Painter John’s tribute to rail line is on the right track

John Matthews painting of the WLR line

John Matthews painting of the WLR line

John Matthews grew up with “railways all around”, and the amateur artist has been painting scenes from memory of the Preston-Southport line, which closed 50 years ago in September.

John, 62, a former BNFL worker from Cop Lane, Penwortham, said the paintings combine his two main interests – art and railways.

He said: “I’ve been painting for about 10 years. I’ve always wanted to do it, and when I finished work, I took it more seriously.

“I’m self-taught and I’ve learned through my mistakes, but people seem to be very interested whenever I display my work.”

John was 12 when the line closed in 1964, a victim of the infamous ‘Beeching Axe’, designed to restructure the 
network as the era of car ownership dawned.

He said: “At the time I was just a boy and at that age photography wasn’t something you did.

“I have found myself in later life thinking ‘I wish I’d taken a picture of that’, but if I can recreate the scenes from memory and some old photos that other people have taken, then that’s 

John has displayed some of his paintings at Penwortham Gala, and held a pop-up stall during Preston Guild.

He added: “A lot of people have come up to me with their memories of the line, and I’ve ended up selling quite a lot of my work, even though it’s not really what I intended to do.”




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