London King’s Cross to York

Stephen Gay made a welcome return to the Milton Keynes Branch on 4th May, his sixth presentation to our local members, and again an insightful and colourful evening’s entertainment ensued. This time, Stephen took us on a memorable journey from King’s Cross to York, using his own superb photographs from the 1970s up until the present day.

Starting at King’s Cross, we were transported back to 1978 with HSTs, that had started to replace the Deltic on east coast expresses. The atmosphere is difficult to capture in words, but it seemed a grittier, more lived in world, and one could almost hear the noise and bustle of a busy terminus.

Speeding away from London, we dropped in on Stevenage, with its modern station opened in 1973, stopping briefly at Peterborough. Racing north in the company of Class 31s and Deltics, we were soon passing Helpston, where there is a level crossing over six tracks, probably the only example in the UK. We paused briefly to take in Stoke Bank, where Mallard set its record breaking 126mph run in 1938.

Continuing north, we were soon over the only main line flat railway crossing in the UK, just north of Newark, before Retford, and a breath-taking photo of two Deltics taking power heading north, one cross-country, the other continuing as we were to York.

A brief diversion to find the grave of Mallard driver Joe Duddington at Hyde Park Cemetery in Doncaster, before we were on to York and arriving at our destination.

A fascinating evening, peppered with Stephen’s poetry and anecdotes, and superb photographs throughout, this was much enjoyed by our audience of members and friends.