There had been a railway station serving the village for some ninety years when I was born. Black Bank Station was the place where you left from or returned to if you were a travelling type of person. Situated about a mile from the church it was the link with the outside world. Why a mile? It is rumoured that all railways stations are situated a mile from the church as the clergy of the day feared that the vibrations would crumble their edifice before they could organise a restoration fund. I don't know if it is true, but think about it folks; when you are lugging a suitcase to the station.
When I was young the railway ran a service fomr almost every little village in the country such was the network. At almost every hour of the day a train would leave Black Bank station. If you decided to leave the old man without trace you could go to the station , buy a ticket and few hours later you could be in York or Brighton. Nowadays you would have to wait until Thursday and hide somewhere in Ely.
On Saturday evenings thirty years ago it was possible to buy a return ticket to Peterborough for nine pence. The train left the station at five o' clock and arrived at Peterborough just before six. A quick dash to the Embassy Theatre enable one to witness topline performers for twenty-five pence or if all the seats were sold you could stand for twelve pence halfpenny. I've seen the cream of the country perform for less than a pound. Coming out of the theatre we used to go for a meal, often fish and chips, but sometimes for a mixed grill in a restaurant-either way it was always less than fifteen pence.
We would then retire to the Bell and Oak, a hostelry adjacent to the marketplace to bide our time until the train left at ten forty eight arriving back at Black Bank at a quarter to twelve. And mark this, we had change out of a pound.
I can hear the reader of this muttering, "Silly old devil, he must be senile, but it is true-every word.
At this time the tickets were issued by the porter as the normal office staff were off-duty. One of these chaps was illiterate but had memorised the word Peterborough and so had little difficulty in issuing a ticket-until one evening a lady of means ordered a first class ticket. Utterly perplexed he gave her a dog ticket, which she unknowingly presented at Peterborough. Apparently all hell broke loose-the man concerned being transferred to look after level crossing gates where all customers were equal