Missing You. Bobby’s Railway Adventure.
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?”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Lighting a Candle for Diddley.
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