Notes and Queries


Query 2305


This rather dapper photographer is a possible candidate for 'Snapper' in a view looking over the east end of Waverley. Does anyone know who this photographer is?

[Added 15 October 2020.]

[Moved to long term mysteries on 10/02/2021.]

Answers

Could it be Norman McKillop, the Haymarket Driver turned author?

PW.
No idea, but as he appears to be photographing Canongate Kirkyard he's probably not a rail nerd.
Would this be Mr Bruce McCartney's Father I think it looks like him.
Not my Dad. Only ever left Hawick for Rugby Internationals.
Every time I look at this photo I think of Captain Hastings ( actor Hugh Fraser) having a break from his friend Poirot.
During the 1960s, there was a Mr Blow, who taught French at Dunfermline High School. He was very tall, was a rail enthusiast and (I think) lived in Rosyth. He was certainly always smartly dressed, but I have been unsuccessful in establishing whether or not he wore a hearing aid. Timelines are difficult as I cannot remember how old he was at the time. The "whiskers" on the DMU and the "pacamac" under his arm suggest first half f the sixties. Can anyone from West Fife support or debunk?
Re Kenny's timeline query, it would be mid-1966 at the latest, as that's when my father (the photographer) moved the family to Inverness, for a job with the new Highlands & Islands Development Board.


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Query 2066


A query from Bill Roberton. 'Firstly, what I know/believe. Photo taken ca.1982 across the Inner Harbour at Leith. The wagon is a 7-plank RCH wagon in NCB livery. The quay was accessed from Dock Place and rails served a yard behind the building in the background. I don't know who owned the site; possibly a scrap merchant/dealer. I think the wagon is from the Lothians judging by the number. Looks to be in use as storage. The area has since been redeveloped for housing. How did the wagon come to be there and for what purpose?'
Added 28 April 2019.

Answers

I'm not sure the location is correct, as large scale Ordnance Survey maps reveal no such building visible from the quayside by Dock Place, that has a rail-served yard to its rear. The most likely buildings nearby are at the other side of the Inner Harbour, accessible from Tower Lane and between there and the Swing Bridge; or possibly one of those alongside Albert Dock or Victoria Dock - all of which had a single line of rails along the quayside that the wagon may have been brought in upon. Victoria Dock was also accessible from Dock Lane on foot. That said, the roof and dimensions of the building look remarkably similar to Leith North (CR) station - but that was not immediately alongside a quayside.
This wagon is visible on an aerial view in Teuchter's Bar, just round the corner. You'll have to wait until lockdown eases to go and have a look! I did look at the NLS maps, and no evidence that there were rails at this precise location. So can only assume the wagon was bought for scrap, came in by road, and was parked on it's wheels, not on rails.
Looking at it from a different angle the wagon has two large drums in it, one labelled British Ropes. This company ( called Bridon by the date of the photo) had a works in Leith. Could this be it.


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Query 1687


Photograph taken c. 1959 but where? Added 11 September 2017.

Answers

Could this be the Callander and Oban near Luib, looking east?
Not sure about the C&O... signal looks GWR to me.
It looks like a GWR signal to me, too. The scenery makes me think of Wales, and in particular Carmarthenshire.
Maybe somewhere on the Cheddar valley line


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Query 1654


This is a photo of what I am pretty certain are the remains of a tramway, used to haul the granite blocks quarried on the Ross of Mull up the hill to construct Glengorm Castle. The line would have continued behind the photographer up to a headshunt and then up to the castle site. Unfortunately the construction of the castle pre-dates the 1st series OS maps so only the line of the track is shown. I haven't managed to find any reference to a tramway but there's a lot of granite in that castle! Does anyone have any more information about this aspect of the castle's construction?
Added 19 July 2017.

Answers

A recent stay in an apartment at Glengorm Castle allowed an exploration of the tracks on the estate including the one pictured. There was no visible evidence of anything other than probable horse and cart transport of stone from the boat unloading points. The presence of curves in the tracks would also mitigate against the use of rope haulage by stationary engine. The use of horses and carts appears to be confirmed by a reference in a booklet published by the late 20th century owners of the castle: "Bringing the stone up by horse and cart would have been time consuming and costly". The Castle is a grand affair and the effort involved in the transport of granite from the Ross of Mull, sandstone from Glasgow and the building’s construction was obviously substantial and labour intensive.


