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Originally posted August 20 2005 at 15:08 under Friends. 0 Comments. Trackbacks Disabled.


York to Scarborough and back

This entry somewhat delayed by illness, from which I’ve just about recovered now—I hope. Anyway, I thought I’d mention the fun had a week and a bit ago when my mother was still in town. Having had a very nice dinner we met up again on the Thursday for the promised train ride. When the tickets were first booked we were told the Flying Scotsman wouldn’t be available that day and the trip would actually be behind the Green Arrow. However, the poor old Green Arrow was having some technical problems (to the extent that it was in the National Railway Museum’s works—I’m still blaming my mother for this ;-)—so we got the Flying Scotsman in the end.

I should point out that my maternal grandfather was a fireman and eventually driver back in the days when steam ruled the rails. As a young girl my mother travelled extensively by rail, and indeed has ridden on the footplate of a number of steam trains before you only got to see them on heritage lines. Unfortunately my grandfather didn’t live long enough to see my birth so we never met, but the railway heritage is still there. One of granddad’s trains is actually in the railway museum (a NER 4-4-0, No. 1621). It was appropriate that we should meet up in the museum (entrance is free after all). That and the fact the cafe there actually does excellent scones.

After coffee and scones we had time for a quick wander around the museum before heading to York station to await the arrival of our train to Scarborough. There can be no sight quite like that of a steam train pulling into a platform, especially with so many hanging over the foot bridges to watch its approach. Unfortunately I was relying on my mother for the picture taking. She just bought a new (and first for her) digital camera. A pity she didn’t think to bring the connecting cables so I could steal copies before she left (she doesn’t actually own a computer…) Undoubtedly I’ll get copies eventually.

If there is no sight like a steam train pulling in there is no feeling like being pulled by one. The carriage is bouncier and the journey has an authenticity of movement lacking in today’s modern diesels and electrics. The journey towards Scarborough was delayed a couple of times but that just allowed us to enjoy the great engine for longer. Along the way a couple of books were offered for sale (and purchased). Steaming On gives information about some of the trains in the NRM. It’s an interesting read and to tell the truth the museum could do with displaying some of this sort of information, to give a flavour of why some of those trains are important. The guy selling the books actually turned out to be Ian R Smith, so that one’s signed by the author. The other book was Flying Scotsman, telling the story of the engine which was at that moment working our train. I patiently queued on reaching Scarborough to have that signed by 4472’s driver. Incidently, the first book did furnish the nice piece of information that it was exactly 37 years to the day since the last British Rail steam train ran, a commemorative train nicknamed the “Fifteen Guinea Special” on the 11 August 1968.

Unfortunately that Thursday I’d woken with a slightly bad stomach, the beginning of my being ill, and so I wander round Scarborough feeling vaguely sick and run down, not really enjoying the hour and a half or so available. The return on the Scotsman picked me up though (after I’d sat on what’s allegedly the longest seat in the world at Scarborough station), and I was able to enjoy the sensation of being taken home by the venerable engine. It’s a pity we didn’t make it back home quite in time to show my mother the Scotsman dropping off its carriages at the end of the garden (where the rail lines are) and she managed to miss it picking them up again whilst shooting off to get changed (we were going to go to dinner before I started being really ill). Never mind though, we’d been behind it. And if you do get the chance for a trip behind the Flying Scotsman I recommend it, there’s nothing quite like it (unless we can convince them to steam the Mallard again, then my mother may never leave).

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This Crazy Fool

Dr Ian Scott
Croydon (and Gateshead), United Kingdom
Bullding Services Engineer (EngDesign), PhD in Physics (University of York), football fanatic (Newcastle United), open source enthusiast (mainly Mozilla)

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