Saturday, February 02, 2013

First Steam of the Year

Here we are again at Carlisle's Citadel Station on the second day of February, 2013. The Railway Touring Company has run the Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express from London to Carlisle, via Shap, steam hauled from Carnforth.

It's not usual to see a policeman on the platform for the train's arrival. I wonder if he's a steam fan, or if he was really 'crowd control'! Actually, there's always lots of train enthusiasts to meet an excursion like this, and of course all the passengers want to see the locomotive which has been pulling them. They had enjoyed a splendid scenic journey, given the good weather today.

Leaving the coaches parked on Platform 3 for a couple of hours whilst the visitors contribute to Carlisle's economy, 60009 Union of South Africa, and its support coach, runs round using the middle line, and sets off to turn about using the Upperby loop.

Thirty-five Gresley A4 Pacific steam locomotives were built. Union of South Africa was built in Doncaster in 1937. You can read all its history here.

Some of the passengers travelled in style. This is 'Coach of the Day'!

It's difficult to explain my fascination for steam locomotives. Yes, there's a lot of nostalgia going on. But here's the loco coupled up and waiting to head off on the return leg, via the Settle line. It's panting away like a live animal!

The locomotive crew pose for a snap!

This crest is on one side of the locomotive, below the number. It is that of the Union of South Africa, which was established in 1910 and ceased in 1961 when the country became a republic, see here. The Latin motto translates as 'From Unity, Strength'!

"All aboard!"

You can hear the distinctive Crosby chime whistle in this video here.

 
It was magical to experience the sights, sounds and smell as the train headed south.

It will be quite something when all six surviving A4s are together later this year, see here.

Photos © Skip Cottage

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