Howard Benson's Posts



Howard Benson's recent posts to


  • The Balloon Goes Up

    12/07/2016 Duration: 29min

    Broadcast on Radio Bristol on 20 July 1977

  • Adrian Vaughan. The Greatest Railway Blunder.

    30/12/2014 Duration: 20min

    Signalman and author Adrian Vaughan talks to Howard Benson about his book on railway privatisation and why he called it The Greatest Railway Blunder.

  • Samuel Morton Peto. Part Two.

    30/12/2014 Duration: 25min

    Samuel Morton Peto was one of the giants of Victorian Britain who left behind an impressive legacy, evidence of which can still be seen today. Born in 1809, he was an inspired entrepreneur who was, perhaps more than any other individual, responsible for establishing Britain's path to industrial capitalism. An active Member of Parliament, he was one of the most energetic pioneers of Free Trade and a new industrial, social order. To achieve this avant-garde vision, he borrowed and built everything from railways, docks, and harbours to factory towns, dormitory towns, Baptist chapels, dance halls and holiday resorts.

  • Samuel Morton Peto. Part One.

    30/12/2014 Duration: 23min

    Railway signalman and author Adrian Vaughan talks to Howard Benson about his career and biography of Samuel Morton Peto, one of the railway builders of the Victorian Britain whose whose legacy can still be seen today. Recorded at Sheringham on the North Norfolk Railway in July 2009.

  • David Shepherd. Part Two.

    03/04/2014 Duration: 23min
  • David Shepherd. Part One.

    03/04/2014 Duration: 22min

    A two part profile of the railway and wildlife artist David Shepherd recorded at the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway in 2009 on the 50th anniversary of the building of his 9F locomotive Black Prince.

  • Railways At War.

    25/04/2013 Duration: 24min
  • The Unknown Warrior.

    24/04/2013 Duration: 24min

    A report on an ambitious attempt to build an LMS Patriot class locomotive, none of which were saved for posterity in the 1960s. The Unknown Warrior will serve as a permanent memorial to all those who fought and died in the First World War and all subsequent conflicts. The enthusiasts behind the project have already built part of the engine at the Llangollen Railway and are hoping that when it's finished it will wow the crowds just as much as Tornado has done. They've been endorsed by the Royal British Legion and want The Unknown Warrior to be a National Memorial Engine similar to one built after the First World War.

  • Alex Scott. Wartime Footplate Man. Part Five.

    24/04/2013 Duration: 18min

    One of Alex's duties at Watford was working push and pull trains where the driver made the return journey from a compartment in the rear carriage. They ran between Watford Junction and St. Albans and also on the short branch from Harrow and Wealdstone to Stanmore via Belmont. The trains were used by men from the RAF base nearby and, according to Alex, used the trains for a little "pulling" of their own with willing participants from the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. Similar liasons took palce on the late night all stations service from Euston to Bletchley, so life had its lighter side for a wartime footplate man!

  • Alex Scott. Wartime Footplate Man. Part Four.

    24/04/2013 Duration: 28min

    After working as a passed cleaner for about two years Alex transferred to Watford loco shed where he was promoted to fireman. After a while he took examinations to become a passed fireman qualifying him to be a driver. Much of the work at Watford was on freight and coal trains but they also had turns on the local stopping passenger trains between Euston and Bletchley. As he still lived with his parents near to Camden shed Alex was called out by the foreman there to work on expresses to the north and one unique loco he fired was the Turbomotive which had steam turbines instead of cylinders. His eyes were also opened by what one Bushey mother would do to keep her trackside house warm!

  • Alex Scott. Wartime Footplate Man. Part Three.

    24/04/2013 Duration: 23min

    As a railwayman Alex was exempt from military service but that didn't mean working on the footplate was any less dangerous than serving overseas. On the home front the trains had to keep running day and night and often that meant braving the bombs of the London blitz. In November 1941 Alex vividly remembers a parachute mine that exploded near Queen's Park station. Whole streets were flattened and many people were killed leaving a local cinema. Alex was on a train returning from Blackpool which was caught up in the blast but he didn't realise the extent of the casualties until the train arrived at Euston. On a lighter note he remembers the drunk American soldier who found his way into an engine tender and how he courted the daughter of a pompous railway guard.

  • Alex Scott. Wartime Footplate Man. Part Two.

    23/04/2013 Duration: 21min

    After about a year working in the shed at Camden Alex took his theory and practical tests to become a "passed" cleaner enabling him to work as a fireman on the footplate. His first mainline trip was on a 5XP Jubilee locomotive on an express to Manchester but he also did shunting duties on Jinty tank engines in the yards at Camden and Maiden Lane. As he gained more experience he was rostered for a morning run all the way to Carlisle via Shap, but unfortunately he didn't quite make it!

  • Alex Scott. Wartime Footplate Man. Part One.

    22/04/2013 Duration: 27min

    Alex Scott grew up in the 1930s a stone's throw away from Camden engine shed which was home to many of the famous steam locomotives which hauled the express trains of the London Midland & Scottish Railway. Alex became a cleaner at Camden in 1938 and quickly rose through the ranks to become a fireman and driver on the West Coast Main Line throughout the Second World War. He left the railway after the war but has been an enthusiast ever since driving trains on the Nene Valley Railway and acting as stationmaster at Sheringham on the North Norfolk Railway. Here in Part One of his story he talks about his family, growing up in Camden, and trainspotting from on top of the toilets at the Pembroke Castle pub.

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