Chuffs, Puffs & Whistles

The Ribble Pilot - Articles & Features from the railway journals
  1. Free Ride to the Asylum

    Some called it ‘Little Annie, some called it ‘The Nurses’ special’ and to some it was ‘Sylum Billy. It was possibly the strangest little railway in Britain, a single track just over one and a half miles long, on which a wheezy old steam locomotive would haul coal, provisions, staff and patients to the country’s … Continue reading
  2. Bitumen Trains – The Story So Far

    The 6M32 (loaded) and 6E32 (empty) bitumen trains between Lindsey Oil Refinery and Preston Docks always attract attention as they cross the country from coast to coast – not least because it is one of the few regular freight workings over the Copy Pit line. Just two days before Christmas 2004, the mothballed Preston Docks … Continue reading
  3. Lost Property

    Rail company reveals strangest items left on trains – and some are totally bizarre… Leaving a wallet, an umbrella or glasses behind on a train might be easy to understand, but a wooden casket with ashes inside, a framed picture of Mary Berry, a 6ft inflatable dinosaur or a hamster? Some careless travellers have accidentally abandoned these … Continue reading
  4. The Gold Train

    So there is a Nazi train hidden in a tunnel somewhere in southwest Poland. Or is there? Ever since the end of the Second World War, the rumour of a train full of gold shunted away in a mountainside has floated around the countryside near the Lower Silesian town of Walbrzych. Like all good treasure … Continue reading
  5. Why did Preston port close?

    It may come as a surprise to some that Preston port didn’t make it to its centenary. The port officially closed on 31 Oct 1981, just over 98 years after it opened. Perhaps it would have added insult to injury to keep a loss-making port open for another two years and close it on its … Continue reading
  6. Leyland Trucks 120

    Leyland Trucks is universally recognised as one of Britain’s leading manufacturing companies. Celebrating an astonishing 120 years of production in 2016, the company is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of PACCAR Inc, and the global centre of its light and medium duty truck design, development and manufacture. The Leyland facility now produces around 14,500 vehicles per year … Continue reading
  7. Royal Mail – Travelling Post Office

    The public face of the Royal Mail is a well known one. The Postman’s morning round, the street corner pillar box and the red mail van with its distinctive Royal cipher are traditional features of everyday life throughout the country. We are all customers of Royal Mail and the collection and delivery services provided by … Continue reading
  8. Finished With Engines – SS Tilapa

    Built in 1928 by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead, The SS Tilapa was famous for carrying the first cargo of bananas (with ten million on board) to the UK after World War 2, arriving at Avonmouth on December 30th 1945. Pathe News carried the story in thousands of cinemas all over the world. Children eating the … Continue reading
  9. Windscale Works

    On the Cumberland coast south of St. Bees Head considerable activity occurred during the last War which was naturally not publicised, for here two Royal Ordnance Factories were built and were busily producing T.N.T. during the whole of the hostilities. One of these factories was at Sellafield and it was here that a new spate … Continue reading
  10. Liveries – Blood and Custard

    For many, ‘Blood and Custard’ was a fine   combination of colours and was particularly suited to Mk1 stock. British Railways came into being on 1st January 1948 but in respect of liveries no clear policy had been decided. Accordingly the individual works carried on as they had always done, painting rolling stock in their own … Continue reading

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