Wednesday, November 05, 2008

60163 - got that number?

An historic day that almost slipped by unnoticed! Britain's first NEW steam locomotive for decades has undergone its first trial run.

The demise of steam is etched permanently in my memory - I was just the right age to be caught up in it. Before we were called anoraks we simply collected numbers. No, we didn't just collect numbers, we studied the different designs, the sounds they made, the defining shapes that allowed a locomotive to be spotted hundreds of yards down the line.

So this is exciting news. Most historic locomotives have been rebuilt several times over but only a few have been significantly modified. One example, 71000 Duke of Gloucester, was rebuilt according to the original plans and performs much better as a result (there is a theory that the plans were not followed in order to demonstrate that the design was a failure, so hastening the end of steam on British Railways).

60163 Tornado should be an unqualified success and it will be interesting to see it running on modern main lines, hopefully at speeds in excess of 75mph!

(A pity that the Telegraph got one thing wrong - a locomotive is only part of a train, unless, of course, it isn't pulling anything!)