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Query 1643


Portrait of Caley single 123. No details known but headboard reads 'Royal Train Pilot'. Can anyone provide any info re date, location or occasion? See similar image 59856.

Answers

A similar photo appeared in the North British Loco Co. 50th Anniversary book. The photo was in colour but it isn't quite the same location as the rail joint in front of the loco in this photo is under the cab steps in the book. The main driving wheel counterweight is also hidden but the background is very similar. One reason that the loco was moved was the tree behind the cab and tender. In the photo in the book there is what looks like a tree visible through the left hand cab window. Unfortunately there is no indication of wher e the photo was taken but it must have been prior to the anniversary year of 1953.
I read in the True Line Journal no 118 of the CRA that 123 was painted in St Rollox as a static exhibit in 1953. This was for a London Exhibition entitled 'Rail travel by Kings and Queens' at Battersea Wharf. Thereafter it toured England, Wales and Scotland and all photos show it with the Royal Train Pilot headboard and an empty tender. Seven Royal saloons also went on the exhibition tour and the loco was away from St Rollox from May until November 1953.
Just west of Smardale Station, on the South Durham & Lancashire railway in May 1950.


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Query 1462


Oops! Where and when? Added 10 August 2016.

Answers

Possibly south-east of Galashiels near Selkirk Junction with the Gala Water in the foreground, c1960.
It could be the Waverley Route but it looks like a Cowans and Sheldon 45t Crane and I can't recall when the the NB 36t crane at St Margarets was displaced North, by a larger capacity crane.It could be a Carlisle Crane that attended.
Knowing that this is another Douglas Squance collection shot, I had assumed that it was taken in the vicinity of Galashiels and I would agree with Kenneth's suggestion. By coincidence I have just come across a reference (in NBR Study Group Journal No. 121) to a derailment of some wagons near Galashiels on Saturday 9th March 1963 causing disruption on the Waverley Route. Although this was the winter of the big freeze and one might have expected there still to be snow lying, it seems there was a rapid thaw in early March.
Having convinced myself of my previous I'll now just un-convince myself.

The crane isn't lifting straight on and there does appear to be another vehicle adjacent so quiet likely double track, unless they are placed off to the side, unlikely. One part of the mainline at Glenfield fits with the high bank of trees and the immediate proximity of the Water, but I can't for the life of me match that wall......

Mac.
I can suggest a location based upon the topography and the orientation of the crane as well as what is in view but a wee bit more research will be needed (Bill Jaimeson, NBR Study Group maybe?).
The close proximity to the River with the wooden fence posts viewable along the bottom of the embankment rule out the Gala Water around Gala-Netherfield areas. However what would fit but is impossible to get a contemporary photograph of is 300 yards or so to the north of Linden on the Selkirk branch wher e the old formation skirts the Ettrick Water. The line does look to be single in the photo as the crane is having to lift straight on to traffic and is in the correct position to be Selkirk Junction side of the Derailement and be attending to the rear inwood bound vehicle (the Guards van obviously) of the branch freight derailed heading for Selkirk.
According to the 25'maps and the air photo mosaics on the nls website the original alignment of the Lindean-Abbottsford-Broomilees road ran above the cutting with a passing place/refuge in the vicinity. I think it looks good from the landscape archaeology point of view and hope this suggestion fits the approval of those of you out there that either remember the road infrastructure prior to rationalisation and re-alignment and/or also any documentation coming to light about a guard getting the bumps heading for Selkirk.

Mac.
Iain's last suggestion makes a lot of sense but I wonder if the location is not slightly further north wher e the railway appears to have run on a low embankment at the top of the river bank - I would suggest that the shot was taken using a telephoto lens (George Kinghorn frequently used such a lens) which has compressed the planes, giving the impression that the hillside beyond the railway is much closer than in reality and hence misleading Iain into thinking it is a cutting slope.
Sorry for not responding earlier.
Bill
I agree that the location is Rathen in the 1950s.
It looks to me like the train is stationary (smoke and steam are rising vertically) That would mean the driver or fireman has just visited the gents for a personal needs break and uses his bike to return quickly and allow the train to get away on time.


