Sunday, 22 May 2011

Passengers Past

This weekend I have been busy in the shop at Kirkby Stephen East. We have some nice new stock in there - especially some crystal ware that we have ordered in for the '150' celebrations. if you get a chance stop by at the weekend and see what we have on display.

Often when I walk along the Darlington Platform these days I find myself thinking about all those 'passengers past' - the people that must have passed through on trains over the century that the line was working. Even assuming an average of a couple of hundred a day on the half dozen trains then it would add up to more than seven million over the years. That number must have included many famous people but of course we will never know who was on all those trains. It might make an interesting collection  - maybe even a literary competition! - to put together a collection of short stories that shared a common thread of what brought passengers to draw up on the Darlington Platform.

One person that we surely know for example must have often been on trains passing through Kirkby Stephen around the turn of the century would have been the locomotive engineer William Worsdell. When he retired in 1890 he moved to Arnside where he built a beautiful house for his family. But then he must have made frequent trips to see family and colleagues back over to the North East for another 25 years.

But what about all those we don't know about? An ageing Charles Dickens meeting up with friends in 'Barney' maybe? Or Benjamin Disraeli perhaps during the 1868 Election campaign, Marie Lloyd on her way to sing at the Newcastle 'Empire', or General Kitchener headed from Deerbolt Camp to pick up a convoy at Liverpool?

Fact or fiction, there must be a lot you could write about the 'Darlington Platform'.

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