It has been a very long time since regular steam operated in the United Kingdom.
While there were many Railway “Gricers” around in the old days, those of us who are still around for the most part were simply too young to get to see anything but Newsreels, or read tales from Ian Allen and OS Knock.
With the advent of the internet, comes the ability to scan old images and store them for all to view. Hopefully this will be a permanent reminder of the days of steam and grime, when you could be hit by cold dust or warm “primed” water when you stuck your head out the window.
Make sure you take a look at the video at the end too.
There are the express trains thundering along main lines at near 100 mph. Long before the TGV, Britain had an excellent high speed rail network, operated by steam Pacifics.
One can only image the thrill of the Flying Scotsman taking water at high speed. I would love to hear your comments on this experience after reading this article.
It must have been amazing to see these highly tuned machines speeding across the countryside on crack express trains. It was not just “Mallard” and the “Flying Scotsman” that featured, but many other great classes of steam locomotives.
I remember purchasing a “Castle” (model that is) when I was around 16 to run on my model railway layout, I still have it, although it is preserved now and hasn’t seen action for many years! I did like those 4-6-0s and one of them actually came to Australia, a purchase of Hammersley Iron and Steel. Unfortunately it eventually made its way back to the old country.
As in any railway, the backbone of revenue is the freight services. While the standard British goods locos look rather similar, and they are large in number, they are still of considerable interest.
In Australia, not far from where I now live, we had some ROD 2-8-0s operating until the 1980s. They are as close as I got to seeing regular British steam in operation.
One of my favourite British locomotives is the 8F. I managed to see one on the Severn Valley Railway. I purchased a Hornby model of this loco back in the 1960s.
I dug deep to find a few websites that feature great shots of British steam.