Northern Salvo 320

The Northern Salvo

Incorporating  Weekly Notices, Sectional Appendices, and Northern Weekly Salvo

Published at Station House, Kents Bank, Lancashire-North-of-the-Sands, LA11 7BB and at 109 Harpers Lane, Bolton BL1 6HU (both Lancashire)


Publications website:

No.     320     June 14th 2024   

Salveson’s half-nakedly political digest of railways, tripe and secessionist nonsense from Up North.

Election Time! How does transport fare in Labour’s Manifesto?

Transport hasn’t featured very high in the election so far. A couple of weeks back a very sleepy Salveson was interviewed by Nick Robinson on the Today programme at about 6 in the morning regarding the appalling service being offered to users of Kearsley and Farnworth stations. And just to make the statistics convincing, the key train into Manchester was cancelled that morning (and the poor people of Farnworth and Kearsley have just one train an hour, even in the morning peak). I hope Sir Keir will do something to sort this out! (see below).

Labour published its transport policy document a couple of months ago; its manifesto has a much-shortened summary of the longer document which mainly focused on rail. The manifesto itself covers transport as a whole and, I have to say, is quite poor. Despite a few other commitments in the document around climate change, there’s hardly a passing glance given to the importance of transport in reducing carbon emissions and contributing to a sustainable future. Instead, Labour is effectively saying it will make it cheaper to drive, e.g. reducing the cost of car insurance and fuel. The document says that “Cars remain by far the most popular form of transport.”  It might have added “and we’ll make sure that remains so.” It continues in similar vein saying that “Labour will maintain and renew our road network, to ensure it serves drivers, cyclists and other road users, remains safe, and tackles congestion.” It makes a passing reference to supporting bus services, giving local authorities more power to franchise networks, as well as allowing councils to run their own bus services. That’s welcome and will be interesting to see if any take up the offer.

Aviation is also given the ‘thumbs up’. There is very little specifically on rail, other than ‘taking the railways back into public ownership’. In fact, most of it is already, though a commitment to establishing ‘Great British Railways’ to bring direction to the railways is welcome, a commitment from the previous Government. It also says that Labour will develop “a ten-year infrastructure strategy, aligned with our industrial strategy and regional development priorities, including improving rail connectivity across the north of England.” Let’s hope the money is there to do it.

Probably the most helpful point in this dull offering is the commitment that “Labour will give mayors the power to create unified and integrated transport systems, allowing for more seamless journeys, and to promote active travel networks.”

This is part of a wider commitment to giving combined and mayoral authorities greater power. It says that “In England, Labour will deepen devolution settlements for existing Combined Authorities. We will also widen devolution to more areas, encouraging local authorities to come together and take on new powers. Towns and cities will be able to take hold of the tools they need to pursue growth, create jobs, and improve living standards. Local areas will be able to gain new powers over transport, adult education and skills, housing and planning, and employment support.” It looks like there’s been some strong lobbying by the Labour mayors in the North of England to get this commitment from Starmer. In reality, the most radical things likely to come out of Labour in England  over the next few years won’t come from Westminster, but from the combined authorities across the North and Midlands. As argued in previous ‘Points and Crossings’ this is a good thing but the combined authorities need to be more democratically accountable, with elected assemblies overseeing the mayors.

Are the other non-Tory parties (in England) any better on transport? As you’d expect the Greens make strong pledges to investing in public transport, as well as walking and cycling. The Liberal Democrats are also strong on public transport but try to be all things to everyone by supporting cheaper motoring in rural areas. Yes, it’s difficult getting about in rural areas without a car but investing in a core rural bus network, connecting into rail hubs, would be a better idea.

Where the Greens fall down is on their lack of any apparent commitment to local or regional devolution. They make no reference to the growing importance of the combined authorities which now cover much of the North and Midlands. This re-inforces the impression that the Greens are becoming a party of the progressive, prosperous South with their main focus being on winning seats in places like Bristol, Norwich and East Anglia. They will probably pick up some of the pro-Palestinian vote in some Northern constituencies but I suspect that will be a transient thing unless they can build on recent local election successes and widen their appeal. There is still a gap for a progressive centre-left regionalist party in the North, or particularly in the North-West. I say that in fairness to the Yorkshire Party, which struggles to get the wider exposure which it deserves, in this skewed electoral system which Labour shows no inclination to change.