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Query 1374


Where, when and what's going on? (Only responses addressing all 3 questions will be published!) Added 26 January 2016. See image 54028.

Answers

I think this is Rathen station on the Formantine & Buchan Railway, looking north to Fraserburgh, southbound local about to depart for Maud, say late 1950s. I was going to suggest that the chap on the bike was the signalman dashing between signalboxes, but a quick check on O/S maps indisctes that although there were two signalboxes here, one was north beyond the goods yard throat, the other on the platform (roof just visible beyond the station building?) so why he's going wher e he's going, I don't know. Maybe he's racing the train to the end of the platform?!
I think this is Rathen station on the Buchan Line sometime between 1949 and 1952. The bicycle looks new so did the cyclist just get it, even delivered to him by the train at the platform?
The station would appear to be Rathen. As for when well mid to late 50s is the best I can give. Finally the 'what'; it reminds me of the cycling between the cabins at either end of the loop on the Highland but this is GNSR and there wasn't a loop at Rathen in BR days. Perhaps one of the station staff was needing some exercise?
The location is Rathen on the GNSR, photo taken in the late 1940s/early 1950s. I would guess that the signalman/porter is handing a token to the driver, but I'm not 100% sure about that)
Rathen station on the Fraserburgh line, looking north c1950. I would guess that the cyclist is the signalman transferring the tablet to the driver.
Up train at Rathen, early 1950s. I think the train is non-stop and the man on the bike has an arrangement wher eby, if he needs to catch this train, he calls his friend in Fraserburgh who is a regular on this service. When the train is approaching he cycles along the platform as fast as he can and his friend (seen on the first coach) leans out as the train is passing and lifts him on board. He eventually had to give up the arrangement due to the mounting cost of bicycle repairs.
This photo appears in ‘ Steam Memories North East Scotland’ and is captioned as Rathen. The caption also states that the porters were issued with bikes to deliver small parcels. Rathen village was over one and a half miles from the station.
Having compiled 'Steam Memories' for Totem Publishing, I have to agree with David Harper's comments! The info I was supplied with by Totem / Neville Stead (from whose collection this came) indicated that this was the mid-day train from Fraserburgh to Aberdeen on 7th July 1950. So I think that's 'where, when and what's going on' all answered...

Mind you, I did enjoy Alex Turner's 'explanation'!


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Query 1292


Gary Straiton is looking for help in trying to find out more about this old photograph taken at Perth shed. CR 65 was new in April 1917, although neither the actual date of the picture nor the reason behind it are known. Possibly taken to mark the end of WW1, perhaps as a publicity shot for the CR or even as a private commission. Any contributions at all concerning the picture, including any of the various individuals shown, would be appreciated. Added 19 August 2015.

Answers


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Query 1024


Can anyone suggest what is this? And from where (NBR or LCDR possibly)? Dimensions 17in x 2.25in. Bought many years ago from the Vintage Carriages Trust shop in Haworth. Added 19 March 2014. Moved to long term 26 March 2014.

Answers

Could this be the 2nd part of two part sign for Stoke Newington on the Seven Sisters branch of the Lea Valley Lines into London Liverpool Street? The colour could be Great Eastern or BR Eastern Region Blue.
Is it from a manual departure board wher e the destination or indeed intermediate stations would be slotted into the board? I would favour NBR and Newington, Edinburgh since it is home territory but have no idea what colour signs on NBR departure boards were so may be completely off the mark.


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Query 787


Where and when? Added 24 December 2012.

Answers

As a starter for ten what about Falkland Junction in Ayr.
Possibly Upperby from the west side of the main line, 1960/1961?
Editors note: From studying the original scan the locomotive could be 42752, although this is not certain.
If it be 42752, Carlisle is likely as it seems to have spent much of its life at 12A /68A,Kingmoor. I did think Falkland Jct., but there appears to be a high level line in the indistinct background.
Additional - further examination suggests locomotive number could be 42852.
Possibly the old sidings at Fleetwood?
42752 was a Carlisle Canal engine at withdrawal in 1962/3, whras 42852 moved from Willesden to Birkenhead in 1961/2 before being withdrawn in 1963/4.
Is there a hump in the background? The wagos look like they could be cuts. Therefore this could be in England.....just a clutch at a straw!
Falkland junction box seen in the photo is Ayr harbour junction the train is coming up the loop from Newton junction
Falkland Junction, Ayr Harbour and Ayr Goods are flat, apart from the short legth at the "Yo Yo".


