How did you become a fan?

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Re: How did you become a fan?

Postby johnthefireman » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:05 am

Only just discovered this interesting thread.

- My grandfather and my mother both worked for the LMS before the war, albeit both in clerical positions and long before I was born.

- I had an uncle who was a draughtsman at the Vulcan Works, and when we would visit them up north he would take me to the factory after hours and let me climb all over the locomotives under construction. By that time they weren't building steam locos (at least not that I remember) but they were building a lot of diesels for the export market and some of the locos I saw years later in Africa were probably the same ones I had climbed over as a wee lad.

- My grandparents lived in the northwest of England and we used to travel by train to visit them at least once a year. In those days, late 1950s and early '60s, there was still steam, and indeed the northwest was the last bastion of steam in UK right up to its withdrawal in 1968. We used to take the train from Euston in London, and some of my earliest memories are of the mystical darkness and grandeur of the smoke-filled station (I'd like to think I can remember the iconic Doric arch, but that may be wishful thinking), and of the noise of a locomotive safety valve blowing off.

- I travelled to grammar school (high school) by train every day for six years in the late 1960s and early '70s. By that time there was no steam left on BR's Eastern Region and we were riding on the electric suburban units out of east London.

- I joined a model railway club at the age of 14, and that entailed a weekly trip on the same suburban trains. The club house was rented from BR and you could get to it without going through the ticket gate (I had my school rail pass so I was legal!) by walking off the end of the platform, edging through the bridge next to the track and climbing up the bank - not much Elf 'n Safe Tea concern in those days!

- I went to university in the north east of England and would often ride behind a Deltic on the trip there and back.

At the age of 21 I headed off to Africa and my railway interest was put on the back burner for many years. Then about twenty years ago I was based in the UK for a year and joined a local steam railway where I began to train as a locomotive fireman. A few years later I found myself in South Africa for a few years, where I joined another heritage club and qualified as a fireman and driver, firing on the main line, and gained a lot of experience in restoring, maintaining and operating steam locos. Now back in Kenya I'm a volunteer at the national railway museum and I'm involved in the operation of the steam locos on the rare occasions when they run. We're also just moving in to a new house where she who must be obeyed has allocated me a part of the basement to build a model railway, based on African railway practice.
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Re: How did you become a fan?

Postby radio » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:08 am

My family moved from the countryside in southern CT, USA, to Hamden, within a few blocks of the Cedar Hill yard. The first night there in 1960, I heard train horns all night long, so as soon as I could, I rode my bike there one night and watched . . . and listened. I had also been exposed to freight trains moving alongside State St in New Haven, directly behind my father's warehouse. I could watch them from a port in of the rear window that wasn't frosted/painted. I think it was the sounds of railroads that hooked me.
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