I grew up in a house perched on the side of a mountain in south Wales, in one of the mining valleys. I saw many steam trains hauling iron ore, coal, oil, and the like up and down the valley's for years. We had the massive 2-10-0 tanks, and the even bigger 2-10-0 BR 9F's hauling massive goods train slowly up the winding valley's. The saddest day was watching the first diesel coming up the valley, From my vantage point, you could normally steam engines coming up the valley by the huge plumes of smoke and steam forced out the chimney stacks as the laboured their way up the gradient long before they rounded the bend and into sight. The diesel was different, hardly any smoke a different sound and a horn not a whistle, it just didn't seem right to someone like me being so young.
At the age of about 7, I was on a visit to Barry Island and the Butlins holiday camp. My father had parked up, in an outside car park, which over looked Woodhams Scrap yard. What a sad sorrowful sight. Hundred upon hundred of steam engines lined up waiting to be scrapped. Slowly rusting and weeds growing up and around the wheels, out of empty coal bunkers. I was always in awe of the size of the driving wheels, as one day my dad found a hole in the fence and we went in and wandered up and down the lines of rusting hulks. The wheels of the really big express locos, was just mind bogglingly large. After all the passing years though, the has been a vast number of those engines saved from the gas axe and restored and in daily use once more around private preserved lines all over the country. A very memorable trip.
These days I would love to be able to get my boxed up model trains out and have a garden layout, but time sadly is still not on my side, to much to do, and not enough hours in the day.
I would recommend anyone to go and visit the Pendon Museum in Oxford, a great day out, and for railway buffs in particular, the site you will see is just breath taking. Here is their link: [url] http://www.pendonmuseum.com/[/url]