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Saturday, 16 November 2013

Galatea at Full Voice (see also previous post)


By coincidence and despite the gloom, Bernard Dewhurst happened to be filming Galatea as she raced through Settle with crewman Martyn Soames sounding the whistle in tribute to his late father Derek.

In the opening seconds you can hear the long steady blast on the whistle as the engine passes Settle church yard.   The whistle then stops but resumes as the train races through Settle station.


I met Martyn Soames today.   Fittingly, he was sitting in Derek's seat-of-honour in Settle signal box.   I asked him if he thought his father had heard the tribute.   "Almost certainly" said Martyn.   "Most unusually we were held at the Settle Junction signal as a Morecambe line train was ahead of us.   Settle Junction was 'Dad's box'.   I went to see what was up.   The Bobby* explained - and gave us a brew of tea while we waited."

I hope Martyn will forgive me explaining why the whistle falters as they go through Settle.   He could not keep his hand steady as tears were streaming down his face.

* Bobby - railway terminology for signalman.   In  the early days of railways signalmen were constables, directing traffic as it were.   The name has stuck.   The word 'signalman' was replaced by the gender-less 'signaler' some years ago.   Very recently that term too has been replaced by 'Train Dispatcher'.   Doesn't sound quite right does it?   Bobby I guess it will remain.

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