Friday, 1 November 2013

Mike Sweeny at MoSI

I've been to the Museum of Science & Industry (MoSI) in Manchester twice this week, Monday and Wednesday, as rostered steam locomotive crew on the railway there. Last Monday, in a gap between the rain showers, Real Radio XS came to the railway to film radio presenter Mike Sweeny on our Agecroft No.1 Robert Stephenson Hawthorn (RSH)  0-4-0 saddle tank locomotive. Matt, the Railway Officer at MoSI was driving, with me firing (we swapped roles later that day).

Note the 'wood effect' paint finish in the cab. This is authentic as it's how  RSH turned out the loco in Newcastle when it was built in 1948. But it has led to a bit of ribbing from us loco crews. One fireman threatened to hang up in the cab a 'Home Sweet Home' sign and 3 pottery ducks flying up the wall. I suggested a bit of stone cladding on the outside of the cab. If you look carefully in the film you'll see a white doily draped over the firebox shelf to acknowledge the homeliness this wood effect paint job has brought to our formerly austere cab!

Agecroft No.1 used to haul coal from Agecroft colliery to the adjacent power station, and came to MoSI in scrap condition a few years ago and was completely rebuilt by the railway volunteers, the boiler being 'zero timed' by specialists Israel Newton. The paint effect in the cab is the last detail to make the loco as near 'new' as possible.

Matt's beret in place of the normal 'greasetop' cap like I'm wearing in the film is in homage to No.1's regular driver at Agecroft Colliery, who always wore one.

Video of Mike Sweeny driving Agecroft No.1 at MoSI

Sorry. It seems Real Radio has removed this video.


  1. Loved this and your Cotswold trip.Please keep these going. I look at every one and save them on my computer for reruns...a bit sad I know. Still it's good to see you on't video. Apart from the side whiskers you don't seem to have changed since 1968....Yes I know we both have succumbed to gravity a bit but that's where we are heading eventually. Thankfully it seems to be a gradual process. But I digress, my main threat is when I am next in the M/cr district I am going to seek you out for the best pint (or two) in your area. Don't know when, but you have been warned. By the way I officially become an Old Angry Person on the 17th of this month. And my son Alastair (the one that was born when we were 19ish)was 46 a few days ago . Don't know about you but I am still about 18 but my bloody body say otherwise!!!

    1. I think I weigh quite a lot more than I did in 1968, but thanks for the kind comments, Mark. I'm an OAP officially on 14th of next month, so not far behind you! My body also delights in reminding my brain that I'm not really a yoof no more!

      A pint would be great if you're ever in these parts.

      Thanks for the kind words about the blog. It makes it worth while to keep doing it; sometimes you think no-one ever looks at it (though the Google stats say otherwise) but the occasional comment from someone I know that they're enjoying it convinces me to carry on.