musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

The Steam Museum in Swindon (2)

Continuing where we left off, this part deals with some of the other odds and sods that I saw at the Steam Museum of the Great Western Railway. The reproduction station that was erected at the museum is really a glimpse of something that no longer exists. Small rural stations and branch lines met their ends with the Beeching Axe, and that is still being debated long after it happened. 

And when we lost the rural station we also lost the rural signal box. The station was an important part of the community, and when the trains stopped many communities stopped too. A similar thing happened in South Africa, although the axe was wielded by neglect and bad planning

I do suspect this guy may be waiting for a train that never comes.

I do suspect this guy may be waiting for a train that never comes.

The museum also emphasizes the role that the railway played in holiday travel, a trip to the seaside by train must have been something that all youngsters dreamt of, just like we did in South Africa when I was young. The GWR played its part too, and there were lots of travel posters that played on this urge to grab your picnic basket and dash off to Cornwall or Fishguard or similar.

 
The trains still run to Cornwall, but the romance of it has gone, and the modern snazzy airplane style coaches do not have that appeal, and neither do diesels for that matter.
Interior of current First Great Western carriage stock

Interior of current First Great Western carriage stock

The museum also shows the role that the railways had during the wars, and it is difficult to fully explain just how the war affected the railways, and how much they contributed to the war effort. Women were brought into the workforce in large numbers and they did the job with enthusiasm and pride, and their own lives were changed forever. 
Our lady with the tea trolley made a contribution that may be seen as something really small, but to those servicemen and women who were trying to get home, or who were en route to bases, knew that it was just as important as those who were out there getting killed in battle. 
Like many industries, the Swindon works were involved in munitions and equipment production, and  a large portion of their male workforce would have joined the forces. And, as I expected, there are Remembrance Plaques and Rolls of Honour in recognition of those who never came back.  I have posted images of the ones I photographed at allatsea 
Britain was a very different place back then, and the war really made it what it is today.  
 
Then it was time to head out, I had to find graves from that war in a nearby cemetery, and my missing hour had cut into the time I had available to do this. I had enjoyed this little march through the past, like so many of these museums this one is a gem, and I can’t help but wonder how many working and static steam locos I had seen in Britain compared to the masses of derelicts that I saw in South Africa. I was also fortunate enough to visit Mid Hants Railway in 2013 and the glimpse of the country station there was just as fascinating. I may return here one day, because I am still missing 28 graves from the cemetery, so maybe there will be a part three to this blogpost somewhere down the line.
Random pics. 
The goods yard

The goods yard

Scammel delivery van

Scammel delivery van

Railcar drivers position

Railcar drivers position

Fishguard? lets go!

Fishguard? lets go!

Working loco model

Working loco model

GWR Brakevan

GWR Brakevan

Carriage works

Carriage works

Track inspection vehicle

Track inspection vehicle

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