top of page
  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Schoolboy Nostalgia

A busy mid afternoon scene in the centre of Luzern with two passing trailer sets at one of the neat tram stop island platforms. Note the equally neat overhead wiring for parallel trolleybus operation, and in the distance the profile of one of the system's sleek bogie Swiss Standard cars soon to move to Geneva. Photo : John Woodman

One of the great add ons to attending Blackpool Grammar School in the late 1950s and early 1960s was the chance to participate in the annual School Trip. No half measures at the Grammar thanks to the efforts of several teachers, notably Messrs Lander and Rigby who organised each of these endeavours. I was fortunate in having indulgent parents who coughed up the requisite fees to enable young John to head off to foreign parts in company with his school mates each Easter Holiday break.

I well recall my first such excursion which took us via the Hook of Holland Ferry (from Liverpool Street Station by steam train) to a small sleepy town of Valkenburg in the south of the country. From here a series of day trips had been organised for much of our ten days or two weeks abroad which at the time was a massive adventure. A visit to Cologne Cathedral and a ride up the Drachenfels on the cog railway being one such day's outing from Valkenburg, Another involved a visit to Liege where I caught a glimpse, but not a photograph of the famous 'tramodrome' in the centre. Here dual gauge tracks carried city cars and those of the Vicinal system terminating in Liege on a grand circle much like in Liverpool at the Pier Head or the Pleasure Beach. In this case the trams were all cream and mostly two axle diminutive single deckers.

A later annual school trip saw us visit Copenhagen (and Malmo) which provided enjoyable scenes of trams in both cities - with great contrasts between the two systems. Yet a further year brought us to a skiing resort at Andermatt with close up encounters of smart Swiss (and other electric trains) entering and leaving their traversing the Gotthard Tunnel. This latter visit (by air from Squires Gate Airport in (or on) a Dakota of Silver City Airways then a popular airline based at Blackpool - also included a day trip to Luzern. Here fortuitously the city's tram system was nearing its end in favour of buses and trolleybuses - all painted in a pale blue and light grey livery. A singular walk by our group through part of the commercial district near the main railway station - allowed chance snaps of Luzern trams as they glided or clanked their way past us. The system had acquired a number of postwar 'standard' bogie cars which were still operating before being sold to Geneva to augment that city's fleet. Of great interest was the intertwining? of both trolleybus and tram overhead wiring which got my attention - as did the neat passenger queuing stances for trams. A couple of souvenirs from that memorable day out - Below :

More Swiss antiquities at the same location with quite ancient looking single deck versions of Glasgow's venerable double deck 'Standards' probably from the same era. Photo : John Woodman

Featured Posts
bottom of page