Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hideous BBC Lies

Never have such falsehoods been published by the BBC. I am outraged.

One of the world's earliest locomotives has made its final journey - by road - from Manchester to Liverpool.

The 170-year-old locomotive, called Lion, ran between the two cities on the world's first passenger railway line.

The swine. Satan has ordered two tons of extra 'Coalite' and a carbon-fibre reinforced toasting fork especially for the person who wrote that.

Any fule kno that the world's first passenger railway, the Mumbles train, would have been 200 years old this year. It was scrapped in 1960 by the local council, all of whose members are now being toasted here. Ever since I can remember, Swansea councils have been corrupt, incompetent or both - and according to this blog the tradition lives on.

Had it survived it would have been a World Heritage site and the biggest tourist attraction in Wales.

Picture by John Davies of Swansea Camera Club. I think he's photoshopped the red onto a black and white photo.

I'm just old enough to have ridden the beastie. The terminus was at the back end of the long-gone Victoria Station, in what used to be a fascinating hinterland between station and docks. Railway lines ran in the roads between the warehouses and docksides - the Swansea of Kingsley Amis' novel 'That Uncertain Feeling'. Alas all gone, replaced by dual carriageway, retail sheds and a sanitised marina. What wonderful yuppie flats Weavers Warehouse - an early 20th-century brute concrete monstrosity, built over the river like a bridge, would have made !

The journey - along the sea front past the prison, the Vetch, the Slip (with its station, floral gardens, bridge and beach funfair), Patti Pavilion and St Helens, to Blackpill (where the accompanying main railway line turned off towards Gowerton), Oystermouth and the Pier - is still pleasant now, as a walk or bike ride on the path where the line ran. But it doesn't compare with a pasteboard ticket, a box of Paynes Poppets from the machine at the terminus, and a gloriously rackety journey. In winter the ride could be scary. The train always rocked a bit, but in a gale it would move disconcertingly. Upstairs, where the motion was accentuated, you'd wonder if it was about to fall over into the sea. Downstairs, with a stormy high tide the spray of breaking waves would slap against the windows - if you left them open you could get wet. We loved it.


Anonymous said...

And not even a passing mention of the Stockton & Darlington. Horsewhippings all round at the Beeb.

verity said...

Hmmmm ... I sincerely understand your outrage at the lefties jettisoning English history, but at least it escaped being a UN World Heritage site.

To my mind, this is a scary programme. WTF is the UN, majority-manned by third world thugs, sleaze-on-stilts, dictators and gangsters, to be adjudicating matters civilisational?

But I am genuinely regretful about your train.

Railway bore said...

Mumbles was indeed the first passenger carrying railway but it was not steam hauled until 1877.

Stockton and Darlington was NOT a passenger railway (at least until well after 1830). It's distinction was that it was the first public railway.

Middleton Railway (Leeds) beat Stockton and Darlington as first railway built by Act of Parliament 1758 and introduced steam haulage in 1812. It was a private railway in that although it crossed other people's lands it carried only the goods of the railway owners.

Of course many many private railways pre-dated the above but were built without an Act of Parliament. Wales was an early centre.

railway bore said...

And of course the Liverpool and Manchester can claim to be the first public steam hauled passenger railway built by an act of Parliament

Anonymous said...

I only mentioned the Stockton & Darlington as a milestone rly. Not to pre-empt the Mumbles.

Liz said...

How exciting! Are you a Swansea boy? I too rode on and lamented the passing of the Mumbles train. I came here from nourishing obscurity who mentions this post.

Laban said...

Liz - can you remember when the cliffs used to be illuminated with different coloured lights ?

Liz said...

Oh yes, the fairy grottos! And the big tree in Southend lit up (it still is to a certain extent), and eating chips from Dick Bartons underneath it.

Sarah said...

My mother used to ride it every day to school!