to go home

Memories from Mrs Judith Young

After a mile's cycle ride into Newport Pagnell and depositing my transport at a friend's house I then walked to the station for my journey on 'Nobby'.
On arriving at the station one of the train drivers stick in my mind with his rosy cheeks and cheerful face, he would lean on the handrail of the footplate keeping a watchful eye on everyone entering the carriages.

Prior to us arriving at the station he had changed from the carriages used to take the workmen to Wolverton works, which were obviiously inferior to ours, to the school/public carriages.

Everyone bustled onto the train putting their hockey sticks, boots and satchels onto the luggage racks, made of mesh, string-like material. Seating consisted of two bench-type seats, each one running across the carriage. When seated you tended to look at the sepia coloured, railway related pictures just below the luggage racks, rather than staring at the person seated opposite to you. At either side of the carriage was the door and window, the latter being secured by a leather belt-like strap with holes at regular intervals, which were fitted over a stud in the door.

After hearing the whistle blowing and the hiss of steam from the engine our journey commenced. You were soon relaxed by the rythmical sound of the engine as the train picked up speed but then sometimes there was a loud BANG- the strap securing the window became unfastened and down came the window letting in a whoosh of air.

On other occasions it was considered great fun to open the window, put your head out and be engulfed by smoke from the engine.

Sometimes the journey could be quite hazardous - for your headgear I mean. Fellow pupils thought it would be fun to throw your beret/pill box hat out of the window. On reflection I wonder what happened to these, certainly mine was never returned. Somehow parents didn't think this was funny - I wonder why?!

However, on the last day of your school career this headgear meant nothing to you and , as the train approached the canal at the Black Horse, it was removed and tossed into the water as you passed over.

My husband recalls, whilst having his hair cut at a barbers near the station goods yard, hearing a terrific bang and later found that 'Nobby' had been travelling too fast down the line with goods wagons attached, failed to stop and collided with the buffers. The front engine had become embedded into a wagon, the rest becoming derailed. This only goes to prove we had ton-up drivers then!

On another occasion the driver had been travelling too fast, this time when entering the shed to put 'Nobby' to bed.........he collided with the front wall.

Not only was the train used for the general public but even Father Christmas chose 'Nobby' as his mode of transport when visiting the local Co-op store one year.