Sunday, 31 January 2010

Back to the past

To explain my interest in railways I must go back many years.

In 1956 I was living very close to the Kent Coast main line which was in the process of being electrified as part of the 1955 modernisation scheme. What made a lasting impression on me was the section of line between Bickley and Swanley was being quadrupled. This involved massive earthworks and major bridge rebuilding including a five arch viaduct. This was akin to building a motorway on top of an existing road which was still open to traffic.

Not for me was there any interest in collecting engine numbers which I think must be a pretty boring pastime. Instead I developed an interest in the reason why railway lines were built where they were and the impact on the community and also the politics behind them. For instance in Kent there were two major railway companies the South Eastern and the London, Chatham and Dover who were in fierce competition with each other and led to many duplicated routes, even to this day there are 12 routes between London and Dover but try and get from Faversham to Tonbridge is a complicated journey to say the least!

I hope this makes sense and I hope it will help you understand future memories.



ADB said...

Yes, that's a good riddle, Andy, Faversham to Tonbridge. Let me think. You can go down to Canterbury, walk from East to West station, then it's a straightforward journey via Ashford. Alternatively, you can go up the line to Strood, then take the line south to Maidstone West and further down the Medway Valley line to Paddock Wood and Tonbridge.

Can well understand how your interest in train services came about!

Liz said...

Surely the politics behind the development of the railways was purely founded on 'the promise of profit'.

So on profitable lines many fought for the previledge to gather the rewards while on ways deemed less attractive to money the funds necessary for development were unavailable.

The 'ugly face' of capitalism has reared itself throughout our history. Sometimes it take more than a generation to recognise it.

To keep the freedom of our society without the corruption that always accompanies the power that we give to those that we look to for government seems almost impossible.

There are few that can be trusted to live their lives for others.

Fewer still are those that hold any power in our political system or society.

Anonymous said...

I've never seen the fascination of collecting train numbers. I grew up with steam trains at the bottom of the garden, much more interesting to watch the whole thing than look for the number.

I never thought where they'd come from or where they were going. I suppose I took that bit for granted. Smiling at the braile bit for taxi driver applications.


Funnyface said...

Andy, that was all far too complicated for me. But i do remember with much affection in 1959 when i was just four years old my grandfather taking myself and my older brother to Margate Railway Station to see the steam engines (my grandparents live nearby) we would peer through the railings at them and my Grandfather would tell us a story about the train driver. Happy childhood memories. Thanks for reminding me.
Big Luv
Jaynee X