Off the Rails!

By Lloyd Greenwood

In 1940, aged 15, Lloyd Greenwood embarked on a career on the railways which was to last for more than 40 years, ending with him being in charge of stations at Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Sowerby Bridge. He retired in 1984.

Here Lloyd tells of his early days as a clerk (temporary!) at Luddenden Foot station:

Never having been to the station before, I got to Luddenden Foot on July 1 where I reported to the stationmaster, Mr Ruddick, who escorted me to the booking office and introduced me to Allan Parkes, a young man of approximately my own age, from Todmorden, who was to train me as a booking clerk.

I don’t think I had even answered a telephone before — these were the days when calls were put through to the exchange at Delph — and the tickets were the sort you had to tear in half for a return journey.

There were many firms in both Luddenden Foot and Luddenden in those days and parcels were delivered by a porter with a hand or sack cart. Lindley’s manufactured nuts and bolts and I sent many heavy packages to aircraft and naval establishments.

As rationing began to bite empty premises in the Calder Valley were requisitioned for the storage of food stuffs and the station was very busy with this trade.

Many things were sent by rail and I remember calves being sent in sacks in the guards van, while goats came with just a label!

We had all sorts of things to do: put chocolate in the vending machine, weigh and check each parcel coming in an out and also deal with lost property, which could be rather funny.

On one occasion a tooth on a dental plate was found by gangers working on the tracks between Luddenden Foot and Mytholmroyd!

Telegrams — except for the most urgent — also went by rail and code words were used to indicate that goods should not be sent to certain places because of bombing, enemy activity etc.

There were telegraph offices at Halifax and Sowerby Bridge and messages were sent by Morse code.

Read the full story in Milltown Memories, issue 2. If this or other stories stirs a memory, we'd be happy to know - send us your memories and comments.