British Railways Illustrated is an adorable black and white printed magazine with everything there is to know about trains and railways. There are plenty of pictures of stunning trains from all eras and a real sense of character leaps up from the pages. There’s plenty of articles to get lost in, all about the historical events surrounding various types and brands of railway, with writers travelling to every corner of the country to learn about these incredible works of technology, punctuated with amusing anecdotes and interesting conversations.
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One of my favourite childhood ‘day out’ treats was at a local steam fayre about an hour away from my home in Guildford. There could be found a truly old fashioned theme park, powered by the same technology used for trains back in the olden days. Colourful carousels, helter-skelters, spinning teacups, a swing-chair roundabout and of course, a runaway train provided us wide-eyed kids with hours of entertainment. We whirled around and around until we felt so dizzy and ill, all we could demand was the truly perfect clotted-cream Cornish ice cream sold from little wooden stalls.
It just goes to show that the newest and most technologically advanced toys aren’t always the most fun for children. Video games and computers are all very well, but it’s the simple fun of the outdoors and a bit of speed that children tend to forget they adore. Nothing can beat fresh air and the excitement only a rollercoaster, no matter what size, can bring. It’s a shame that as one grows up, the excitement of these things lessens.
In fact when I was a lot younger, the 7.28am train up to London Waterloo was a treat in itself for me, whereas my Father has taken that train five days a week for the past twenty years. I remember running up and down the isles, playing with the electronic doors and pretending I was a businessman at one of the hinged tables. Nowadays, I just try to find a seat by the window and listen to my music.