A love of train travel
In a box in my house are a series of photo albums containing snapshots from my childhood, mostly taken by myself.
The first is a photograph (taken by my dad) of my Lego castle, which I’d enhanced using equipment from my Lego trains power pack, such that the castle was now fully equipped with electric lighting. Ensuring complete historical accuracy, there was naturally a fully electric lamppost positioned next to the drawbridge.
The second photograph is a bit more sedate. It’s of me aged about eight wearing some awful looking anorak, standing dead impressed next to a train in Manchester Piccadilly station.
(It’s a Pacer if you really must know.)
It was taken by my Granddad – my mum’s dad – and when I look back at it he’s probably the man to blame for my love of train travel. He used to work for British Rail, working in a behind-the-scenes role in an office at Piccaddilly and like all BR employees, when he retired he was given a pass giving him free travel on the trains.
During school holidays he’d often take my sister and myself out to go swimming – usually in the car and a tour of the various swimming pools in the area (I always loved Glossop since you ask) – but as we got older the trips got a bit more adventurous; even more so when he discovered he could take kids under the age of 16 on the train for a £1.
As we got older my sister often stayed behind, leaving my Granddad and myself to roam around on different excursions. We had trips to Windermere, Lancaster and Preston. There was even the trip on the train to Buxton in order to visit the Buxton Spa swimming pool, which we arrived at only to find it was closed due to refurbishment. One memorable day we did a round trip to Carlisle, naturally travelling via the stunning Settle to Carlisle line.
All these years on, I still love rail travel. It’s nice just to be able to sit back and watch the world zoom by – so much more interesting than driving, and with much better views than a plane.
My Granddad incidentally is now in his 90s but still makes good use of his rail pass and still does day trips, mostly around the North West of England and North Wales. He’s still impressively active, and believe me, if I take after him in that respect, I won’t be disappointed. You’ll probably find me zooming round the countryside too.