Choo choo, All aboard, the train is about to depart the station,
Just leaving Minehead station in Somerset, UK. Steam trains were my mode of transport with the start of the Diesel era. So it was a great experience to travel on this train with my family. The journey lasted a few hours and many memories came to mind. It was shame when these trains ceased to be used, the disappointment was slightly eased with Diesel because there was still a little character and atmosphere, but this did not last because it was not long before these were phased out with electricity taking over.
The musty smell of age and smoke and steam cluttering the nostrils as one wander the different styles of coaches. Some with apartments and sliding doors. Open carriages with tables in between seating, First Class carriages and second class carriages. Our game was to sit in First class and see long we could get away with it before a ticket inspector caught up with us. Even better was trying to avoid these inspectors and get a free ride. Sneaking onto the platforms and then onto the train without being caught. The real tricky part of the journey was getting off the other end and then getting through the platform exits without being seen. Some stations, the smaller ones, we could just jump out of the carriages and run across the tracks. Oh those were the days. Missed and loved, how life is so different now…
The smoking and no smoking carriages, the smell of the smoky carriages and stains and dingy look was all part of the character. The soot black covered bridges and engineers and the shovelling of coal. Today it would not be possible because of all ‘Health and Safety’, All those boring old do gooders of the past and present must be feeling real proud of themselves. May they never have another train ride, oh I do believe that they never did anyway. Just told us what we can and cannot do. No Choice. Democracy is great.