Earlier in the year I went to see the Flying Scotsman steam train when it was doing trial runs between Bury and Rawtenstall, along with several thousand other enthusiasts. Since then it has been on a “tour of Britain” including making the journey from Kings Cross station on London to York watched by thousands along the route………there is something about this train that invokes a feeling of a different age, a nostalgia for something that has been lost (thank you Dr Beeching!).
What has been very interesting is that it is not just “old men” like me who have turned out to see it. Whilst up in the Yorkshire dales I went to Pickering station to see the train along with several thousand others, many of them young families and some with very young (excited) children, and many of those attending would only have been born well after the golden age of steam trains.
Yesterday the “Scotsman” was back running from Bury to Rawtenstall pulling coaches packed to the rafters with passengers, both young and old. I went to Rawtenstall first and photographed the train leaving the station, along with the youngest photographer I have ever seen (I think she was about three years of age and had a Nikon camera slung around her neck.
I then drove to Ramsbottom to catch the train on the return journey. I paid my £3.00 for a platform ticket (money well spent as it all goes to maintaining the East Lancs Railway) and waited for the train to arrive. The train was not scheduled to stop but because the train coming in the other direction was late we were told that the Flying Scotsman would stop for about ten minutes, never have I been so pleased that a train was late for once!
Eventually the train appeared through the trees and slowly made its way into the station, and I have to say it had been polished to within an inch of its life, it looked absolutely stunning. I took a lot of photographs and had to compete with those taking “selfies” in front of the train and families lined up to have their photographs taken at the side of the nameplate………..a lot of happy people with smiles on their faces.
After ten minutes the whistle sounded and this behemoth of a train pulled out of the station pulling a lot of coaches, inside hundreds of passengers waiving and with enormous smiles on their faces, a day there will always remember. For us on the platform it was just the sheer pleasure of seeing such a magnificent piece of engineering (step forward George Riley and Sons who virtually had to rebuild the train) restored to its former glory.
Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2016