Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Fire at Hulands

The sight of all these forest fires on the television news brought to mind for me all those line-side fires that steam locomotives used to cause around the country in dry summers past. I don't remember them being a major issue on the Stainmore line, even in the very dry and hot summer of 1959.

I do remember sometime during that year though that the little station platform on the 'down' line at Hulands Quarry between Lartington and Bowes was set alight by a passing train. It must have been early on a Saturday morning because my grandfather was called out to 'open up' Hulands Box so that they could shunt the work train that was sent to the incident to get it out of the way of the westbound 'Blackpool Special'. That was the only time that I ever got to see inside Hulands Box which was only usually opened up for the pick-up goods.

That platform was built of old sleepers and thickly creosoted to protect the timber which was why it had burned so well. Presumably before and during the war the early Penrith train stopped there on weekdays to drop off workers. But in the dry weather those flying embers from an early Tebay-bound mineral train had made short work of the structure I'm afraid

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