Trains (good, bad, ugly, cute) you have to love them

The dreaded Flying Scotsman is a train that one of our members hates vehemently and yet another thinks it is ‘the bees knees’. These two club members have their disagreement but both agree you can’t beat a train whether it is steam or diesel, Jinty, 9F or tank or just a little shunter. There is a draw to trains, perhaps it is the power or the evocative smell and sound of a mighty Duchess or Deltic. Maybe it is the romance of travelling by train across miles of forbidden territory to reach your personal utopia. But there is just something about trains that pulls on your heart strings.

Model railways came into my life sitting on my Dads knee in our loft at home when I was three, I had seen this ladder protruding from the attic trap and set out to explore 'where only my Dad was allowed'. As I reached the top rung, there before my eyes was a kid’s dream - toys to play with, red ones, black ones, green ones. But whilst I was happy pushing a small loco and trucks back and forth, a head appeared over the trap door and said 'What on earth are you up to you little minx'. Whereupon I promptly dropped the little tank loco I was playing with and burst into tears.

My Dad seeing me in such distress came and hugged me and sat me on his knee. Then he told the story of the little trains, of how they came from his German friend Klaus and that they were not toys but real trains just shrunk so that they would fit in his house where he could admire and look after them. He then asked whether I would like to help him look after them once a week, but only if I was good and did my chores and not upset the cats any more.

Thus the start of my love affair with trains. Big or small, you just can’t beat them - I can’t make up my mind what I like best. Oh, by the way, I still do not upset cats.