Friday, September 25, 2009

Chasing steam

I'm standing in a field (above). Near a railway line. And I'm not alone. I encountered a lot of really strange people today. They were standing beside roads, in laybys, on bridges, and on station platforms. They were predominantly male, of an older vintage, although wives and partners could be seen often sitting in cars close by, reading, and, in one case, knitting. They operated cameras, and video cameras, and sometimes both. They were in touch with others by mobile phone. These patient people came from all over Scotland, and the north of England. All of them completely daft.

They are Mainline Steam Railway fans!

I learned from them facts like, "She was on time at Oxenholme." "A little late leaving Gretna." "It's a sell out, no seats when I tried to book." "It's the first time a Jubilee has been in Scotland for forty-five years." (Really?) "It's just as well she's not stopping at Beattock, so she can take a run at the hill." "Why hasn't she got a banking engine for going up Beattock, when she's got one tomorrow morning for Cowlairs?"

These people study their OS Maps and are expert in navigating the smallest of back roads.

I heard reminiscences about standing on platform ends in the 60s, visiting sheds, travelling on heritage lines. I met people that were following the train, by car, all the way to Mallaig!

These are really strange people! I'm one of them. Here are a few of my photos.

What we were all looking out for was LMS Jubilee Class 4-6-0 no 45690 Leander, pulling the Preston - Glasgow leg of the Railway Touring Company's three day excursion, The West Highlander, here photographed near Langhill Farm on its approach to Lockerbie.

A thing of beauty. Read about Leander here and here.

It does look as if this supermarket is providing a needed drink.

Pulling away from Lockerbie station.

I need a video camera! (If you want to see what Leander is like on the move, look here.)

Stopped for a rest in a loop on the Main West Coast Line near Abington.

At speed on its way up the Clyde valley near Lamington. What a wonderful day!

Pics © Skip Cottage.

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