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The Master Cutler

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This "Nottstalgia" site is really getting the old fond Nottingham memories going! (thanks to you lads who set it up, well done!)

The "Master Cutler" was a daily express train from, I think, London to Sheffield (Cutler as in knife makers) We used to get three penny worth of chips at a chip shop just through Collingham Footway. Sat on the wall at the end of Ryeland crescent?? and wait for the train, hopefully pulled by a LNER "namer". Now looking at current Nottingham maps of the area its all gone. . . but we still have those great memories.

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The "Master Cutler" was a morning service aimed at businessmen from Sheffield to London and a return service from London to Sheffield each weekday evening.

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According to my train departures poster for Victoria Station dated 17th June to 15th Sept 1957, the Master Cutler, departed on a weekday at 8:46am calling at Leicester, Rugby, London Marylebone, refreshment car provided. The return working called in at Vic at 9:03pm, next stop Sheff Victoria, you must have enjoyed your chips at a late hour.

I seem to recall that the loco was either a Class V2 or if you were lucky, an A3 Pacific.

Don't forget the other named train, 'The South Yorkshireman', this left Vic at 12:39 calling at Loughborough, Leics, Rugby, Aylesbury and Marylebone, returning at 7:35pm and departing Vic for Sheff, Penistone, Huddersfield, Brighouse, Halifax and Bradford, refreshment car to Sheff only.

Those were the days, it could be interesting trying to get from Nottingham to Bradford via those stations today.

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Used to see South Yorkshireman most dinnertimes from Central Avenue off Nottingham Road around 1955/6 era coming home from school, end of afternoon classes we'd cut through gardens onto land above sherwood rise tunnel mouth then through alotments back onto 1st named road, a shortcut that took twice as long! As regards chips at late hour not disputing facts but I thought return Master Cutler was earlier? maybe 8pm?

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Used to see South Yorkshireman most dinnertimes from Central Avenue off Nottingham Road around 1955/6 era coming home from school, end of afternoon classes we'd cut through gardens onto land above sherwood rise tunnel mouth then through alotments back onto 1st named road, a shortcut that took twice as long! As regards chips at late hour not disputing facts but I thought return Master Cutler was earlier? maybe 8pm?

The times were slightly different on a saturday, but not by much, only minutes, perhaps they got the headboards mixed up when you saw it!

My only clear memory of seeing 'The South Yorkshireman' by an amazing coincidence, was the same year as the timetable, which confirms my sighting. That summer we went on holiday to Southsea travelling via Vic to Marylebone then Waterloo to Portsmouth and Southsea with a taxi ride across London (the cases fell out the cab while circumnavigating Trafalgar Square, I'll never forget the mayhem!) Anyway, I remember as we were walking out of Marylebone platform, 'The Yorkie' pulled into the terminus hauled by a very mucky V2, looking at the timetable, we must have caught the 12:21 Sats only Lough, Leics, Rugby, Marylebone which arrived about 15mins before the Yorkie, so a good confirmation of my sighting. For some reason we travelled via St Pancras for our hols after that, were the Midland services more efficient, I wouldn't be surprised, as they were trying to run the GCR down.

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By time I saw return journey I would be at home, could see virtually all the gcr route Perry road to Haydn road from there inc the carriage works but too far away to see loco numbers or headboards,knew which train was which though. thinking back did get the loco numbers via my uncle's binoculars, (ex wd, more than likely brought back from Egypt lol) The glow from the firebox and lights of the coaches remains a lasting memory. Using those binoculars, aided by the elevated position of the house I was also able to see the route if not the actual track etc of Sherwood Rise tunnel mouth, the Midland line at Vernon Rd and The GNR Cinderhill to Basford North by the rising smoke and steam from the trains. Could also get a clear view of Hucknall airfield runway and the various aircraft of the 1950's using it.

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With friends I used to go train spotting at Rugby, we used to catch the Master Cutler at Victoria with a child cheap day return to Leicester, at Leicester the appointed one got off and ran down the stairs to the booking office to buy the required number of cheap day returns Leicester to Rugby and then dash back to the train while the rest of us kept doors open on the train. The runner always got back before the train was ready as it changed engines at Leicester.

The fares I remember was Nottingham to Leicester 1s 6d. Leicester to Rugby 2s 3d weras the fare Nottingham to Rugby was 6s 10d.

At Rugby we walked through some roads to a field close to the west coast main line where you could see both the GC and LNWR.

The Journey home was less energetic as we could remain on the train through Leicester.

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  Apparently, an A4 came close to hauling this train.

  A Colwick fitter told me that 'Woodcock' failed on the East Coast main line, Grantham couldn't effect a repair, so it was sent to Colwick.

