Tag Archives: railways

“Beyond the Blaydon Races” by Alan Clothier

I have enjoyed a number of conversations with the granddaughter of Alan Clothier, (the author of “Beyond the Blaydon Races”), and it was from her that I learned of his work on the Blaydon railways.
The book’s description reads as follows:
“The area covered by this book is mainly that of the five waggonways delivering coal to their staiths on the River Tyne at Lemington from collieries at
Wylam, Heddon, Throckley, Walbottle, Hollywell and Black Callerton. The main objective has been to place the early wooden waggonways fully in the context
of their purpose and usage within the mining industry and continues with their development and the coming of railways up to the demise of the coal industry
in that district. There is a more detailed insight into the multifarious activities of Colliery Viewers whose work it is felt has not always received the
attention which it deserves. For much of this feature, the author is indebted to the wonderfully detailed work diaries of William Oliver held by the North
of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. The opening date for the Wylam Waggonway has long escaped the notice of historians and many well-known
writers have had it wrong; the author is pleased that his researches have at least narrowed it down to the year in which this event occurred. A Glossary
of Terms used in the mining industry is also included as well as numerous plans and a Chronological Listing of Events. Whatever a reader’s interests are,
they are wished as much pleasure in following up their leads as the author has derived from gathering his”. For further information on “Beyond the Blaydon Races” please visit https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XMQ7MJ5.

TFL Limerick

Thank you to Shital Shah for her poem, “TFL Limerick”. For anyone unfamiliar with London’s transport system, Transport for London (TFL) is the body with overall responsibility for the capital’s transport. You can find out more about TFL at their website here (https://tfl.gov.uk/).

Strong winds or heat,
Rain, snow or sleet.
Engineering works or strike actions,
Perhaps a leaf causing disruptions.
Whatever the reason, TfL simply can’t defeat.


*Inspired by Thursday’s weather and travel troubles. Londoners will sympathise.


My thoughts travel back
Down history’s track.
I hear the clack
Of the wheels of the train
Running through my nostalgic brain.
I recollect separate carriages, each with an individual door,
And me reading,
My imagination feeding
On the contents of a magazine,
Today, no longer seen.
Who could ask for more?

Often I sat alone.
There was No mobile phone
To disturb my contemplation.
The nation
Has moved on.
And the old characterful trains have gone.
I have to accept
That which I would reject,
A perfect world of plastic and chrome
Where man sits alone
Conversing with his friend, the phone.

I remember travelling on trains with separate carriages, each compartment having comfortable seats and holding (if memory serves correctly) a maximum of 6 people. The

Not His Destination

This morning I took a train from Thornton Heath station to London Victoria. Due to me being visually impaired, a member of station staff assisted me to board the train. However, before he could disembark, off went the locomotive with the railway company employee on board, and none to happy at having been conveyed, without his consent from Thornton Heath to the next station stop, Norbury!

A man
With a plan
To help me board a train.
Oh what a pain
For the doors closed
And there arose
From his lips a bad word,
The kind heard
On the docks.
The commuters where shocked
And the man from the station
Reached a destination
Not wished for.
No wonder he swore!

The End Of The Line

You have reached the end
of the line my friend.
You must descend
and fight your way through the crush.
Good luck as you rush
to your goal.
But mind the hole
between the train and the platform.
For the gap doth yawn!

Several days ago, I was travelling on the train from Gipsy Hill to London Victoria. On arrival at Victoria a fellow passenger asked whether the train had arrived at it’s destination. This inspired the above poem.


The Joys of Commuting

Beware the dangers of complacency. I boarded the 17:22 from London Victoria to Gypsy Hill yesterday. It was boiling hot and the heat combined with the movement of the train made me sleepy. I dozed. At some point I became aware that the train had stopped. I and my fellow passengers where stuck in no man’s land between Battersea Park and Clapham Junction station. The windows where open but the lack of motion rendered this fact of little consequence. I along with my fellow commuters made the best of a sticky (in more than one sense of the word) situation. People read their papers. a man complained to someone or other rather loudly on his mobile that he was stuck on a train, he hated the idea of driving for 2 hours to get somewhere or other that evening but that he would, reluctantly make the effort, while a gentleman with what a former colleague of mine used to call “issues” wandered up and down the train talking to all and sundry.

The driver was brilliant keeping us informed of what was happening. Apparently someone had collapsed in Clapham station and paramedics where in attendance.

Oh the dangers of complacency. There I was expecting the journey to take 25 minutes maximum. I’d alight at Gypsy Hill, enjoy a cooling pint in my favourite pub on the way home and reach my flat at a relatively early hour. however we remained stuck in no man’s land for about half an hour. Originally the driver announced that the train when it got going once more would run as normal to Crystal Palace but would then be fast until London Bridge. I smiled smugly as Gypsy Hill is the station prior to Crystal Palace so I would, once the train got going have a relatively (although much lengthier than anticipated) journey. Alas it was not to be. After 20 minutes or so our friendly driver announced that when we got moving the train would return to Battersea Park and passengers would need to make their way from that station homewards.

When we finally got moving and pulled into Battersea that well known military strategist, General Chaos took charge of the situation. We where directed to platform 5 only to find that trains to Crystal Palace where not going from there. A man entertained us by attempting to use the help phone located on the platform. What fun he had standing there for several minutes listening to “please wait, please wait”! When he was finally connected the operator had no idea of what was happening but at least  it is good to know that someone or other is being kept in business to answer the helpline!

To cut a long story short I was helped by a fellow passenger to catch my train on platform 3 and I arrived at my destination around 2 hours later than I should have done.

My poor dog was panting like a steam train while stuck on the train (wearing a thick hairy coat which one can not take off is no fun in this weather)! Thankfully one of the station staff gave him a drink at Battersea and he was none the worse for his experience. Dare I take the train today I ask myself!