My first ride of the day was the 10.07 Virgin Trains service heading for Birmingham, stopping at Oxenholme and Lancaster. I got off at Preston where the Voyager had arrived right on time.
Now, I knew it would be busy... and it was! I'm pleased that the event has been such a success, as the NRM has come in for considerable criticism in the past year or so. I'm fond of the museum and have visited many times. But I've never seen crowds like this. Wonderful. Given that there has been talk that the museum may have to close (for example, see here), the success of this fortnight's event must be welcome.
I just wanted to go to York this week, and be part of a unique occasion. I wasn't disappointed. I'm glad I made the effort. Photography was well nigh impossible. But, above (right to left) is Dominion of Canada, Mallard and Bittern. Note DoC's bell! Of these locomotives, only Bittern still steams, and I photographed it working up the East Coast Main Line back in 2010, see here. (That was the day when it set fires on a number of embankments, and was taken out of service for investigation and repairs almost immediately!) That year I also saw Mallard being pulled to Shildon behind Tornado, here.
here. As has Union of South Africa, see here.
here. It's usually an attraction at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA. It has received a 'cosmetic restoration' at the NRM's workshops in York since arriving from the States, and looked spectacular yesterday.
Exporail (the Canadian Railway Museum) at Delson/Saint-Constant, Quebec, having been donated to celebrate Canada's centennial. From the photos I've seen, it looked in a rather poor condition there, but has received a excellent 'cosmetic restoration' at Shildon, and looks splendid now. I particularly liked the side valances. I found it interesting to be standing at rail level, and appreciating the height of the locomotive, rather than the usual view from a platform.
Some appreciation of what was involved in getting these two locomotives from North America can be seen in this video of them being loaded onto Atlantic Conveyor at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on route to Liverpool. It's one thing to have an idea 'How about getting the two A4s back to this country for Mallard's anniversary', but it is quite another to have made it all happen. I'm in awe of those who had the ideas and worked through the logistics of the operation. The locomotives will return to their home museums next year.
Class 150 DMU, seen here on arrival at Lancaster. The first part of this journey, via Shipley, Bingley, Keighley, Skipton, Gargrave, Hellifield and Long Preston, was familiar to me, as it's the route from Carlisle to Leeds via Settle. But just before Settle yesterday, we looped west via Giggleswick, Clapham, Bentham, and Weddington towards Carnforth. I had wanted to travel this line some years ago in the reverse direction, and was waiting at Carnforth when the service was cancelled that day. But all went well yesterday, and indeed the scenery yesterday was quite magical - blue skies, green fields. Very pleasant.
It had been an interesting day, going to new places, seeing beautiful scenery, experiencing the good and the bad about train travel in 2013, with a wallow in nostalgia included.
Photos © Skip Cottage