Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Darlington Collecting Dog Duke - 19 February 1906


A familiar figure to travellers on the main line of the North Eastern Railway between York and Newcastle, via Harrogate, is the Darlington collecting dog Duke.

A little more than two years ago a collie got out of a train at Bank Top station, Darlington, and as none of the passengers admitted ownership, it was taken in charge by the stationmaster, Mr G. H Laidler. He advertised that the dog was awaiting a claimant, but no application was received. The stationmaster thought it might be turned to good account. Accordingly a saddle, with two collecting boxes attached, was made for Duke, who was then sent out to solicit donation for the Railway Servants Orphanage.

Duke soon learned the difference between dining-car corridor trains, ordinary expresses, and “slows,” and for months past he has confined his attentions almost exclusively to the dining car trains. He generally makes two journeys a day to York and back, and one to Harrogate and Newcastle.

When the train stops at any of these big centres he alights and carries on his collecting on the platform until the arrival of another diner, in which to make the return trip. During a little over two years Duke has been the means of handing over to the orphanage nearly £200.

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