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Distant dreams of long ago
from far away, the memories come.
of tousled heads and clean white gloves
as crumpled down the socks did fall
when stepping high, to different world.
Steel on steel, hoot and chug
as fire burns the toiling brings
smoke from stoke in iron heat,
to huff and puff as loco runs.
Excited hearts, new strange smells
of coal, oil like warm sweet sulphur reaches
noses pressed flat against the windows gaze,
as little legs felt prickly seats and polished sills;
to watch this world of passing scenes.
We sat with Mum in pretty hat and
Dad along in Sunday best, of blue and shiny shoes,
enchanting dreams of long ago…
Of passing fields green and sweet,
of newly seen cows and sheep.
The engine massive trundles strong,
huge with brass, enamelled and long,
on rails that sped us on and further on…
As power for steam from fire it runs
on winding rails and signals seen
captivating world that passed
we sat entranced,  in life so different
from one we knew,
enthralled to captivate enchanting views.
The  stations pass in colourful flowers
brightly tucked in buckets and troughs,
with sharp polished names of Truro and St Erth;
the joys of travel the fun and mirth.
Delightful wonder at every bend,
as windows down our heads did send
hair blowing in the wind;
the squeals in tunnels that never end.
As porters smart in flat blue hats,
lift cases and trunks in bustle and flap,
of come and go with whistles blown,
we gaze as if in  misty dream,
as doors bang shut, huff and puff
smoke and toil, coal and steam,
to make it so.
And on we go…
And on we go, in distant dreams…
of long ago…

A Remembered Journey on The Cornish Riviera Express -1950


The Cornish Riviera Express is a British express passenger train that has run between London and Penzance in Cornwall since 1904. Introduced by the Great Western Railway the name Cornish Riviera Express has been applied to the late morning express train from London Paddington Station to Penzance Station continuously through nationalisation under British Rail and privatisation under First Great Western only ceasing briefly during the two World Wars.

Photos: Courtesy of Peter R Foster.