There’s nothing quite like a day at a steam railway when it comes to creating a sense of nostalgia. The Colne Valley and Halstead Railway, our destination today, closed to commercial trains in the early 1960s, reopening a decade or so later as a heritage railway.
Neither of us are old enough to remember steam trains running on the British railway, but there’s something about these old stations and rolling stock that is irresistible. That said, it’s amazing how familiar many of the carriages feel, as the trains I travelled to London on as a student were almost identical, right down to the patterned upholstery!
We were lucky to find a steam engine pulling a handful of carriages up and down the mile-long stretch of track today, so after a quick look around we climbed aboard and enjoyed the short journey. We decided to travel first class – not something we’d habitually do, but when it doesn’t cost anything extra, why wouldn’t you?! I spent some time while we were waiting for the engine to shunt around us at the end of the line, and while we had lunch in the buffet car, taking some photos of details around the carriage. One thing’s for sure, modern trains feel much more clinical than those made in the steam age.
After lunch we took a stroll around the Royal Mail train. These were used to sort the mail en-route overnight and we were astonished to discover that a worker on board could sort around 1500 letters per hour, with 99% accuracy.
I also spent some time in the signal box and photographing the train crew as they went about their work in the station. Often, I would convert such images to monochrome, but today the colours seemed too good to discard.
Finally, Kevin went for a second jaunt on the train, while I shot some more action pictures of the train coming through the station before we headed for home.
29 May 2019