Confessions Of A Teenage Trainspotter (Trains; Trainspotting)

Peripart

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Well, the subject got recently brought up while some of us were discussing photo-realistic art on another thread, so let's see if it's got legs...
After all, if a forum as diverse as this one can't tolerate or even welcome those with a past full of slightly unfashionable hobbies (stamp collecting next?), then what are we like?

Take yourselves back in time, if you can, to the tail end of the 1970s. Picture a young lad, only 11, just starting big school, and finding himself taking a train through Birmingham every day. At first, the journey is mundane, but with the help of those better-versed in such things, he finds himself looking at the different types of locomotive and starting to spot the differences. A fascinating world is opened up to him, and soon, he buys the Ian Allen guides and starts making note of the numbers of the engines. The engines, incidentally, are mostly diesel, but with a smattering of electric - steam, of course, was knocked on the head back in 1968, only a few weeks after this young lad was born, so blue and yellow BR was all he knew. Many a happy weekend was spent by this young spotter and his chums, standing on platforms with notebook and maybe camera in hand, seeing how many class 20s, or 47s, or even newly-minted HSTs he could spot.

To no-one's surprise, that lad was me, but I wasn't the only one, was I?

AB 37022.JPG
AB 20s.JPG


Never mind the quality, these pictures bring back memories of my childhood like almost nothing else.
 

Bad Bungle

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Where in the pecking order are the train, tram and bus ticket collectors ?
 

Min Bannister

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After all, if a forum as diverse as this one can't tolerate or even welcome those with a past full of slightly unfashionable hobbies (stamp collecting next?), then what are we like?
I don't really get it myself. Mind you..

*shimmery effect*

About 6 years ago I was at Dalmeny Station on the way to somewhere and stopped on the station bridge to admire the Forth Bridge in the mist. There were a few other people there too, also enjoying the bridge. And quite a lot of people on the platform. Pretty much all men. Strangely they weren't actually looking at the bridge. As I began to realise this they suddenly all got very excited about something. I turned round and saw... the Union of South Africa steaming towards us out of the mist.

I suddenly got it then.

I won't bother posting a link as photos in no way do justice but just. Wow.

Since retired sadly (thanks again 2020) :( The Sir Nigel Gresley is still going I believe. I am still not greatly interested in lesser (ie all other) trains but I still understand it a bit more now. :)
 

gordonrutter

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I don't really get it myself. Mind you..

*shimmery effect*

About 6 years ago I was at Dalmeny Station on the way to somewhere and stopped on the station bridge to admire the Forth Bridge in the mist. There were a few other people there too, also enjoying the bridge. And quite a lot of people on the platform. Pretty much all men. Strangely they weren't actually looking at the bridge. As I began to realise this they suddenly all got very excited about something. I turned round and saw... the Union of South Africa steaming towards us out of the mist.

I suddenly got it then.

I won't bother posting a link as photos in no way do justice but just. Wow.

Since retired sadly (thanks again 2020) :( The Sir Nigel Gresley is still going I believe. I am still not greatly interested in lesser (ie all other) trains but I still understand it a bit more now. :)
The Sir Nigel Gresley used to live at the bottom of my garden! True!
 

Peripart

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Where in the pecking order are the train, tram and bus ticket collectors ?
You know what? When you're as uncool as a trainspotter, you're not really in a position to look down on anyone. Apart from those who take the numbers of carriages and wagons - they're just sad!

Just for context, the 2 photos in my post are old scans of even older photos, taken by me in the early 80s. The class 37 is at Cambridge, I think, no idea on the pair of 20s.
 

Spudrick68

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I was a train spotter as a kid, but strangely enough loved listening to punk.

My mum never knew that me and my brother went all over the North West as kids on a Railrover ticket. You could go as far north as Carlisle and south to Crewe and to Colne on the east (which we did, didn't even get off, just came back again!).

Some of the carriages were really old, even by 1970's standard. I loved the old carriages made of stained wood with compartments and a corridor to one side.

I used to be able to tell you what class a train was before seeing it. You could tell by the engine sound. It strangely fascinated non geeks.

Finally, we used to nick railway stuff. My brother still has a level crossing lamp and a cast iron "shut and fasten gate" sign that we carted home.

