Bob and his elder brother, John, first got into railways when they were sent packing to their Grandparents near York in 1960 whilst their parents moved house. The Grandparents house happened to back onto the York – Scarborough line and included amongst their trips out was an excursion to Scarborough from the long closed Haxby station. They were hooked. The journey back to Northampton included a train to Peterborough headed by A4 60028 and the carriage they were travelling in had its windows smashed when they passed a train going the other way and the engine overflowed its tender on Werrington troughs.
The house move proved to have another benefit in that a near neighbour was Brian, a year younger than Bob, and his father George who was a keen cyclist and ex-railway footplate man. They soon formed a firm friendship and started to cycle to various railway locations. This culminated in a camping trip to Sandy to sample the delights of the ECML.
In later years Bob and Brian went on two cycling holidays. The first, along with another school friend, was a three week trip around the north of England solely to do with trains. Funnily enough, Bob’s parents moved again during this holiday but they at least told him their new address! The following year, 1967, Bob and Brian caught the train to Perth and then cycled back home via the Isle of Skye – steam had gone from Scotland, but there was plenty for them to see once they got back south of the border. During in this trip, they had a shotgun pointed at them when they tried to pitch their tent on a field near Fort William and later they accidentally managed to camp on the village tennis court at Tebay. Two weeks later, the three boys did the same except to the MML north of Wellingborough. Aged 11, 12 and 13, would todays parents allow their children to do such a thing unaccompanied. I very much doubt it.
There school also had an active railway club. The highlight was a three day trip starting at Wigan and finishing at Langwith Junction in 1965. If there was a lowlight it was a trip to Leeds and Manchester where they set off when it was snowing and the coach ended up on top of an island near Syston. Nevertheless they ploughed on but ran out of light before they could do all of the Manchester sheds on the itinerary.
Bob lost interest in railways after the end of steam but had this revived in 1978 when he started to see Class 50s at work in Devon. Only when he became ill a few years back did he stop going out to follow his hobby.
He took his first photo in 1962 using his Mum’s Brownie camera. The following year he acquired a Kodak camera that used 120 film and 2in x 2in negatives. He acquired his first 35mm camera in 1965, a Yashica. When that was worn out he switched mostly to Canon cameras although he also had Zeiss and Nikon cameras as back up. He reluctantly switched to digital in 2007 when some of the film he was using started to get difficult to find. Again he stuck with Canon. In the intervening years, Bob got engaged, went to Hull University, got married and watched Derby County win two First Division titles.
We plan to get this collection listed but currently have listed each box and at the end of the images you will find the relevant index sheets.