Friday, 28 December 2007

Milk Bottles

It might seem like a rather strange title, but allow me to explain...

My father grew up in Hull during the 'fifties and 'sixties when Hull's rail network was still quite extensive, with many freight and trip workings crossing the city. The former WD 2-8-0's ('Dub-dees' as they were often called) were a very common feature of Hull's railways during this time, working in the city and the surrounding area right up until steam finished in that part of the world.

One thing that my dad has often mentioned was the clanking that dub-dees made. Nothing else really sounded like this, and the best comparison I had to go on them was that it sounded a bit like milk bottles hitting each other when the milkman collects the empties! This sound was something I'd not ever heard.

Today, along with my fiancee, mum and dad I visited the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway for the first time in a couple of years. Arriving at Haworth station reminded why it's one of my favourite lines. It really does have the feel of complete branch line, rather than the 'cut-off' feelings that some railways and rebuilds have.

As we arrived, a train was just arriving at Haworth, hauled by 90733, the only survivng WD 2-8-0. The story is fully explained on the Railway's website - It really is a wonderful achievement and a credit to all those involved with the restoration.

When the loco returned to Haworth, just before we joined the train, my dad and I were at the platform end (my mum and Suzi just leaving us to it!) I finally heard what my dad had talked about at various times over the years, that clanking so familiar to him during his youth!

It's strange how things other than sights are able to trigger memories - my dad said that seeing the dub-dee reminded him very much of steam in Hull. If anyone ever produces a sound chip for one of these locos, then the clanking will be a key part!

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