- Publisher: Bellcode Books
- Format: Paperback | 112 pages
- Dimensions: 180mm x 242mm x 10mm | 390g
- Publication date: 30 March 2012
- Publication City/Country: Todmorden
- ISBN 10: 1871233267
- ISBN 13: 9781871233261
- Illustrations note: 157 black & white photos and 10 colour
- Sales rank: 1,124,419
Tom Greaves gives his own account of the chaotic introduction of main line diesel locomotives during the late 1950s which was conducted primarily on the suburban network out of London's King's Cross station and with which he was directly involved. There, a multitude of untried and disparate locomotive types were launched into intensive commuter service almost overnight with inevitable consequences but out of which ultimately emerged a modern, cleaner and more cost-effective network. Railway Memories No.26 also outlines the array of measures taken in the 1950s to prolong the life of steam and make it more efficient before the diesels finally took over. The author charts his early years as a premium apprentice at Doncaster Works and takes us through his time as a locomotive shed master in the London area and as traction engineer at Sheffield and Leeds in the 1960s, concluding with a selection of amusing and fascinating anecdotes. A keen and accomplished photographer throughout his career, Tom Greaves also provides a treasure chest of rare steam and early diesel photographs.
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A native of Rotherham, Yorkshire, Tom Greaves joined British Railways as a premium apprentice at the famous Doncaster locomotive works. After a spell at Darnall loco depot in Sheffield and National Service with the RAF, he went to the BR Eastern Region's motive power department headquarters at Liverpool Street, London. This was followed by front line postings as shed master at Hertford East and then Hatfield depots where he was responsible for making sure the necessary steam engines were ready on time each day to take thousands of commuters to Liverpool Street and King's Cross. In 1957 he was given the job of overseeing the conversion of half of Hornsey steam depot into a depot for the new diesels, moving to the new purpose-built diesel depot at Finsbury Park in 1961. Soon after he was appointed traction engineer Sheffield Division and then Leeds Division where he witnessed the end of steam. He later moved on to Newcastle, finally retiring in 1987 as traction and train crew manager for all of British Rail. He still works in the railway industry as a consultant, often on overseas projects.
"A very informative, readable and well illustrated chronology of first hand experiences of the author..well illustrated with the majority of the 154 well-captioned photographs attributed to the author.." Friends of the National Railway Museum magazine.
Table of contents
Page 4 Learning the trade Page 19 To the Motive Power department Page 25 The first transition - seeking economy and efficiency with steam Page 36 The motive power management culture of the 1950s Page 40 Depot survival Page 50 The diesel revolution - the good, the bad and the downright disastrous. Page 77 Memories of the Great Northern - the author's pictures Page 83 Sheffield and Leeds Divisions Page 97 On breakdown duty Page 103 Unexpected pleasures