During the Severn Valley Railway’s ‘Season Finale Gala’ the Bridgnorth – Bewdley goods, hauled by 2-8-0T No.4270, plods gently alongside Northwood Lane, in a scene which could, just as easily, have been 1956 and not 2016. A Saturday morning in the 1950s meant, for many kids, a trip to the Saturday morning cinema, to watch black and white movies featuring such delights as; the Three Stooges, Roy Rogers, Flash Gordon, the Lone Ranger, and not forgetting Tonto, ‘kemo sabbi’. The good guys were cheered and the baddies booed, sweets were scoffed and lollies eaten. In the cowboy serials there was, almost always, a scene involving ‘the railroad’ and men on horse back chasing the bandits robbing the gold train.
Movies were one thing but, in 1950s Britain, gangs of masked men on horse back didn’t ride down the Welsh valleys sticking up the mail train, at gunpoint, they didn’t do it in Leeds, where I grew up, either. The nearest thing we ever got to masked men on horse back robbing the mail train was some fat old bloke in breeches, with a pack of slavering dogs, chasing a fox – gunslingers were rarer than hens teeth.
When we weren’t at the cinema watching great Westerns you could find us down the nearest station, or bashing round the local shed, spotting them if we lived in their territory!
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: