Diminutive A1X Class 0-6-0, No.662, (formerly named Martello), trundles away from Winchcombe, engine and brake, to Cheltenham (Racecourse) Station, on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway. There are certain words and phrases, words like diminutive, sidling, trundling, hammering, or phrases such as, blasting away from / storming out of, slogging over, a full head of steam, or, the journey was marred by a badly hunting bogie – easily misinterpreted, which make up the railway enthusiast lexicon in those wonderful old books, and monthly magazines, full of black and white photographs of the way it was.
Today these same books and magazines are ‘Nostalgia’ – on sale on eBay, Amazon, and at heritage railway book shops and stalls, the rarer ones fetching many times their original cover price. The language in them is almost as black and white as the photographs, all proper and grammar schoolboy – innit. Don’t get me wrong, my bookshelves are full of these books, some I’ve owned since the 1950s, others acquired from e-Bay and the like. The words and phrases are a sort of shorthand, when we read ‘trundling down the branch’ or ‘slogging over Shap’, we can see the picture, the noise, the full head of steam, the Tebay banker pushing. Cut to today and Shap is flattened, leccies just swish up and down at line speed, no pounding roar from the chimney top, no sweating fireman heaving coal, just a different name and livery every couple of years, like re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
For those of you who asked:
The printed edition of “Gricing: The Real Story of the Railway Children” – is now on sale.
Below, is the link to it.