Photo Credit: ejaugsburg @ pixabay.com
I grew up with a train line behind my house. There was a line with no trains as the trains had stopped running slightly before I could remember them.
But everything was there until men came and tore up the steel lines and left the shell of a train line. But the bank the trains ran on stayed, we played on it, found a lot of the bank was sand, and that afforded us the luxury of a sand pit which we dug into at our leisure.
There was an old signal post behind out house that slowly rusted into oblivion and a little further down a bridge across a small creek. Today the remains of the bridge are still there but not much else.
The train station platforms remain, and the Morpeth Station has been kept for historical reasons. To us in 2018 it seems odd that there would ever have been a train line, Morpeth is today a tourist destination, lots of antique shops and cafes, a few hotels and not much else. Each weekend it is jammed packed with people checking out the few galleries and taking advantage of the great eateries.
But in the past when the train ran, it was a thriving river port. Ships would come up the river from the port of Newcastle to load wool and grain. But as progress happens and the river silted up, the use of Morpeth as a port became redundant. Road transport had improved as has rail access to the port in Newcastle.
So Morpeth died in lots of ways. I always considered it a dead end place three miles down the road. In the 80’s and 90’s, it woke up to its tourist potential.
I’m sure my parents and those people living along Morpeth Road at the time drew a collective sigh of relief when the train stopped running. There was no such thing as a quietly running steam locomotive.
The legacy for us is that the old houses in the street, mine included, have a thin layer of soot in our ceilings which we rediscover any time we attempt any renovation involving the ceiling.
The days of the steam locomotive are long gone, but some of us are old enough to recall them huffing and puffing their way along.