A reblog of Phil’s excellent post which kind of sums up what many feel about these machines. Why steam generates such emotion half a century after its general demise on this island isn’t certain but I suspect it’s because these locomotives are perhaps the nearest thing humans have created to a living, breathing animal. Like aome kind of strange, genetically engineered beast of burden.
One minor observation on the original post though; whilst the A4s were indeed painted black during the latter half of the second world war, they finished their days in dark green. That said, on the North Eastern Region it was often hard to tell under the crusty layers of soot by 1964!
THEY’RE just machines aren’t they? One hundred and two tons of metal forged and hammered into shape to fulfil a function.
Well yes, and no. If that’s all they were we wouldn’t care about them would we?
Not only do we care, we are in awe of these machines. This morning I involuntarily smiled when I heard one of them whistle, a sound carried on the breeze across the north of Darlington, as it made its way down the branch line from Shildon.
And we cared in huge numbers over the last week or so as the remaining six Class A4 Pacific steam locomotives went on show at Locomotion in Shildon (http://www.nrm.org.uk/PlanaVisit/VisitShildon) in an event named The Great Goodbye.
I was one of 18,000 to visit on Saturday. Organisers expected 72,000 visitors over the nine days, they eventually welcomed 120,000. Shildon, not a…
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