Many moons ago, much to my wife’s horror, I was a train spotter. I spent most of my time at Cardiff Central and Canton Sheds noting down locomotive numbers by the classification. In addition to this I tried to photograph as many of the locomotives as I could (funds for expensive film permitting), which also meant visits outside of Wales to numerous depots, marshalling yards and works around the UK.
I was born in the decade when steam was phased out and the diesel engine was king, so naturally these became my focal point, but it didn’t stop a visit or two down to Woodham’s locomotive graveyard in Barry during the 1970s. This was also a time when security was a bit more relaxed, so walking around various railway locations in South Wales was fairly easy.
It became a lonely hobby, as most of my friends were into football and rygbi, so my bicycle became my main mode of transport, clocking up mile after mile in pursuit of that elusive number for my “abc British Rail Combined Volume”. Needless to say spotting a class 37 or 47 in South Wales became a little tedious and so the trips and ventures over the border began to mount. It all came to an end in 1983 when the first generation diesels started to be scrapped.
Since then however, my interest has been resurrected and I now find myself occasionally drawn back to Cardiff Central, it’s all different today though. I don’t recognize any of the rolling stock and the old footbridge at Canton Sheds has been removed, not that there is anything worth ‘spotting’ there anymore.
So here is a trip down memory lane with a few choice pictures of my time as a train spotter in South Wales.