5355 - AHEAD DANGER and other tales of Didcot railwaymen
Author: Patrick Kelly & Will Adams
Imprint: Silver Link Books
Published: April 30, 2019
The third title in this fascinating series of tales from the tracks by retired railwayman Pat Kelly. Once again Pat takes us behind the scenes back in the days of steam...This third book by former Didcot railwayman Pat Kelly provides a further tribute to the wonderful characters that made up the railway fraternity in and around the town's railway complex, using first-hand reminiscences to highlight the heavy and dirty jobs that he and his fellow shed fitters had to undertake on a daily basis.The book begins and ends with gripping accounts of two railway accidents that took place at Appleford Crossing signal box, just north of Didcot, in November 1942, during harsh wartime conditions, and again in September 1952. Both events emphasise how a momentary loss of concentration can result in death and destruction, despite the legendary diligence of railway staff.Wartime conditions are again the setting for descriptions of the laying out of Moreton marshalling yard, east of Didcot, to handle the heavy traffic arising from the conflict, and the arrival of the 'Lend-Lease' US Army 'S160' 2-8-0 locomotives, several of which were allocated to Didcot and Reading to assist with the war effort.A chapter is devoted to memories of Reading shed, while another describes the various social and sporting activities - some light-hearted and others less so - associated with 'Polar Star', Didcot's railwaymen's hostel.Ahead Danger is once more an engaging mix of both humorous and deadly serious experiences, on and off the footplate, that were part of the daily lot of the steam age railwayman.