Isn’t it funny how a seemingly innocuous picture of a dumped railway footbridge can stir so many memories?
When I first ran the picture of it rusting away at Hilsea Lines, Portsmouth, and asked if anyone knew where it had come from, it set in train (excuse the pun) a series of fond memories from readers.
Turned out it had started its days at Cowes. It now graces the Watercress Line at Medstead and Four Marks station.
The latest memories come from Jackie Baynes, of Old Portsmouth, who says that as soon as she saw the picture she was transported back to her school days in the Isle of Wight.
She says: ‘I used to cross this bridge as a short cut down to Cowes High Street fairly regularly.
‘I can recall, as if yesterday, the smell of the smoke when a train had just pulled out of Cowes station on its way to Ryde via Newport.
‘Where was I going? I had a liking for meringues back then and would, too frequently than was good for my teeth, come out of school, hurry down to the station, cross the forecourt on to the platform and climb the steps up on to the bridge, cross the line and down the other side which led down to a narrow lane which came out in High Street where the cake shop was!
‘This was between 1957 and 1961 when I believe the delicious meringues cost 2d each and came in pastel pink, white, pale blue and light green colours.’
Jackie continues: ‘I last took a train from Cowes station to Ryde in January 1966 on my way back to college in London where I was by then training to become a librarian. The line from Cowes closed at the end of January 1966 and ever after I had to catch a bus from Ryde to get home to Gurnard where my family lived. I must try to get up to Medstead and Four Marks station to see my old friend again.
‘Many thanks to Tony Holley for stirring up all these memories for me. I’m so glad the bridge continues to offer the possibility of creating new memories for other youngsters.’