It was essential to start the engine because the loco had to be driven along the ground again. The old six-volt batteries were nearly flat but using the decompression levers allowed the six-cylinder Gardner to be cranked.
The crane swung the loco through half a turn and placed it so that it could be driven about thirty yards to the end of the line as it was then. This went as planned but then the crane got stuck in the ballast and the driver had great difficulty positioning himself close enough to the loco to be able to lift it. He wrestled with the controls but finally stopped and folded his arms in despair. "What about draining the fuel?" he said. The lads at Western Fuels had filled the 125-gallon tank for me.
Draining wasn't necessary and I can't remember what was done, only that the loco did get rerailed and two old boys who had come to watch, who had both travelled on the branch, were like kids again. Jerry, the one in the cab, remembered going off to start his National Service in the winter of 1947 when only the trains were moving.
Some shots went off under the wheels to celebrate the first loco at Christow in over thirty years and the first ever diesel.
‘Living with Harold and Hitler’ – by Shirley Gray
This not a railway book, it is a 125 page volume well written by Shirley Gray and relates to her childhood days which were spent mainly in wartime Plymouth. It will be of great interest to Plymouthians as it contains many stories of life in that badly bombed and war torn city. True stories of the poverty and ration book living associated with those terrible years. However, as well as her personal memories Shirley tells of the exploits of her brother Harold, a real rascal. Harold, on one of his boyhood adventures set out for a days adventure by train getting off at Ingra Tor Halt. Here, after trampling around on the moorland, perhaps, with little concern about the ‘Snakes warning notice’ for which this remote location is famed! Harold and his friends returned to the shelter of the station buildings. Feeling cold they lit a fire using scraps of paper and twigs. The fire quickly got out of control and set alight to the building itself. Very luckily very heavy rain put out the fire and Harold and remains of the roof survived. Harolds subsequent involvement with the police and a rail journey under guard in the brake compartment of the train are detailed.
This book is available from Amazon. Other reviews are available see Google. I found it a fascinating read. Keith Jenkin.