Malton, November 9. The operation of the Malton-Driffield, Malton-Scarborough and Malton-Thirsk junction near the Scarborough Road Bridge at Norton (known as Thirsk bridge it seems) awakened memories for three readers with an interest in railways, and resulted in messages from each, telling me how a train found its way to Thirsk.

Briefly, a train from Scarborough, upon pulling into Malton, would unload its passengers and a pilot engine would attach itself to the last carriage. It would then proceed to pull the train, and original engine, towards Scarborough Road bridge, underneath, and as far as the Bacon Factory Siding.

Here the pilot loco was uncoupled, and the other engine, now facing the right way, could proceed to Thirsk, in a roughly right-angled direction to that which it had arrived at. There was, I am told, a severe gradient over the river, and the pilot would usually assist in getting the train over this slope.

In the case of goods trains, the loco ‘ran round’ the train and finished its journey in reverse gear. All clever stuff. Many thanks to Howard and Alan for their descriptions.

From Gilling came a call from George Lupton, who had travelled this line and told me that the turntable at Malton was used in this manoeuvre on occasions – but I got a bit ‘lost’ on this exercise, as the phone line wasn’t too good.

George did tell me that he’d just had a spell in Northallerton Hospital for a major operation, at which time he had his 88th birthday.

Lovely to hear that they made him a cake for the occasion. Good for you George. And good on Northallerton Hospital staff. Hope all goes well, and thanks for the railway tales.

l Norton and Malton’s march this week was an excellent turn-out. More than 200 responsible, good-natured folk, trying to make common sense of dictatorial ideas.

The outcome of further deliberations will decide whether the good natured attitude will continue.

Here we have, seemingly, some councillors proposing to put into effect something which the electorate doesn’t want.

l Recently put wise on the structure of district council management, a recent letter draws attention to the police structure, which suffers, it seems, the same problems of the disproportionate level of management, with chief constable, deputy CC, assistant CC, and superintendents. All expensive stuff at a time when reduction of costs is the country’s prime target.

Which reminds me. A road traffic report on local radio today refers to an accident (possible they mean a crash), just outside York, where, at the time of the report, the road had been closed for more than five hours, including the morning ‘going to work’ period.

The policy of closing roads for lengthy periods is both detrimental to commercial work, domesticity, and normal living.

More than five hours would upset thousands of people, and businesses, as well as the possibility of lives being at risk with the affecting of hospital admissions etc.

Five hours is far too long for a road closure, and whereas the policy used to be to maintain traffic flow if at all possible, this appears to have been reversed in today’s strategy.

Apart from public inconvenience, the road closure isn’t going to put right what has happened, so a sensible over-view is called for and then let the world get on with its life. These lengthy road closures must surely affect expensive overtime payments and policies need closer scrutiny to cut waste.

l On a similar grumble, a report last week tells of an unfortunate farmer who was fined £10,000 plus costs because his farm worker was seriously injured when a harvesting machine suffered a blockage. On such occasions the natural reaction is to ‘do something’, and do it quickly.

It’s happened to us all at some time or other, both in peace and war, and the habit of blaming someone is not necessarily the answer to the problem. Many times we read of judicial decisions to which we as normal citizens, do not agree with, and very often we are either for or against the ‘learned’ view.

The aviation industry tends to take a slightly different view on criminalisation (the antithesis of ‘no-blame’), and causes and potential causes ought to be looked for, rather than the attribution of blame.

The tendency of judiciaries to seek criminal prosecutions is beginning to be thought to be counter-productive. A heavy fine isn’t going to put right what went wrong on the ‘spur of the moment reaction’, and as has recently happened, can result in loss of life if would-be helpers have to stop and think whether to go to someone’s aid or not.

l Pickering’s war weekend was another wonderful event, as usual, and it always amazes me the way that English folk seem to enjoy wallowing in memories of the past. I often wonder if other countries have similar events. I’ve never heard of any.

Pages of pictures I’ve got put to one side will shortly be on their way to Canadian ex-servicemen, who spent several years of their youth here in the ‘old country’.

One picture of an allied soldier arresting a German renactor I thought was in rather bad taste, and with friendly relations in mind, I didn’t think it should have been published. I should think it takes some nerve to dress up as the one-time enemy in order to help make the day a realistic one.

I guess this country shows a great example in tolerance, which perhaps wouldn’t happen in other countries.