Friday, 20 July 2012


Well after my recent Blog posts about Thames Sailing Barges, here's one about Steam Trains ... well one in particular.

We have a railway line running close to the back of our garden with an 'unmanned' crossing about 10 minutes walk away.   We'd learned that Cathedral Express were operating a one day steam excursion which started at 8.40am in Cambridge and travelled via London down to us on the Kent Coast - returning to Cambridge after midnight.  The London to Ramsgate & return part of the journey was being pulled by 'Clan Line' and for all you 'train spotters' out there ... here are a few technical points (although you may already know this) LOL

35028 Clan Line was built at Eastleigh locomotive works in 1948. After a few weeks running in she was allocated first to Dover then to Stewarts Lane shed in London where she worked heavy trains on the trunk routes to the South East Channel ports, frequently working the prestige expresses, "Golden Arrow" and "The Night Ferry".
After rebuilding in 1959 she was initially allocated to Nine Elms shed where she headed such trains as the "Bournemouth Belle" and the "Atlantic Coast Express". Indeed, it was while working the A.C.E. in 1961 she was unofficially timed at 104 mph passing Axminster. On July 2nd 1967 Clan Line hauled a farewell special from Waterloo to Bournemouth and back and thus ended her BR career.  
Since 1967 Clan Line has been owned and maintained to mainline standard by the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society.  She is based in London at Stewarts Lane Depot.   In 2011 she had an intermediate overhaul and was granted another 5 year mainline ticket ... so we'll probably see more of her in the next few years

The crossing near our house ... we were joined by another couple of men who just 'happened' to be in the area when the train was due.   Why does everybody become apologetic about waiting to see a steam train.  I guess its the 'anorak' image of nerdy trainspotters with thermos flasks and notepads to hand ??

and my very own 'anorak'  .... sorry David :-)

Apologies for the camera shake ... it wasn't through excitement honestly!

The locomotive had a ten minute stop at Whitstable station to take on water (provided by two tankers from the Fire Department) and the station platform was crowded with people admiring the train - it was great to see how excited the children were because modern day trains are boring by comparison.  Nothing like the noise and smell and steam of the old fashioned engines is there?

I do like to see men happy in their jobs ..


Bev said...

Pictures for next years UKCPS exhibition then Sue?

I love steam trains, we have one which comes near to us in the summer, they do a dinner trip....very expensive, so wont be partaking.

Jo said...

Interesting Sue, lets face it, I used to ride one of those to and fro from Rochester/Chatham to Herne Bay twice a week. Then later from Strood to London every day.

A Canadian friend who now lives in Manchester, recently went to visit the Flying Scotsman, now that was a very famous train indeed. The trouble was, riding these trains, if you opened the window you were likely to get very dirty.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

its not everyday you see a steam train now, so if one was near here i would def. be taking time to see it

Chrissy said...

We have the Severn Valley in bridgnorth and the trains are just such a familiar sound of summer. I usually notice when I don't get to hear them...and wonder what is happening. Great pics :-) I have never yet done any art of them ....

sue said...

Hi Bev
We did a short steam train trip from London Victoria to Faversham for the Hop Festival in September about 10 years ago - we didn't have a meal on board but the bar was sponsored by Shepherd Neame (from Faversham) so lots of real ale for the men!

Jenifer, Its unusual for steam trains to run on this line - perhaps 3 or 4 per year so they get a lot of attention. but I won't be drawing one :-)

Jo I's sure there were lots of disadvantes to steam travel but they are so much more 'romantic' than the modern ones aren't they?

Welcome back to Blogger Chrissy. Lucky you to have regular steam trains ... and judging by your recent blogpost lots of butterflies too (we've seen very few here this Summer)