The Daffodil Fields and the Railway

Not far from where I live there is a garden centre. Once upon a time it was called a nursery and it was famed for its daffodil fields.

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And what a fine sight they still made into the 1970s.Towards the end of daffodil growing, it became a ‘pick your own’ business. But earlier, blooms had been taken to the local railway station and loaded on trains to take them up to London. I learned about this when I was out steam train spotting back in 2000.

I had gone to see a King class loco on a special train which was due to pull into a loop and take on water. This was where the old daffodil station had been.

I was not alone. A group of us waited at the bridge and amongst them was an older lady I knew. She described the dawn rising in the season, the selecting of blooms and the bunching and the trolley to take them to the station. It had been part of her life. She had done it. When the train arrived she led us down the station approach road.

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There’s the loco – number 6024 and named King Edward 1. Water is being pumped into the tender from a road tanker. Once upon a time most long distance railways had water troughs from which engines could scoop up water whilst travelling. But of course, there was no need for these troughs after steam engines went out of use and now special trains need to build watering stops into schedules. Whilst stopped the support crew did a quick bit of engine servicing – oiling, shovelling coal etc.

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There we have name and number. The Kings were the most powerful express passenger locos on the old Great Western Railway system. This particular engine was built in 1930 and stayed in front line service until 1962. The loco spent more than ten years on the scrap sidings at Barry before being rescued and returned to serviceable condition.

This loco would never have been involved in the daffodil business’ Locos like this didn’t haul trains which stopped at quiet country stations.

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There’s the man we all envy. He’s the driver.

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The old King gets under way and prepares to re-join the main running line for the rest of the journey.

Access to the old station site here is now barred and perhaps it was unsafe for there was no fence between us and the trains but I can tell you my old friend the daffodil lady absolutely loved seeing a steamer at close quarters again.

 

 

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One Response to “The Daffodil Fields and the Railway”

  1. sed30 Says:

    Reblogged this on sed30's Blog and commented:
    A story fit for a King!

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