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David Maidment recollections

The 'original' 35005

There are a few runs around 1959-61 when I was commuting between Woking and Waterloo - most of the trains I used were either Basingstoke or Salisbury men. I suspect the 12.54 Waterloo - Salisbury was a 70A turn; it was usually a 70A Schools at that time returning from Salisbury about teatime. The 23.15 Waterloo- Basingstoke returned on a freight and I suspect this was a 70A lower link job. This train was usually great fun - although booked for an N15 (usually one of 70A's 30763/774/778/779) it could get anything 'spare'. I had a footplate run on it one night (very unofficial) with Eastleigh's 30784.

Another was a truly memorable run with 35005 'running out' just before rebuilding. We took 6 minutes with our 4 coach load (3 coaches and van) to slither to Vauxhall, went round Clapham curve at 61 mph with me lying on the floor, got up to 75 by Wimbledon, went past Hampton Court Junction signals at danger and came to an emergency stop on the crossover to the slow line, proceeded with caution into dense fog by the River Mole, stopped while the fireman climbed a semaphore signal near Hersham to 'feel' the signal arm and finally arrived in Woking when, as I stared at the dirty loco, there was a sudden whoosh and the side of the boiler cladding went up in lurid flames from burning oil underneath and the fire engines turned out. I wonder if any of our Nine Elms veterans remembers this ? I guess no-one will own up as the culprit, but perhaps rumours got out !

As I said, most days I commuted to London on a Salisbury turn (06.45 Salisbury, loco and men returning on the 13.00 Waterloo) and went home on the 17.00 (again Salisbury men with a 72A pacific) or the 17.09, a Basingstoke turn which had a Schools or Arthur from 1959 onwards - 30777 regularly for months at the back end of 1959 and the first half of 1960. From 1961-4 I was a Management Trainee on the Western Region, and used my passes to travel throughout that region and on the LMR and ER to catch mainlines before they lost steam. I returned to the SR in force from 1965-67 as steam was nearing the end on the Bournemouth route and enjoyed many of the last 'high speed' flings.

A trip with 'Cross' on 34026

During my student vacations in 1957/8 I worked as a relief clerk at Old Oak Common (articles in Steam World 0ct 2001 - January 2002) and had a number of footplate rides - official and unofficial - there, and got a permit for a trip from Waterloo - Salisbury on the footplate of the 09.00 Waterloo - Exeter. It was August 1957 and the loco was 34026 'Yes Tor', then of 72A and unrebuilt, and the driver was a guy called 'Cross'. He was unfortunately most rude about not wanting a passenger and made me so embarrassed that I offered to leave the footplate at Waterloo, but the Inspector insisted I remain and tried to lighten the atmosphere engendered by this grumpy old man who seemed to have got out of the wrong side of bed. We performed well enough and I remember after Andover his humour improved a little and he asked me the highest speed I'd had on a Western engine on the footplate (it was 84 on a Castle on a 13 coach Wolverhampton - Paddington train near Bicester). He then promptly touched 87 on the descent down Porton bank as some sort of peace offering. Do any of you remember this driver and was he usually as bad tempered as this, or was I just unlucky ?

David Maidment

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