The Liberal Democrats seem to have built a wider base of support across England, with pockets of support in some urban areas as well as rural constituencies such as the sprawling constituency of Westmorland and Lonsdale which Tim Farron hopes to win. Overall, its transport policies are sensible and, unlike Labour, they recognise the huge damage done to the environment by aviation, saying they will ban “short domestic flights where a direct rail option taking less than 2.5 hours is available for the same journey, unless planes are alternative-fuelled.”

Returning to Labour, it makes the point that train cancellations “are at a record high”. Indeed they are, as the people of Farnworth and Kearsley will testify. Labour could resolve that on Day One by allowing train operators to reach agreement with drivers’ union Aslef to end the crippling dispute that is the main cause of the cancellations.

Reform or Revolution? The Nigel and George Show

That was the issue we used to earnestly debate at university, back in the early 1970s. Today, all the talk is of Reform UK and the appalling Farage becoming ‘the man of the moment’, or so the media would have us believe. I don’t always agree with Daniel Finkelstein, of The Times, but he was spot on with his critique of Farage on June 5th (‘Nigel Farage is the continuity chaos candidate’):

“Nigel Farage is the continuity candidate in a change election. The revolt he offers is no revolt at all. It is merely a pose, his words just slogans. This is a country that needs calm leadership and policies that last and promises that can be, and are, delivered. Farage offers to repeat every mistake we have already made, to amplify every row we have already had, to revisit every dead end…”

Which is well said. And the same could be said for his mirror image on the left, George Galloway. It will be interesting to see if he holds on to Rochdale, a town which has been home to many genuine radicals over the years – above all Tom Livsey the Chartist leader who morphed into being a radical Liberal. His biography, by the remarkable Miss Margaret Lahee, concluded that “it is desirable that the high principle of liberalism may be extended, and that Rochdale will be foremost in the battle for reform, if that reform will extend itself to the working classes, and above all things, to the half-famished paupers, in granting thembetter and more decisive laws, which will protect them from the tyrannical and merciless system now in force against them.” (Life and Times of the Late Alderman T. Livsey by Mss M.R. Lahee, 1865)

The Rivington Bus is running

The Rivington Bus, serving the popular (but unserved by public transport) Rivington country park has re-started.  It is operated by

The Rivington 125 about to set off on its demonstration run from Horwich Parkway. Ian, new mayor of Horwich, in middle.Julie and Dan to left, driver Tony, Jody from CrossCountryand Vern Sidlow to right.

Stagecoach with funding from South-East Lancashire CRP, CrossCountry, Community Rail Network, Transport for Greater Manchester and Lancashire County Council. It is also supported by Horwich Town Council and Northern. This year the service operates from Horwich Parkway via Rivington and continues to Chorley Interchange, offering links to the rail network at both Horwich and Chorley, and wider bus connections from Chorley Interchange and at The Crown in Horwich (for buses to Bolton). The service has been promoted by the community rail partnership which got a funding package together. A special run for stakeholders took place shortly after the service commenced (see picture) and the first day of operation went well, with over seventy customers. The service has a special fare of £1 and concessionary passes are valid. The bus will run until November 3rd.

It is Sundays only, departing Horwich Parkway at 10.50 and then at .50 each hour to 16.50. It departs from Chorley Interchange at 10.00 then on the hour until 17.00.

Harvey’s last farewell

I reported in a previous Salvo n the sad (and sudden) death of my good friend Harvey Scowcroft. A fitting farewell tribute to Harvey was organized on Sunday June 9th when close friends and family travelled

Harvey’s last train arrives at Ramsbottom

on a special train hauled by Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway saddletank 11456 (dressed up as Horwich shunter 11305). We enjoyed the plush surroundings of the Director’s Saloon and stopped at The Burrs were Harvey’s ashes were shovelled in to the loco’s firebox. We continued to Ramsbottom and then returned to Bury. Meanwhile, Nigel Valentine has been doing a sterling job scanning Harvey’s photographic collection, with some real gems appearing, many of which have never been printed.

