Steaming into the Firing Line: Tales of the Footplate in Wartime Britain

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Looking Past is a tale of family, friendship, love, life and death — not necessarily in that order.

Michael Clutterbuck

This book will strike a chord with mothers, daughters, and daughters-in-law, everywhere. July London is hit by a coordinated terrorist attack. Hundreds of miles away in Cornwall, how can Jamie find out what has happened to him? The initial impact of that terrible day is followed by a slow but sure falling apart of the life Jamie believed was settled and secure. A betrayal by her best friend. A threat to her job and beloved career.

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All of this just as two new men arrive in her life. She can This ebook is incredibly good value for money. Humorous and moving, the collection tells In this collection of short stories we are reacquainted with some familiar characters as well as meeting new ones. The stories tell the tale of some of the North West's footplatemen following the Second World War, as the railways undergo a series of dramatic changes due to nationalisation, the introduction of di The Tait family move into The Stables, an old house in a Shropshire village, with plans to make it a beautiful family home.

After their first night in their new home, Alan is surprised to see a man and a dog staring across at the house, and even more so when they seem to disappear in the blink of an eye. His daughter Molly sees them too but wife Donna and son Billy remain unconvinced. As the T The most expensive diamond necklace in the world is stolen during a high-profile charity gala in London. With love, intrigue, danger and disaster, The Diamond Connection This first book by Canadian author Mel Wells follows the story of Peter, an unusual hero. When we first meet him, Peter has just joined Alcoholics Anonymous, having recently been released from jail for a drink-related offence.

Ed Porteneau is a nerdy year-old who lives an uninspiring life in a rundown apartment in a suburb of Seattle. He works as a Produce Manager in a general store, for a boss he despises. He has a best friend who beats him hands-down in the nerdiness stakes, and his social life consists of playing on his Xbox, visits to comic book stores, and daily phone calls from his overbearing mother. Not s Charles Goldforbes is the new Latin teacher at Rydon Hall, the third best boys' prep school in Churley, south-west London.

Along with the job come two related problems. One is the hideous Florian Bavington, aged 13 but already a master of low-level disruption. Drama unfolds as Charles accompanies Florian and the rest of Little Story has children all over the world. Pups, cubs, kittens, tadpoles and even human being babies. By no means just for steam rail enthusiasts, Steaming into the Firing Line offers an insight into the Second World War from an unusual and interesting vantage point.

Read more Read less. Product details Paperback: pages Publisher: Heddon Publishing; 3rd ed.

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No customer reviews. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. September 28, - Published on Amazon. Verified Purchase. The author states it is a work of fiction however I do believe many of the stories are based on actual events. If you wish to understand how steam locomotive crews worked in those days, this is the book for you. Not many books have been written by steam locomotive crews well like most jobs most days were very routine most thought nobody would be interested in reading or publishers didn't accept their manuscripts about their adventures working steam locomotives.

As most of this generation has shuffled on to the big railway in the sky, this is a good general view of what things were like during those days. A good read. February 7, - Published on Amazon. I found the book most interesting and informative, very easy to read, with railway knowledge that makes the stories all believable, which many books on railway life fail to achieve.

This brought me up with a start. I was telling a lady a story about my railway years that was perfectly true, with all sincerity. She clearly did not believe me. I was disconcerted to realise that they clearly did not believe me either. All the tales in this book are true. The only documentary evidence I have in my possession is a witness report relevant to the story that I have entitled Jigsaws chapter 5. The reader will appreciate that there will be evidence elsewhere, perhaps in the annals of railway history. But I have concentrated on the stories themselves; about incidents that happened to me.

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I am sure, however, that many railwaymen could relate dramatic events that happened to them: life on the footplate was full of drama. The locomotive crew took risks with their own safety every day; the danger was part of the job, perhaps even the appeal of it. The men were expected to use common sense every moment of the day.


Each story contains elements of these risks. It does not seem possible to make a direct comparison between life on the footplate in the s and that experienced by train crews today.

The use of different sources of power — oil and electricity — and the development of digital technology have completely transformed the footplate. The present-day driver does not have a fireman who performs the duties explained in this book. There is legislation that both supports and controls the daily duties of the crew. I was fortunate to work as a fireman on some notable steam locomotives in the final years of steam.

As the steam era slid into history the work of the fireman as it was ceased. In steam was replaced by diesel and electricity as forms of traction by British Rail. This is not a book about observing the workings of the footplate crew; it is a book about a fireman doing his job. A mere observer would see the discomforts of the train crew — the heat, the dust, the knocks — but he would also know that he, as an observer, did not actually experience them.

I did. The stories also offer an historical perspective on the job of being a fireman. In recording them I hope to go some way towards giving an account of the life and work of a footplate crew in the final years of steam.

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Perhaps, too, I am able to bring that to life through my stories. I worked on the footplate from to and of course I am only writing about what happened to me. Some railwaymen gave their entire working life to service on the footplate and my contribution was small in comparison.

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I am sure that many footplate incidents have gone unrecorded. I hope that in relating these stories I will help fill what I consider to be a gap in the history of footplate work.

I have tried to illustrate the life we led from day to day, from the fairly routine to the downright hazardous. It was always one of movement; if we found ourselves stationary we were waiting to go somewhere. It was a moving job. You had to make the engine shift and fulfil its task. You needed to know your engine so that when it was asked to perform you made sure that everything had been done for maximum efficiency.

Engines had their own personality and their own life, sometimes happy and sometimes mardy.

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We all had our favourite engines. Galtee More an A3 Pacific was my favourite. She was easy to get to steam and full working pressure and I could even take liberties with her. We could start away with less than a good body of lit coal in the firebox. Galtee More was a free-steaming engine and responded very quickly. But you dare not take liberties with some engines where you needed a really good start with everything on your side. The boiler needed to be fairly full and have a good head of steam. All engines, however, had to be prepared ready for the journey with the fire bright, so that when the regulator was opened by the driver a full head of steam was in the steam chest, and the water in the boiler was at the right level.

The fireman and the guard would then watch the train safely out of the station precincts. They then returned to their prime duties — the fireman to that of firing the engine correctly and maintaining the water level in the boiler and the guard to the train itself and the welfare of the passengers. My sixteen shifts a.