It’s all just about to happen, the bobby leans from his box to collect the token from the crew on No.43924, the guard and No.75078’s fireman look on. When many of you reading this took up an interest in railways, this scene was played out, countless times a day, on single lines, both main and branch ones, across the country. However, it was all about to change, before our very eyes, steam, semaphore and the bobby in his box disappeared.
The last steam sheds, works, and, as time went on, the great scrapyards of Barry, became places of pilgrimage; railway enthusiasts from far and wide came to pay their last respects and photograph it all one last time. In 1955 when the plan was hatched I was a train spotter, in 1968, when the steam and most of the semaphore was either going or gone, I too was surplus to requirements – redundant, after seven years as a British Railways fireman.
For more than 150 years steam locomotives had hauled ‘coals to Newcastle’ and taken us from home to the seaside – in a little over a decade they’d gone. It might be said, that with the last steam locomotive being built in 1960 and their cessation in 1968, that they went in less than a decade. We were going to have modernity whether we liked or wanted it.
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: