The Friezes are entitled: ‘Recruitment and Farewell.’
More than 1,000 men were recruited on August 31 1914 alone. Over 6,000 men were initially signed up in 1914 – enough soldiers to serve in four battalions and for two reserve battalions. Unfortunately many would never walk through Lime Street Station again.
The second memorial that I spotted was quite odd, it almost felt like a reminder, or an apology.
I hope that once the huge renovation has completed the original war memorial will be restored to where it should be and that the Pals Battalions gets placed in a better spot so that they can be seen better. They are amazing pieces of work.
Oh, as an afterthought, just image what the inside of that glass cathedral must have looked like during the age of the steam engine.
“Wallace Arnold Oakes (deceased), Locomotive Driver, British Railway Board Crewe (Sandbach). Mr Oakes left Crewe driving the steam locomotive of a relief express passenger train. The train consisted of ten coaches and was reasonably well filled with passengers. When about seven miles from Crewe travelling at nearly sixty miles per hour the engine cab was suddenly filled with smoke and flames blowing back from the firebox. The fireman at once climbed through the side window and somehow managed to get on the cab steps where he extinguished his burning clothing by rubbing himself against the plating. He could not see into the cab but realising the brake had been applied he remained on the step until the train stopped. The flames subsided at once and he-entered the cab to find that Oakes was missing; he saw him lying on the cutting slope just ahead of the cab. His clothing was severely burnt and the flesh beneath had suffered similar to an extent described later as 80 percent of the body. Oakes was however still able to speak at that stage but was dazed. The first person to make an inspection of the controls was a fireman from an up train which was stopped to pick up the injured men. He found the brake fully applied, the regulator partly open an the blower valve open. It seems apparent therefore that Driver Oakes instead of quitting the cab as soon as the blow-back occurred remained to apply the brake, open the blower and probably close the regulator partly. The position in which he was found shows that he did not leave the engine until it had come to rest. Mr Oakes must have been aware that to remain at the controls of the locomotive was a grave risk to his own life. Nevertheless he applied the brake full and took all the measures he could to reduce the effect of the blow-back. Mr Oakes gallant action showed that his first thought was for the safety of his passengers and he thereby sacrificed his life, for he died a week later. He set an outstanding example of devotion to duty and of public service.”
Sadly, he was buried in an unmarked grave in St Matthew’s Churchyard, Haslington, Cheshire. Since his death, Wally Oakes GC has had two locomotives named after him, and there is a plaque in his memory at Crewe Railway Station.
The headstone took a campaign through a national Railway Magazine to raise the funds to be erected. It came about through a request that Mark Green had from the magazine for a picture of Wally as his medals were being sold (bought by Railway Museum in York) and they didn’t know he was in an unmarked grave.
One of the plinthed locomotives that has been on display for many years may be found at Florida Junction out on the West Rand. Listed as 4-8-2T North British Tank Loco 24386, I have seen this loco for the many years that I lived out on the West Rand and was able to photograph her in a number of liveries, in fact, shortly after she was plinthed you could still climb up into her cab. In 2011 I took the following image (more images to be added at a later date) shortly after she had been painted.
Towards the end of March 2017, I photographed her once again and her paint was fading and she was definitely looking the worse for wear. It also appears as if at some point the Florida Junction sign on her tank was redone.
She was built in 1937 in Glasgow by North British Locomotive Co. as works number 24386 and was one of the many standard NBL locomotives that were delivered for service at South African mines. This one first saw service as No 1 at Witbank Colliery Ltd and later at Vanwyksdrift as part of the Douglas Colliery Ltd rolling stock. By some strange quirk, there is a Witbank Colliery No 1 loco plinthed close by. It is possible that this loco replaced that loco at some point.
Of course with the demise of Sanrasm I do not know who owns the steamer now, or who is responsible for keeping her painted and vandalism free. It may be a good idea to watch her because at some point she may end up being redundant.
Class 19D 3328 is plinthed in Coligny and is well looked after by a local businessman who uses the plot as an advertisement for a local garden centre, it is even been adorned with cherubs and garden gnomes! However the important thing is that the loco is in a good condition. More about this loco (and others) may be found at Old Steam Locomotives of South Africa.
Surprisingly enough her cabside plate is till present. Unfortunately the local idiots have left their mark.
She is looking much better than most of the plinthed loco’s though, which is a good thing. So thanks to all those who are ensuring her survival. I wish that was true of all the other plinthed steamers from the past.
This locomotive stands in the grounds of Roodepoort Station, surprisingly it is in a reasonably good condition, given the decline in the area in general. Unfortunately hawkers have taken root, erecting plastic roofs and using the cab as a storage area.
The loco, a class 10BR, (one of 15), was built in 1910 at the North British Loco Company Ltd. and went into service in 1910.
