I've been interested in steam trains for as long as I can remember. I've previously blogged about my association with Flying Scotsman (here, here, here, and here) which started with me getting a Hornby train set one Christmas that I was too ill to play with. From playing with a model train I quickly moved on to wanting to see steam engines in real life and family holidays would often include a trip to a preserved steam railway, and I even spent my birthday in 2004 behind Flying Scotsman. While this all may be interesting you may be wondering why, given it's been a life long interest, I'm suddenly starting a new blog on the subject.
Over the last few years a number of things have combined that have led to this new blog. Firstly after buying our house in 2009, I now find myself with a railway at the bottom of the garden; the Penistone Line between Huddersfield and Sheffield. It turns out that during the age of steam the area around Penistone had it's fair share of accidents and I've been slowly looking into them (not full on historical research, I don't have that much free time) including buying a number of old photos.
Last year for my birthday (can you spot a pattern here) I was treated to a driver experience session on the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway. This saw me drive The Earl on a full return journey along the wonderful railway (I've blogged about this in detail before as well, although there may well be more posts). Given the title of this blog I'm using a photo from that day as the background, where you can see me through the cab window. It was a fantastic afternoon, and something that I'd jump at the chance to do again.
A month or so ago my parents bought new bedroom furniture. This meant they sorted through all the stuff that had been stored in the wardrobes including the hundreds of slides my Dad took as I was growing up. There were a lot of duplicate photos and so I've gained a whole bunch of slides showing a wide variety of steam trains, both on mainline tours and preserved railways.
The final piece of the jigsaw brings us back full circle to a Hornby train set. I've finally taken all the trains, which were stored in my parents loft for the last 15 to 20 years, and set up a basic oval of track on the dinning table. I'm in the process of cleaning each locomotive and getting them to run again (they were well stored but they all need the gears greasing and the wheels cleaning). When I was a child the railway was laid out permanently on a large piece of chipboard which lived behind the wardrobe. Running trains meant sliding it out and then laying it on my bed. Given the gap behind the wardrobe this meant that the track had to be flat, no gradients, and there wasn't room for any fixed scenery (we did have some buildings that were placed on the layout when in use). Given this I've always fancied building a more complex model railway, so once I have everything clean and working I might turn my hand to some modelling -- probably starting with some small dioramas to check I'm actually capable!
So what can you expect from this blog. Well I envisage it being a mixture of historical posts, based on what I'm learning about Penistone as well as my Dad's slides, modern trips to preserved railways, and some modelling. Of course I'm sure some of the posts will be a mixture.