Through social media I have made the aquaintance of a Russian railwayman and railway enthusiast. He doesn’t speak English and I can neither read nor speak Russian so ‘autotranslate’ get’s us through, sort of. Today he said, ‘we are the keepers of the railway’s history, you and I’. What I understood by that is that TOCs and the rest have come and gone, blown like confetti on the wind. Yet here, and before your very eyes, is an engine from what was once, by and large, the biggest company on the planet, the London & North Western Railway, it is over 100 years old and still in active service, this is the very essence of his remark.
The locomotive, FW Webb’s ‘coal tank’, 0-6-2T No.1054 is hauling coaches which belonged to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway and they are all travelling along, what is today, the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, a line originally built by the Midland Railway. These companies, the Midland, L&YR, and LNWR, in the fullness of time became the London Midland and Scottish Railway and eventually a part of the nationalised British Railways. This history though, isn’t simply one of dates rolling stock and locomotive it involves the lives of millions, of our parents, grand parents and their grand parents too. From the poorest navvy camped in a ‘sod hut’ on Shap to the ‘finest’ in their wing collared shirts at Euston – it is their history we keep alive.
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: