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Goodbye Mr Krupps-bookcover

By: Eric Blackburn

Goodbye Mr Krupps

Pages: 542 Ratings:
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A vivid and entertaining account of one man’s extraordinary life, guided by a love of steam trains and an unerring vision to be an engine driver in the days when steam ruled the rails. See through the eyes of a small boy the first stirrings of this enduring passion as, in rapt fascination, he watches trains on the Hull & Barnsley main line in the 1940s, and witness the bucolic beauty of rural life, allied with the poverty and shear hard graft of farm work during the war years, when it seems his dream will be crushed by the daily grind and drudgery.

Share the author’s exuberance as, having hazarded all, he succeeds in joining the London & North Eastern Railway as a lad porter, before being introduced to the hallowed world of the Locomotive Department, progressing through the ranks to finally fulfil his dream. On this journey share his exhilaration as he thunders down the main line on a locomotive pushed to its limits, spewing fire and brimstone; and witness a host of steam train escapades, adventures, and mishaps, from the farcical to tragic.

Finally, travel with him to exotic Tanganyika/Tanzania in the 1960s where, during 12 years with East African Railways, he experiences the challenges of epic journeys through the heart of the sun-baked bush, breakdowns, derailments, flooded tracks, and violent mutiny, as well as the joy of driving the mighty and exemplary 30 Class, ending with the pinnacle of his career: that of becoming Locomotive Inspector.

Eric Blackburn was born in Hull in 1928, and after an elementary education, left school at 13 to become a farmer’s boy. His childhood interest in steam locomotives, however, had a stronger pull than muck, toil, and poverty, and with a little prompting on his part, the Fates determined he should become an engine driver. Not satisfied with that, these fickle mistresses saw him heading off to East Africa in 1955, for more steam-related adventures. In 1965, Eric married Shirley, the love of his life, with whom he lives in a little village at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds.

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