Friday, 16 August 2013

Slip back in time

If you're in the mood for some time travel, take a trip to Crowcombe Heathfield station on the West Somerset Railway around 11.15 most mornings and relive the age of steam.

Buy a cup of tea in the waiting room, take it out on to the platform and find an old Great Western Railway bench to sit on. 

As you sip your tea and take in the view around you - the leather suitcases piled high on wooden trolleys or the old 'lamp room' made of painted corrugated iron - listen for the distant huff-puff of a steam engine in the distance as it climbs towards you.

Soon after it arrives in the station you'll hear the sound of another engine from the opposite direction, rhythmically puffing its way up the track until it too pulls in alongside the platform. 

As you sit mesmerised, lost in the smell of smoke and coal, passengers will alight from one train and hurry cross the rails to the opposite train. Carriage doors will slam (very Railway Children, that bit) and with a blast on the whistle, the first engine will pull slowly out of the station, its speed increasing as the rhythm of steam builds.

When the second engine departs, its chuff-chuff-chuff gathering speed as it fades into the distance, you'll hear the clunk of the signal changing. And silence.

Finish your tea, take the mug back to the station master, return to your car... and back into the 21st century.

1 comment:

  1. One of the best heritage railways in the country!