Testing Times at Derby – A ‘Privileged View of Steam’
The author, Alan Rimmer, begins by describing how, when he left school in 1943, he embarked on an engineering apprenticeship with the London, Midland & Scottish Railway in its Derby Locomotive Works. This type of course had at an earlier time been called a ‘Privileged Apprenticeship’ and the term ‘Priv’ was still applied to the author and his colleagues – hence his ‘Privileged’ view of steam. Having described in some detail the pleasures and pains, the trials and tribulations of his training, and the particular incident where he stood in for a colleague on one of the locomotive interchange trials, which determined the direction that his career would take. Alan admits that his close acquaintance with steam locomotives led to the blossoming of an intense enthusiasm for steam, something that has never left him.
With his practical training behind him, office work within the Works was the next stop, then the incident referred to above led to a move to drawing office of the locomotive testing station, where his work included test runs with ‘Black Fives’, ‘Britannias’ and ‘Austerities’ viewed from the dynamometer car – close encounters with steam engines once again became the order of the day. This was a fascinating period with many aspects, enabling the author to indulge in a wide range of experiences, including the schoolboy dream of driving a railway engine. A move into the research department, of what was by now British Railways, led to a gradual diminution in the steam content of his working life; nevertheless, various projects still came his way that enabled him, in on way or another, to have hands-on contact with steam locomotives for half of his railway career.
A5 format, 120 pages, 88 illustrations. Softback.
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