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Didcot Railwaymen Tales from the Steam Age

ISBN: 9781857944846
Published: 24-08-2016
Format: Softcover
Availability: Sorry SOLD OUT Reprint details will appear here if and when available
Author: Collected by Patrick Kelly Edited by Will Adams
Number of pages: 128

Price: £20.00

This is ex-railwayman Pat Kelly's very personal tribute to the men who worked at Didcot station ('the coldest station in Berkshire'), its signal boxes and loco shed in the last years of steam. Following the publication of his earlier book of personal reminiscences, Didcot Steam Apprentice, Pat was contacted by several of the 'old hands', many of them now sadly no longer with us, keen to tell their own stories.

Details:

This is ex-railwayman Pat Kelly's very personal tribute to the men who worked at Didcot station ('the coldest station in Berkshire'), its signal boxes and loco shed in the last years of steam. Following the publication of his earlier book of personal reminiscences, Didcot Steam Apprentice, Pat was contacted by several of the 'old hands', many of them now sadly no longer with us, keen to tell their own stories. They worked as signalmen, fitters, guards and footplatemen, and all relate their tales of a hard working life yet one often full of fun, as well as accounts of dealing with accidents and taking steam-hauled trains to London Paddington. Some provide memories of other stations in the area, such as Oxford, Abingdon, Wallingford, and the Didcot, Newbury & Southampton line. One chapter is devoted to the railways during the two World Wars, and the demands made on men and machines, another describes shunting and handling freight in the days of wagon-load traffic, and another how they kept the job going during the great freeze of 1962/63.

They are stories told with great honesty and directness, and a good deal of affection and humour, providing first-hand accounts of daily working lives during a railway era now long consigned to history.

'After leaving the railway in 1966 as a fully-fledged fitter, one day I returned to Didcot shed. Memories assailed my senses. I touched the walls, recalling the closeness of the locomotives, their size, their smell. Oh those smells! Looking into the fitters cabin, I recalled the Christmas carols we sang, the fun we had, the tea we drank from the chipped cups'

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