Monday, 20 June 2011

Read all about it!

On the North Eastern Railway many local station masters had the valuable 'perk' of acting as the local coal agent, ordering household fuel in by the wagon load and selling it on to local merchants. This was a practice that began in the earliest Stockton and Darlington Railway days. So I guess they were amongst the first of the modern 'franchisees'

But someone in the KSE shop yesterday reminded me of another perk that often came the stationmaster's way - to act as the local W.H.Smith wholesaler for newspapers and magazines. The person concerned had begun his railway career as a 'porter lad' at Castle Eden station and a part of his job had been to cycle around the area every day delivering the papers off the train. For this he received two shillings a week (10p).

I wonder if similar arrangements applied at any of the Stainmore line stations? I seem to recollect that the papers were dumped off the 7:14 AM from Darlington at Bowes by the guard every morning into the shelter on the down platform but it is only a hazy memory. Can anyone remember papers being dropped off at any other stations along the line or porters delivering them door to door?

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