Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Carlisle Double

A cold January Saturday was perhaps too early in the year to begin my 2014 trainspotting activities, but I just could not stay away. Here the Railway Touring Company's Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express railtour (see here) arrives in Carlisle, double headed.

Lead locomotive was ex-LNER class B1 4-6-0 No 61264 (see here), backed up by LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 No 45407 'The Lancashire Fusilier' (here). What a sight!

 Running round.

Ready for the off, to head south via Settle.

You can find some great YouTube footage of the railtour online, for example here, and here, and here (in which I make a brief inadvertent appearance). But for a quick 47 second 'taster' click here!

My most enjoyable read so far this year has been Terry Pratchett's novel 'Raising Steam'.  It's all about the introduction of railways to the Discworld (more here)! Iron Girder, the first steam engine, is described as "Coal and metal and water and steam and smoke, in one glorious harmony." Yes!

As the locomotive is unveiled, "'Aye, what is it?'And this, in fact, was directed to a small wide-eyed urchin, who seemed to have miraculously appeared by the side of the track. Sinmel looked on gravely as the urchin took out a very small notebook from his jacket pocket and meticulously wrote down the numeral 1 as if it were a command." Very clever! Full marks to Terry Pratchett on this offering, the fortieth book in the Discworld series. Just wonderful.

Photos © Skip Cottage


  1. Hi, Bob. Sorry for the random comment, but this is driving me crazy. Can you explain this passage to me? The book's just been released today (in America), and both I and my husband are stumped here. Thanks so much, and love the pictures on your blog.
    Sallie Paris
    Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

  2. You probably have to be of a certain age, and been a small boy (an urchin) here in the UK in the 1950s and early 1960 to appreciate this. A big hobby for many back then was 'trainspotting', gathering the numbers of the locomotives we would see at stations or at the lineside. Pratchett's passage gives a nod to the fact that someone must have been the first to so do! Just makes me smile. The Ian Allan ABC books made it easier to pursue the hobby, see here:

    Hope this helps.

  3. Wow, that makes perfect sense, and thank you so much for responding so quickly. I can almost always figure out Pratchett's little jokes--if I don't miss them entirely, that is--but this one was driving me mad! So grateful you were there to soothe my mind. All the best!