I was recently looking at someone else's photograph that they took of the locomotives on their first rail tour. Mine was the Home Counties Railway Club special to Swindon for a tour of the Works and the new GWR Museum that had opened only a couple of days earlier. For some bizarre reason we had 30850 Lord Nelson on the train that arrived at Paddington facing the wrong way and had to be turned, thereby putting us away 15 late. Given the load of 12, we ran pretty well and covered the 77 miles non stop in 92 minutes including three significant checks - one of which was at Reading, so nothing new there then. Coming home on time it was a similar problem at Didcot and again at Reading. Anyway, it prompted me to remind myself of the first time I put together a day out recording steam on my own. I won't tell you how young I was but with hindsight I am amazed that my parents had great faith in me to do the day on my own given that I did ask permission to do it. It was the Eastleigh Works Open Day in August 1961. 1130 down with 34022 Exmoor. Around the shed with 97 locos present then around the scrap yard with rare stuff in there like E1 No. 32694 and doomed beauties like T9 30715. Finally into the Works with nothing being moved around of course but plenty of trip hazards. However this was 'common sense' 1961. Merchant 9 in for a general overhaul and 34051 on an intermediate. Sitting in the works yard was 35028 looking good but looking even better was 34006 resplendent after a general overhaul. And sadly no camera with me - then or subsequently for quite a while, sadly. Back to the station for 30127 on an Eastleigh-Fawley service down to Soton. Onwards to Brockenhurst with Merchant 8 on the 1330 down. 30029 (push/pull) to Lymington then further west to B'mth with 34105 on the Birkenhead- B'mth West service. A visit to B'mth MPD with 29 on shed before returning to Soton with 76062 as far as Brockenhurst on an Eastleigh service and then waiting just 25 minutes for 30917 Ardingly on the following Bournemouth - Brighton train. What a gem of a pickup. Last but not least, I had French Line CGT with the Patchett/Holloway combination on the summer 2140 arrival. Only 8 coaches with a Merchant Navy! Basically, he played with the train and went through Woking with 27 minutes to get to Waterloo. That was his downfall. Checked at Surbiton and again at Wimbledon because of a late running Guildford New Line service so we were 5 late into Waterloo. I had almost as much fun planning the day as actually doing it. After that I was hooked and the planning of extended trips courtesy of the Southern Region tome that was their printed timetable became the norm. Next it was the weekly Southern all lines ticket to get on as many remaining steam routes as possible. But that's another story.