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INDIAN STEAM RELICS

A FIREMAN'S PERSPECTIVE

By   Hal  Hughes

Former Fireman  Grade A  Northern  Railway  Delhi  Division  Saharanpur

 

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16 Apr.1853 - 16 Apr.2002

 

FOUR  DAYS  AND  THREE  NIGHTS  IN  THE  LIFE  OF  A  FIREMAN  GRADE A


Dehradun  Express  from Saharanpur to Delhi [<<Page-1] [<<Page-2] [Page-3] [Page-4>>]

Flying Mail  from Delhi to Amritsar [Page-1 >>] [Page-2>>]

STAY TUNED FOR THE FOLLOWING UPCOMING SECTIONS:

Flying Mail from Amritsar to Delhi

Dehradun Express from Delhi to Saharanpur and sign off 

[Click here for more STEAM LINKS]


Dehradun  Express  from Saharanpur to Delhi  with overnight rest in Delhi:-PAGE-3

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An EM # 931 at Meerut Cantt. with the Lahore - Madras military mail. (Photo courtesy John Lacey, source not disclosed.)

In the mean time Gurbux Singh has poured a mug of tea for each of us and produced his tiffin carrier which he had also put above the firebox door to get warm, out of it he gave me and Mr Collis 2 Kachori’s each ( stuffed deep-fried bread ) and a little Sukhi bundgobhi ( dry cabbage curry )   which we enjoy with our mug of tea, however before we can drink or eat the starter signal turns to green.  I shout “Starter green,”  pull  the leaver to open cylinder cocks, Mr Collis the Driver gives a long blast on the whistle  I look to the rear of the train see the guard wave his lamp which is green; I shout  “alright” the driver open’s the regulator like before we move off without slipping  ( it’s bad driving to let the Locomotive slip ).  I close the cylinder cock’s   then open the firebox and put on a fire about  8 shovel’s of coal filling both back corners of the firebox and spreading the coal evenly over the grate area  close door.     In the mean time Gurbux has exchanged lamp signals with the guard this is done to make sure that the guard has got back in his Brake and not been left behind.

 I stand and eat my Kachori’s and Suki bundgobi so do both Gurbux and  Driver  Collis, after drinking my mug of tea I put on the injector fill up the boiler to within an inch of the bottom of the top gauge glass nut.  I stand  between the two hand rails and lean out into the wind it’s a great feeling nice and cool as my  Shirt is wet with sweat , Gurbux has pulled more coal to the front of the coal chute and is now standing near Mr Collis  talking to him.   I walk over to the firebox door open it and put about 4 shovel’s of coal in  close   the door  and ask Gurbux to give the footplate a sweep down and a damping which he does.   I put on another fire close the door,  we are getting near to Khatauli and I open the blower and shut off the regulator and train starts to slow. I look out and see outer signal at red I make sure that Mr Collis has also seen it  he starts to brake slowing down to 10 MPH  we have to stop at the outer signal as soon as we come to a stop the outer turns green we proceed with caution at  10 MPH  pick up  the token on the driver’s side of  the cab, Gurbux throws the one we got at Muzaffarnagar into the net near  the signal box. The  starter and advanced starter are green  no more caution orders so I shout “alright” the driver opens the regulator  back up to the point where he had it and hooks the  dog chain to keep it in place;  turns  the reversing gear back to 35% cut off  and we set off towards  our next stop   Meerut.

We continue  putting on fires and filling up boiler untill we get within sight of the outer signal of Meerut, it is green I shout “alright” we pass the outer I turn on the blower,  Mr Collis shuts the regulator I look out the direction signal is also on green  we head into Platform 1 coming to a halt at the end of the platform; the water column is right near where we want it : we have a 20 minute halt here. Gurbux gets up on the tender and pulls the water column over the water inlet of the tender,   turns it on and comes back to the footplate and fills up the oil can and goes around the locomotive filling up all the oil boxes.   Mr Collis goes round checking with his hand hammer also feeling the axle boxes and big ends.  I open the steam cock to the rocking bar donkey engine  also the cock to the ash pan damper I move the donkey leaver back and forth rocking the fire bars  getting rid of the ash in the firebox I drop the Drop grate  and make fire pushing out any clinkers through the drop grate running the big hook back and forth on the grate levelling out the fire.  I pull the Drop grate back up in to position pushing the fire over it  put the big hook away in the tube in the tender  and put on a nice big fire, 4 shovel’s in each back corner of the firebox  8 shovel’s spread evenly over the grate area shut the door put on the injector fill up the boiler;   when it is full turn off the injector turn off the blower and go and sit on a bench on the platform to cool off.    In the mean time Gurbux Singh the 2nd fireman has finished filling the oil boxes, the water has overflowed from the tender he climbs up   and turns it off and pushes the water column away from the locomotive.   Mr Collis has called over a vendor selling food and ordered us 6  Puri’s each and vegetable curry also 3 Gulab Jamuns each paying for them out of his own pocket. Gurbux nips on to the footplate and puts on the water for a cup of tea it does not take long and he makes the tea we all sit and eat our meal of Puri’s, curry and then the sweet’s.  I go over to a   ice cold water tap and fill up our mugs with the cold water, bring it back to the bench near the locomotive;  we sit and drink the water  it goes down a treat:  Gurbux takes the mugs back on the foot plate and fills them with tea it is nearly time to leave Meerut we climb back on the footplate and are waiting for the token and the starter to go to green.

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Night on stations was always atmospheric, riding a steam loco at night was a real thrill!  WP 7363 has just arrived at Nagpur on train 134 Ahmadabad Exp, the SER crew will detach their loco and a CR crew will attach their own WP for the run to Bhusaval.” 19-1-83.(Photo by Terry Case.)

 

Dehradun  Express  from Saharanpur to Delhi [<<Page-1] [<<Page-2] [Page-3] [Page-4>>]

Flying Mail  from Delhi to Amritsar [Page-1 >>] [Page-2>>]

STAY TUNED FOR THE FOLLOWING UPCOMING SECTIONS:

Flying Mail from Amritsar to Delhi

Dehradun Express from Delhi to Saharanpur and sign off 

[Click here for more STEAM LINKS]

Comments? Questions? E-mail me at:     hal.hughes1@tiscali.co.uk


Last Updated: 30/05/02 Page spun by S.Shankar with Microsoft FrontPage 98