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Author Topic: Where was Oxonhutch, and when?  (Read 501 times)
Oxonhutch
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« on: April 14, 2020, 06:41:52 pm »

So following up on several entertaining entries I offer the following: Where was Oxonhutch, when, and why was he so miserable?
« Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 08:18:00 pm by Oxonhutch » Logged
johnneyw
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2020, 07:36:10 pm »

On the footplate of 70013 Oliver Cromwell (I looked it up online) is the immediate answer to the whereabouts. A bit of futher digging around suggests a footplate ride at Bressingham Steam & Gardens late 1970s to early 1980s and the sad face due to no actual footplate rides available that day?
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2020, 08:34:53 pm »

On the footplate of 70013 Oliver Cromwell
For that you score 1 point - I won't say, out of how many  Smiley.

When and what carry the meat of the points ...
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2020, 05:39:23 pm »

I have to confess that my location has probably never been graced by Swindon’s finest locomotives nor that of Brighton’s so it may be a bit unfair, or even of little interest, but it was Robin Summerhill’s tale of ‘The Cork’ that prompted it – and that in itself is a clue.

And if that isn’t enough, I had – when the photo was taken by my father – just enjoyed my eighth birthday; and from recent tales of jolly outings by Red Squirrel, I would calculate that he would be about the same age or a year – or so – younger at the time the photo was taken.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2020, 07:16:13 pm »

Is the date somewhere near 11th August 1968?
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Rain falls upon the Easter Tree, the squirrel shakes his head And shivers in his red and sodden fur...
Oxonhutch
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2020, 08:16:25 pm »

Is the date somewhere near 11th August 1968?

It would indeed Mr RS, and unseen in the photo were several spiky smuts of our "Commonwealth Monster's" effluent in my eye - or as my parish church's passionately royalist historian would write: 'Ferruginous Regicide!!'

Hence my apparent misery. I had ignored my father's instructions not to stick my head out of the window.

It was the end of the Lord Protector's journey that day so its location might be discerned ...

[In my family - Oliver Cromwell 70013 - is known as my engine]


But all is not quite as it might seem...

... and the best part was about to begin ...
« Last Edit: April 15, 2020, 08:30:06 pm by Oxonhutch » Logged
bradshaw
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2020, 09:11:17 pm »

Carlisle perhaps
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Western Pathfinder
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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2020, 09:19:52 pm »

West Coast Main Line north of Preston at a guess...
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GBM
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2020, 08:37:18 am »

Is the date somewhere near 11th August 1968?

It would indeed Mr RS, and unseen in the photo were several spiky smuts of our "Commonwealth Monster's" effluent in my eye - or as my parish church's passionately royalist historian would write: 'Ferruginous Regicide!!'

Hence my apparent misery. I had ignored my father's instructions not to stick my head out of the window.

It was the end of the Lord Protector's journey that day so its location might be discerned ...

[In my family - Oliver Cromwell 70013 - is known as my engine]


But all is not quite as it might seem...

... and the best part was about to begin ...

Oooooh, do tell....... pretty please.....
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bradshaw
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« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2020, 10:04:07 am »

Is it related to the light engine move that followed the special south 45 minutes later?
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2020, 11:04:33 am »

Quote
But all is not quite as it might seem...
... and the best part was about to begin ...

I think I might have over-egged the last part in my excitement for the occasion so it may be wise to temper your expectations – the ‘best part’ is viewed through the (slightly damaged) eyes of an eight year old enthusiast.

The date mentioned by Red Squirrel of 11 August 1968 was that of the now famous Fifteen Guinea Special which ran a week after the official last BR steam service – as attended to by Robin Summerhill with his fine work at my local shed, Lostock Hall. I was very lucky to live in the last part of the Kingdom to be blessed with mainline steam and I am sure that there are others my age raised in lessor parts that were never witness to the best free show on earth.

In February 1968, my parents sold their small three bedroom semi for £2200 and I was torn away from my favourite viewing spot at Brownedge Crossing. Now 15 guineas in 1968 was a king’s ransom for a junior manager father, newly saddled with a larger mortgage to accommodate my baby sister. Even at half price for me, he would never conceive of spending £23-12s-6d (that’s £23.62½ for the youngsters) on such a junket even if it was the Last Ever Steam.

Luckily, decades before George Lucas invented the prequel, there were earlier runs over the same route using 70013 and I believe we were on the penultimate one run some two weeks earlier, probably Sunday 28th July. This was at a much more reasonable cost and the train was packed with not-so-rich but very enthusiastic steam buffs – my dad and I included.

Oliver Cromwell was an impressive engine but a bit pretentious for us local lads and the loco, despite its recent overhaul at Crewe, was not in the finest of health. She developed a bad steam leak on one of her cylinders giving a distinctive ‘chuff – chuff – chuff – hiss’ cadence and by the time we finally pulled into Carlisle – where I believe the photo was taken – the mighty Republican was a very sick beast.

So was I, with my eyelid full of soot, and it was with only with the greatest reluctance that I allowed my dad to shoehorn me on to the footplate for my family-famous photo. I was really miserable and remember that it was crowded with people and incredibly hot inside and I desperately wanted out as soon as possible. In later years I felt really guilty as I came to realise that my dad would have loved the opportunity to go up himself but couldn’t and offered up his place to me.

Shortly afterwards, Cromwell was released of her burden and there was a great deal of discomfort on the platform that we would now be diesel hauled back to Manchester. Imagine our delight therefore when not one – but two – Black Fives coupled up for the return journey. The end of steam was still a week away and these two of our favourite engines were found available.

As they say in football: “The crowd went wild!”

A double dose of our kind of engine. The trip back was fantastic – real steam – Lancashire style, for I believe they hailed from Lostock Hall shed – sent up light over Shap to deputise for the sick star. The subsequent 15 Guinea special was run the same way with two Black Fives on the return and I wonder if BR management then realised how popular these engines were in the enthusiast community – just a thought.

Epilogue: 2008 saw the fortieth anniversary of the Fifteen Guinea Special with the same leading players – at least those still extant – and with roles reversed I bought a pair of premier dining tickets for my (now retired) dad and, gainfully employed, I. We had a wonderful day – dad took along the 1968 photograph.

At Manchester Victoria, 70013 backed on to our train for the journey north over the Settle and Carlisle – dad showed the driver my photo.

“Well, you better get on board and get another!” he demanded, and this time I enthusiastically obliged. See below.

That evening the train dropped us off at Earlestown south of Wigan, and dad and I were alone on the platform as we witnessed the fervent departure of our two Black Fives towards Liverpool shattering the night’s silence. Their twin beats only fading slowly over the next five minutes to eyrie quiet – a skylark perhaps. It was utterly lovely.

Silent because mum driving down in the dark had got lost in unfamiliar territory and couldn’t find the station. Not to worry, a light shone at ten o’clock, from the parlour window of a stranger’s house in the County Palatine and so she simply knocked on the front door. Cheerily, she was directed to the station by a friendly chap therein. I love the north.
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