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Showing posts from June, 2018

Trains and Boats and Planes

Burt Bacharach provided the soundtrack, industrial technology provided the means. For I now have my car in Ireland, thanks to the wonders of transport (and an obliging father who drove the eight hours to Holyhead, myself providing the much required navigational assistance. And Haribo).

My first leg required a coach from Dublin to the airport and an even shorter flight on Ryanair to lovely Luton. Thameslink shuttled me (via the blasted Luton Parkway shuttle bus – don’t even get me started) to my home town, with footpower completing stage one. 
For stage two, the wheels on my car went round and round, nearly all day long, following the A5 road built by Thomas Telford, who designed the London to Holyhead, and Howth to Dublin roads respectively (steam ships used to dock at Howth). Irish engineer, John Macneill, worked with Telford on this road for ten years and upon Telford’s death was appointed the engineer-in-chief for this project: unfortunately Macneill’s contribution is often overlook…

Magic Miles

The search for ‘GNRI’ on eBay has become an addiction. Postcards, books, pamphlets, posters; all have become must-haves in my quest for railway smarty-pants-ness.

My current favourite is a 1935 travel guide written by J B Stephens entitled, Magic Miles in Ireland, Great Northern Railway. I’m imagining myself as the hard-working colleen Deco-esquely depicted on the front cover, arms akimbo, ready for action. Except she was probably patronisingly expected to peel potatoes, whereas I have my own crops to harvest in the form of endangered railway paraphernalia.
Indeed, being a female in a largely male-dominated field of railway enthusiasm provides me with an interesting perspective, one which wishes to challenge the notion of woolly-headed trainspotters, and not only through my presence but for the men themselves.

I have been honoured to meet civil and mechanical engineers, financial directors, librarians, project managers, train drivers, station managers, heritage officers, professors, w…