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Hunting at Thirsk

It’s 1967, it’s the last day of July and a freight is pulling in to Skelton en route from Cliffe to Uddingston. It’s a regular turn, a ‘block train’, the sort of train that would’ve made Beeching proud.

The guard exchanges greetings with the man about to take over. A wagon examiner plies his trade, but the new guard looks at the couplings himself. Towards the rear of the rake he finds a slack one, tightens it up and prepares for the off. When it comes, he settles so he can keep an eye on things from the brake van’s ducket window. He always does this for cement trains. Cement trains – ‘Cemflo’ wagons, at least – can be trouble.

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