A letter to Abbey Lines, the magazine of the Shrewsbury Railway Heritage Trust. Spring 2014. I always thoroughly enjoy the Abbey Lines magazine which, I feel sure, will come to be highly valued (when viewed as a complete body of work) as a magnificent archive of railway memories and of projects and endeavours not chronicled elsewhere.
However, I especially wanted to say how much I enjoyed Dave Giddins' article in the Spring 2014 edition.
He neatly sums up how much times have changed when he writes about his trainspotting days at places like Shrewsbury locomotive sheds. Youngsters wandering around such 'a dangerous environment' is not something which would be tolerated these days, that's for sure.
Dave writes: "We had no mobile phone or even a phone at home. My mum and dad knew where I was going and I did have a little lecture to tell me what to do in an emergency. I would have my rucksack with some corn beef sandwiches and a bottle of Tizer, and sometimes my little portable radio would accompany me to listen to the favourite pop hits of the mid-60s, like The Troggs' Wild Thing, Helen Shapiro and the latest Beatle hits. These were great times."
Evocative stuff, Dave.
My own trainspotting days came about half a decade later at the dawn of the seventies. Myself and my mate would hang around the sheds in Coleham, but they were clearly, by then, in serious decline; rat-infested, the roof and walls battered and half-falling-down.
And the place by that time had long since seen the end of steam. Instead, diesel locomotives which we knew as Brushes and Bo-Bos and Warships populated the place. The magic was fading fast.