Spare a thought on Sunday for the passing of a slice of British history which many mourn to this day.
It will be 50 years since steam-hauled trains on regular services in the Portsmouth area puffed and whistled for the final time.
Officially it was the end of steam on the South Western Division of British Railways and today and tomorrow I’ll be taking a look back at those glory days.
All over the area in the coming days celebrations are going on. Last Thursday 150 former steam men – drivers, firemen, cleaners and yard men gather for a grand reunion in Salisbury.
That was where the majority of redundant steam engines were gathered before being towed to Welsh breakers’ yards. A medal was produced for the occasion.
Although never a steam man I knew many of these men as I was editor of a railway staff magazine and I interviewed them, such as Jimmy Lester the fireman on Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral train in 1965. Both Jimmy and the loco are still with us .
And the late Eric Gosney, the fireman on the train that took Bill Hayley and the Comets from Southampton Docks to Waterloo in 1957.