Saturday 20 April 2024

1963, Newton Abbot - my only regular passenger steam-train ride


Like many boys before the middle 1960s, I had a craze on railway trains, in particular steam trains - fuelled by the stories of anthropomorphic railways by the Rev W Awdry, and from watching the many "tank engines" working at the coal mine just opposite my Granny's house. 

But I only took one ride on a proper passenger service steam engine (i.e. not a tourist attraction) - from Newton Abbot station in Devon (top image). 

This featured a black, medium-sized engine much as illustrated - but without the side plates at the front - a very plain train... 

Only two "snapshot" memories have survived - the first is being terrified as the huge (to me), black, loud, steam-emitting train came into the station and drew-up at the platform right next to me. I burst into tears; which was a bad start to what was supposed to be a special treat outing for a little train-lover. 

It seems that trains in books, or observed from a distance, were one thing; but trains up close and personal were far more intimidating. 

I then have a blurry mental image of being inside the train, and moving. 

That's it: my total experience of the tail-end of the Age of Steam. 

No comments: