‘Under bridges over bridges to our destination’ – all well and good if you know your destination, Treddle’s Wharf in the case of Chigley. Today, of course, some anodyne female voice, on your satnav, announces, ‘you have reached your destination’, you hope it’s not your final one.
In the world of children’s railway stories engines, coaches, and trucks all talk, squealing when they go too fast. In the 1950s Sammy the Shunter, which was published by Ian Allan, was rival to Thomas the Tank Engine; in the 1960s it was Ivor the Engine, animated for TV by the late Oliver Postgate, of Postman Pat fame. Oddly, we don’t have Harry the Dustbin lorry events, nor talking animated drain cleaners either. Generally speaking, mucky jobs just don’t translate to kids stories – no one wanted to be a fat refiner or sewer cleaner when they grew up. Engine driving was different, but why?
Becoming an engine driver could, and for a great many, did take years, decades even, as cleaner, passed cleaner, and fireman. Think about that, 20 or more years, cleaning fires, emptying ash pans, and smokeboxes or shovelling tons of coal. The inevitable nasty burns and ash, grit, or coal dust in your eyes; getting up at all hours to spend your day shunting, or running tender first down some freight only line when it’s blowing a gale and lashing down – aaaah, the romance of the footplate.
Under the bridge, Andrews House Station and Ex-Keighley Gasworks 0-4-0ST No.2, its destination is Sunniside – the side of life you always look on!!
If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it: