October 1961

In which I continue my studies at Reading University, explore the Southern line into Reading and ride the Westerham branch on its last day of operation.

Wednesday 11 October

I decided to go to Henley this afternoon.  I went from Reading West to Reading General and then caught the diesel to Twyford.  I was talking to a driver on General station who actually fired to Granddad.  I shall go up tomorrow to talk to him.  I changed at Twyford and caught the one coach diesel to Henley.  I came back the same way except that I stopped at Shiplake.

Friday 13 October
Had an early dinner and went up to General station.  The engine for the 13.32 (this would be the Birkenhead to Margate train) was waiting for about half an hour before it came on the train for me to talk to the driver who was the same as on Wednesday.  He told me some tales about Granddad - once he threatened to throw this driver Iwho was then a fireman) over Hungerford Bridge.

Saturday 14 October
Went down to the General station this morning.  The time table has been altered quite considerably since I last went up there which must have been early last term.  I had a very interesting talk with a driver of a Castle 4-6-0.  He said that they didn't have doors because this caused a bigger draught.  I used my ticket from Twyford, which I had only used to General, to get to Reading West.  2261 (0-6-0) was in Reading West hauling a diesel multiple unit which presumably had failed. 

Saturday 21 October
I went down to Reading General this morning via EAMES, the model train shop.  I talked to the driver of a Standard 2-6-0 (76069).  The cab layout is similar to some of the engines I was firing.  He said he didn't like the way the injectors were both on the fireman's side because he couldn't fiddle with his without leaving his side.  I went on the footplate of  Hall 4-6-0 No. 4998, the crew were very friendly and I had a long chat.  They seemed quite interested when I told them that I had worked on the railway.

Monday 23 October
I decided to go for a short train ride this afternoon, looking for railway tickets for my collection.  I caught the 13.58 train to Winnersh and the 14.37 to Wokingham.  I bought a first class ticket at Winersh but Wokingham only had a first class return for 2/3, too expensive.  I caught the 15.01 steam train to Crowthorne and from there the 15.53 to Sandhurst.  At both of these I managed to get Southern Railway Forces Leave tickets.  Came back to Reading on the 16.26 steam train.  I notice that, from the Pre-Grouping Atlas, Winnersh was Sindlesham and Crowthorne was Wellington College.

Saturday 28 October
Came home this morning.  I caught the 09.03 train from Reading South to North Camp.  I had a look around and hitched a ride to Ash where I caught the 10.26 to Guildford.  I walked out of the town and managed to get a short lift which put me on the Dorking Road.  After about 10 minutes I stopped a car which took me to Westerham.  What luck.  Today was the last day of operation of the Westerham branch.  I caught the train back home.  There were many enthusiasts around and the train was full.  I caught the 13.05 to Dunton Green which was running late.  The engine was a South Eastern and Chatham class H 0-4-4T No. 31518 (which was surpisingly rather dirty)  The word "FLYER" was chalked on the tank side and the union jack tied to the smokebox.  The coaches were set No. 610 (green).  The engine changes over this afternoon - presumably to be replaced by a cleaner engine.  The last train was the 20.30 from Westerham.

Monday 30 October
I didn't have any lectures today so I didn't come back until this afternoon.  I caught the 1.59 to Victoria and the 3.15 Paddington hauled by Castle 7023.  It was quite a good run although we were not in until justn before 4.00.

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