Rocket 200

Plans to mark the 200th anniversary of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway are moving forward, with a series of community consultation events being held over the last few weeks and another planned in Liverpool on July 10th (booked up!). Good links have been made with Great British Railways and the team organizing the Railway 200 event next year. Initial discussions have taken place with the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Trust with some really exciting ideas taking shape around the original 1830 cutting at Edge Hill (site of the famous ‘Moorish Arch’. There’s much more being looked at, with a ‘whole line’ approach being adopted with events at communities all along the original railway. For media enquiries or further information, please contact:  Karen Shannon CEO Manchester Histories:

Colourful Bolton

Richard Alan-Hall (aka Rcky) has just published a lovely collection of his paintings, under the title Bolton in Colour. There are quite a few railway scenes, including what I think is one of his best (based on a

Colourful Bowtun

photo I took in 1965) of Horwich station. Ricky has spent all his life in Bolton and the collection shows a range of images of Bolton, from the old industry to countryside scenes. Its very well produced on good quality paper and, as he says, “a perfect gift for art lovers and Boltonians alike.”

The Lancashire Textile Design tradition

Bolton was once a centre of the world cotton industry. That didn’t just include spinning, and some weaving, but also textile design. One firm that was outstanding was Joseph Johnson Ltd, based at Deane Shed on Kirkbrook Road. The firm closed in 1971 and the collection of 54 pattern books were transferred to Bolton Museum. I suspect that many

Some of the patterns that Donna has researched

others, from different firms around Lancashire, just went into a skip. The pattern books contain around 5,000 woven samples, made between 1944 and 1970. University of Bolton lecturer Donna Claypool has been working on the collection for several years, for her doctorate. The fruit of that labour has been on display in Bolton Museum for several weeks – but if you want to see it, tha’ll have to be sharp, as it finishes on June 15th. However, an excellent booklet has been produced by Bolton Museum, with a foreword by the museum’s Curator of Art and Social History, Matthew Watson. The Archive as pattern: people and place, by Donna is available at the Museum and gives a fascinating account of the company, the textile design process and its significance. This is an excellent example of collaboration between Bolton’s Library and Museum Service and the University of Bolton. Let’s hope there can be more.

Station Library joins forces with The Beach Hut Gallery!

The Station library has joined forces with its next-door neighbor, The Beach Hut Gallery. The gallery was formed in 2008, displaying top quality work by local artists. The Station library is of course more recent, having been formed less than a year ago, to develop a unique

Our most recent ‘MIC’ (Mutual Improvement Class’ talk featured Phil Halliwell of Blueworks talking about hsi rural bus services

collection of railway and wider transport-related books and magazines, on a working station. Lord Hendy of Richmond Hill, chairman of Network Rail and a patron of the Library, visited the station to unveil an historic station sign, earlier this year.

Over the last few months the directors of The Beach Hut Gallery and trustees of Kents Bank Station Library have been in discussion about how they can work more collaboratively and develop these two important assets together. This has been spurred on by changes at the Gallery, including the sad loss of one of its members and the impending move to Wales of Beverley White, who in many ways has been the driving force behind the development of the Gallery.

From July 1st 2024, the Gallery and Library will function under a single management, though with a sub-committee to help with the library.

The Beach Hut Gallery

Four of the trustees of the Library have become directors of the Beach Hut Gallery Ltd – the co-operative which runs the gallery.

The Gallery and Library will continue to run on co-operative principles, on a not-for-profit basis and both will continue to be staffed on a volunteer basis. The Library, in the basement of Station House, will become part of the co-operative which will own the expanding book collection.

“We want to develop the Gallery as a combined art gallery and bookshop, with a local and railway theme but also selling local books as it does now,” said Paul Salveson. “All the artists and writers who currently exhibit in the Gallery have been told of the changes and invited to continue to exhibit their work, on the same basis. The majority have said they wish to continue their relationship with the Gallery. The very popular picture framing service, provided by Brian Edgar, will continue.”

Paul added “We are keen to encourage new artists to display in the Gallery and develop a niche in railway art. We will continue to encourage artists from the area and develop more events and facilities which attract people to the Gallery.”

The opening days and times of the Gallery will stay the same (Fridays, Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday Mondays). However, this will be dependent on getting volunteers to staff the library as well as the gallery. Might you be interested? Contact Paul if you’d like to discuss what’s involved.

Station Librarian (and former Community Rail Cumbria officer) John Kitchen said: “This is a really exciting development for the Gallery and Library. Whilst the Beach Hut Gallery is well-established, the Library, specialising in railways and transport, is much more recent but has made rapid progress since opening late last year. This fusion of forces will be a good thing for both the gallery and library and ensure that these two important assets for Kents Bank – and the wider community – are not only safeguarded but expand their offers. A key job now is to develop a pool of volunteers to help staff the two facilities.”

Martin Copley, a longstanding director of The Beach Hut Gallery said “The former directors of the Beach Hut Gallery wish Paul and the new directors all the very best with the next chapter in the gallery’s life.”

