Train journeys… (iv)

Today’s train journey is from last year’s Father’s Day:

Yesterday we had a belated Father’s Day celebration and went by steam train (yes a puffing Billy) from the little town of Bishops Lydeard to the seaside town of Minehead. When we were children, steam engines were an everyday but still exciting feature of our lives. A vivid memory I have is of walking with my grandma to visit my great-grandma and stopping on a bridge over looking the railway. I always hoped to see the little green engine, There was that wonderful steamy, coaly smell, and all the chuffing and clinking and rattling sounds.

When we went on journeys there were diesel trains I guess, but I only remember the steam engines which powered along like mighty beasts. There was that evocative smell and always the exciting change a smut might fly in the window – exciting to a child, but not to the mother who had to wash the clothes! For my next novel I’m planning to write something set in the 1950’s – there would have been lots of steam engines then, so I will have to dredge up my memories – and maybe even go on another train journey!!

As we were passing through the beautiful Somerset countryside, to Crowcombe Heath, to Stogumber, Williton, Watchet, Washford, Blue Anchor, Dunster and finally Minehead, I remarked to my husband that the sound of the railway and travelling on a train like this was so embedded in my mind and my memory that I didn’t really ‘hear’ it, and had to especially make an effort to listen to the song of the track!

If you want to share this experience, here is a link:




  1. Andrew Petcher

    When I was a boy we lived in Hinckley in Leicestershire. To get home from school we had to use a footbridge over the railway line near the town station. We used to lean out as a train passed by to watch it pass below. I was always in trouble for getting my clothes covered in soot and smoke. Probably didn’t do my lungs any good either!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      Yes it was wonderful to do that! My grandma used to take us for walks over a railway bridge and we were so excited if a train came through, or we spotted our favourite shunting engine, the Little Green Engine!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. david lewis

    I saw a program about a railway up in the Andes that retired there old English steam engine with a diesel electric with about the same rated horsepower. It couldn’t do the job and they ended up having to buy two more. The thing about steam is that the torque output is almost limitless and the faster you go the more it makes which is the opposite of conventional thinking. Plus steam trains have a personality and a lot had names. I loved the clickety-clack noise and the sound of the whistle. Fond memories of a happy youth in England.

    Liked by 1 person

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