From Railway World December 1969

Demise of theĎ gricerí


Well, we've preserved nearly every movable object (steam, that is) on British Railways, but perhaps the greatest unpreserved loss has been the gricer, or full time railway enthusiast. Illustrated alongside is the prototype design; note the particularly salient features of the species. Perhaps the most essential feature is the ankle-length gaberdine mac; the "shortie" version is shown here. The sight of scores of these triffid-like figures sliding through the fields of Shap in the rain will certainly be long remembered. Other features of the prototype include the inevitable cameras and tape recorder: with added luxuries such as multi-coloured ball point pens, binoculars, National Health spectacles and army surplus pack. The prototype's brain is powered by a computer which feeds instant useless information; this is then analysed and usually rejected by other computers of the same type. We are happy to report that some survivors are still at work and have been sighted on the Sussex borders recently; nevertheless we feel that for posterity one member of the class ought to be preserved before it is too late, perhaps to stand guard over the new York museum. Who will start the fund for donations?
BELOW: A favourite activity of the true gricer was the mass gathering, seen here in action near the end of steam. This photograph shows the production version of the railway enthusiast in which many detail differences are apparent from the prototype ABOVE: The prototype railway enthusiast conforming in all details to specification, although as can be seen in the photograph below there were variations. Many gricers were little different in design to the prototype.

The individual tended to be overshadowed by the masses. Two non-gricers are seen here, above left, showing a new photographic stance and, above right, demonstrating how to beat the ticket collector.

RIGHT: Training to become a true railway photographer begins early in life. Whether this photographer will become an individual or join the masses will depend on his upbringing as a railway enthusiast and the influence of societies. [D. Booth; Other photographs by C. J. McBarr