Retired Bradford police inspector Philip Balmforth was chuffed, figuratively speaking, by Mark Neale’s article about A4 steam locomotives in Remember When? (November 21).

“I was aware of the A4 get-together for next year and had forgotten completely about Golden Fleece and Golden Shuttle. Now the memory has been jogged I do recall them,” said Philip.

“It was rare for me to progress to Exchange Station, but was aware of the West Riding Limited. My days were on the Airedale side of things, where I was known through my father by staff/crews, watching the Thames Clyde Express to Glasgow and The Waverley to Edinburgh.

“My father worked for British Rail on track maintenance in the North-East Region and he was based at various locations – Apperley Bridge, Shipley, Bingley, ending up at the Saltaire section, where we lived.

“He also worked all the way north up to and including Appleby and was one of the men who went along to dig out the stranded steam engine that became stuck in snow drifts, well recorded, at Dent.

“Following reorganisation, in his last five years or so, he then worked the Shipley-Esholt Junction, on the Wharfedale line, three days a week, the remaining two in Valley Road goods yard – all on track maintenance – alone.

“As a result of being from a railway family, and him receiving free and privilege tickets, everywhere we went was by rail and it becomes part of your family.

“Ah joy, the steam-powered Devonian from Forster Square to Paignton on summer Friday nights, a 12-hour journey, changing engines and crews all over the country, free-of-charge.

“I would often go to Manningham loco shed, number 55F, and sometimes Holbeck, but that was better policed and I would get thrown off. “Manningham was on the Airedale line.

“All the steam engines were allocated to a home shed and wherever they ended up would always be returned there by working a train back to that location.

“As the A4s became replaced on the East Coast main line by Deltics (diesels) they were put into use for all sorts of work.

“I recall on at least two occasions going to Manningham loco shed and seeing A4 Pacifics being marshalled around the shed, mainly to be restocked with coal/water and turned on the loco shed turntable.

“They were being used for freight purposes into and out of Valley Road goods yard, and to see one of these majestic streamlined engines being slowly driven on to the shed points and crossings, when taking into account the length of them and number of wheels and weight, you could see and hear the lines being stretched and you really did think it would derail.”