Noel Posted October 24, 2014 Share Posted October 24, 2014 I must be a fuddy duddy when it comes to my rose tinted railway memories. Forgive the long boring Friday afternoon rambling of one nostalgic for how railways were, or at least what memory thinks they were like. I first became aware of real trains and model trains in the early 60s, and more so in the 70s. There were two types of trains, the CIE ones I travelled on, and the trains I saw in movies and TV. The former were A & C, 141/181, 121 and later 071 loco hauled passenger trains with a wide variety of coaching stock in rakes including old laminates, the fabulous Park Royals, and the modern Cravens. The latter were all UK steam trains, GWR, LMS, LNER and SR, and my earliest exposure to model railways was my fathers Hornby Dublo 2 rail made up of GWR and BR express steam locos. The real goods trains I saw here in the 60s and early 70s, and the goods trains one always saw on TV back then and in old movies were short wheelbase two axel un-breaked wagons of all sorts, and here is the punch line - all goods trains had a break/guards van at the end, as did mainline passenger trains always have a break van at the end of the rake. I grew up with old coaching stock and old freight trains in the brain. I remember well when CIE introduced the 'super train' to much fanfare and very intense advertising campaign (i.e. mk2s), but even back then I thought it was a most ugly livery and not easy on the eye. Who in their right mind would paint a coach roof exposed to severe weathering a daft colour like day glow orange! Then bogie freight started to arrive late 70s and hells bells awful plain boxy looking container wagon - that didn't need a break van at the end, looked incomplete like a fish that had its tail bitten off by a shark. Suddenly all the freight wagons were getting longer and longer and didn't look as well on small layouts with tight radius curves. At least they were largely hauled by the amazing sounding GMs - a sound etched in my childhood memory, a sweet sound no UK loco ever emitted, rather they sounded like quiet tractors. Most of the trains I travelled on were on the former GSWR and MGWR rails, never until the 90s had I been on the east coast lines south to Wexford or north to Belfast. I was on an enterprise that broke down in Portadown station on the Friday of the annual 'drumcree' problem in 1997 at a bygone time when passions were high and I had to spend a very nervous 2 hours in the station waiting for a replacement train. I spoke vit ze german (deutscher) akzent ven I sprech mit ze NIR stazion staf, asking zem wen ze korrect train vud kom tu ze station. It was a most uncomfortable experience but passed uneventfully. Been on a quite a few enterprises since and had very pleasant experiences travelling for work in 1st class - a cut well above IE fare. The food on the Cork early bird now is a joke compared to 15 years ago or earlier, when you could order from a menu, had a linen table cloth and ones food was cooked on the train and served on ceramic plates instead of a cellophane wrapped microwaved bacon buttie. How times of changed. These new railcar trains seem such characterless plastic tubberware bus boxes on rails, that sound like buses not like real trains and have the most uncomfortable seats and ride compared to the coaching stock of yesteryear. When the 201s were introduced in the early 90s with the initial livery that seemed dreamt up by a colour blind graphic designer, visually they didn't 'blow my skirt up', no walkway, just a long box with a slanty bit at each end as a token homage to aerodynamics. Spoke to a driver before boarding one day in 1996 and asked him if the new locos were a big improvement on the 071s - "Huh!" he grunted, "No these heaps of 5x1t are as reliable as a straw bra strap, always breaking down, and have new fangled fly-by-wire software that is always stopping the trains. These junk heaps are not a patch on the reliable 071s". Twas early days for the 201s and the early problems did get snagged out, but they cause some reliability grief in the early years, but at least they sounded like locos - not bendy bus 22ks. My memory of Irish good trains were black liveried A(101),C, 141 and 181s hauling mixed traffic corrugated open wagons, closed vans, short wheel based open flats with boxes and crates strapped down, cattle wagons, cable wagons, fertiliser wagons, beat, and the odd two axel short coach/vans, all terminated with a beefy break van. One christmas my little brother got a train set with heaven forbid, twin axil bogied container flats and four 40ft containers - ugly modern or what I thought - glad santa didn't inflict that one me I thought (ungrateful little brat I was). No buffers, no guards van, and they were so long they overhung the short radius set track so much that the curved platforms couldn't be used!!! Even though 60s and early 70s CIE Irish passenger trains were hauled by GM diesels, there was a nostalgic echo back to the steam days when one saw swirls of steam leaking up from the coach sides and ends at the platforms due to the steam heating on those old trains. All that was missing was 'chuff chuff', but the GMs notching up and down were stirring sounds, like a space ship preparing for warp speed (i.e. 70mph if you were lucky on a CIE mainline express to Cork). So I'm a self confessed model railway dinosaur who considers everything after 071s, Park Royals, Cravens and short wheel base freight wagons, mere modern tubberware buses that have no soul, and from a modelling point of view need very large radius curves that just don't fit into most modern homes in OO gauge. I'm a hybrid that grew up with toy trains modelled on UK steam era as seen on the movies and TV, but grew up travelling on Irish trains hauled by ubiquitous GMs and 001 class locos. Thanks to Murphy Models I have now been able to run proper model Irish trains on my layout instead of repainted BR coaches and orange class 25s and 33s that look nothing like CIE 001 class. I'm sure one day somebody may well be rambling on about the 39000 class 200mph Cork express DMUs and hoping they will soon be released as models with preloaded DCC mk4 chips (i.e. lights, sound, smell modules). Ah well, IR train toilets have holding tanks unlike swiss railways which still use the tracks (i.e. the best run railways in the world). Now the TGV and soon to run EGV, thats a real train one again despite pretending to be a very long rail car. If I could wave a magic wand at the MRSI exhibition I'd buy a new train set with a MM 001 class loco pulling a rake of Park Royals compete with linen table cloths of course! [EOF - end of meandering ramblings] Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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