First of all, I want to point out that I grew up in a remote part of Wales so my memories will not be the same as many other people’s. I hope there is still plenty for you to identify with and I welcome any contributions. We had no service buses but the village railway station was a walk of about a mile from our house. Trips to the town (five miles away) when my dad was using the car for work, involved my mum walking up to the station with the three of us to catch the train. We hated the walk because we kids inevitably caused us all to be late leaving the house so it wouldn’t be a walk, more of a route march along the lanes to the station. We loved that station! Although a remote, rural station, it had a full-time station master who was wonderful with kids. The waiting room was always cosy and welcoming and in winter had a coal fire burning. I don’t ever remember waiting on the platform with anybody else or seeing any passengers alight at our stop. Even so, John the station master kept that station immaculate. The trains were amazing! That smell! Each carriage had several compartments. A sliding door led from the corridor into the compartment. The only time I went on buses or trams was when we went to stay with friends and relatives in Swansea and Cardiff. I loved the trams with the sparking poles connecting with the overhead wires – apologies for the very un-technical jargon! The buses had conductors, an entrance and exit at the rear and – joy of joys! – a stairway to an upper deck. As children, we thought this was the very best way to travel!
I don’t suppose your village railway station still has the old level crossing gates? I was quite discombobulated when I returned to the UK in 2010 after a 31 year absence, embarked on a train journey, only to find the carriage compartments and corridors that you describe completely gone! I was thinking back to what I remembered from train journeys as a child, but surely this kind of carriage configuration was on its way out by the ’70’s-80’s?
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It never had level crossing gates as there were only two farms on the hill on the far side so it was never needed. The old station buildings have gone now but at least it’s still a station! So many lines closed and so many stations disappeared in the 1960s.