The Western Way
A personal colour odyssey by an author captivated by steam, like most of us, at an early, highly impressionable age and in his case the introduction was grander than most – the Royal Train passing through Henley-in-Arden in April 1950 headed, memorably by two Castles.
The inevitable induction into the local band of spotters followed, then trips by bicycle to nearby main lines at Hatton and Honeybourne and finally steam tours as pocket money came to be bolstered by Saturday and school holiday jobs.
Sympathetic parents helped, as a lively text reveals: "I recall an occasion when I was in Bristol with my mother for some reason I cannot now remember but I badgered her to let me visit Bath Road engine shed. I must have been about twelve and the foreman arranged for someone to show me round but told my mother that it was considered to be bad luck for women to be in the shed. Whether or not this was a joke, she sat in the mess nursing a mug of engineman’s tea while I noted down the numbers of the sixty or so locomotives present. It was her one and only shed visit!"
Subsequent maturity and possession of a decent camera allowed a rich harvest of colour portraits of many aspects of Western Region steam working in the 1960s, from filthy lumbering 2-8-0s, to fussing pannier tanks and gleaming Kings and Castles.
Hardback, 128 pages, colour photographs
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Updated: 29 December 2021