Pat Moffat recalls an all too rare train ride from Chester to Liverpool Central
Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 9th September 2011 by Liam Physick
Pat Moffat explains that she used to come to the station to watch trains and visit Uncle Jackie, but could not afford to travel on them, and thus assumed rail travel was only for posh people! Nevertheless, she did get to ride on a train once, much to the envy of her brothers and sisters: after having major hearing surgery in Chester, she returned home by train, accompanied by a member of the Women’s Voluntary Service, and with a box of fruit gums all to herself! Pat also recalls using the milk machine at Lime Street, and how she and her siblings used to fantasise about train travel, aware that they would never be able to realise their dream
Pat: We used to come up to Wavertree Road from town, because of Stirlers and Freemans, me mum would get the cheques because she had a gang of kids . . .
Pat: . . . and we used to walk down here to see Uncle Jackie . . .
Pat: . . . cos Uncle Jackie worked in this station, and I used to love being on the bridge when the steam trains come over.
Jenny: Oh, yeah, what was that like?
Pat: Oh . . . you could smell the coke and the coal, and it was like . . . oh, it was brilliant, I mean, the, the only time we ever, sort of, if, if you weren’t near the station, it’d be on a film, you know, if you went to the cinema . . .
Pat: . . . and you’d see, like, the steam trains. But, I used to come here, because I couldn’t hear the noise . . .
Pat: . . . I could feel the vibration and . . .
Pat: Yeah, and the steam . . . oh, watching them coming through, but we used to think trains were for posh people.
Jenny: Really, did you never travel on a train?
Pat: The only time I went on a train was coming back from convalescent, and I’d been away from home for two years, and I’d had major surgery, it was just before I got me, some of my hearing back, and I couldn’t walk, I had me head encased in plaster of Paris, and I got sent to Wales, to Chester, for this convalescent, I think I was away for about 18 months, two years, I came on the train to Central station (Jenny laughs), and I thought, I was so posh, and I had a box of Rowntree’s fruit gums to eat, I were all made up with that!
Jenny: Were you on your own?
Pat: No. A lady from the WVS . . .
Pat: . . . came, yeah, because me mum and dad didn’t have the money to come and get me and there was a gang of kids. This lady accompanied me from Chester through to Liverpool and she was gonna do some shopping . . .
Pat: . . . after she’d dropped me off, and then she was going back home, but she was, she was a nice lady, she bought me the fruit gums . . .
Jenny: I know. (laughing) I, I bet you felt posher arriving with . . .
Pat: A whole box of fruit gums, you were lucky if you got a tube you didn’t have to break them in three and share them with someone!
Jenny: So were all your, all your brothers and sisters jealous that you’d got this train ride?
Pat: Well, yeah, I, I, I’ve still got the ticket at home.
Jenny: Have you?
Pat: Oh, yeah . . .
Jenny: Oh, wow, it would be good to see that.
Pat: . . . yeah, I’ve still got the ticket, yeah, the child’s passing . . . it, it, it’s . . .
Jenny: From Chester to Liverpool Central?
Pat: Yeah, it’s, it’s nicked out, it’s only about two inches in length and it’s a brownish colour, and you can see Chester, and there’s a puncture, and you can see the one for Central station, and then there’s a puncture on the opposite side . . .
Jenny: Puncture! (laughs)
Pat: . . . yeah.
Jenny: Oh, wow, so, apart from coming down here to, to play and see the steam trains, you never actually . . .
Jenny: . . . used the station as such?
Pat: No, no, the most we ever done was Lime Street station, they had a milk machine, and when me mum run out of milk, you go and put a sixpence in, you’d get this little carton of milk . . .
Jenny: Oh, really?
Pat: . . . and that used to see you til the next morning . . .
Pat: . . . til the milkman come . . .
Pat: . . . but we weren’t, I mean, we never had the money to go on trains or anything, but we’d dream, you know. But watching the Orient Express . . . I’m going on that when I’m older! (Jenny laughs) Still waiting to go on it!.
Jenny: So it was quite romantic, the idea of . . .
Pat: Yeah . . .
Jenny: . . . train travel.
Pat: . . . oh, yeah, yeah, when, I mean, when we all girls in the tenements, all going away on honeymoon on a train, from Lime Street station (Jenny laughs), you know, and the taxi would take us there, everything that nobody could afford at the time, to be honest with you, I mean, no one come in taxis.
Categorised under: Landmarks, Landscapes & Locomotives