Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Clear Those Winter Miseries With a Little Steam

Some of you may remember me posting pictures of the National Railway Museum, in York, not far from my home.On that page there's a video of the first scheduled outing of a shiny new steam locomotive, built to the highest standards of 1940's steam technology, and coming into commission in 2009.
It was, of course, a crazy concept. A lot of steam enthusiasts raising money to build a giant toy.

The railway modeller's dream. A full sized locomotive. But still, the modern railway industry would say, a toy, not practical.... All this year, 6163 Tornado has been hauling steam excursion trains, in all the regions of britain, and countrywide. -Distances like the London to Edinburgh mainline run, faultlessly.
Then comes winter. The much vaunted super high-tech London to Paris expresses curl up and shiver, the Channel Tunnel is put out of action.
Across southern England, commuter trains fail, leaving many commuters stranded on snowbound stations, far from home.
But the Tornado is hauling the Cathedrals Express in the region, so they shovel a bit more coal on, and announce that they will call at the stations and take the commuters home. How's that for steampunk technology in the modern age? And they do, flawlessly, whilst the southern region's 21 st century trains shiver, whimper, and sneeze, impotent in a light snowfall.


BBC News "Passengers were rescued by a steam locomotive after modern rail services were brought to a halt by the snowy conditions in south-east England.
Trains between Ashford and Dover were suspended on Monday when cold weather disabled the electric rail.
Some commuters at London Victoria faced lengthy delays until Tornado - Britain's first mainline steam engine in 50 years - offered them a lift.
They were taken home "in style", said the Darlington-built engine's owners."


  1. Well, it works. That's nice.
    I just noticed my flying car in this video never really gets that far off the ground, it never even clears the trees. Kind of like how the mono wheels never go up & down hills or turn hairpin corners. I'm so disillusioned.

  2. And it's not really a flying car, is it? Not like the ones we were promised, it needs a runway, and you have to unfold the wings, and so on... Not like just backing it out of your garage in the morning, levitating to 150 feet, and hitting auto to take you to work....

  3. Hey, just a minute... you embedded a link there. That's , that's -witchery, that is!

  4. Someday there will be a train in orbit around the Earth.

  5. QF: that's scary, given how things in orbit tend to fall out of it if they slow down. The stations would need to hold passengers in baskets so you could be snatched up by the passing train's boarding scoops, without it slowing.
    Then there's the business of coaling. Maybe there are coal asteroids up there.

  6. Max, Awesome indeed. I find these giants, all power, steam, visible working bits, to be very inspiring. Whereas a conventional modern, streamlined, high speed..... oh, sorry, I fell asleep thinking about modern rail things.

    I mean, you get on one of these steam things, and... you could find yourself in 1935.


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