Riding on a Steam Train


This old postcard comes from the early 1900s when our town was fairly young.

Steam trains always had a magical appeal to me in my childhood. I grew up alongside the railway yards that separated our railway station and my street. I loved the size of the big black engines spurting out their whooshes of steam and listening to their haunting whistle announcing their arrival and departure at the station. From my home I could hear the whistle and the creaking and groaning as the trains moved from stationary to activity.

We lived on the Main Trunk Line and the railway track ran through the centre of our town back then and so were a familiar sight to most people. Traffic came to a standstill and pedestrians stood and stared as they train moved in and out of the station carrying the passenger carriages behind them.

I couldn’t help wondering who those lucky people were, where they had come from and where they were going. I longed to have such an adventure myself.

I was ten years old before I came to ride on a train for the first time. As a treat once school holidays my mother took me on a train to visit my aunty in a nearby town. I remember very little about that trip, other than arriving at the station at the other end. It seemed so small compared with the big old wooden structure I was so familiar with.

That train trip not only satisfied my curiosity but also established my urge for adventure. There were many subsequent steam train journeys, and whilst they were never the height of travel comfort I never tired of the magic of travelling by train.