The McElroys share their memories of travelling by train
Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 1st August 2011 by Liam Physick
David and Steve McElroy talk about their train journeys when they were boys. As they were not well off, they did not travel by rail often, usually reserving it for long-distance journeys such as visiting their aunt in London, and other relatives in Llandudno. Steve also recalls a frightening experience he had once when he was lifted onto the locomotive’s footplate and saw the raging furnace as the fireman was throwing coal on it!
Interviewee: David and Steve McElroy
Interviewee Gender: Male
Date of Interview: 25th March 2011
Steve: But one of my most abiding memories about the, the trains, wasn’t actually from here, it was actually from Lime Street. On a couple of occasions, I was taken down, literally it seemed for the whole summer down to me Auntie Joan’s in, in Gravesend, and I went down with me Grandma and Auntie Betty and, being at Lime Street station, and this is, this must have been 1959, 58, 59, but, again, an abiding memory is being lifted up onto the, the footplate of a big steam loco, and it’s absolutely, I was horrified (Jenny and David laugh) because at the furnace and, you know, the guy’s throwing on . . .
David: The fireman.
Steve: . . . you know, throwing the coal on ready to, ready to, ready to roll, an incredible experience, and the other thing as well, remember the old slidy windows in the carriages . . . ?
Steve: . . . and you’d, you’d put your head out like that and you’d get covered in smoke (Jenny laughs) and, and, and stuff, but that’s what’s, what it was, that’s what it was like, it was, you know . . .
David: Oh, it was, it was very much a different world.
Steve: . . . everybody had a railway connection, didn’t they?
David: Yeah. Speaking of on the trains, cos I was gonna say before, obviously we were comparatively, not poor, but certainly not well off, so in the early years, we, if we went anywhere, it certainly wasn’t on the train, and it was only, sort of, later on. We used to also, had, had family in Llandudno, so, if we went there, it was generally on the train there, I can, what, what you’ve just said, of being on the train, sticking your head out of the window (Jenny laughs), you know, for, for substantial periods of the journey . . .
David: . . . which was not, not the cleverest of things to do, but just the, you know, the, sort of, everything into your face, the, the wind and the, all the stuff coming out of the engine and everything else, yeah, it was quite a, an experience, but travelling on the train then was, it was not quite as plush as it is today.
Categorised under: Landmarks, Landscapes & Locomotives