Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
Memories of the Black Isle Railway (2 of 16)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_BLACKISLERAIL_02
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1853
KEYWORDS
railways
railroads
trains
firemen
audio

Get Adobe Flash player

The Black Isle Railway was originally a branch of the Highland Railway network. It carried passengers from 1894 until 1951 (freight until 1960) and ran from Muir of Ord to Fortrose with intermediary stations at Redcastle, Allangrange, Munlochy and Avoch.

In this audio extract from the 1980s, a former Black Isle Railway fireman remembers some of the heavier tasks a 'cleaner' had to perform.

'One of the duties that you do is cleaning out fires. Now to the novice this is a very, very hard job because you've got both heat and the length of the locomotive firebox. You'd use a shovel sometimes seven, eight, nine feet long, and it's all steel, naturally, because you can't use anything else. And you've got to reach in, manoeuvre this shovel out between the cab and the tender, and then manoeuvre it out through the door and with the heat that the handle has, you'd probably tip this over your feet, for a start, and this is something you have to get used to. But it's a very warm job and it's a job that you do after each run.

If the engine comes off a trip that takes probably seven hours, six hours, then this fire cleaning job was done by cleaners. If the job takes less than that, the fireman disposes of his engine himself. But there were quite a lot of jobs that had to be done by cleaners. But the other thing was preparing engines for going out and this meant building up the fire, checking the water gauges that they were working all right, and sand boxes for sand, and see that the coal was stacked safely so as none fell off on the track or fell on top of somebody. And you filled the tank with water so that the engine was really prepared for the road and the crew that were to operate that train, they just stepped on and took over, so that you had the engine all ready. That was called 'preparation', the other one - cleaning the fire - was called 'disposal' so that you had the two duties to perform as a cleaner before you got a firing shovel'

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

Memories of the Black Isle Railway (2 of 16)

ROSS

1980s

railways; railroads; trains; firemen; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Black Isle Railway

The Black Isle Railway was originally a branch of the Highland Railway network. It carried passengers from 1894 until 1951 (freight until 1960) and ran from Muir of Ord to Fortrose with intermediary stations at Redcastle, Allangrange, Munlochy and Avoch. <br /> <br /> In this audio extract from the 1980s, a former Black Isle Railway fireman remembers some of the heavier tasks a 'cleaner' had to perform.<br /> <br /> 'One of the duties that you do is cleaning out fires. Now to the novice this is a very, very hard job because you've got both heat and the length of the locomotive firebox. You'd use a shovel sometimes seven, eight, nine feet long, and it's all steel, naturally, because you can't use anything else. And you've got to reach in, manoeuvre this shovel out between the cab and the tender, and then manoeuvre it out through the door and with the heat that the handle has, you'd probably tip this over your feet, for a start, and this is something you have to get used to. But it's a very warm job and it's a job that you do after each run. <br /> <br /> If the engine comes off a trip that takes probably seven hours, six hours, then this fire cleaning job was done by cleaners. If the job takes less than that, the fireman disposes of his engine himself. But there were quite a lot of jobs that had to be done by cleaners. But the other thing was preparing engines for going out and this meant building up the fire, checking the water gauges that they were working all right, and sand boxes for sand, and see that the coal was stacked safely so as none fell off on the track or fell on top of somebody. And you filled the tank with water so that the engine was really prepared for the road and the crew that were to operate that train, they just stepped on and took over, so that you had the engine all ready. That was called 'preparation', the other one - cleaning the fire - was called 'disposal' so that you had the two duties to perform as a cleaner before you got a firing shovel'