Thursday, 8 December 2011

Fiery Monster

Kicking about on a delayed train at sunrise were a group of young passengers making urgent phone calls, trying to set up a rendezvous, unsure of where they were supposed to be working that day. What kind of a job is it where you don't even know where you are supposed to be?

As we drew in to a station there was a rip in time and we went past a steam train, its throat glowing like a waking dragon and the steam and smoke blowing out of its lungs, a glittering tail of dining coaches decked out in tinsel and sparkling glass.

The young people jumped up, calling "Hurrah, there she is" and "Everybody ready to work, let's go". Then they rushed across the platform to their train which had been held for them as they are the waiting staff on a time machine.

Forget being an air hostess - is there any more glamorous or romantic work than crewing on a time-warp?


JuliaM said...

Ahhh, there's one of those beasts (Britannia) travelling on the c2c line at the weekend.

I might pop down and see her go through...

banned said...

A few of those pass nearby during the summer season; they always draw an audience but it won't be long before the joyless AWG crowd call to ban them.

Woman on a Raft said...

Yes, you can see the AWG crowd tutting and demanding carbon offsets at booking - it's on the forms.

However, despite BR withdrawing steam trains on pollution grounds, a quick survey shows that the age of steam and diesel remains popular with the tourist trade and, moreover, it's a trade which brings or keeps money in the country.

I must admit that if money were no object there are dozens of UK rail tours I'd like to take.

The Santa Special out on the North Norfolk line stands out as a day to remember. That line runs through woods and across the fields next to the coast. There's nothing like the rattle of the carriage and the whistle and puffs of smoke as the driver salutes the sea.

The volunteers all work very hard to put on a Christmas show at the stations and Santa lives in the little waiting room at the end with a real log fire.

Prices are comparable to a regional theatre ticket.

Anonymous said...

A heart-warming moment!

Even I would have been impressed with the young folks joy at the loco arriving, I would have phoned in sick and jumped on.

MTG said...

Gorgeous, just gorgeous.
That train is a work of Art which, in spite of a superficial masculinity, invokes the strong desire to caress plates of steel.

I think I need a lie down.

Woman on a Raft said...

You'll be wanting to go on the Dominion of New Zealand, MTG.

Forty years that one was in storage due to a cracked firebox and then it was resurrected to fly again, an iron angel in remembered blue.

MTG said...

Aaah thank you, WOAR.
I do remember the Dominion but sadly what I cannot recall, is the fate of my beloved Big Book of Trains, which depicted the best in huge colour prints. (sniffles)

Anonymous said...

We went on the North Yorks Railway from Pickering to Grosmont in a steam train with old fashioned carriages.

The rocking motion was like being back in my pram and I fell asleep in minutes!

Woman on a Raft said...

Driver at the engine,
fireman rings the bell,
Sand man swings the lantern,
to show that all is well.

Rocking, rolling, riding,
out along the bay,
All bound for Morningtown,
many miles away.


Oh yes, that's a lovely ride. I haven't been able to go all the way to Whitby, but perhaps in the New Year I'll be able to do it. I stopped at Goathland, though, as one of our party is a Heartbeat fan and wanted to visit the locations.

For anyone who wants an idea of the beauty of Goathland, this is a large album of pictures,

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Ah, the Pickering to Grosmont line.

Wonderful happy memories, what a glorious part of the country.

And wait - someone has built a brand new steam engine which is certified to work on Network Rail's tracks. Google Tornado. Awesome!

Woman on a Raft said...

Not only a new steam engine, but one with increased water capacity and all the modern electronic systems.

If you were a locomotive engineer with management experience and fancied a three-day week looking after this beauty during her working season, that dream job has just become available. It is described as the job opportunity of a lifetime, and just for once that is true.

The Locomotive Manager will be responsible for all engineering and operational activities during the operating season, which typically runs from early February to December. The LM will also play a leading role in regular locomotive examinations, including the C Exam which takes place during annual maintenance in January each year.

This position would be attractive to an experienced railway industry manager looking for a change of scene and the opportunity to join one of the UK’s most successful steam locomotive operating organisations. It may also be of interest to people who are currently active on the engineering or operations side of the heritage railway movement.

The most important quality of the successful candidate will be an ability to recruit, train, manage and motivate the engineering and operational team that supports the locomotive throughout the season. This team includes a mixture of paid contract staff and volunteers, who possess a wide range of skills and abilities but share a high level of commitment to the A1.

See news item Tuesday 22 November 2011

It is indeed awesome.