I love trains. I've caught loads of them in my time. Been around them a lot. See, my dad was a railway engineer, who didn't spend much time at home because he preferred trains. They were his life, trains.
As he worked on the railways, I used to go and meet him at his work sometimes. Take my mates with me and we'd play on the trains until he knocked off for the day.
Steam trains they were.
Great big black grimy things covered in oil and accumulated soot they were. Majestic though. Those massive steel wheels, the pistons, the cab, the smokebox, and on the front the buffers. They were massive. Indestructable.
In the engine shed, there were observation pits, which enabled the engineers to get underneath their beloved engines. It was dirty, and smelly - but how many people can say they stood underneath a steam locomotive?
How many people could claim to have driven a steam locomotive?
As a nine year old, I did. Only for a few seconds and under strict supervision, but it made such an indelible impression on me that to this day, I still remember the controls, and could probably still get a steam engine to move.
Although in all honesty I was probably more interested in tooting the whistle. I do recall that the key component in driving a steam train is the regulator, located to the right of the driver.
Sometimes my mates and I would play cowboys and indians on the trains logged in for maintenance. Especially on 'Puffing Billy' - a small shunting engine which we all loved dearly. Even though it was the grottiest train in the shed. And it was so knackered that it was almost always in for repair.
My Dad's best mate, Conlon was always pissed up and always pretending to fight me. God knows why.
Trains bring back memories of holidays - because my dad worked on the trains we got free passes - and one of the most memorable was Margate in the 1960s. A long trip in a train with compartments. An overnight trip where the lights didn't go out - so my cousin took the lightbulbs out.
Then, on the beach the following day, the Beatles had just released 'Paperback Writer' and it played non-stop on hundreds of transistor radios. All day long. That's how serious Beatlemania was. All you could hear was 'Paperback Writer' - it almost inspired me to become one - a paperback writer, not a...you know...well, anyway...
Trains are an inspiration.
They're just so emotive, so romantic, so lovely - not simply because of what they are - but because for every train that passes through a station, there are stories to tell.
After splitting with my first wife and visiting my children, I recall them standing on the station waving goodbye until next time - and having a lump in my throat the size of a basketball.
The train trip up the Rhine valley in Germany where a thoroughly charming German lady of advancing years virtually gave me a guided tour.
The football specials, the holiday excursion trips, meeting up with the lady who has since become my wife in a pub outside a train station.
The bar at Manchester Victoria after a home game, getting off at Manchester Piccadilly when it was Madchester on a hot August night (pretty rare, admittedly - it wasn't pissing it down)
Meeting two fine Spoofing gents by the name of Colonel Juan and Lynton at London Waterloo - then spending the night outside with a broken thumb and stitches in my eyebrow, surrounded by nutters.
But fuck it - it was a fun day and I'd do it again tomorrow.
Likewise the day I came with the wife and grandkids to meet up with Mr and Mrs Morse and the esteemed QM - all train related, and all fun.
Admittedly, some of the gloss has worn off since I've frequently had to catch a train to work at twenty to six in the morning...but it's still a train.
And it kind of feels nice when it approaches the platform.
Anyway - I could go on for years with this one, but my train is waiting at Platform Six so I gotta go...
Sorry about that...later for the boats and planes!