Delivered new at a Derby area hospital during July 1957, I grew up in Allestree, spending my formative years at Portway Infants & Junior School ('the cowsheds'). Amazingly I passed the '11+' exam and ended up at Ecclesbourne Grammar School, Duffield where after much pain and suffering (the school owned an unheated outdoor swimming pool) I moved into banking making appearances at various National Westminster branches in Derby & London.
None of my family had any railway connections. My grandfather in the mid 1960's would take me down to Derby Midland on Saturdays to give my mother a break. I remember none of this. After he moved to Little Eaton he would come over to see us on Tuesday afternoons, taking the Trent bus as far as Ford Lane, where we would have walked down to. Ford Lane then had a signal box and crossing gates and amazingly for such a small country lane carried much heavy traffic between the A6 & A61. Bits of this I still recall.
A rail trip with my dad to an exhibition at Birmingham about 1965 involved the use of a dmu, I remember New Street was dark and being rebuilt?
My family enjoyed walking in the Peak District. This usually meant taking the A6 at least as far as Rowsley or Bakewell, which meant glimpses of the Midland line. Amazingly I have a snapshot of a Peak southbound at Monsal Head viaduct, taken with an Instamatic 100! If we used the A515 through Ashbourne there were glimpses of the closed LNWR line to Buxton.
Family holidays at an aunts house at Saltdean (Brighton) saw frequent visits to Newhaven, an interesting place with the cross channel car ferries and the railway side by side, for a native of Derby the emu's were different, the 4COR's still worked the Seaford branch.
About 1968/69 through the use of Derby Corporation buses, un-accompanied Saturday visits were made to Derby station. By now it was too late, independence had been achieved and the railways had me hooked. A modest Raleigh bicycle made many visits to London Road bridge, Stenson Junction/Willington, Duffield, Toton����
A leaflet round for the local grocer brought in pocket money, which brought more access to BR, the AwayDay excursions being a real inexpensive treat. Shelf stacking at a MacFisheries supermarket brought in even more cash, whilst my first full time job in August 1975 opened up a real Pandora's box of delights.
And the Sulzer 2's�����what can one say after having looked at this web site.
I will always remember arriving at the old Derby station, the newsstand on the left, the ticket windows & information office on the right with the ticket barrier dead ahead. Would 'Nails' be there, a tough ticket collector known to give spotters a hard time even with that valuable platform ticket in hand. And nearly always in the background would be that coughing, spluttering, burpity burping sound, familiar to all as a Derby Type 2. If we were lucky and one came down platform 1 or 2, the whole concourse would echo with that unmistakable sound, speech would be pointless until the locomotives had wandered by.
And the rest is history, or at least not worth recalling here as it is probably very similar to many others.
A visit to the UK in 2004 allowed a visit to the MRC at Butterley, the first locomotive seen was no less that 7671.
Addendum - January 2005
Early Days to 1996
The above notes were written in the summer of 1998, the story ending with the recognition that despite other influences the interest in railways would dominate my free time. Searching my dog-eared spotting note books reveals that from approximately 1970 to January 1982 most weekends involved some sort of spotting activity, and during the summer months the purchase of RailRovers was without doubt the highlight of the season.
A rail visit to Landore Open Day in August 1980 led to a sequence of events that eventually led to my marriage to a wonderful lady during February 1981. In January 1982 we emigrated to California, my wife's original home.
Although now many miles from British Railways I followed the happenings of BR through the railway press and by photographs sent to me by a couple of very good friends. And since railways are a global entity I became very interested in the Southern California scene, of the Southern Pacific, Santa Fe & Union Pacific in particular. A number of return visits were made to the UK, regrettably my presence in the USA did not allow me to witness first hand the rundown, final withdrawals & disposal of the Classes 25/45/46.
1997 - 2001
It was a trip back to the UK in 1997 that produced a strange result on my return to the USA. The holiday had been a good one, seeing family & friends and getting a few days on the railways, including a trip to Bescot Open Day, a sorely missed treat as there is no equivalent in the USA. I discovered that on my return to California my interest in the local railroad scene was gone!! Utterly and completely, and to this day I don't know how or why this happened. When I tried to re-visit the locations where I would previously have gone trainwatching, there was now no enthusiasm, no joy, the 'magic' was gone!! So strange.
Change was also brewing in a different area, after some fifteen years with one employer they had decided to close their Los Angeles office and ship all our duties back to New York! Although no date was immediately finalised for the closure, the work volumes quickly dropped off, to the point where most of the day was spent idle & management showed little concern for this state of affairs. As I was asked to remain with the branch to the bitter end (suitably compensated of course!) I knew I had to fill the time profitably, but how.
In Brian Webb's Sulzer Diesel Locomotives of BR the author makes a comment that his volume only briefly touches upon the history of the Type 2's and that it must be left for someone else to fill in the story. So for the first six months of 1998 I dragged a variety of source materials to work and slowly put together the information which is now the source for the yearly history pages. But back then in the summer of 1998 the obvious question was what to do with this large document.
Development of the Internet had reached a point where it was becoming readily accessible and useable by large chunks of the population. Spurred on by encouragement from 'Mr B' (of Derby Works & Mk 2 Cortina fame) I took the plunge and created the first cut of the Sulzer Type 2 website.
Like the locomotives it features I've kept the site simple, working only with basic 'raw' html - trying to avoid all the flashy features and gizmos that were then so frequent. At this time 'dial-up' was the most common form of internet access, hence picture sizes were kept small. From August 1998 to January 2002 the hosting was provided by AOL. For a long time all my scanned views were done with the help of my Church's scanner, eventually an HP ScanJet XPA with slide/negative adapter was obtained, it is this machine that currently converts my slide collection into an electronic format with Adobe Photoshop used for the editting.
2002 - 2005
During January 2002 I was out of work again, my position eliminated in yet another Bank merger. The severance package allowed replacement of our old Packard Bell Legend 408CD computer (anyone with a knowledge of these machines will know they are about as reliable as your average NBL Type 2 on a good day - remarkably mine is still running) with a Gateway Essential, with this move a DSL/Broadband connection was established through the local phone company. Whilst looking for a new job the opportunity was taken to move the website to a new Web hosting company, which permitted the use of the 'sulzertwo' name for the site address. With all this in place the volume of visitors grew, including those that have provided much additional information and pictures. With the greater availability of Broadband/DSL much re-scanning of the existing pictures has taken place, allowing bigger, improved images - this task is still ongoing.
2003 arrived with me still employed but my Web host was about to create a nightmare for myself and their customers in what can only be described as abominable customer practices, with unfulfilled promises, payment for services that were never provided & and levels of service that were essentially rubbish. Their customer service was an out & out lie, not helped by the outsourcing of their customer 'support' to India. It took a while to realise that this company was down the toilet and that there might be an issue in releasing the web address for use elsewhere. Not wishing to prolong the agony a new Web host was selected with the 'derbysulzers' address choosen for the rebirth of the site.
By the end of February 2003 the site was back online, with a continuing growth in visitor traffic and much exchange of information.
A topic for another rainy day.
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