Monday, 14 September 2009

Steam Engine on the West Highland Line

While on holiday in Scotland we stayed at a cottage in Morar. At the bottom of the garden where you could watch from the kitchen window runs the west highland line. A daily service operates on the line throughout the summer that is hauled by a steam engine. Currently the name for this service is 'The Jacobite'. It runs once a day from Fort William to Mallaig and back and the current engine is 45407 - Lancashire Fusilier. Only it's not. When operating as a mainline engine in the days of steam, she had a different name and number but when rescued from the scrap yard she was restored as the Lancashire Fusilier which was one of her sister 'Black 5' engines. She is a glorious sight to see, smell and feel as she pounds past.
Lancashire Fusilier enters Mallaig station
The station at Glenfinnan

Lancashire Fusilier pulls the train from Mallaig back to Fort William through Morar station

Many people dreamt of being engine drivers as children, but do we really know what that meant? I met Paul first when he had a problem with his PC eating his accounts and through his mother-in-law, invited him to my retirement do. I asked Paul about this steam engine he had, that his mother-in-law had told us about. He invited me along to see it and it turned out to be a 5" gauge model engine . He leant me 'The Engine driver's Manual'. You would not believe, until you read, how complex driving an engine is. It seems straight forward that if you want more steam then add water to the boiler - yes, and cold water will cool the boiler and drop the pressure. Then add coal to the fire - yes, and adding coal to a fire 'blackens' it for a while and cools the fire down. Running these engines required a knowledge of the route, the train and the engine. These guys were skilled.

No comments:

Post a Comment