Age of the train

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - The Way We Were -

The irony of the ‘Age of the Train’ slo­gan could be ap­pre­ci­ated by the av­er­age child liv­ing in Hamp­shire (me), given the less-than-cur­rent na­ture of Bri­tish Rail’s rolling stock trav­el­ling the Portsmouth Har­bour to Southamp­ton Cen­tral line. My near­est sta­tion was Swan­wick, where the car park was al­ways packed with Tran­sits of all vin­tages – the lo­cal choice of com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle was made at the nearby Ford plant in Swayth­ling. There were oc­ca­sional vis­its from HA de­liv­ery vans be­long­ing to any num­ber of firms and Mor­ris Ital taxis, while the staff com­pris­ing Ken and Arthur were ever-present.

Their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in­cluded neatly ar­rang­ing the book­ing of­fice’s dis­play of card­board tick­ets and, on oc­ca­sion, chas­ing youths off Plat­form 1. The lat­ter duty was achieved with the aid of the of­fi­cial sta­tion broom and usu­ally ac­com­pa­nied by plenty of shout­ing. Their ul­ti­mate sanc­tion was ‘I’ll call the rail­way po­lice!’ although the only time I re­call the BTP ac­tu­ally mak­ing an ap­pear­ance, they ar­rived in a Tal­bot So­lara. By that point, any rea­son­ably fit mis­cre­ant had long since van­ished.

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