Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Train of Thought


There’s something rather special about the picture above. The eagle-eyed will have noticed that it bears my family name. It’s not named after our branch of the family however; I assume it was to honour the famous engineer and canal builder James Brindley, to whom we are purported to be connected in some way. GWR had named a Victoria Class series of steam locomotives after famous engineers such as Brindley, Brunel, Stephenson and Watt, but these were all withdrawn by December 1880. LNWR also had a Brindley engine around 1905 and apparently re-used numbers and names of  withdrawn locomotives so that the numbering system became completely haphazard. I haven’t a clue which one this is but instinct tells me it’s the earlier model. My brother-in-law, the stamp and postcard collector, spotted the above picture for sale on eBay and of course it had to be his.

Googling also turned up the facts that a driver Brindley featured in this month’s Isle of Wight Steam Railway News and that a David Brindley designs modern electric trains. I wish I could say that we were all related but as far as I know we’re not.

Fellow blogger and bookseller Steerforth posted a picture of a shelf of unwanted books a week or so back.


He was moving premises and wondered whether it was worth taking books which remained stubbornly unsold. Some of us were surprised at the titles which appeared unpopular and I commented that surely 'The Boys' Book of Locomotives' by J R Howden would have been snapped up by an old-style train-spotter.




In those days, of course, only boys were deemed to be interested in such topics, although I wonder how many fathers bought it for sons with a view to ‘borrowing’ it; isn’t that how so many train sets came to be commandeered by fathers on Christmas Day?

Of course I then had to find out about the book with such an exciting title. Someone* had kindly scanned the cover and all the pictures and uploaded them to Wikimedia Commons. I had imagined line drawings but no, these were all clear photographic images of old steam trains, engines and valve gears from across Great Britain, Canada, USA and the continent. There must have been some history of travel as there were engravings of a stagecoach and a stagecoach timetable as well as a camel train in the desert. All in all a splendid book. I couldn’t see the Brindley Locomotive there but I do hope some lover of old trains, engines and/or photographs buys the book.



When my children were young we had a holiday in Yorkshire and visited the North York Moors Railway. I wrote about our trip on the steam train in Are We Nearly There Yet? three years ago before many current members joined. It tells of how we managed to bore the children with an 'exciting’ steam train ride. Perhaps this explains why the book above remains unsold. Old trains are not for everyone.




What is for everyone however is Sepia Saturday which has a prompt picture of a railway station with many possible themes to choose from. Consult your railway timetable and catch the next train over there to see what other commuters have made of the image below.


This very Saturday is the birthday of another Mrs Brindley (married to the owner of the Brindley  photograph) so this post is dedicated to her. Happy Birthday G.XX

* Thanks to Andy Dingley

17 comments:

  1. The cover on the locomotive book might make me buy it. I must admit I, though, that I am not very interested in differences between different kinds of locomotives.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It really is a splendid book. All I can think of to explain why it's unsold, is the possibility it was printed in large numbers. If there are lots of copies around the price may be low on Amazon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sadly, old books are not for everyone, either. Especially, when, as you have found out, you can get all the information on the internet. I love looking at old steam trains, but I'm not particularly interested in all the details!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You have only to look at a picture of an old steam engine and you can actually smell them and hear the rattle of the wheels on the lines. Wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, I know someone who would have been greatly interested in that book. I wonder if maybe he had it? He loved trains of all kinds and especially engines - even got the chance to actually drive one once. Does a person "drive" a train? Maybe "operate" is the right word? I've never been sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We definitely have train drivers here in Aus.

      Delete
  6. When you see your surname on something, you just gotta have it. One year I found my maiden name on a toffee tin, so everyone got one for Christmas. I've seen the tins on eBay for $25 - they must be the real ones, the old ones, because I think I paid only a couple dollars each. Or maybe the eBay sellers are counting on people being gullible.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A super post. That locomotive is very impressive with its giant drive wheels. They were not used on American engines. I'm sure that had I lived in the era of steam I would have been inspired by the Boys Book of Locomotives to take up a career as a railroad engineer. A few years ago I even bought a book (used) on how to drive a steam engine.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've always felt that steam trains were more exciting to look at than to actually ride, at least after you've been on board a little while.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I had not heard of Brindley the engineer. What a treat to have an engine in the family!. I guess the North Yorks Railway could be regarded as local for us, but I've not been on it since our children were young.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I would have loved that book. Is it still for sale?
    Nancy
    Ladies of the Grove

    ReplyDelete
  11. That is a stunning old-style locomotive. I searched for another photo of the Brindley on the interweb but couldn't find one as good as yours. It's a pity your kids didn't enjoy the ride, I certainly would have appreciated it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My brother once shared a memory of getting a train for Christmas. His dad and grandfather put it together, then continued to play with it, telling him to move away. Now that I think about it, I wonder if he kept the train set or bought a new one when he had a son of his own who had come of age to the interest of trains.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yes I agree with Rob; that is a wonderful locomotive.

    You made me smile too as your comments reminded me of my husband. When my children were little, my husband would spend hours in the toy shop as he had to "test all the toys to make sure they were safe".

    ReplyDelete
  14. So many great photos and books out there, if only we had time to seek them out!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love the photo of the steam train. I've actually been on the Isle of Wight Steam train. There really is something magical about those incredible engines.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a terrific photograph.James Brindley is a hero of mine, so it holds especial interest. For what it's worth, other engineers whom the GWR 'Victoria' class commemorates include Stephenson, Trevethick (sic), Watt and Telford.

    ReplyDelete