Monday 30 December 2013

Last train to Alton

         UK police constables c1956 from the TV series Dixon of Dock Green


It was a Saturday night in 1956 and I trotted along the lonely streets of the town. The pubs had  long shut and all those years ago the traffic was light to non existent. I was heading for the train station just about a mile away. The last train left at 5 minutes past midnight. My destination was home nine miles away. Well ten miles if you count the run from my girlfriends house to the station.

Every Saturday night was the same, those lingering kisses and the last fond embrace had to be measured to the last second. I hadn’t missed a train yet but as we tended to stick to each other like glue a longer wait until the first train in the morning was always a possibility and being Sunday that would be a very long wait indeed.

I was going downhill now down Downing Street past the mens clothing store, past the fish shop and just as I passed the grocers two figures stepped out of the shadows.

“Just a minute lad” said one. 

Just my luck, I could skirt the drunks and the tramps in doorways but to run into two policemen on a dull night shift, I was just what they needed to help pass their boring night away.

“Where are you off to in such a hurry?” said one. While the other sized me up with his torch.

I could barely talk as I was out of breath. I mumbled something about trying to catch the last train to Alton. However that was the problem. They weren’t interested in my plans but only what I had been doing.

“But where have you just run from?” the first one asked implying foul deeds I was escaping from.

So I had to relate where I had been, who with and why and the utter importance of me catching the last train that left in but a few minutes.

He came closer and shone his torch in my face. My panting breath had no taint of alcohol perhaps only the sweet scent of my girlfriend so my innocence was convincing.

“OK my lad off you go and don’t leave it so late next time.”

I resumed my run to the station. The level crossing gates were starting to close and as I scampered over the footbridge I knew that I would make it after all.

On recounting my adventure to my girlfriend later she reluctantly made me leave a few minutes earlier in future. Less than a year later we were married so my worries were over and we stayed together all night…every night!


  1. The romantic in Sir Old Egg!

    Happy New Year from the Philippines!!!!! ;o)

  2. I had the same problems back then, starting from the nurse's home in Castle Street, straight along South Street, and then that uphill final 300 yards to the station. That was the 'killer'. Always managed to make the train though - just!
    Nice reminiscence Rob.

  3. This was a great tale of youth, Robin! Obviously the passion was strong enough to keep you right there until the last possible minute... and then together for many years after that. Such a sweet story! This one made me smile :)

  4. So much more romantic than my time and locale, where everyone had a car. Then again, we could always blame a late arrival on a red light or a flat tire...

  5. Nice story! I'm glad you were able to get away from the police and catch the last train. Lol, I liked the ending! : )