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Query 309


Black 5 no 45053 with a freight, where is this?
[Added 10 July 2010]

Additional: The photograph was given to Ken Browne some years ago by an acquaintance who worked in the publicity dept of BR Scottish Region. It was a promotional still for a BR Freight service. Ken tells me Stirling or Perth come to mind vaguely but he really cannot be sure where it was taken. Ed. Though to have been resolved, see image 29855. Further doubts have since been expressed. Alternative locations put forward include St Rollox and Robroyston.

Answers

Given the extra gen, I was going to suggest Stirling - south end of Up Main platform. My notes say 45053 was a 63A loco between 1957 and June 1959.
Dont agree its south end of Stirling as the foreground layout, disc signals, lack of curvature and the once prominent signal gantry illustrate. The double arm signal above the wagons is interesting as it appears to be two home signals if my eyesight is correct (rather than a home and distant) mounted one above the other which is quite rare in Scotland and although there was an example of this type of low speed junction signal worked from St Leonards Bridge SB in Perth prior to resignalling I dont think its that location as the yard lamps testify.
How observant of DH to notice the double home signal. There was one like this roughly half way between Perth Station and the shed with two further home signals sharing the post lower down and for the opposite direction so hidden by train. The yard lamps would fit with my photograph of this location.
Would go for the loops just south of Perth station alongside the shed, with the train heading north. Date probably around late 50s or early 60s.
Pretty sure it is Perth (the semaphore is distinctive) not convinced it is the Friarton though. Ill check my records but Im sure that semaphore was on the Southern approach to the station (down direction). Flat bottom rail and (perhaps?) a shadow of a new point motor under the second wagon indicates 1960-1. But maybe not!!
I was wrong about the signal, the arms are too close together (refer Scottish Steam- A tribute WJV Anderson P.70). back to the drawing board!
------------------------------------------------------------
I still vote for the northbound goods loop in Perth. The signal mentioned by GS was as in this photo in 1955 and in the Anderson book the middle arm has been removed although the lamp survives and it was taken during the resignalling.
I think JRs Perth argument is quite convincing.
Although a consensus seems to be developing in favour of Perth, my researches suggest its not there (at least not in the vicinity of the new power box as has been postulated). Ive found two pictures by Brian Morrison (in his Scottish Steam Album) taken in 1955 from the opposite side of the main running lines to the WJV Anderson shot mentioned, but also looking towards the station. These show quite clearly that (a) there was then no FB rail used in the vicinity (b) there were no yard lamps corresponding with those in the mystery image and (c) the approach to the station on the down main was controlled by a bracket signal with no sign of a post bearing two home arms, one above the other. This bracket signal is also visible in the WJV shot and I would suggest that the single post with two home arms is a temporary arrangement, using recovered materials and not yet in use, to replace the bracket signal and allow the track layout to be remodelled prior to the colour light signalling being commissioned. No idea whr it actually is though!
PS Further to my previous post I have since put on the proper glasses and the Brian Morrison photographs are actually dated 1953. However it seems clear from the WJV shot (despite the snow) that the rails were still still predominantly bullhead in 1959.
Incidentally theres another BM shot which shows the signal John R has referred to - the twin home signals were lower down the post and controlled the exit from the up goods line while the upper pair of arms were a home and distant and applied to the down main - I think the next signal in the down direction would be the bracket affair I referred to earlier.
45053 was fitted with a domed boiler between June 1952 and February 1957. As the loco is domeless and carrying a 63A plate, the date must therefore be between 1957-1959.
Might this be some way south of Stirling station, with the west end of the Ochils just creeping into the far right of the background?
Ewan,

Query no 9468.

You don't happen to have an original scan so I can have a proper look. This still annoys as, if it is Perth, would be a cracker. Gary


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Query 222


Photograph thought to have been taken from the window of a train somewhere on the Highland main line in the late 1950s, but where? Added 03/02/2010.

