It’s all gone mono

I’ve shared a few old Black & White documentaries or Pathe news clips recently and I have enjoyed some great amateur footage, on one or two other Facebook groups, all of which have brought back memories of my own youth and footplate work during the same sort of period – the final years of steam on British Railways.

Early 60s Britain was still a black and white world, tele was black and white,  in the cinema, black & white Pathe or Gaumont newsreels were shown, before the main movies began; gents wore black / charcol grey suits, white shirts, and black shoes, cars were almost all black ones – the only coloured bits were the ‘Pink un’ or the ‘Green un’, which carried the football results – no lottery then. Then, it was all about ‘winning the pools’ – 8 score draws -and Jackpot!! When I started at Farnley Jct. we had a ‘shed pool’ – it was a few pennies a week, everyone had a team and prizes were given for the highest score, most goals scored over a month, that sort of thing – it was just a bit of fun really.

Black faced miners were still digging coal and black faced firemen were still burning it. Tall mill chimneys and those of most houses still poured black smoke into the sky – on drab, cold, grey, winter days it hung in the air – ‘pea-soupers’ they called them, fog so thick it was impossible to drive in – and fog signalmen turned out to keep the railway moving – today it seems not so much a different world as a different planet.

The photo shows Ex-BR Class 9F 2-10-0 No.92214 departing from Loughborough with a train of mineral empties, in a recreation of what railwaymen knew as ‘runners’ and which the enthusiasts dubbed ‘windcutters’.

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:


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