Stepping on to the platform of the Sheffield Park station of the Bluebell Railway line was like walking into another world, a romantic view of days gone by, where the men worked hard and were chivalrous and honourable, and the ladies wore bonnets and long poofy dresses and enjoyed the finer things in life. The ticket officers and station staff were very professional and polite and dressed in authentic 1940’s clothing. The atmosphere put you in mind of another Britain, one where there existed a sense of community and trust. I saw the Golden Arrow (built in 1929 and pulling 4 carriages filled with dining tables set for silver-service) and the main service train – a beautiful shiny steam locomotive with its classic cylindrical engine and a few passenger carriages marked third class.
There was a bit of a tussle as this train was about to depart, with all the photographers wanting to get a good shot. But me and John were there, in the thick of it, ready for action when we heard the guard shout ‘all aboard’ and blow his whistle. The pistons started pumping and the wheels started turning and the steam started puffing out through the chimney, making a wonderful chuffing sound. The chuffing got faster and the train built momentum and soon we were getting covered in ash as it dropped out of the steam over-head. A cat could dream about sitting on a train just like this, meeting a lovely lady cat and whisking her off to Paris to start a new life. But I’d rather stick with my best buddy John and the life I have now.