Enthusiasts and Passengers

Preserved A4 “Streak” Sir Nigel Gresley passing through pulling a special train in the late 1960s. Photo by Derek Rayner.

Woodlesford station has probably been a magnet for young boys, and some girls, ever since it was opened in 1840, although the term trainspotter wasn’t coined until around the time of the Second World War when Ian Allan first published his ABC books of locomotive numbers. Derek Rayner was one lad who cycled from his home in Rothwell to Woodlesford in the 1950s to watch the trains and later photograph them. Jamie Guest developed his interest in the Midland Railway at school in the North Riding of Yorkshire and used to visit the station when he became a local police constable.

Through the years most children were tolerated on the premises by the station staff as long as they behaved themselves and didn’t “lark” about too much. However, in September 1901, two naughty schoolboys had their collars felt by one of Jamie’s predecessors as they attempted a spot of “juvenile ingenuity” to extract chocolate from the station sweet machine.

The Wakefield Express reported that after a complaint from the Woodlesford stationmaster, Samuel Taylor from the Automatic Sweets Delivery Company spotted John Gill and John Rowlands attempt to put a piece of tin into the sweet machine’s slit. They couldn’t make it work at first but then one of them worked the tin with his teeth and they were able to release the drawer and grab a packet of chocolate. The Express concludes: “Defendants pleaded guilty. On the assurance of their parents that they had been soundly thrashed they were set at liberty on payment of costs.”

On the Station Masters page you can just make out the sweet machine in question!

A Stanier “Black Five” arrives one morning in the 1960s with the stopping passenger train from Sheffield to Leeds via Cudworth. Woodlesford commuters look on as porter Fred James in his “new” British Rail uniform acknowledges the driver. Photo by Derek Rayner.