Sunday, 24 November 2013

train travel 2050 style

We took the Cathedrals Express to Ludlow yesterday, picking it up at Bath.

We topped up with water at Magor.

REAL carriage interior!

Hereford stop.

Britannia at Bristol Temple Meads. 

Perhaps the most enduring image of the day ...
We took our first ever steam excursion yesterday, taking the Cathedrals Express from Bath to Ludlow. I wasn't sure what to expect. I have of course travelled by steam on the main line before, but don't have any memories of it! And apart from a few brief glimpses of steam in the sixties - at Waterloo, Ryde, Lyminster and a few other places that was it! Seen plenty on heritage lines, but that's a whole different experience.
All in all it was a great experience but what struck me really strongly was how much a look into the future it is. A busy train, real coaches with space to sit and windows to look out of, superb service and, of course, all pulled by a locomotive that can run on sustainable fuel. The most striking example of this future experience was when we ran alongside an allotment in south Wales, with rows of compost bins looking over vegetables and good soil with a steam train in the background!
On the return we got a taste of the past, or what will soon be the past - a diesel loco heading the train. Britannia stayed on to provide (rather ineffective!) steam heating, but the diesel was doing most of the work.
As always I urge people to get out and travel behind diesel and photograph them as much as possible - it won't be many years before they are replaced by electric and steam locos, and once they are gone they really will be gone forever.
But the highlight of the day, for me and many others standing on the station, was watching - and listening - to Britannia reversing through the main station and vanishing in the dark on its way to London.

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