George Grant is large, clumsy, well-meaning and scared of very many things. There’s his sharp-voiced, disapproving mother; his forbidding old grandfather, Robbie, who works in the signalbox at Highley Station. But most of all George is scared of the prospect of starting work as a lad porter for the Great Western Railway.
On his first day George discovers a whole new world run by the formidable stationmaster of Highley, Mr Albert Arthur Jellicoe. George is instructed in his many duties and makes many mistakes, culminating in the dreadful day the pick-up goods arrives.
The start of the 20th century was a good time for the Great Western Railway. Its network of branch lines flourished in a manner not to be continued after the First World War and the country station was the heart of the community. Everything arrived and departed by train: news, gossip, goods, even an under-kitchenmaid, arriving to work at the big house, whom George tentatively befriends.
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