Railway Memories

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British Steam 1950s & 1960s part 1, Film lewishambill

This letter was left today in the comment box of our 20 July 2008 article Swanage Railway Project has new boss. We assume that Keith Jackman has sent us a copy of a letter that he sent to incoming Swanage Railway Trust Chairman, Mike Whitham, as he concludes with the sentiment, I wish you every success in your endeavour to get the line between Swanage and Wareham reopened. We only wish that the long arm of the Dyspozytor could stretch that far! It’s time that the Swanage Railway achieved the public transport objectives of its founders. Thank you very much Keith for sharing your memories with us.

Dear Sir,

I wonder if this may be of interest to you. As lad of 14, my first job was as a cleaner on the Swanage M7 tank engine that run the push and pull service to Wareham. After 6 months, I transferred to Bournemouth Loco Depot and eventually to Nine Elms Depot, which is now Covent Garden market.

At Nine Elms I rose through the links, to the mainline top link. All my work then was express passenger trains. My engine on the mainline was a Merchant Navy class No. 35017 Belgian Line. They were fine engines and, at that time, had 280 lbs/sq in pressure that would have retained a head of steam even if shovelled with cow pats.

As a passed fireman on occasion, I drove the Atlantic Coast express, the Bournemouth Belle and the Devon Belle. I have nothing but fond memories of my time on the footplate, I could see which way things were heading and as driving electrics never appealed to me I decided to leave the job and become a London taxi driver.

This past Christmas I was back home in Swanage and seeing the trains run on that historic line made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

I wish you every success in your endeavour to get the line between Swanage and Wareham reopened and look forward to once again riding that route in the future, hopefully the near future.

Yours sincerely

Keith Jackman

Dear Keith, Do you have any pictures from your days when you worked on BR? If so BTWT would be honoured to publish them.

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