Missing You. Bobby’s Railway Adventure.

Posted on 28/06/2020 By

Missing you.

Bertie: “Bobby… will it always be like this? Will we ever go to those places we love again? I really miss all those adventures.”

Bobby: “I am sure we will, Bertie. But a lot of people like me will be too nervous to go for quite a while. All we can do is be patient.”

Bertie: “We could dream about those lovely places…”

Bobby: “Of course we can. Where would you choose to dream about first?”

Bertie: “Whitby.”

Bobby: “I love Whitby too Bertie. So did Di. And the grandchildren. In fact, there are stories we have saved for a rainy day from times gone by.”

Bertie: “It’s raining now.”

Bobby: “OK Bertie. How about a story of a rainy day in Whitby?”

Missing You… A Rainy Day in Yorkshire.

Bertie: “It’s June 2019. We are back staying in Ruswarp Hall. A favourite B&B. It’s drizzling and Bobby needs some grub from the nearest shop which is really the Coop in Whitby. It’s a nice half an hour walk along the railway by the River Esk. But I’m not going. Really bad for me mohair. And he will be back in an hour.I like sitting here looking out the window on a wet morning. So off he went.”

Missing You - Bertie sat in the window of the B&B looking out.

Looking out the window.

Bobby: “To be honest, it’s a relief not to take Bertie on a miserable morning. Only miserable in terms of weather. Never miserable being in Yorkshire. Walking along the path between the river and the railway line, I heard a steam whistle. And there, magnificently, was Schools Class ‘Repton‘, puffing happily towards the North York’s Moors.

Schools Class "Repton" pulling a train under a viaduct on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Repton.

Schools Class "Repton" pulling a train under a viaduct on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Repton.

On I walked. and was passed by Black Five ‘Eric Treacy‘ into Whitby Station. Named after the famous railway photographer and Bishop. Hence the mitre on the name board.

Black Five Eric Treacy.

Black Five Eric Treacy.

Black Five 5428 Eric Treacy in Whitby Station.

Close up of the nameplate of Black Five Eric Treacy.

Bishop Eric Treacy. Railway photographer.

The drizzle was getting worse. What to do? When at that very moment the normal rail service to Middlesbrough arrived. Midday. A two car set looked warm and inviting to shelter from the rain. Shopping forgotten. Bertie forgotten. We settled back for a glorious wet ride along the Esk Valley Line over the North Yorks Moors to Middlesbrough.

See www.mindfullybertie.org.uk/three-days-in-yorkshire-3-middlesbrough.

Looking out the train window at the dark threatening clouds over the River Esk.

Threatening skies heading for the moors.

Beautiful views obscured by the weather. A conductor who recited poetry. His own and very entertaining! We eventually pulled into Middlesbrough. The end of the journey. Still raining. As the conductor got off he spoke to the driver. “Where next mate?” “Darlington.”

Coming into Middlesbrough. Transporter Bridge in the background.

Coming into Middlesbrough. Transporter Bridge in the background. A short break in the rain.

I thought “Darlington? Yes! There’s that railway museum that was closed last time. Yes! When’s the next train? Ten minutes. Within half an hour we were in Darlington, surprised. But in Darlington. A bus across town to another station. Now the railway museum. Still raining. Mars Bar for sustenance. We eventually came to Heads of Steam.

The entrance to the "Heads of Steam" railway museum.

The museum. Just half an hour before it closed!

Heads of Steam. The former Darlington North Road station.

Heads of Steam. The former Darlington North Road station.

I was even given a cup of tea and cup cake (as the café was shut) by the only person there. A volunteer, who gave me an extra 15 minutes to see the museum. Completely on my own. I never published this story as I always envisaged going back. And will. One day. But for now, here is a quick tour of the museum.

A set of three Camping Coaches at Sandsend Station.

Camping coaches.

A train about to cross the viaduct on the southern approach to Sandsend Station. All now gone.

The railway at Sandsend, near Whitby. Long gone. Viaduct. The lot.

A selection of old railway advert posters.

A selection of old railway advert posters.

A display board of old railway posters.

We love railway posters.

Old LNER poster: "Whitby - It's quicker by rail".

We love Whitby.

Old advertising poster for Redcar Yorkshire Coast. "For the Million".

Front cover of an old British Railways booklet advertising Scarborough.

Old Victorian urinals.

Exhibits! Not in use.