When I was a kid they were class 47's, class 25's, the odd class 37, 08 shunters and electric class 85's and 86's.

Trots off to drink his dandelion and burdock and eat his warm tuna butties from his parka pocket.
 

escargot

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Back in the 80s, when I worked for British Rail for a year, I had the opportunity to ride the APT on one of its test runs, but I couldn't switch my shift to do it.

Should've failed. You'd only get a skin!
 

Gene Hunt73

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Living next to the Manchester Victoria to Liverpool mainline pretty much all of my life I couldn't help but taking an interest in railways.
13645365_10210009987025273_3578181652947417076_n.jpg

I was born and raised in the flats far right.
My favourite railway memory however was as a fourteen year old stood at Birmingham New Street on the way to Paignton at the start of a family holiday in the summer of 91 watching the electric locomotive being swapped for a diesel (class 47) the driver noticed my interest and asked if I fancied a cab ride upfront all the way to Bristol.
I obviously accepted!
So a dash to the carriages to tell my mum and dad that I'll be sat with the driver for a while, thankfully they agreed on the condition that my dad joined me.
So off we went for a memorable run to Bristol which turned out to be the highlight of the holiday for me!
I still remember it vividly to this day.
I recall the driver looking the spitting image of Fred West! & doing what felt like a thousand mph while the driver was just casually checking his wage slip!
The actual loco less than a year later before being made into razor blades.
1514571_10202868204685178_1561526692_n.jpg

But my favourite loco of all is the legendary 'deltic' which was a mythical machine to me because they never appeared on the west coast of the country and only existed in magazines.
images.jpeg

I've seen a couple since!
Strangely though I never did take numbers down I just enjoyed Saturday afternoons sat on the end of a platform at Man Victoria or Piccadilly watching trains and the world go by.
14462804_10210750898467596_2859425145373476768_n.jpg

Remember the advert?!
Anyway where did I put my anorak..
 

Erinaceus

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Some pictures taken on holidays in the mid 1980s. I think Thurso is the furthest north you can travel by train in Scotland.
Thurso 985.jpg


The semaphore signals at Inverness are probably long gone.
Inverness 1985.jpg


A class 37 at Fort William. The locomotives on the West Highland line had a white Highland terrier painted on the side. It's the white blob next to the double arrow.
Fort William 1984.jpg
 

cycleboy2

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Some pictures taken on holidays in the mid 1980s. I think Thurso is the furthest north you can travel by train in Scotland.
View attachment 30421

The semaphore signals at Inverness are probably long gone.
View attachment 30422

A class 37 at Fort William. The locomotives on the West Highland line had a white Highland terrier painted on the side. It's the white blob next to the double arrow.
View attachment 30424
I've got similar pictures from the same era. I was a student in the 1980s and the railcard allowed you to go anywhere in the country for a tenner (I think it was once a year, not every trip!).

So one year I went to Wick and Thurso and another year to The Kyle of Lochalsh and the Isle of Skye. I'm guessing this would be c1984-1985 or thereabouts. I shall try to dig out my pics, though Lord knows where they are.
 

Erinaceus

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You must have been there about the same time as me. I went to Kyle of Lochalsh as well. It rained all the time I was there and then the sun came out a couple of miles into the journey back to Inverness.
 

escargot

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I posted the APT photo on a local Facebook page and someone messaged me asking where I'd seen it running. Had to explain that I'd been joking.

Poor bloke, I think he'd already packed his flask and egg butties for the chase.
 

Tigerhawk

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I posted the APT photo on a local Facebook page and someone messaged me asking where I'd seen it running. Had to explain that I'd been joking.

Poor bloke, I think he'd already packed his flask and egg butties for the chase.
I like the way you think!
 

escargot

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On my Facebook entry about it someone smugly posted 'Crewe Station'. It's not at a station, it's permanent stabled elsewhere.
I replied 'It nearly swept me off the platform!'
 

Gene Hunt73

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On my Facebook entry about it someone smugly posted 'Crewe Station'. It's not at a station, it's permanent stabled elsewhere.
I replied 'It nearly swept me off the platform!'
Post a picture of 'Stephenson's Rocket '
It'll blow his mind!
 
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