Donations still welcome

We continue to get donations of railway and transport-related books.  We accept most transport related books that are in good shape, but may sell on some duplicates to raise funds for the library. We also welcome copies of contemporary transport magazines for our Reading Room. We welcome bound magazines but not loose ones, of which we have a large pile which are free to good homes. Keep an eye out on . If you want to send anything by post our postal address: Station House, Kentsford Road, Kents Bank, Grange-over-Sands LA11 7BB

Railwaymen (and women!) remembered

The following personal accounts of railway life came out of an oral history class I taught, called ‘Railwaymen Remember’, for the University of Leeds in 1994. The class members were mostly retired drivers, a few former guards and signalmen and one remarkable lady, Eunice Bickerdyke, of Normanton (below). The stories were put together as ‘Messroom Gossip’, but were never published. I’m hoping to feature some of the stories in the next few issues of The Salvo. Hope you enjoy them!


Les joined the railway in June 1937, starting on the LMS at Barnsley Court

The Railwaymen Remember’ group at Leeds station. Les on right, front row

House as a Junior Clerk. He was rejected by the LNER! Barnsley Court House was a joint station between the LMS and LNER and at the time of joining it came under the LNER’s jurisdiction. He was promoted into the Control Office and retired as a Deputy Chief Controller on 4th December 1952.

“I can remember the evening trips to Belle Vue for 2/6, which included entrance into the place. These specials were highly popular, and I can remember booking three or four thousand. We had to ring through to Mexborough for additional stock to cope with the crowds. I once booked two full fares, two halves, a pram and a dog, return to Wigan. A passenger at Normanton once asked me for two returns to ‘IMPSARSE’ I spent a few moments looking through the Station Index, before realising he wanted ‘Ramsbottom’.

After a period on relief, I moved to Normanton and worked in the booking office, and also in the North Yard, assisting with Control

Normanton, 1967

number-taking. The night shift at Normanton was in two parts. The first was preparing tickets for issue on the first two trains to Leeds and secondly sorting stacks of railway mail during the stay of two trains: the 02.55 Leeds – Bristol, which was in Normanton between 03.11 and 03.30, and the 02.05York – Liverpool, which was there from 02.36 to 03.09. Today, no trains of importance call at Normanton, and the station is just a small shadow of its former self.

At the outbreak of war I joined the railway section of the Local Defence Volunteers – later to become the Home Guard. I patrolled the centre of Barnsley armed with a brake stick!I joined the RAF in 1940, and was soon posted overseas to the Middle East. We were sent to North Luffenham for a medical check-up, and then granted leave. I arrived at Peterborough on Thursday around 10pm, and had a right set-to with the RTO, who said I’d have to wait until the following morning for the first connection to Barnsley from Sheffield. I managed to get to Doncaster, hoping to get a lift towards Barnsley – it was about midnight and I had my full kit with me. I met up with a sailor who was trying to get to Thurnscoe near Barnsley. He only had a side pack, so he carried my kitbag and we set off walking. He set a cracking pace and I had trouble keeping up. There was no traffic at all, because Hull was getting a right pasting from the bombers that night. As we approached Hickleton I asked what the hurry was. He replied “If I get home before t’pit buzzer blows, I’ll catch her!” I often wondered if he did. I was entering Goldthorpe when the first lorry I’d seen, appeared. I offered him two alternatives: either stop, or knock me down. He stopped. I arrived in Barnsley just before 6am and knocked my parents up. On the Sunday evening I left for West Kirby – so I had just 72 hours embarkation leave.

I spent four and a half years overseas. There were many memorable moments, but only one to do with railways. This was when I was in charge of a party on train guard, escorting two Maryland aircraft belonging to the Fleet Air Arm, from Aleppo in Turkey to Riyad in Egypt. It took 14 days.  There was one quite extraordinary occurrence when I was in the Middle east. During 1941 I was on a bus between Tel Aviv and Haifa, in what was then Palestine. A civilian got on at Hadera, and sat just in front of me. He was speaking to his friend in the broadest South Yorkshire accent. I tapped him on the shoulder and asked ‘What part of South Yorkshire do you come from?’ ‘Barnsley’ he replied. ‘So do I – what’s your name?’ It was Jack Kendrick. ‘Do you have a sister called Renee and a father in the police force?’ I asked. Of course it was the same Jack Kendrick I had heard of! I ended up spending two days over Christmas with Jack and his wife. He was working for the Iraq Petroleum Company in Haifa. It was a coincidence meeting him like that, but the real nub of the story is this. I was telling the tale about how I met him on that bus one night when I was in Leeds Control. One of my colleagues, Norman Henfry, turned to me and asked ‘What did you say his sister’s name was?’ I told him it was Renee, and he said ‘She’s the girl my brother married!’ The next time I met Renee was at Norman’s funeral.

