I often think what a waste of time all that running about after locos was. Then i remember a big loco dropping on and a desperate bail for it.
One i always come back to was on my first freedom-of-scotland. July 1983. I think we were due to do the overnight anyhows to be able to cover some super early glasgow moves or as it happened go further north. Anyway if I remember right there were a couple of 40s ganging about ecs and the 22 something edinburgh mail. We got the gen that a duff had a windscreen smashed. The 2345 1N05 was going to be late.
David baker and perhaps peter walker were on board mo less than a whistler. 40 170 had 'produced'.
Just a few year earlier not an eye lid would have batted at a forty on this train, but now 40s were no longer allocated on ScR. Duffs reigned on all expresses just about. And 40s were, like the big sister deltics, for the cutting torch. Generally more reliable than duffs and peaks, their charming chortle was not enough to save them even by a rationalisation. To be withdrawn upon failure pretty much.
My point being it was darn exciting to get this 133 tonnes of whistling, grumbling EE music on the service. Probably the second forty i ever did, having been the only basher on 40001 on the carlisle newcastle that week.
At gleneagles the infamous bradford bender and gang came shreaking on board and infected us with their mad west yorkshire enthusiasm for the old girls.
At some point at night there was so me banter about queen street control or some other BR digniatries had accused rail enthusiasts of bricking the duff. Bradford and co had been on the shed that day. I suppose 40 170 was xo so not popular despite it being a mildish july night. Anyway it became an instant platform myth.
The truth is the forty lacked a window too. David baker had a rotten run up to perth with a broken 2nd mans cab side window. Springburn 'neds' had doen a few of the locos sitting on pole position, the forty probably being allocated ecs down the tunnel. In fact i think it banked out the 1650 ft bill.
So back to my point, loco type aside. Was it all a misspent youth? Well yes and no of course. It taught me to be independent and positive to making new friends with like minded strangers. It taught me to be far more egalitarian, in fact pretty socialist. Most bashers I met came from terraced houses in the midlands, owned one denim jacket and one rabbit trimmed parka and spent every spare penny on bashing.
Socialism is about to be a really useful skill set as we move into economic catastrophe, having been a ridiculed political stand point why we all raan up bigger debts than under any actual socialist government.
There are downsides- it is not good for your health and there is a large amount of passiveness about being taken evverywhere on someone elses system and timetable.
Other skills you acquire though? Independence and self reliance. Communication. And above all planning, logistics and risk management in doing moves like Kilmarnock or Cærsws.
That and seeing scotland in particular from the relaxing arm chair seat that was the mark I corridor carraige of BR. That was worth it all.