Thursday 22 September 2011

The end; loss, sadness, joy and beauty.

I was born in 1960 and as a result I only have a few vague memories of working steam on British Railways; being held up to see over the wall at York sheds, lineside from a holiday caravan at Filey and a glimpsed view of a black five from our train heading to Penmaenmawr in'67. For some time after 1968 much of what the railways did and looked like was indistinguishable from the end of steam, apart from doing it with diesels. It's this era where my memory starts to have more substance and fewer holes. It's these memories that drive Morfa slowly onwards.

However I have become unreasonably interested of late in the last couple of years of steam. It's been a bit of a slow burn that emanated from this slim softback I've had for a good few years.

It has some fabulous images within, it's the sort of title that turns up for a couple of quid on the shelves of second hand books at preserved railways and is well worth the price of a pint. (note:- not an open invite to discuss beer price structures and regional variations)  As well as the images it has short pieces by each of the contributing photographers, each a young man in the late sixties. I think it was the descriptions of the scrapes, friendships, youthful folly, exuberance and the sense of being carefree that chimed with my own experiences of being a similar age ten years later on. Even though my particular bag at the time was climbing and walking in the mountains, many themes seemed shared. Recently I was given a stack of Steam World magazines, in the 2007 issues there was a four part series by Ian Krause documenting his time with a camera in '67.  Magazine and book led to an interweb trawl for further words and pictures. I've come up with this autobiographical account by Paul Riley and this tribute by Ian Krause that are well worth a read.