Friday, 6 February 2009

Another Shovelful of Steam

I went back to the Railway Museum last weekend, and invited my mother along. She's 86, and leaps at the chance to go out and about. It's one of those things she misses greatly since my father died, the way he'd say "Let's go somewhere", and take her on a meandering journey interspersed with lunch at some quiet market-town, a stop at an ancient castle, or a stately garden.
So yes, carpe diem is her motto. And she carpe'd with both hands, pausing only to grab her trusty walking stick, scarf, and handbag.

"Do they have any trains from the Great Western Railway?"she asked.
"Of course", was the reply. I directed her toward a great green locomotive, Lode Star, by name.
This loco was built in the Great Western works at Swindon in 1907. At the time when her father, after coming home from the sea, and marrying his sweetheart, was an engineer for the GWR at the Swindon Works.
Near the loco, two museum staff members were working, and she asked them questions about Lode Star.

This locomotive did two million, five thousand eight hundred and ninety-five miles in service before being retired in 1951.