Back in July, we held our first in-person event in a long time, we invited “Steve Shields” an ex-Br train guard to talk about his life and experiences working the Consett to Tyne Dock route used primarily for shipping in Iron ore, and shipping out the finished product’s from Consett Works.
Steve was a mine of information and knowledge about the inner workings of the line and the various character’s that inhabited its world, as well as revealing some very funny anecdotes of life on the rails (and off the rails in some cases…)
I know the route myself pretty well (Having done the work I have to map it out in digital form) and I was there hanging on every word, every incline, every slipped brake story as Steve skilfully recounted tales from his time as a train guard, I could picture in my mind’s eye every curve in the track, and each of the main signal boxes, it truly was fascinating listening to him describe things as they used to be.
After Steve finished his talk, we all had a good chat together, and Steve showed us some items from his personal collection of memorabilia collected during his career.
Steve had many interesting items with him, including one of his most treasured, the “Annfield Branch” name plate from Consett North signal box. In the later years of his career, Steve was the signal-man at Consett North and was responsible for helping to get the wagons in and out of Consett Steelworks.
Steve still works on the railways today, and even though it’s not Consett, still loves every part of his job.
The event was recorded in 2 parts, as we stopped for a break half way through.
Steve also previously wrote us a blog post recounting some of what he talked about in his presentation, you can find the post here:
We hope that Steve will come back “Home” soon and treat us to some more tales, of life on the Consett Railways, stay tuned and watch this space.