  Having had repairs carried out it was sent out on a couple of overnight parcel workings. 

  Someone decided to work it North on an overnight parcels, then roster it to work the following mornings up Master Cutler.

  However, in an age when mobile phones and the Internet were but a pipe dream, word quickly spread that this event was to take place.

  The plug was pulled on this escapade, the official reasoning being recorded as the locomotive had an issue with its vacuum brake.

  What could have been, never was.

  

 

 I have a photograph of Galtee More at Nottingham Victoria on The Master Cutler. Had it framed on my bedroom wall as a nipper.

 It was the first A3 I saw, but have no recollection of it on Gods Chosen Railway.

 The last ones having been transferred back to the East Coast in August 1957.

20 A3's were allocated to the G.C. Between Decenber 1948 and August 1957.

Only two were there the whole time: Galtee More and Enterprise. The latter spent most of its time at Neasden.

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My father took me to london on the master cutler  I thought it was the bees knees 60 mph average speed   I didnt enjoy london but couldnt wait for the trip home meeowed

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Thanks Dark Angel.

Years ago I did some research on Pacifics working through Nottingham on the former GC line. Prompted by your post, I looked through some of the results and found the details of 60029 'Woodcock' at Nottm Vic and subsequently Colwick shed. 

 

24.4.57 Ian Allan Publishing ran a 'Trains Illustrated Loco Spotters' Club Special' from Paddington to Doncaster through Victoria, hauled by Gresley A4 Pacific 60029.  It was scheduled to return over the London Extension to Marylebone. However it  failed at Vic due to jammed tender brakes and dragged off to Colwick shed by the station pilot - J49 64715 - for attention. 

The special continued to London behind a commandeered B1 4-6-0, 61272.    However this ran short of steam at Leicester Central and was replaced by 61008  'Kudu', which ran perfectly, arriving in Marylebone only 45 minutes late.  60029 was repaired at Colwick and by early May was back at Kins Cross depot working the demanding 'Tees-Tyne Pullman diagram.

 

The racket she made as the J49 pulled her through Weekday Cross and on to Colwick can only be imagined.  She was at Colwick for a couple of days as word soon spread through the spotters' grapevine that there was a 'Streak' on Colwick and dozens were soon attempting to bunk over the yard and into the repair shop.  As a result Syd Checkley (shed foreman at the time I think) arranged for her to be moved into the open to try and prevent trespassing. 

I'd not heard the tale of the possible rostering on the 'Cutler,' but that's plausible.  After all, if she'd failed on the way up, she may have been taken on to Annesley who would probably sent her to shunt the Gotham branch!

 

There is a photograph of 60029 on Colwick, taken by Syd. I'll see if I can locate it.    Interestingly,  she was not the only 'Streak' to receive attention at Colwick.  Probably too much information here but 60006/7/15 and 34 were all sent over by Grantham shed when they were a bit pushed.    

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     Apologies for a tardy reply, have only just found your post Aspley park.

     You may not see this reply as you only posted once.

      In the event that you may return I give you the following: knee high to a grasshopper I was taken into Colwick loco shed, possibly 1957,however not completely sure of year. I remember seeing a engine unlike any others I'd seen. A big green shiny one with a name.

Have always thought it was Woodcock I saw on this occasion, whether I read the name or was told, I can't remember.

     Am sure the engine I saw had its connecting rods removed. Often tried to find out why it had been there.

    One reason I was given: it had run a hot centre bearing and Grantham had sent it to Colwick. This is only supposition as the people I asked only had vague recollections. Colwick had a wheel lathe, another possible cause for it being there being tyre reprofiling.

    In all honesty I don't know why it was on shed at this time. Maybe you have information.

    An alternative scenario could be that I have remembered the wrong engine. It was however, definitely an A4.

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Well, I'm very jealous DA as I never saw an A4 on Colwick and for you to have been taken inside the shed in those days makes you a very lucky fellow indeed. It was always a very difficult shed to 'bunk' compared with Nottingham down Furlong Road.

I suppose we shall never know whether no 29 paid more than one visit to Colwick, but Tommy Knox, the fount of all knowledge regarding Gresley Pacifics, confirms from his extensive records that she was definitely towed there after failing on the Ian Allan Special at Nottingham Victoria.

As I said in my previous post, several A4s were sent to Colwick for repairs that couldn't be effected at Grantham and the 'Streak' you saw may have been one of them. Connecting rods may have been removed just for ease of movement around the shed area.

On the other hand, one other sighting of an A4 at Colwick was at the Open Day in 1961 when 'Mallard' was the star attraction.  Very definitely green in those days.  And very definitely shiny.   