It was withdrawn in 1972, Unfortunately the information plaque is obscured by a large piece of plastic which makes it impossible to read completely, but the plaque identifies this loco as being number 750. This loco is over a century old!
When I took these pics in 2009 she was already looking bad, I would hate to know what she looks like now. Google Earth has a 2014 image of her and she was still there at that point but was covered in graffiti. The co-ordinates are: 26° 9.554’S, 27° 52.183’E.
I walked Millsite on four separate occasions, and it is a depressing place, but the pain is over as the collection is dispersed. I have over 400 images that I took there, and most have never seen the light of day. This page is a general hodge-podge of pics, I make no excuses for quality as I do not recall ever having a decent day of sunny weather while I was there. Images open in a new tab.
Continuing from Page 1, Millsite does not only have derelict steam engines, but it also has derelict electrics and coaches. Unfortunately though, given the awkward situation of these photography is a really hit and miss because you can never really get a full view of what you are photographing. This page deals with the electrics, coaches and other bits and pieces.
Update: 03/02/2016. It appears as if Millsite is being cleared with some locos being moved by road to Bloemfontein. (See the list on the first page), unfortunately it seems as if 4E-E219 is up for disposal. However, this has not been confirmed, but she is still in place in August 2016, however ES-E511 and 1E-01 were both moved to Bloemfontein.
The British Rail Class 08 diesel shunter is not in line to win a prize for looks. But then they were built as functional workhorses and not as beauty contestant entrants. There are quite a lot of them in heritage rail, although out of a class of 996 it is nice to see some survivors.
Chasewater Railway was where I managed to get a good look at the 08. They have 3 of them at the railway, and one was being used to pull a train.
The Class 08 was never meant as a speed merchant, and I have always felt they looked top heavy, however, they are now quite rare and worthy of heritage status too. There are a number of them in the railway modelling genre too and in a variety of liveries.
There are a number of them based at the Freightliner depot inside Southampton Harbour, but I was never able to get a decent image of any of them.
For some strange reason the class 6E and 6E1 electric locomotive of the South African Railways has a large following, and I suspect the unique whine that they make from their resistor blowers is part of the attraction.
These units have been in service for many years already, and they are the most numerous loco class in South Africa, I am not an expert on them though, I am just an admirer. The definitive work (for want of a better description) may be found at the Class 6E page at Wikipedia. The more numerous class 6E1 went on to have 11 different variants and there is a Wikipedia page dedicated to each variant.
All were built locally by Union Carriage and Wagon and most served with the South African Railways although a few were built for private use. 1041 were built in total.
There are a number of colour schemes out there, ranging from gulf red through to orange, purple and blue, although most purists would argue that the gulf red variant was the best livery. Unfortunately I came into rail photography very late so have very few pictures of them, and most of the images I do have show a declining fleet in various stages of paintwork.
The front two 6E1’s have the original diamond pantographs, while the gulf red unit has the newer style pantograph. Strangely enough she was still in her original livery as late as 2010.
Sadly the 6E and 6E1 are in danger of extinction as they get phased out in favour of more modern traction or are converted into what is now the Class 18E. This conversion robs them of their dual cabs in favour of “private facilities” for female drivers; and frankly that blanked out window does not do much for their looks. I expect that the Class 18E will soldier on for many years as well, seeing that they are really converted from a good solid bit of design.
The 6E1 was also used as the locomotive on the now defunct “Metroblitz” high speed train that used to run between Pretoria and Johannesburg in the early 1980’s, and of course a specially adapted 6E1 with a nosecone was used to push the speed record for the Cape Gauge.
From a model railway point of view the 6E/6E1 never really entered the realm of the modeling fraternity. Many years ago, Italian manufacturer LIMA produced a series of South African Railways rolling stock and at the time they used a 5E/5E1 (E444 (Blue Train) and E919) as the “role model”. The 5E and all of its variants is really the granddaddy of the electric units that we knew so well in South Africa, and 555 were built in total.
These poor reproductions have really become collectors pieces and their prices are shocking.
Recently Scalecraft in South Africa was producing some excellent SAR models and while I know there is an 18E amongst their locomotives I am not too sure if the same can be said about the 5E/5E1/6E/6E1 variants.
It is also possible to get a very nice static 5E (although it is marked as a 6E) from Del Prado which included it as part of their Locomotives of the World series of partworks.
Sadly, I may never see one of these beauts ever again, although they will live on in my memory and in some of the videos that I managed to capture of that famous whine. When I was young I never really wanted to drive a steam engine, I really wanted to drive an electric loco, but I never did.
The 6E1 and her family were part of what made the former SAR work, they were the workhorses of the long distance train, and there was something comforting about watching them come into a station pulling a load of saloons behind them with a capable driver and his assistant at the controls, and of course part of going on holiday was sticking your head out the window and watching the units in front driving headlong. Ah, I can hear them from here!