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The day I was bitten

Discussion in 'Bullhead Memories' started by 60017, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. 60017

    60017 Part of the furniture Friend

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    I remember this as thought it was yesterday. My Dad was taking me to Morecambe (from Lancaster) for the day. When we got to Lancaster Castle Station we just missed the electric train and had half an hour to wait. A passenger train rolled in to platform 4 and I was taken to see the locomotive. My Dad told me its name was 'Blackpool' (i was only 4 y/o). The driver invited us onto the footplate and I remember the fire being very hot! He must have regretted that, because at every waking moment (until I was old enough to go alone) I was begging him to take me to the station! I'm sure many others here will recall the moment they were 'bitten' and it would be fun to read their 'defining moments!'
     
  2. olly5764

    olly5764 Member

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    For me, it is very difficult to be exact, I was born Between the Wolverhampton - Bescott line and the Wolverhampton Avoiding line just north of Portobello Junction, at Heath town, and grew up with trains going past both our back garden, and those of the houses on the opposite side of the road.
    Both of my parents were railway enthusiasts, and I have been a full adult member of the Severn Valley, since birth, so there really isn't a point when I was bitten, it is more just a way of life for me.
     
  3. Stu in Torbay

    Stu in Torbay New Member

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    Same for me. My dad took me down to Paignton when I was 5, and I saw Lydham Manor. The driver lifted me onto the footplate and I was mesmerized. never looked back since!!
     
  4. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    The Great Western Railway was as much part of my everyday, as a small child growing up, as was anything else that happened each day. At the bottom of my houses' garden was a low embankment on which the North Warwickshire Line trains ran on their journeys between the City of Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon and beyond.

    Not long after I left schooling I moved to Devon (where I have been since) only to find myself not very far from the G.W.R. Newton Abbot to Kingwear line.

    Ah! The joys of the G.W.R. - did they ever become part of B.R.? =D>
     
  5. 83A

    83A New Member

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    Joining Peter Haynes, a school chum, one evening, when he offerred to show me round the sheds at Trafford Park.
    It was about 1959 and there were lines and lines of these hissing beasts with wheels taller than I was. I think we even climbed in the cab of one.

    Some of them had nameplates and he showed me a spotters book with them all laid out, telling me which ones I could see at 9E and ones that I definitely would not see!
    After that, I got my own book and was hooked. It was just a massive challenge to see all the other rare ones.

    I remember the common namers were 45600 Bermuda, 45625 Sarawak, 45626 Seychelles, 45663 Jervis, mostly Derby engines working into Manchester Central.
    Also certain Brits were 'stinkers' because they were always about - 70004 William Shakespeare, 70014 Iron Duke, 70015 Apollo, 70016 Ariel, 70017 Arrow, 70019 Lightening & 70021 Morning Star.
    Always fancied owning a nameplate off one of these Brits.

    Somehow I managed to get my Dad to come round with me one evening and still have the picture he took. The Brit is 70014 Iron Duke.
    [​IMG]




    Then at the end of 1962 my family moved the 270 miles to Paignton - no more Brits or Jubilees!

    Regards
    Steve
     
  6. Tracklayer

    Tracklayer New Member

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    Highley, on a Goods Train event with a Pannier shunting and The Marquess on a passenger train.
     
  7. 60017

    60017 Part of the furniture Friend

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    Terrific memories Steve, I wish I had pics of me with Brits from back then! The thing that made me smile the most was the school blazer - everyone had one and we wore 'em all the time !
     
  8. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Well-Known Member

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    It was on the long footbridge that went over Kendal goods yard. I used to run in and out of the smoke as the locos went by underneath, then one day we were allowed up into the cab of a Black 5 at Kendal station.... then it all stopped. After that we used to have to go to Steamtown, the L&HR and the R&ER to get a fix..
     
  9. Garthion

    Garthion New Member

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    Not being born until the Eighties, I didn't see Steam in its heyday but, at the age of about 5 (can't remember precisely it over 20 years ago now) we went on a family holiday to Wales, and you all know whats there! :D Stayed on Black Rock Sands (Morfa Bychan) and spent many hours in and around Porthmadog. We had a two week Great Little Trains ticket and visited Llanberis, WHR (P), FfR, VofR, Bala and Tallyllyn from then on I loved railways, the next year we camped on the farm above Boston Lodge works and joined the Ffestinio9g Railway Society and haven't looked back since. My first volunteering stint on the FfR was October 1996 for the P&G Department and then every year from 2003 to present, still with P&G, though this September I shall be moving to the Buffet cars for one week.
    Since last year I've been working on a railway a little closer to home (Echills Wood) and go nearly every Friday (Some I can't do due to me having type 1 Diabetes and needing to have regular hospital checkups :D)

    (Its my dad's fault that I got into railways, now he wishes we'd never gone to Wales that year :D though it does mean, that,hopefully, soon I may be able to move over to Wales permanently,)
     
  10. Bernard

    Bernard New Member

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    I was born and bred about 40 yards from the Rugby-Birmingham main line just north of Rugby,
    When I started school in 1943 just a 100yds away from home, the school field was along side the track and we just sat on the fence watching the dirty slow heavily laden trains go by at break times.
    Some of the first real changes in those early years was the start of cleaner engines and the odd maroon ones appearing after the war finished. Then later still, expresses started having two engines up front, no longer because of the heavy trains but for speed, something we had never really seen before.
    Cheers Bernard
     
  11. 60017

    60017 Part of the furniture Friend

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    Super memories Bernard - thanks for sharing :)
     
  12. Romsey

    Romsey Member

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    There were two incidents that ensured I was hooked on railways.

