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16 October 2014

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God's Wonderful Railway

By Terry Whale
February 2006, Aberdare
A digital story from Capture Wales

End of the Line

Terry's has a passion and it's stayed with him all his life.

"Dad bought me a train set for Christmas - a Triang.

When I opened the box on Christmas day it was a locomotive... it was black, with a tunnel that kept the coal in and two coaches with a circular track and a transformer to operate the train... and we had signals and a level-crossing.

I used to go sometimes to a shop in Mountain Ash and there were accessories there like a signal box, which was 17/6.

Brian I became friendly with then, Brian went to the Grammar School in Mountain Ash... Bryan said one day, he said, "I got a model railway, but I got a bigger one than you got."

He asked me to go up to his house once, and his Mam and Dad used to go to chapel... and Brian had the layout in the front room... and it was big.

I had one engine; Brian must've had about 10 engines... and they were all steam-engines. He was the train-driver, I was the signalman.

We went train spotting... we went everywhere. We went to Aberdare, Neath, Cardiff, Pontypool. Well Aberdare had 88 engines and 850 men working at that loco shed. It was the biggest loco shed in south Wales then.

If you couldn't see the train coming, you could hear the whistle blowing up the valley... and they used to go "Clickety-click, clickety-click." We don't hear that anymore. But now of course, when you hear the Diesels up the valleys, it's like a car horn.

By 1968, the train and the steam of locomotive went out. They went to Barry, most of them, to rust away in the sea air.

When I go to work in the afternoon, I was passing this model shop... and my eyes looked at the windows, it was the exact train set that Dad bought me in 1958/59. I go into the shop and I asked the gentlemen how much the train is today, it was £84.50.

But looking back when Dad bought it, it was £8 19s 6d.

There was a character about those engines. Definitely.

It was called the Great Western Railway, but it had a nickname, God's Wonderful Railway."

Terry Whale

Please tell us about yourself.
I'm married to Wendy and we've got a wonderful daughter, Jackie. I work in a supermarket warehouse and enjoy my work very much. I'm also a Christian. I like films and railways - especially steam locomotives and travel across the country to see them.

What's your story about?
It's about my childhood - when Dad bought me my first train-set. This was the start of a life-long passion for trainspotting. Even though I like steam, my wife, she likes Diesel!

How did you find the workshop?
All the people on the workshop were really friendly and helpful. I'm so pleased to have taken part and I've had a good glimpse on how TV is edited.

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