The bell of the omnibus circuit phone rang just the once. That was how Arthur Platt in the signal box at Knottewithought Junction alerted the staff at the station that a stopping train was about to arrive. This time it was the branch train from Wempole, terminating at Knottewithought.
Among the passengers was Mr Grimshaw. He used this service every day. Indeed, he travelled on every service, every day. Always in the window seat of the third compartment at the up end of the train. He faced the direction of travel towards Knottewithought, and had his back to the locomotive going up the valley of the River Knotte all the way to Wempole.
He was such a dedicated traveller that he never left the train, even when it was shunted into the sidings at the end of the day.
At stations, the guard would open the compartment door and invite Mr Grimshaw to alight, but he always declined. The driver would offer him mugs of tea, and the fireman would share his egg-and-bacon breakfasts. On the last train of the day Bill Carter, the porter, would give him leftover sandwiches from the station buffet. Mr Grimshaw remained a fixture on the train.
Then, one day, he wasn’t there. The guard, the driver, the fireman and the porter were most concerned. They asked Albert Newton, the stationmaster, if he knew where Mr Grimshaw was.
Young Jimmy asked his Aunt Mary, as she knew everybody along the River Knotte, and nearly everything they got up to. Nobody had any idea what had happened to Mr Grimshaw.
For the full article and to view more images, see the January 2019 edition of Modelling – available now!
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