Answers

To get the ball rolling very tentatively, Id say - as the line is single track - that it has to be climbing to Slochd or Dava summits.
Something about this Photo suggests to me that its not the Highland Main Line. The Photo reminds me of the West Highland line a few miles south of Crianlarich. But its only a Guess.
My resident lineside adviser (Bill Jamieson) advises that the trees to the right hand side of the track, which are reminiscent of Crianlarich as it is now, probably didnt exist there in 1960; the ground to the left of the line rises too steeply; and the ground to the right of the track should rise much more steeply for it to be the suggested WHL location.

Im no expert on the Dava line (I was under 10 when I travelled on it), so my current inclination is that this may be on the final stages of the southbound climb to Slochd - the angle of the sun fits, and Bill tells me the telegraph poles are in the right position!
I wondered too if this could not be coming South at Dava as the line s down towards Grantown. It is now a footpath.
I do think it is the Highland Main Line but not the final part of the climb to Slochd. The hills arent steep enough either side of the line.

I think this is about a mile south of Moy viaduct just before the line currently goes under the A9.
Wildcard. Something about the loco reminds me of a standard tank. If acting as a banker should be double track so could it be the Killin branch.
I think the sun (such as it is) is in the wrong direction for Killin - also not sufficiently steeeply graded?
I can also see where TC is coming from on this one, but I am still inclined to think it is southbound Slochd.
I keep thinking this is on the climb to Druimuachdar near Dalnacardoch Lodge, possibly looking back at the Blair Atholl banker.


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Query 184


One of three old images sent to BMcC around 5 years ago. Unfortunately the sender cannot now be contacted. The other two photographs were taken around Hawick. Can anyone throw any light on this one? Added 11/11/2009.

Answers

I recall something very similar in North British Album???
I do not ave a copy to hand presently, but I believe this photo is printed in the book, Kirkby Stephen East, A station remembered, by K Richardson. If not then very similar.


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Query 56


The crew of Caledonian 0-6-0 no 689 pose beside their locomotive, date and location unknown. Note roster no 108 attached to the smokebox lamp iron. The photograph was passed on by a late relative, the son of the driver.

Answers

Further enquiry of surviving ancient discloses that the driver, name of Palmer, was stationed in Glasgow and then in 1920 moved to work at Paisley St. James, which would then be the large goods and mineral depot latterly called, I think, Underwood. No idea, of course, when the photo was taken. Colin Miller.


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Query 23


A cosy scene in the Guards van on the way back to Galashiels from Kelso with the last freight on 29 March 1968. Who is that on the right of the picture? He joined us at St Boswells and had a pass for the freight. He wasnt local, and the name Craig seems to ring a bell.

Answers

Just to add a little more. He was a member of the Branch Line Society, had joined the freight at St Boswells (it left from Galashiels) and - though memory is fuzzy - Im sure he was from the west of Scotland.


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Query 12


Blackpool Pleasure Beach station - opened in 1987, but with an old traditional style canopy. Does anyone know this came from?

Answers

I have heard asuggestion that the components may have come from Thornton Cleveleys , which lost its canopies about this time. Can anyone confirm this?
It is very unlikely to be the Canopy from Thornton-Cleveleys. The station and canopy at Th-Cl were demolished in the mid to late 1970s (about 10 years before the opening of the Pleasure Beach Station). Looking back at my collection of old photos, the canopy at Th-Cl was glass and the supports were quite ornate.
The canopy at Blackpool Pleasure Beach could have come from one of several stations along the Blackpool South - Kirkham line. Many were modernised at that time as the line was singled.
A quick search on Goole Images reveals that all of the Fylde stations had long platform canopies except Wrea Green and Moss Side, which had none of this type. The only thing this vaguely resembles is at the carriage entrance at St Anne's... Or is it simply a modern copy constructed by Blackpool Transport?
I put this query on many years ago and never got a definitive answer. I posed the question on Twitter recently and got this reply from the Community Rail Partnership: 'Apparently the canopy was built as new to a design by the Pleasure Beach itself - they didn't want a bus shelter so had this designed and it was adopted and built by Regional Railways but we are uncertain if the columns came from Thornton or were brand new'.


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