Stenlake Publishing - DAD HAD AN ENGINE SHED – Some childhood railway reminiscences of a North Wales shedmaster’s son.

DAD HAD AN ENGINE SHED - Some childhood railway reminiscences of a North Wales shedmasters son

Author : Anthony J. Robinson
ISBN : 9780853617075
Cover : paperback
Price : £12.95

Railways were very much ‘in the blood’ of John Eric Robinson, born in Crewe in 1902, the second child and eldest son of John Robinson, assistant chief electrical engineer to the London & North Western Railway. John Robinson was in turn the eldest son of the redoubtable Ben Robinson who had enjoyed the distinction of having driven the Royal Train more frequently than any other man of his era, and been on the controls of No. 790 Hardwicke on its record-breaking run during the ‘Race to the North’ in 1895.

Around about 1910 John Robinson moved the family to Wembley following a promotion to the head office at Euston. On leaving school in 1919 J.E. Robinson gained a position in the LNWR workshops which were part of Willesden sheds. It was the start of a career on the railway that was to span more than 45 years.

Most of those years were spent in North Wales on sheds associated with the Chester & Holyhead Railway. He had moved to Llandudno Junction in 1925 as a fitter and remained there for 20 years. In 1945 he was promoted to leading fitter at Rhyl and another promotion, in 1948, saw him achieve the position of shedmaster at Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire.

Keen to get back to North Wales, early in 1952 he applied for the shedmaster’s job at Mold Junction. The importance of Mold Junction shed was essentially in its freight engine stud and what was for the area one of the finest locomotive handling facilities available.

Who today could imagine someone in charge of over 200 men and 60-odd locomotives living in a council house and going to work on a bicycle! Working five full days a week plus Saturday and Sunday mornings and having to be on a permanent standby day and night for breakdowns and, yes, for no extra pay at that! It has been written elsewhere that a typical shedmaster had to have the powers of judgement of Solomon, the ingenuity of Trevithick, the stubbornness of Stephenson, the leadership skills of Patton, the negotiating powers of Kissinger and the memories of several elephants! Well, J.E. Robinson would probably would have failed on the last one, so to counteract this he meticulously kept a diary of all his work activities from 1922 right through to 1965. His selfless devotion to duty was not unusual to men of his ilk, a job well done usually the only reward. The leadership by example imbibed similar qualities in others responsible for the smooth running of the various departments within an engine shed. To say that he was a hard working man would be an understatement in the extreme!

A5 format, 184 pages, 138 illustrations.

DAD HAD AN ENGINE SHED - Some childhood railway reminiscences of a North Wales shedmasters son

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