    Getting a cab visit on the daily steam hauled freight at Bridport in 1962. That fixed the interest in steam locos.

    Being invited into a signal box (long since closed) and having the world of railway information laid open. No more wondering if or when a tour would appear, I could look in the special traffic notice and get the exact times. 38 years on with access to TRUST, trainplan and whatever else, I still miss the excitement of going through the printed special traffic notice to see what specials were due.

    Regards, Neil
     
  13. loco cleaner

    loco cleaner New Member

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    When did I get bitten?

    It's hard to say, having a Grandfather who was a senior driver at the old Middlesbrough and later at the Thornaby sheds a father who was a fireman at Middlesbrough I think it was in my blood. Laying awake at night as youngster listening the shunters working away in the steel works and wakeing up to the sound of the Middlebrough to Whitby engine slipping as it tried to pull away from the Ormesby station.

    I remember my grandfather taking me round the shed at Thornaby, I must have been 5 or 6 years old, the engines seemed to be alive, each one sounded different , I was lifted up onto the footplate and shown things but I was fixed on the fire,I remember been given a shovel and shown how to put coal on the fire, I couldn't lift the shovel on my own so my grandfather helped me.

    The next time I went to the Thornaby shed was a week before my grandfather retired he had tears in his eyes as he showed my the Diesel's that were replacing his beloved steam engines.

    Wow, as I typed this it brought a lump to my thoat and tears to my eyes just remembering those days as a kid.
     
  14. david1984

    david1984 Well-Known Member

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    7029 Clun Castle and Hawthorn Leslie Henry (now at Barrow Hill) blasting up and down the demo line at Tyseley sticks out as my earliest memory.

    I also have a vague memory of seeing Terrier Sutton there and haering the westinghouse pump and thinking what an odd contraption, some thingsnever change ;) .
     
  15. 60017

    60017 Part of the furniture Friend

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    And THAT my friend is what its all about. Amazing memories that are imprinted on your brain forever.

    I experienced the same effect looking at 60009 today at Preston. It's been a while since her last paint job and to me, she looks just right - the same as I remember A4's on the Glasgow-Aberdeen run in 1965/66.
     
  16. Broomhalla

    Broomhalla New Member

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    At 21 i am must confess that i only have memories of preserved steam. I have always been somewhat interested in steam but this was lukewarm till out of the blue i decided i wanted to volunteer at the SVR when we moved up to Shropshire from Cornwall sadly i was turned down on age related reasons, me being 11 at the time.

    No idea where the idea of volunteering came from as back then i didn't even know of the word volunteer. When i did reach the right age i went to Bewdley ready for anything and so happy that i would get to play around with steam engines. As with all youngsters at the SVR i was placed in the apprentice scheme what i thought was great at the time but i soon learned to hate it as i got older. There were moments that i loved it but by the time i reached the schemes end my love for steam engines and railway preservation was at a all time low. The people there did a great job and all and some times i could be a right sod but all the rest of the apprentices were, in my eyes, rivet counters although there were a few notable exceptions but for the love of me i cannot remember there names. Still they did take us on great trips like when we went to Swindon for the day.

    With all new volunteers, those who had just joined and like me all those who were old enough, were put on a train and given a simple test that i promptly flunked the first time round. Got it right the second time. Then came the next part where i was told that i would be working the venturer. I was a steward on there for about four years but by the beginning of last year i had really given up since i was only turning up once every three months or so, in fact my last trip was April last year. Some great characters on the venturer by the way.

    I had really abandoned railway preservation in favour, of all things, Dalek building. I built my own full size Dalek while only turning up to the SVR about twice one year. I'm not joking i own a full size Dalek and i would of built another if it wasn't for my Nan passing away at the beginning of last year what sent my life into free-fall. Oddly this rebooted my interest in Railways as did the finding of this forum. But then the floods hit and i still didn't feel up to volunteering on the venturer again. With my new interest i started to try and make up for lost time and even attended my first gala what was last years autumn gala at the SVR.

    During this time i had gone from a student to unemployed as i was unable to find work and so was being paid to look for work. On here i debated which scheme to join and through a few messages on here i became interested in the Grange what by late last year i joined. I didn't know what to expect when i first went to Llangollen shed. I had previously been to Llangollen but had never known there was a proper heritage line there as i was far more interested in the models at the Dapol factory that used to be up the road. As with anyone who goes up to the shed at a weekend i was met by Dessey who gave me a tour of the shed something i felt privileged to be allowed in since the SVR Bridgnorth shed was never normally open. Q turned up and we got to work with Richard on 5199 that sat in the yard wheelless with me every bit nervous since i was actually working on a engine and not just any engine a GWR engine.

