Which island best for the day?
Having spent countless hours photographing trains at the very same places that D1 arran visited on the Aire Valley line between Leeds and Skipton, his shots of Apperley Bridge station below and Shipley bottom remind me of my own reconnaissances with a camera all those years ago.
Indeed I have only fond memories of train spotting in the s.
The decade may have been overshadowed by post-war austerities and a need to 'make do and mend', but on a positive note the stringent living standards led to a generation of 'baby boomers' learning very quickly how to budget within their means.
Train spotting was the perfect answer. It cost nothing to sit on a fence collecting engine numbers on your local line. The loco is getting into its stride following a brief stop at Shipley station, its exhaust barely visible in the spring sunshine as it climbs the short distance to its next stop at Saltaire.
This humble train - usually made up of a motley collection of coaches and vans - held celebrity status among local railway enthusiasts as it was often hauled by a Class 7MT 'Britannia' Pacific, plus there was always the chance of seeing an occasional 'Clan', 'Patriot' or 'Royal Scot' locomotive.
In today's high-tech world it is hard to imagine that so few enthusiasts had telephones in the mid-Sixties; instead we had to rely on calling at one another's houses to pass on the news as to what the shedmaster at Carlisle Kingmoor had allocated that day, especially if it was a 'namer'.
I remember calling at a friend's house in Bolton Road Bradford, to be greeted by his wife who explained Roy was in the bath so I asked her to pass a message on that it was a 'Clan! Harking back to the s, the need to tighten one's belt didn't affect everyone.
The British class system had changed little from the old colonial days of the British Empire in which the vast majority came way down the pecking order. The working class was still proud to be British, of course, but any patriotism was pushed to the limit in the face of financial hardship.
It wasn't until the s that attitudes towards social status began to change and Britain showed promise of becoming a better place to live…oh, dream on! Fast-forward odd years and we are still dogged by class divisions and money envy; however the big difference in today's society is that we are now dominated by a capitalist elite of self-indulgent 'high flyers' whose salaries are boosted by hugely-inflated bonuses that the rest of us would take a lifetime to earn.
Sitting at the top of this money-grabbing pile is a legion of over-rewarded bankers, who, like politicians, seem to have no concept of self restraint, and their perception of what constitutes a basic minimum wage is totally out of kilter with the 'penny-pinching' lifestyles that the rest of us have to put up with.
In fact there is something distasteful about such fabulous earnings; we are talking here about the very people we place our trust - the bosses of our energy companies, bankers and politicians - who, regardless of declining standards in customer care and a woeful lack of consideration for the electorate, can brazenly wriggle out of any ethical responsibility and moral self discipline.
But enough bellyaching from me; I mention it here because the content of this page is based on childhood memories of train spotting during the Fifties; indeed so much has changed in our lives over the years, both demographically and in terms of social attitude.
The country is now faced with a mountain of namby-pamby health 'n' safety legislation, sexual and racial discrimination plus a barrage of soppy political correctness, not to mention soaring immigration, all of which is shepherding us headlong into a very different world to the one we were born.
At least I can console myself with Peter's stories of childhood spotting days.
Not only are they a true chronicle of the way things were fifty-odd years ago, they serve to underline that even the bad times were good Above Having acquired a lineside pass inPeter had the opportunity to take photographs on railway property that were inaccessible in the normal way.
This shot of Hughes 'Crab' No heading through Shipley Bingley Junction with loose-coupled coal empties, was taken from signal box on 28 March Doubtless of interest to 'petrol heads' visiting this page are the vehicles parked on Stead Street beyond the wall on the right.
Starting at the bottom of the slope is a Vauxhall Cresta E produced between and Next is a pre-war Ford 8, the bargain basement of motoring in its day, and very much a classic car when the photograph was taken.
Next is the unmistakable outline of a Ford Cortina MK1, this being the earliest type built between with a simple front grill.Clarence Caroline Crawley, * , + , Md. , George Henry Gibbs, of Aldenham, Hertfordshire, and Clifton Hampden, Oxfordshire, * , + ; A1.
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