 

 

 

 

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   Not such a tardy reply this time Aspley park. I was quite young at the time and apart from seeing the A4, I can only recollect the smell and steam circulating about. Steam sheds had that specific aroma. I did however see another A4 at Colwick: returning home from a holiday, I remember seeing another A4 near Rectory Junction signal box, it was night time and I couldn't see its number or name. It was on its own and in steam. As it had a bell on the front, I would think it was Dominion of Canada, which at the time was a Grantham based locomotive, if my memory is holding out. Have often wondered why it would have been in that vicinity on that occasion. Again I was quite young, however, I had started taking numbers although am not sure if I qualified as a train spotter.

       Remember seeing Mallard when Colwick had an open day.

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I am a little jealous of you folks that have seen such iconic steam engines.

I was privileged to see The Flying Scotsman 4472 and Australia's iconic engine 3801 in a parallel run in NSW in1988/89. It was part of our bi-centennial celebrations. 4472 was once owned by Alan Pegler who was raised in  Nottinghamshire.

4472 Flying Scotsman & 3801 at Moss Vale 11-3-1989 | Flickr

To me steam engines are "alive" and it is the smell of hot oily steam that evokes most memories much like the smell of hot diesel engines at the Goose Fair

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A 'Streak, bell below the funnel - that was number 10 undoubtedly DA!  Just had a check on your suggestion that she was a Grantham loco and can confirm that she was transferred from Kings Cross in April 57 and returned to 'Top Shed' in the September.  Along with 3, 8 and 30 she was moved for the demanding summer timetable which by then included three non stop London - Edinburgh expresses.   By the following summer of course, the diesels had started to appear. 

One of the less testing duties for the Grantham 'Streaks'  was working the Kings Cross stopping trains.  For the legions of spotters who thronged Grantham station in the school holidays, a real treat was to buy a return ticket to Peterborough, wait for an A4 hauled train and enjoy the thrill of a journey over Stoke Bank. Fantastic!

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        Sadly Oztalgian, they are becoming fading memories. Even sadder is the fact so few LNER (and its amalgamated companies) locomotives made it into preservation. Thank goodness for Alan Pegler, or this iconic class would have disappeared into the annals of history. Nice photograph.

 

       Aspley park:  Unfortunately all my old records and notes were sadly destroyed many years ago. Nowadays I have to rely solely on memory, please make allowances if my memory doesn't tally with your records.

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The Master Cutler, sadly I'm too young to have seen this train on the GC, I've only ever known it running into St Pancras. It is interesting however to speculate on how it would have been behind an A4 or even a Deltic into Marylebone?

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My Dad once caused the master cutler to be diverted onto the line that went thru rigleys wagon works,, by derailing some coal trucks in bulwell sidings,,and me mam always said i was clumsy,,,,,

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My father used to say he saw The Mallard pass through Beeston Station when he was a lad.  He wasn't a train spotter but he remembered The Mallard.

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2 hours ago, Totongirl said:

The Master Cutler, sadly I'm too young to have seen this train on the GC, I've only ever known it running into St Pancras. It is interesting however to speculate on how it would have been behind an A4 or even a Deltic into Marylebone?

Sorry to be picky, but the Master Cutler never went into St Pancras. After it left the old GC route it went into Kings Cross.

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57 minutes ago, ValuerJim said:

Sorry to be picky, but the Master Cutler never went into St Pancras. After it left the old GC route it went into Kings Cross.

It has done in recent years, I signalled it through Derby!

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I stand corrected. I was unaware of the revival of the title, and of the South Yorkshireman. My interest in these trains ended in 1958!

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On 5/8/2020 at 10:52 PM, Dark Angel said:

        

 

       Aspley park:  Unfortunately all my old records and notes were sadly destroyed many years ago. Nowadays I have to rely solely on memory, please make allowances if my memory doesn't tally with your records.

Sorry DA - I certainly didn't mean to contradict or doubt your recollection at all.    I was merely trying to put a likely date on the appearance of no 10 at Colwick. Incidentally,  I've heard subsequently from an old mate who worked on the ECML that 'Dominion of Canada'  wasn't the most popular of locos at Kings Cross shed in those days. It was hard work to make her steam properly  and for that reason she was rarely used on the non-stops and spent a lot of time on the Grantham and Leeds runs.  

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19 hours ago, ValuerJim said:

I stand corrected. I was unaware of the revival of the title, and of the South Yorkshireman. My interest in these trains ended in 1958!

Quite alright. The Master Cutler ran via Toton during the late 90s, now it goes via Derby in normal times. Of course there is no headboard or anything, to be honest I signalled it for months before realising the name was restored! For us each train is known by its reporting number, not its name.

I actually didn't know the South Yorkshireman name had been revived.

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