The McElroy brothers give more memories of Edge Hill station
Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 29th July 2011 by Liam Physick
David and Steve McElroy continue to reminisce about the station, in particular the frequent goods traffic. They remember being awoken at night by the sound of the diesels shunting the coal trucks, ans also mention oil tankers and flat trucks. In particular, they talk about guards’ vans, and how they were vital to enable the train to double-brake - braking both by the driver of the locomotive and by the guard in his van - this was crucial to stop the trucks colliding with each other
Interviewee: David and Steve McElroy
Interviewee Gender: Male
Date of Interview: 25th March 2011
David: In terms of the, the station, as I say, it’s, it was mostly to do with watching the trains and, you know, sort of, it was just an endless source of free entertainment . . .
David: . . . from, from my perspective.
Steve: It, it was very busy in those days with all the, kind, of, like, goods traffic as well, you know . . .
Jenny: Yeah, yeah
David: Yeah, particularly over the, over the other side. (coughs)
Jenny: And, like you say, the, kind of, like, the, sort of, atmosphere of, of the engines as well, like, and . . .
David: Oh, yeah, I mean, some of the trains, the biggest trains would have a, an engine either end . . .
Jenny: Oh, right.
David: . . . I mean, they still do, but, but these were, you know, large steam trains, with . . .
Steve: Yeah, and another thing as well, we lived not that far away from the cutting, but, you know, certainly there was always activity at night as well, and you’d . . .
Jenny: Oh, yeah.
Steve: . . . you’d often hear the, kind of, like, the, you know, the, like, the humming of the, the diesels, the shunting arm. . .
David: The, the shunting, of yes, that was more or less their continuous . . .
Steve: . . . and the conking, and you could hear of, you’d wake up at, like, you know. two o’clock, three o’clock in the morning, and, you, you, you’d hear this, kind of, like, low rumble, wouldn’t you?
David: Yeah, oh yeah, I definitely remember that, as you say, they, cos I don’t think they ever stopped, the, the, the shunting of the coal wagons cos, obviously, once they’d been offloaded, then they had to be moved to sidings elsewhere, so that the next lot could come in, cos coal was the, the staple . . . lots of fuel at the time.
Steve: But, but there was all kinds of stuff came through though, I mean, you know, you’d see all the kind of, like, the, the, the, the oil tankers and all that kind of thing as well. Remember them?
David: No. I mean, I’ve seen them elsewhere but not here.
Steve: (indecipherable) but you would see, but you would see them and then you’d see, like, the, the, the open, the trucks . . .
David: Oh, the flat, yeah.
Steve: . . . that weren’t carrying coal, they’d be carrying other things but coal was certainly, like, the, like, the staple as you say.
David: Cos a, a lot of them were those very small, looked to me small, you know, sort of, bit bigger than the table, sort of thing, but they just used to be dozens of, hundreds of them, even.
Steve: Ever go in a guard’s van?
David: Yes . . .
David: . . . stationary ones . . .
David: . . . not (laughs) a moving one . . .
Steve: They, they was dead with interesting little boilers in them, weren’t they . . . ?
Steve: . . . and the, and the wheels for, for stopping the train . . .
David: Train, yeah.
Steve: There’s real skill to that as well, I mean, our Jack, Jack told me about that.
Jenny: What’s that then, the guard’s van?
Steve: The guard’s van would have been at the, at the . . .
Steve: . . . very end of, of a train, I think they’d . . .
David: You know, they still have guards on the trains these days . . .
Jenny: Oh, I see.
David: . . . but the guard then was a, sort of, multi-skilled man, and he was a brake man as well . . .
David: . . . if, if they, if emergency braking was required, he would, sort of, wind his handle down to put, apply the brakes to the guard’s van which was then supposed to slow the train down and (indecipherable) stop . . .
Steve: Cos, like, you know, loads of, loads of wagons would come and stuff like that weighs hundreds and hundreds of tons, so you had you had to stop it from both ends . . .
Jenny: Oh, yeah.
Steve: . . . from, like, the engine end and from the, the guard’s end as well otherwise all they’d, they’d all run into each other.
David: Plus the fact it was, it was a slope, wasn’t it, going down . . .
David: . . . so, so they, they had to have the additional braking.
Categorised under: The Station & Railway Pioneers