I returned to the railway in 1946. I got married and went to work in Cudworth Control. I had to spend quite a lot of time in Carlton Yards and in Carlton North Sidings Box to prepare me for the job. I moved on to Rotherham Control in 1947 when Cudworth, Staveley and Masborough Controls were amalgamated. I was promoted to Deputy Chief Controller in Leeds Control in September 1958. It was a good move, and I had applied for plenty other jobs without success before. I had an interview for a job in Doncaster, only to be turned down after the District Superintendent asked about my wartime work. When I asked him ‘What the hell has that to do with my railway capabilities?’ I was out on my ear! I didn’t shape any better when I applied for a job in Kings Cross Control, when I was working at Rotherham. They wanted to know what a ‘Midland’ man was doing applying for an Eastern Region job! I told them that Rotherham was part of the Eastern, but my lack of local knowledge told against me; I think they had someone lined up for the job.

For the Leeds job I was interviewed by a Mr. Barlow, the District Superintendent. Now another job had also been advertised for the deputy in Wakefield Control, and I put in for that too. Mr. Barlow said ‘I see you’ve applied for both Wakefield and Leeds – which do you want?’ I asked him if I had a choice. ‘I’ll re-phrase it then. If you had a choice, which would you want!’ I told him Leeds, because I knew Leeds and Wakefield were to be merged and I wanted to be in on the ground floor. I got Leeds, but it was 15 years before the two offices finally did merge.

The main job in Control was to deal with incidents quickly and efficiently when they occurred. I was involved in several major incidents, including a derailment at Wath Road Junction of the St Pancras – Bradford express on 18th May 1948. I was Passenger Controller and was called out to deal with necessary diversions and other arrangements. The line was finally cleared at 07.35 on the 20th.

Another incident happened at Ardsley on 26th October 1959. I was a passenger on the 6.12pm from Kings Cross to Leeds Central with my wife and three children, when the train was derailed. My eldest son, Malcolm, was slightly injured. It was atrocious weather and the express hit a light engine. Although not on duty (a proper railwayman is never really off duty!), I checked with signalman Joe Ward that full protection had been carried out, and assisted on the ground until Stan Routledge, the District Inspector, arrived.

I was due to sign on at Leeds Control at 9.30pm on the night of 25th April 1960, but I arrived early at 9.10pm. My colleague, Harold Johnson was sat very intently on the end of the phone. I asked what was wrong. ‘We’re waiting for a bang’ he replied. He knew an incident was about to occur and there was nothing we could do about it. Sure enough, a crash happened between Garforth and Micklefield. My experience of the Ardsley accident made me fully aware of the feelings of people involved in such incidents, especially the need for ‘a nice cup of tea.’ I made sure all the passengers were well looked after.

There were plenty other incidents I had to deal with, including the collision at Bradford Exchange on 3rd June 1964 when a Manchester – Leeds passenger train ran into a stationary parcels train. The St Pancras to Edinburgh sleeper was derailed at Rothwell Haigh on the night of 27th September 1964. I was called out to take charge of the Control Office.

A very sad incident happened at Kirkstall on 17th July 1970 when an empty stock working from Keighley to Leeds ran into the rear of the 16.57 Workington to Tinsley freight. The goods guard, T. Telford of Skipton, was killed. I had the unenviable job of ringing up his brother Jack Telford, who worked in our Control, to tell him the bad news, and to arrange for him to attend for identification of the body.

I was involved in sorting out the mess after the 21.50 York – Shrewsbury collided with the 20.40 Liverpool – Hull at Farnley Junction on 5th September 1977, and also the crash at Dearne Valley Sidings on 19th June 1978, when a freight became derailed, and was then struck by the 14.36 Paignton to Leeds express. It was railway work.”

