Steam spotting days


British and Irish Steam Memories 1950s 1960s,
Slide show by conncork

An e-mail from Robert Hall reminded me of the end of steam on the Waterloo-Weymouth services in 1967 and brought memories flooding back. A quick search on You Tube came up with Conncork’s Waterloo Steam Sunset 1965-67 a slide show of photographs of steam locomotives taken at Waterloo and Nine Elms depot. Some of the pictures look so familiar… I guess I must have been taking mine only a few feet away from the photographer.

British and Irish Steam Memories 1950s 1960s, took me back still further: Bishops Bridge, ‘black’ green GWR Castles, the ‘back doors’ to Willsden and Southall sheds, Marylebone and the end of the Great Central main line. Here’s part of his own commentary.

LTSR & The Tottenham joint lines

My first memories of the steam locomotive were at stations like Dagenham Heathway, Barking and Southend. Also between Dagenham Heathway and Bow looking from the window of District line trains on trips visiting family at Whitechapel. I can remember steam while visiting the seaside at Southend.

GER lines

In 1960 my family moved to Chadwell Heath and thus I came in contact with the trains from the Liverpool street lines. This was only for a short time as by 1962 this region had done away with steam. The last steam locomotive I saw on this section was at Romford station an N7 on a parcels train.

GWR lines

My family are from Ireland so for quit a few times we had our holidays at Granmothers house in Cork. This was an wonderful experience for a train mad boy. Paddington station to Fishguard Harbour and then the boat the Innisfallen to Cork. In Cork I saw steam running on the bridge at Albert quay and through the streets, also in County Kerry I remember seeing steam trains.

Train spotting

They started on wet Saturday in 1963 with a twin-rover for the bus and tube. With this in my hand travelling up to London and its termimus stations. Steam was seen on this cold rainy day (I can remember it so well) at Euston, Marylebone, Paddington, Victoria, Waterloo and London Bridge. With a school friend I visited Watford junction and we visited the loco shed.

I had 4 happy years of train spotting visiting sheds at Nine elms, Southall, Basingstoke,Wilesden. Eastleigh and Watford junction. Waterloo, Marlebone and Paddington stations were regular haunts. Basingstoke was visited in the summer 1965. In 1966 I travelled on two Rail tours the Dorset Belle and the New Forester.

If like me you knew some of these places at first hand take care not to be overwhelmed by waves of nostalgia! It is encouraging to see that conncork is still photographing steam, and posting the results for all to see on You Tube, although as yet he has not posted anything from Poland.

2 Responses to “Steam spotting days”

  1. Robert Hall Says:

    I’d have given a lot to have this chap’s Irish experiences – lucky person. The place ceased to be, to my taste, interesting railway-wise, when I was of an age to be able to read about the scene there; but not yet, to undertake independent travels. No family connection; and my parents, God rest their souls, had no use for anything Irish, North or South – so holidays there were not on the agenda.

  2. John Ball Says:

    The world we have lost!

    It isn’t just the steam engines; it’s the whole ethos of those days that’s gone. The Kinks (I think) music for the second half was especially melancholy. The numerous scenes of (non-idiotic) trespass and access to sheds are a million light years away in culture from today’s elfansafety neurosis. I was a teenager during the last few years of steam and remain grateful for my interest in railways being a constant factor in a difficult adolescence.

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