Two white-on-black railway-style pet memorials with floral offerings.

Heritage steam railways attract many memorials to commemorate those that created, worked and supported them. These often take the form of plaques applied to buildings and benches. The commemoration might reflect the support of the dead during their lifetime and/or money and other bequests left upon their deaths.

A sub-set of railway memorials are those to animals. Pet cemeteries and memorials are a fascinating topic for research and memorials to animals constitute one interesting dimension of railway commemoration more generally.

I recently noted three animal memorials/graves publicly placed line-side memorials to lost pets at a heritage steam railway. One looked recent and was a simple wooden cross. Two were recent but take a more permanent form. As well as incidences of memorials to animals, they are a good example of how memorial form and location interact. This is because these memorials are not only beside the railway and the sheds where much of the enthusiasts’ work is done. In addition, their form is directly inspired by railway metal line-side milestones.

From the life-span commemorated on one, I’m guessing these are memorials to dogs. There was a steam dog tied up beside a family working to clean and maintain the steam enginges close by. I think the combination of form and location create a powerful connection between the loved and lost animals to the lives and owners’ passions and interest for the steam railway.

Previously, I have written about stuffed memorials on railway stations, notably Station Jim on Slough Station.