    It was at this point i was really bitten as i got my hands properly dirty for the first time working with the Grange lads and learning how to put the jigsaw of 5199 back together once it's main driving wheels and front pony truck had been put under it. I loved every moment of it. Since my first nervous day on working on 5199 i have learned a lot. I of course thank Will, Q and all the rest of the Grange gang that i have come to know for rekindling my interest in railway preservation and dragging me back off the arm chair i was taking up. I've never been made feel more welcome than i have at the Llangollen Railway i feel proud to be a Granger and now working member of the Llangollen Railway. Also i would like to thank Dave Owen, Mike Pierce and Mark and all the apprentices for putting up with me when i was there on work experience at the beginning of the year. Hopefully i was of some small help to them and thanks to them i now know how to dispose a engine.
     
  17. BR34095

    BR34095 New Member

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    A hot summer’s day at Arlesford, when sound seems to be amplified by the rising heat. Warm, waiting passengers speak in hushed tones, while the birdsong surrounds the world. A young family await a train. The man, about 30 years old only just remembers steam as it was in the 60’s, and now expects a small tank engine, and a couple of coaches on this “preserved” line. I mean the people that run it are not “real” railwaymen and women; they could not possibly have the big express engines that ruled the rails “back then”.
    A clear, sharp whistle echoes from the cutting beyond the platform ends, alarming the birds, and adding the beat of wings to the ambience. The train is on its way.
    BODMIN rumbles into the platform, the sound felt more than heard. The safety valves lift, and the driver adds a few chuffs to prevent the train stopping short. The brakes squeal in tortured amazement, and locomotive and train finally comes to a stand. Doors slam, as the living, breathing green monster stands poised as if eager move again. Standing still is not its natural state. The young man, his wife and son momentarily forgotten, stands in awe of this mechanical giant, breathing in the smell of hot oil and coal. This was art, poetry, and sculpture. This was romance, adrenaline and excitement. This was and still is a passion that has never left that young man, and I should know, because that young man was me.
    So that was when I was bitten. I have since spent time away from this country, and of all the things that I missed, pork pies, real ale and all things British, top of the list was STEAM. And when I depart this mortal coil, can the Lord provide a West Country? That will be Heaven.
     
  18. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    I think that the moment for me was being taken to Longmoor and seeing Gordon, Errol Lonsdale, Black Prince etc in action. Could not get back often enough, was devastated when they closed it soon after!
     
  19. tfftfftff86

    tfftfftff86 New Member

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    There's a place called Springfield just on the English side of the border near Gretna Green. My parents, brother and I used to go there to picnic, and to pick huge field mushrooms that today would be called Portobello and sell for an outrageous price. I can't have been more than 5. My Dad was a lifelong railwayman (50+ years on Midland/LMS/LMR), based at the time in Carlisle, so I think he also liked the spot because it was beside the West Coast line, and I remember Duchesses thundering past occasionally. They were so BIG.

    My brother and I got 6 free passes a year and by the time we were 10, boy did we use 'em. (A couple of nobbut-a-lads going alone to London and back, how non-nanny state is that?). By that time we'd spent two years very near the Woodhead line, and I liked those old 1500V DC electrics because of their Greek names (my favourites were Mentor and Stentor) and their uniqueness. After moving to Sheffield, we'd also started going to Donny and Retford regularly, York sometimes, as well as "shedding" whenever and wherever we could - no-one I knew called it bunking. This was the changeover era of steam to diesel, and as the number of A3s, B1s and V2s declined, so they became more and more attractive. A Streak was a rare treat, I suppose most of them must have been in Scotland by then.

    So when was I bitten? By none of the above, but by two off-territory trips. We went on holiday to Cornwall, and had to change trains at Temple Meads. The Peak became a Warship, and both of them stank. But while we were waiting, what I think was a Castle came into the opposite platform, and it smelled - wonderful! It must have been about the 200th steamer I'd seen, but that contrast of beautiful old and flat-sided, unpleasant new hit me like a drug. I've been addicted to the aroma ever since, and will always head for the footbridge on any preserved line I visit. The final "rivet in my boiler" was placed when we visited relatives in Cardiff, and my "uncle" - really a cousin I think - insisted on taking us to Barry. For a start I saw locos I'd only ever dreamed about, especially the SR jobs, but in such numbers, and in such a melancholic state, that I was mesmerised. Not to mention climbing into more cabs in one day than in the whole of the rest of my life.
    And the rest, as they say, is a very personal history.
     
  20. 1750bhp

    1750bhp New Member

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    Deltics at Peterborough, about 1980. What a lovely noise.
    Got re-infected about 3 yrs ago watching 6233 at Ribblehead station. Turns out I'm not a total diesel crank.
     

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