Station Stories so far: help us collect the nation’s railway tales

This post is the first in a series about our Station Stories project.

As part of redevelopments to Station Hall, we’re gathering peoples’ stories of working in railway stations and travelling by train.

I’ll be blogging about the story-gathering activities we’re running and sharing a selection of the stories people have told us so far.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been running storygathering activities in residential homes in York. I’ve paired some of the lovely stories residents have told me with photographs from our collection that capture the kind of characters they talked about. Here they are.

School boy having his ticket ‘nipped’ at York station, 1951

I was rushing to catch a train. I saw a little boy clearly equipped for his new school in a shiny gabardine mac. The poor little lad was trying to walk too quickly up the platform and he slipped in an oil spill. I could hear his mother ranting and shouting at him. He was black from head to toe and his new uniform was all ruined.

Passengers travelling to London, 1965

When my nephew was three, I took him to Kew Gardens. We went on an early commuter train with all the pinstriped men in bowler hats. They sat there in silence. Not a word was spoken in the carriage and not a newspaper flickered. My little nephew turned to me and said, “Auntie Sheila, why are those men sitting like that, why is no-one talking?”

Porter at Leeds Wellington station, 1936

When the porters were in a rush they’d just fling your luggage onto the trains. I’d fill the lid of my suitcase to the brim and bind it tightly with string or rope. This meant I could get a lot in, but I had to be sure it was tied up tight, and be very careful when I opened it.

Chickens at Paddington station, 1922

My Dad was a farmer and he used to get chickens by train. They came in crates. He’d meet them off the train, and take them back to the farm on our horse and cart. We’d get about a hundred chickens at a time.

Lady with her dog at London Victoria station, 1950

I used to travel with my little dog, Judy. Once, I took her in to the dining car. The waiter said, “No dogs allowed, Madam” but I persuaded him that she was well behaved. Two children were sat on another table. They kept putting bits of food they didn’t like onto the floor. All of a sudden, Judy leapt down the dining car to eat them. Well, I was in trouble and so were these children.

You can tell us your station story by filling in our online Station Stories form or emailing your story to station.stories@nrm.org.uk. Or come along to one of our Station Stories storygathering events at the museum.

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About Sally Sculthorpe

I'm Sally, an Assistant Interpretation Developer at the National Railway Museum.
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