Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Train Spotting at Taplow

Taplow Station Bucks
image is owned by Ben Brooksbank and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.
Anyone who knows me will no doubt be surprised to learn that for years Train Spotting played an important part of my youth.  I started in the early fifties when my cousin John became a train spotter and decided he needed help from his younger sister Gillian and his first cousin Janette Miller.

Gillian and I had no choice we were marched each morning of the holidays down the Bath Road to Taplow Station and we would spend all day there spotting trains. The station staff had no problem with this we were allowed on the express platforms and left to it.

John had the official train spotting book with all the UK train numbers listed. We all had our roles, John would get the number, Gillian the name and I the difficult charge of configuring the wheels, 4-2-4, 2-6-4. As it was written in the book I thought this was pointless but even today when I see a steam train I look at its wheels.

The local trains were easy as they stopped, and so were the shunters for goods but the real excitement was when the huge express trains roared through. These were usually some sort of Castle. We had to be quick so spot these beautiful brown, cream and gold Great Western trains on their way to Wales and the West country.

It was a very pleasant way to spend a lazy childhood day. The station was attractive and had a very picturesque Bridge which was memorable and it seems still there today.

Later  my mother and I travelled a lot by train down to Devon and up to Manchester and I took my Official Train Spotters album. This made train travel really interesting. I even graduated to London Tube Train carriages and many school days were wiled away collecting the carriage numbers. Lots of school children did this as I spent almost two hours traveling each day for most of my early life.

Would I do it again? Yes! I enjoyed it. I like collecting things.

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