This week’s column is going back in time to the halcyon days of the era of British railways with an excellent and indeed rare view of Nelson Station as it looked during the 1950s.
The nostalgic photo was kindly posted through the letterbox at our home recently and here I’d wish to record my sincere thanks to my anonymous benefactor.
It is now almost a half-century since I worked at the then bustling station while training as a signalman at the Nelson Station signalbox. This now sadly demolished 1893 stone-based signalbox had a 30 lever Lancashire and Yorkshire frame and carried the L and Y code number 278. (Brierfield Station signalbox L and Y No. 280 is happily still running today).
Nelson Station box 278 closed in 1969, exactly 20 years before the now legendary Chaffer’s Siding box no. 277 in 1989. During my four weeks’ training at Nelson Station in 1963, before being sent to Chaffer’s Siding box, I had a marvellous month with truly great railway characters: Station Master E. J. Munton was a sartorial gent of the old school and although at least 35 years older than me, always addressed me every day with “Good morning, Mr Crambie”!
Bill Seed, a railway guard for decades, told wonderful tales of times past when Nelson Station had over 50 steam locomotives a day and two porters with a wicked sense of humour were Walter Unthank and Neil Tillotson, who once glued E. J. Munton’s station master’s hat to his desk!
They were truly happy days during an era that has sadly gone forever.