Posts Tagged ‘Brian Grant’

After a bit of a frantic week with some last minute control panel modifications to power the new Cobalt point motors Fisherton Sarum made its appearance last Saturday at the Tring and District MRC show.

Set up on Friday night was only available from 7.30pm and wasn’t helped by the lack of power to the socket on the wall that I supposed to be using, resulting in a 45 minute delay whilst an alternative cable was run into the hall. All the point motors bar one end of the double slip worked fine although there appears to some slight feed back somewhere as some motors would change when they were not supposed to (something to look into).   Having transported the layout around the country,  it was ironic that this show quite close to home was the one to suffer from broken wires the most, but use of a test meter these were found and by opening time on the Saturday morning all was working well enough to keep the visitors entertained.

The addition of the extra controller to enable the up and down main lines to be controlled separately and allow each fiddle yard operator to drive trains towards them and allow passing trains worked really well, and certainly added to the movement on the layout. The new stepper motor and MERG controller unit for the turntable also worked, although not perfectly yet but ensured the table kept turning and not having to align the deck by eye was a godsend.

Exhibiting  always results in different things that the shows are remembered for and for this exhibition two things will come immediately to mind.
Firstly, it was the first time my young  nephew Alexander has operated the layout. Once on his step to be able see over the backscene he could not be moved, except briefly for lunch. Originally it was  just thought that he could drive the trains but by the middle of the afternoon he was virtually single handed operating the entire fiddle yard!
Secondly, the visit of the almost the entire family of the late Brian Grant, a school friend of my Dad, including  to the very pleasant surprise of myself and Dad  Thelma his wife. She  came armed with a photograph album that included pictures of my own Dad from 1955! Brian like  my Dad is immortalised on Fisherton Sarum in their school days trying to sneak into the shed, just as they did at Salisbury.
I thank them all very sincerely for making the effort to travel to the show to say hello after making  contact with me via my post here on this very blog, I hope they all enjoyed it as much as Dad and I did.

I thank Roger, Alan and Simon from the High Wycombe and District MRS along with my Mum, Dad and Alexander (whom I think will become a regular member of the team) for assisting me over the weekend. Special thanks also to Mark (also from the HWDMRS) for burning some late night oil on my control panel!

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It is with great sadness that I report the recent  passing away, after illness, of Brian Grant.  His career on the railways from Apprentice fitter at Salisbury shed though to working at the British Railways Board HQ via a number of operational department roles on the Southern Region, Station master duties at Paddington and Controller of the London section of the London Midland Region is documented in his book ‘Home and Distant:A 40-year Railway Career from Apprentice Fitter to BRB Headquarters, 1952-93’

My Dad with the late Brian Grant and other friends as teenagers are imortalised on the steps of Fisherton Sarum shed trying to sneak past the Time Keepers office hatch.

I first came across Brian when I browsed his ‘Home and Distant’ book and realised that the story within  his first chapter about how he used to bunk the shed at Salisbury, sneaking up the entrance steps and under the shed timekeeper hatch without being spotted, was identical to the tale often recounted by my Dad who used to the same thing.  I decided therefore to purchase Brian’s book for my Dad as a Christmas present. Once it was unwrapped, I said to Dad just read chapter one, after doing so and reading the authors biography on the back cover, he looked at me and pointing to a Christmas card on the shelf and said that Christmas card is from Brian!  My Dad and Brian although a couple of years difference in age were part of the same gang of friends who used to bunk the shed, small world isn’t it?  They had only kept in touch with a simple exchange of cards each Christmas but since that day had written more regularly to each other, so in the end a present worth much more than could have been anticipated!

Brian, due to his extensive experience and  knowledge of railway control also wrote a number of other books: British Railways Wagons parts 1 and 2, covering their usage, loads and loading. I offer my condolences to his family and friends, may he rest in peace.

Since I first published this post I have received the following from a friend of mine who like Brian had an extensive career on the railways who made this lovely comment:  “Brian was a very nice bloke who worked in London Division HQ on the Western for a while back in the late 1960s when I was there. In later years I occasionally had reason for contact with him in his BRB job and unlike many who went to the Kremlin he kept his feet very firmly on the ground. He was also one of those ‘oh you know Brian do you?’ folk who because he had been around the railway a bit was known and liked in a number of places – as I found when my railway life took me into the land of the 3rd rail.” 

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