- Adrian Vaughan
15th June 2011
Signalman's Morning is the first of a trilogy tracing a love affair with the coal-fired railway, from love at first sight in 1945 to divorce in 1975. Adrian Vaughan, born in Reading in January 1941, fell in love with the entire spectacle of the steam railway. It was the Greatest Free Show on Earth. It had drama, it had wonderful peace and relaxation, it was musical and it had poetry - to those lucky enough to be able to appreciate it. It was educational as it raised so many questions in the mind of a boy. There was no feeling of oppression on that railway. Adrian was allowed to ride the engines and enter the signal boxes. He asked the railwaymen questions about their engine or their signal box and their work, and they kindly gave him the answers. He was coached in engine driving and signal box work through the 1940s and 1950s; he was the first volunteer railwayman at the age of twelve, unloading parcels, helping in the shunting yard. By the time he actually went to work for British Railways as a porter, he was fairly well versed not only in the work but in the spirit of the railwaymen and their commitment to what they called 'The Service'. Signalman's Morning is not a book of rose-tinted hindsight, nor is the trilogy. He knew, all through that period, that it was a very special time. These are his memories, carefully remembered until, in 1978, he felt capable of writing them down, on a 1942 vintage 'Imperial' typewriter, in a way to do justice to that wonderful epoch.