On Not Being Observed

Dave Morgan is a well-known figure in Bolton cultural circles (yes, such things do exist). His most recent collection, On Not Being Observed, should be of interest even to unfortunate people outside Bolton. There

How not to be observed

are some great poems in this collection, published by Flapjack Press. Some of it speaks to seventy-somethings like me, including ‘A Life of Biblical proportions’. Here’s a few lines:

In my seventieth year

I have abandoned nakedness in favour of winceyette,

Abstain for two days after every binge,

Exercise my smile muscles for sixty seconds before taking my statin,

Have brunch thus saving one meal a day,

Try to maintain Henry Miller’s maxim ‘Always merry and bright’

After a lifetime of whingeing.

My sexual habits have changed.

Let me say no more.

In winter I take five minutes in the hour to observe my bird feeders….


Some of it is decidedly Whitmanesque, like:


I marvel at the fecundity of runner beans,

Question the paucity of peas.

Wonder where all the frogs have gone.

Planning, planning for enxt eyar. No longer focused on other people’s needs,

I work at not feeling guilty.


A sort of Bolton ‘Song of Myself’? Mebbe. It’s good stuff and hope it gets the readership it deserves. It costs £8.99, see

Lancastrians: Mills, Mines and Minarets

I’m still getting invited to do talks on my ‘Lancastrians’ book. The next is in Darwen for the University of the 3rd Age (U3A). Always a good lot. The book itself isn’t a ‘conventional’ history and covers different themes of Lancashire history, including sport, culture, politics, industry and religion. It explores the Lancastrians who left for new lives in

A gradely book for gradely folk

America, Canada, Russia and South Africa, as well as the ‘New Lancastrians’ who have settled in the county since the 14th century. There are about forty ‘potted biographies’ of men and women who have made important (but often neglected) contributions to Lancashire.

It’s available, published by the highly-respected publishers Hurst whose catalogue is well worth a look at it. See

The book is hardback, price £25 (hopefully there will be a paperback out this year). Salvo readers can get a 25% discount by going to the publisher’s website ( and enter the code LANCASTRIANS25 at checkout.

Still in Print (at special prices)

ALLEN CLARKE: Lancashire’s Romantic Radical £5.99 (normally £18.99)

Moorlands, Memories and Reflections £15.00 (£21.00)

Last Train from Blackstock Junction (published by Platform 5 Books). A collection of short stories about railway life in the North of England. Salvo readers can get the book at a specially discounted price, courtesy of Platform 5 Publishing. Go to Enter LAST22 in the promotional code box at the basket and this will reduce the unit price from £12.95 to £10.95.

The Settle-Carlisle Railway (published by Crowood £24) – can do it for Salvo readers at £12

See for full details of the books (ignore the prices shown and use the above – add total of £3 per order for post and packing in UK)



By Paul Salveson

Paul was born in Bolton in 1952, one day before the Harrow and Wealdstone rail disaster. He has had a varied career, mostly to do with railways, mixed in with adult education, journalism, politics and community development. After a 25 year exile he is back home in Bolton. He is a visiting professor at the Universities of Bolton and Huddersfield and chairs South East Lancs Community Rail Partnership

3 replies on “Northern Salvo 320”

There’s only so much that can be put into a manifesto but Green Party policy remains committed to regional assemblies. Anything less and I wouldn’t be a member! In fact, I am on the Working Group looking to review the section on devolution in light of recent developments. I’ll make sure there’s no rowing back and indeed early discussions are positive so there are plans to beef this section up with specifics on powers and finance raising .

Just 2 points
Railways – as well as the poor service for Kearsley & Farnworth, spare a thought for Clifton whose service I’m sure is even worse.

Politics – Farage is a disgusting little man. Claims to be a ‘man of the people’ challenging ‘the Establishment’ but very coy about his school (Dulwich College), his previous occupation (Stock Exchange) & no remorse about the disaster that is Brexit. I can barely believe I’m writing this but if I lived in Clacton I’d vote Conservative.

Congratulations to the Friends of Blair Atholl Station who with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund have published “Mike’s Story”, an account of their station from the last war to the present day told by Mike Shanto to Vivienne Cree with illustrations by Steve Goodison for the children of Blair Atholl and for children and train lovers, wherever you may be. Mike’s granpa and uncles all worked on the railway, and he and his pals hung around the yard, the engine-shed and turntable and the signalboxes. Blair Atholl survived Beeching, but the shed closed, the Duke of Atholl’s private waiting room was demolished and Mike’s mum’s cousin was the last person to work at the stationhouse. Today the Friends have been planting flowers and would like to raise money so that the station building is looked after in the future. The animated film on which the book is based can be found at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *