If you ever wanted a house, with a view of the railway from your bedroom window, this is it. No shortage of chimney chatter either as the crew try to build momentum for the steeper sections of the climb ahead. In this rural setting, the little terraced house by the railway is ‘charming’, ‘desirable’ even, swap the trees and hedgerows for more terraces and a mill or two and all of a sudden it’s the ‘house on the wrong side of the tracks’.
It’s easy to forget, when travelling on one of Britain’s ‘scenic’ heritage railways, that substantial parts of the railway landscape, were like the dark side of the moon twinned with Hades. And many a terraced street, adjacent to the railway, make Coronation Street seem positively opulent. Two up two down and a shared ‘lavvy’ four doors down the street, next to the bins, and the railway a 24 / 7 right outside the window, is not a selling point..In some parts, the railway thundered by on huge brick built viaducts at roof top heights – the great railway photographer Colin Gifford pictured their destruction and, in many cases, that of the railways around them too.
Like much of the railway, the wrecking balls and piles of burning timber are no more; the huge smokey engine shed is now the supermarket car park, the mill a ‘themed’ hotel, progress, of a kind.
No.44806 is pictured at Esk Valley, on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
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: