Friday, 29 October 2010

The Ghost Trains of Old England


This was a programme broadcast on Radio 4 the other day. The main object was to find rail services that are advertised but never appear to run, and little if any information ever appears concerning them. Now as you know I find disused buildings strangely attractive, I suspect they remind me of wimmen I have met, and I also find tales of railways intriguing also, however I am a wee bit hesitant concerning this one. As the narrator travelled from one empty station to another, and then spent an inordinate amount of time to get a free taxi ride between two stations, I began to feel my skin creep a little. Info concerning such stations and trains that arrive once a week, but do not pick up passengers, may be interesting in a way, however the desperate trawl was a wee bit wearing. Some trains do run, but rarely, it is a way to keep a line officially open but in fact the rail company has actually stopped using it, and crowds, or is it groups, of anoraks will gather to journey on these trains. It need not be stressed that these were all male, spoke in a strangulated English accent, and, possibly,   did not go home to a female of the species at days end. I could be wrong but.....

Some years ago the English queen arrived at Edinburgh's Waverley station at the same time as I did, well almost. She was a bit early so she did not wait for me. Typical woman! Having not been hanging around the station for some years I took a couple of poor photographs and suddenly was confronted! "What was the traction?" said an excited voice. "Traction?" I thought. There are no tractors round here mate! I suddenly realised he and his mate, both male, were talking about the royal train, which departed just as I arrived. Becoming frightened I may be mistaken for such creatures I replaced the camera in the bag, they always have similar bags don't they, and sent them on their way to where I suspected the train was being stored for security reasons. If they were to get arrested for clambering about the track there I assure you I was not too worried. 

In many ways this programme, still available to listen to for a few days, was quite interesting. However the stereotype of the railway buff crept in and spoiled things for me. I attended a great rail gathering at London Bridge some time back, lots of Southern Region trains on view, and found myself surrounded by people of all types. men teaching their kids history, and in truth railways are a major part of British history, where would we be without them, and a good time was had by all. Well until I discovered my pictures were all blurred. A clever brother had fixed and turned something the wrong way round when putting it back together! Pah!

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