Underneath this wry exterior, avid blogger, affected leftfieldness and faltering attempts to be a ‘right on rev’ lies a terrible dark secret: a love that dares not speak its name: I like trains.
There: I said it. I still have a (sadly not used in 10 years due to space) railway in the attic, some books & an inner pedant that will see a railway on a tv show or a film and attempt to resist the urge to say ‘Of course GWR Castle Class locos did not have that livery in 1955. The thing is, I thought I was free of it; other things occupy my time more now.
Then a couple of days back I took my children to Shildon (the other base for the National Railway Museum: honestly- what other nation has so many railway museums?) to see the ‘Grand Farewell’: the last time that the 6 surviving A4 locos will be together in the same place. There were unbelievable crowds there: as we left, a queue of cars approaching 2 miles long and a foot queue of several hundred metres. I say ‘I took’: I ‘dragged’ & ‘cajoled’.
And then it happened: as I caught my first sight of them, I seemed to get grit in my eye and had trouble swallowing. I thought I was past this: rusting hulks of metal and steam and I am back to being 11 again. I could have stayed all day, gazing and queueing if I had not been gently ushered to the exits by my adolescent son:: ‘Come on dad, I think you have had enough.’
I still have problem then…