Thursday, 22 October 2009

Oh Dr Beeching......

For reasons that are not very positive and therefore have no place here, I haven't been very inspired this week and so even skipped Sunday Stealing and my two arty challenges. But last night I was reminded of a happy time when I watched a terrific little jewel of a programme called Railway Walks. In it the presenter, a very healthy young woman called Julia, walks along stretches of disused railway lines, mostly ones that were closed down by Dr Beeching in the early 1960s when the railways were "rationalised" and the seed was sown for the chaos and utter horror of driving on our now far too busy and congested roads. As my mum never learnt to drive we used to travel on trains a lot and whn I started work I used to travel around by train a lot too for my job (but that's another story) What I was particularly reminded of though was that my grandfather bought a house that had been a crossing keeper's house and I remember walking along the old line and the lovely scenery and the fascinating assortment of small skeletons left by the numerous animals that had met their demise under the wheels of a train years previously. I'm not sure how much of this will resonate with my non-English readers. The places where the line crossed the road were, back in the day, controlled by a man who lived in a house by the side of the line and had to physically go out and close the gates across the road when a train was coming, no automation. And as a child it was the most exciting thing to come along and find the road barred and know that a train was going to hurtle across, even though you might have to wait 10 minutes for it to do so. I find myself back on the bench seat of a old Rover, the smell of leather upholstery and the gleam of the Bakelite knobs. Aha, that's provided me with the idea for a picture to put at the top of this... I'll have to tell you about all the wonderful old cars we had another day.
And the song?
"Oh, Dr Beeching, what shall I do
I wanted to go to Birmingham and they've taken me off to Crewe
Send me back to London
As quickly as you can
Oh Dr Beeching what a silly girl I am."

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