November 1963

In which I continue work as a Management Trainee on British Railways.

Monday 11 November

I started at Reading Goods this morning.  Mr. Cooke, the Goods Agent, is very helpful and I have spent much of the time in the yard or the shed.  He showed me an old copy book.  Before the days of carbon paper a copy of a letter in in was made by putting it in a press with a piece of thin paper above it.  This gives a back to front impression.  these sheets were bound ito a book about 2 feet wide by 3 feet high and about six inches deep.

Monday 18 November

I went up to London to a Joint Consultative meeting but was turned out because the unions objected.

Saturday 23 November

I came home from Reading to Orpington by a novel route this morning.  I caught the 09.45 steam train to Redhill.  We left Guildford three minutes late at 10.54 and were three minutes late into Redhill at 11.49.  We were hauled by a Southern 2-6-0 (I didn't get the number).  The engine seemed to cope with the two coaches quite well but I think the service could be speeded up.  The train was old Southern straight-sided coaching stock, one compartment and one saloon.  At Redhill, the train reverses and forms the 12.11 to Tonbridge.  We had another 2-6-0, a U class.  I changed to the saloon coach which was extremely comfortable.   What a difference. Before Redhill, the train was almost empty and very slow. After Redhill, it was packed with people standing and the service was much faster.  The 2-6-0 really had to work hard to maintain the schedule.  The driver was using a long cut-off and then notched her right up without any intermediate stages. This section of line is much flatter and we reached quite high speeds.  At Tonbridge I caught the 13.14 electric train to Orpington which arrived at 13.35 - extremely good service.  The weather was quite bright and I enjoyed the trip through the Surrey and Kent countryside.

Monday 25 November

I spent this week at the British Railways School of Transport at New Lodge, Windsor - a course for all Western Region Trainees.  The theme was "Movements".  I very much enjoyed the week and got quite a lot out of it.  On Tuesday, we visited the new panel signalbox at Slough and the West Drayton Coal Concentration Depot.  The signalbox was particularly interesting - it was fascinating to watch the route being set up in a row of white lights and then to see these change to red when the section was occupied.  The panel is duplicated by another panel which shows the train identification.

The School of Transport at Windsor was also used to train the restaurant and dining car kitchen and serving staff while we were the guinea pigs eating at table.  The meals were very elaborate, with many courses, lots of cutlery etc.  By Wednesday some of us were skipping courses and by Friday a couple skipped a meal.  I remember a wonderful chicken curry which was served with Bombay Duck.

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