Trainspotters' stories wanted for new exhibition at National Railway Museum

Trainspotter Nick Beilby, on the footplate of Evening Star, at the National Railway Museum.

Trainspotter Nick Beilby, on the footplate of Evening Star, at the National Railway Museum.

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York Press: Photograph of the Author by

TRAINSPOTTERS in North Yorkshire have been urged to share their stories with the National Railway Museum, as part of a new exhibition.

As part of a six-month trainspotting season, the NRM is collecting stories for an art commission for the centrepiece of the exhibit, with stories from York already in place.

Nick Beilby, who grew up in Heworth, shared his story from the York engine shed, now the NRM, which has already been made part of the exhibit.

He said: "I sneaked in a side door to the diesel depot, and was horrified to see a row of polished feet. I legged it, but in entirely the wrong direction and ran smack bang into the boss.

"My school uniform was a dead giveaway and I thought I would be reported to my headmaster, and be in all sorts of serious trouble, but after a reminder to ask permission in future, I was allowed to take any numbers that I hadn’t already got in my trusty Ian Allan book. That boss is now a fellow volunteer at the National Railway Museum and a friend of mine. We still remind each other about that day!"

Andrew Cross is the artist responsible for the installation, and though his work is often concerned with memory and personal experience, the NRM said this will challenge peoples' perceptions of trainspotting as a hobby.

Another example has come from John Billard from REading, who contacted the museum with his tale about taking a picture of the Flying Scotsman's final run with British Railways on January 14, 1963.

He said: "I had heard about it the previous week while spotting at Kings Cross. The only trouble was that it was a weekday and I was supposed to be at school.

"Living in Wembley I thought that I might bunk off at the lunch break and only be about 20 minutes late getting back, which I hoped would not be noticed. Anyway that is what I did and the picture is the result. From the age of some of those in the picture I might not have been the only one. As this was my last year at school, at the end of the final term I decided to confess to what I knew to be a sympathetic master. 'Billard', he said, 'if I'd known that, I'd have come with you!'"

Amy Banks from the museum said: "Trainspotting was one of the most popular hobbies for boys in the 1950s and 60s, and although our art commission will be looking the subject from a fresh and contemporary stance, we also need real stories from the tracks to inform our supporting trainspotting season"

Trainspotting runs from September 26 until March at the museum. To submit a story, email amy.banks@nrm.org.uk or post pictures and stories on the museum’s website nrm.org.uk

Images can also be submitted on twitter using #trainspotting to @railwaymuseum

Comments (1)

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12:39pm Sat 24 May 14

MouseHouse says...

Well I remember hearing about a trainspotter, aged 43 who lived at home with his mum. Anyway, he got to the end of platform 3 at the railway station, pad and pen in hand, ready to start taking down those all important numbers.

He had a morning full of bogies, engines and all sorts of railway action. About noon he started to unpack the lunch his mum had made him, cheese and pickle sandwiches and a thermos flask of tomato soup. He was in heaven.
Well I remember hearing about a trainspotter, aged 43 who lived at home with his mum. Anyway, he got to the end of platform 3 at the railway station, pad and pen in hand, ready to start taking down those all important numbers. He had a morning full of bogies, engines and all sorts of railway action. About noon he started to unpack the lunch his mum had made him, cheese and pickle sandwiches and a thermos flask of tomato soup. He was in heaven. MouseHouse
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