I know it happens every year – in one form or another there will be steam specials on the line between York and Scarborough – but it evokes a special sort of nostalgia in me. You may just find me on a bridge somewhere with a camera pointing at a feint plume of smoke and steam in the distance anticipated the smell and rumble of the locomotive as it passes beneath me on it’s way to the coast.
Tornado leaves York Station. I was with my son, Warwick, who uses a wheelchair so I only had time to snatch a few hand held shots over the heads of the crowd. But it has atmosphere and captures the excitement of seeing this loco under steam and hauling at train.
Many thanks to the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust for making this day possible. If it makes money and pays off it’s debts it’ll be a miracle – but the joy of this first trip will be remembered fondly by many. We Brits are still able to match the engineering skills of a generation or two ago.
The chimney belching smoke and steam also reminded me that the golden age of steam never existed. It was without a doubt a coal black age.
The steam era on British Rail officially ended almost forty years ago in August 1968 when a Britannia Class engine named “Oliver Cromwell” hauled a train from Liverpool Lime Street to Carlisle. The story is told here:
A new exhibition about the end of steam hauled trains opens at the National Railway Museum in York on May 24 called 1968 and all that. It’s only there for the half term holiday until 1st June. Entrance to the museum if free but it’ll cost you £11 for the exhibition.
My young grandson has gone home with him mum and dad today. He is such an inquisitive boy – there’s something he wants to explore at every turn. I felt it my grandfatherly duty to introduce him to the National Railway Museum whilst he was here in York.
Surely every small boy has a right to be shown the giant iron machines that used to haul our trains around the country in the days of steam. One day he may become a Friend of the National Railway Museum like his grandad!