The Rat Roadshow - Class 25 Loco Enthusiasts

"It's an official day out, there's more than one of us here ..."

probably apocryphal, but there weren't many of us!


No more phone calls at six saying “Get out of bed!
You’ve a new Rat on the Abers', you desperate old NED”
Bleary eyed and without breakfast I’d be on my way
Forty miles in those minutes, well what more can one say
And as that train drew in, on the platform I’d be
With a grin on my face for all there to see

Camera in hand, note book at the ready
The Roadshow is here, “Driver, don’t take it steady!”
There are photos to take, train times to record
I may find records are broken if I don’t get bored 
Grab the ‘Thrash’ handle and let her rip
We’ve still miles to go, performance can’t dip

No.1’s at the window, microphone in hand
He’s recoding sounds of Sulzers crossing the land
Whilst we all listen, Nick and P51 continue to talk
‘Bout signals and tokens until the rest of us squawk
“The Brad’s are asleep!”; well they can’t be blamed
They’ve been up all night and I’ll not let them be flamed

You know you can’t go back and when you try it fails
Now looking up ahead all I see are rusty rails
My diary says we were on the Rats all day
Whilst others amongst us bailed out halfway
And for week after week on this our money was spent
For us, that’s how much being in the Rat Roadshow meant

 

On most summer Saturdays back in '83 and '84 a group of unlikely lads would gather at Shrewsbury for the first Aberystwyth train of the day to travel behind Class 25 locomotives.  Membership of the Rat Roadshow was associated with those who made it for the first train and who preferably didn't bail at Welshpool or Newtown for the first train back simply because of some 'new engine' elsewhere!  Those who turned up on the first Euston - Aber and then bailed at Welshpool were frankly never going to get promoted into the Roadshow Premier League.

In 1984 and in order to distinguish between those who kept the "faith" and "New Engine" men, "The List" was created.  At that time if you weren't "On The List" then you really had no interest in Rats.  Membership was open to all and we made it pretty easy for even the "Welshpool" NEDs to make it into Division 4 and pretty impossible for most to make it to the Premier League (except for the authors of "The List" of course!)

More than 20 years have elapsed since those days and my memory for names is failing so apologies if I have forgotten you, it's nothing personal, please advise and I will correct.  The Main Men of the Rat Roadshow were Mark Bennett ("No.1"), myself, "Ned" Nick Lawford, John Cowburn ("P51"), Dave Gee ("Z51"), Phill Taylor ("Heckmondwick"), Brendan Kilgannon and Craig Ryan ("The Brads"), Graham Measures, David Williams ("Mr. Shrewsbury") [plus several others whose real names I've forgotten].

It often seemed that the main criteria to be a member of the Rat Roadshow was to like Rats and not much else!  "No. 1" had little time for Peds or Tractors (31s and 37s), Nick despised Duffs (47s) whilst I ignored Tractors and Hoovers (37s* and 50s).  However you could always find one amongst our number who would rave over those classes, eg the Tractor basher "P51".

This part of the website is aimed at recalling some of the amusing things we got up to in the pursuit of Class 25 mileage.  (Well, we found them amusing at the time).  It's got links to our non-railway related photographs and the "newsletters" that used to circulate at that time such as the infamous Rat Poison (written by Preston 40 Bashers), Anti-Forty Times (written by the Rat Roadshow) and Dart Rail, the Dundee Anti Rancid Tractor Society's newsletter.  If you are going to be offended in any way by people slagging off 25s, 31s, 37s and 40s then do NOT follow these links, you have been warned.  (We were all angry young men in those days!).

* Which is not strictly true as I would go for them as 'new engines'!


Newsletters

I've collected a few of the rat related newsletters that were in circulation during 1984/5 for your amusement.  The authors of Rat Poison didn't like Rats, the authors of Anti-Forty Times didn't like the authors of Rat Poison whilst the authors of DARTS were just funny.  Enjoy!


Rat Poison   Anti-Forty Times   DARTS   The List

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