Platform ticket machine. Yes you paid 10p (once upon a time it was just 1d) just to stand on the platform to meet someone!

A poster on the history of trainspotting and Ian Allen's part in the emergence of this hobby.


I was a trainspotter. When trains… were trains.

A poster telling of the workers at Darlington Railway Works.

Darlington was once a “Railway Town”. In the 19th century, 70% of the population were employed by the railway.

A poster about railway staff welfare in the town.

A railway town. How it was years ago.

Old engines.

Engine No 901 in a former platform in Darlington North Road Station.

Engine "Derwent" in a former platform in Darlington North Road Station.

Engine No 1463 in a former platform in Darlington North Road Station.

The oldest engine of all. "Locomotion" in a former platform in Darlington North Road Station.

The oldest engine of all. “Locomotion”.

Locomotion ahead of a loaded coal wagon in a former platform at Darlington North Road Station.

The brass plaque giving a brief history of "Locomotion". The original. Built in 1825. Nearly 200 years old.

“Locomotion”. The original. Built in 1825. Nearly 200 years old.

Click here for more history on this famous locomotive.

As I left the museum, my new friend asked “Have you seen that building across the field? They built Tornado in there. And are now building another brand new steam engine. It’s open sometimes. But not now.” Another reason why I vowed to come back!

Poster about the "Tornado" project.

Tornado. A brand new steam engine built in 2008.

Darlington Locomotive Works.

Darlington Locomotive Works.

Banner on the fence outside Darlington Locomotive Works advertising another brand new steam engine under construction. 2007 Prince of Wales. P2 Class.

Another brand new steam engine under construction.

The original. This engine was "Cock o' the North", built in 1934. A revolutionary engine that had a controversial career.

The original. This engine was “Cock o’ the North”, built in 1934. A revolutionary engine that had a controversial career.

Click here for more history on this famous locomotive

My new friend told me I could get back to Middlesbrough from Darlington North Road Station which is close to the historic line that went to Stockton. “Look at the railway bridge by the station.” And here it is.

Skerne Railway Bridge.


The Skerne Railway Bridge holds the distinction of being the oldest railway bridge in the world in continuous use. It is a lasting symbol of the birth of the railways, connecting towns and cities for the first and ushering in the Industrial Revolution.

So it was time to go home. Slightly overwhelmed by the shortest museum visit imaginable and a vow to go back next year. Now “one day”.

But, as a final treat for a trainspotter, we rode back to Middlesbrough on a “Pacer”.

Just four wheels for each carriage. One at each corner. It looked a bit odd, when most modern carriages have eight in two sets of four on a bogey. The doors opened like a bus. Inside had big windows. Like a bus. Austere, but comfortable seats and a great view. But a peculiar ride, created by just four wheels that seemed to sway forward to back giving it the nickname “nodding donkey”. Basically, they were built using bus parts.They are also the cause of much north/ south political resentment. Introduced in the eighties as a short term cheap replacement for a maximum of twenty years, they were confined to the north of England and Wales. Despite not fulfilling all disabled access requirements, they have special dispensation to continue nodding down the lines in North Yorkshire and Wales until replacements are ready. In comparison with southern trains, they appear archaic.

Car 55743 of a Pacer unit 142093.

Pacer unit 142026.

“Pacer”.

Inside a Pacer. Refurbished with new seats, but still like a bus.

Inside a Pacer. Refurbished with new seats, but still like a bus.

So back we nodded to Middlesbrough to catch the last train back to Whitby. Giving just enough time for fish and chips by the quayside and the last train back to Ruswarp. “Last” is subjective, as there are only three trains each way each day on the glorious Esk Valley Railway. Back to face the music with Bertie. Without the shopping.

A Sprinter train leaving Ruswarp on the single track line.

Back to Ruswarp on a “Sprinter”. Pacers are banned from this line.

Bertie still in the window of the B&B looking out and ignoring Bobby.

“Where have you been all day?”

Lighting a Candle for Diddley.

A candle lit for Diddley against a plain brown wall.

– – – – – – –

MemoriesMiddlesbroughNorth Yorkshire Moors RailwayRailway JourneysWhitby    


  1. Enjoyed the story of your solo adventure! And yes, I remember those platform ticket machines from my childhood in the 1950s. They were ancient relics then, probably still working from the Victorian era.

  2. Avatar Bob says:

    Thank you. That was just half an hour in that museum. In fact I saw more from the pictures afterwards than I did in the rush going round

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