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Loco men were working the 'town dodger'

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 12, 2014

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IN response to the picture of two loco men and engine No. 1458 in The Bugle (March 27 edition) these men would have been working the 'town dodger' as it was lovingly called, as No. 1458 was used mainly on the dodger route, Stourbridge Town to Stourbridge Junction.

No. 1458 was a push/pull job, and when running backwards could be braked from the vestibule at the end of the passenger carriage by the driver.

Names are proving difficult to remember, not so the faces. I passed by these guys virtually on a daily basis, and think the driver on the footplate was named Saunders, possibly Harry. The fireman standing, I should know his name, his face will haunt me.

I joined the railway in early 1955 as a cleaner and engine preparer, passed out as a fireman in early 1956 and loved being a fireman until late 1958, when with the advent of ugly diesels, I promptly left the railway.

One of my turns of duty involved doing nights at the Roundhouse shed at Stourbridge. I moved locos from the coal run, after fire dropping, re-coaling, and then into the shed, on to the turntable, and run over the appropriate pit, so it was facing the right way for the next day's work. As a fireman at the tender age of 16 years, I was allowed to move all sizes of locomotives, within the shed and surrounding areas containing a large amount of lines and sidings, but not on the main line at all. What a job for a 16-year-old!

So I consequently put 1458 and her sister engine 1421 among many others to bed many times.

Thanks for the picture and the memories. I am now 74 years old and it is good to look back at good times, nearly 60 years ago.

Ken Rea,

318 Gayfield Ave, Brierley Hill.

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