“Hey There Gorgeous”

19 11 2014


In the three plus years I have been commuting from Lancaster, to Preston and back to Lancaster on the days that I have been into University (as well as the days that I have not needed to be in at University) I have had some interesting moments on the train. One time in in foundation year, I accidently boarded a train which did not stop at Lancaster train station, having to wait until I got to Oxenholme Lake District to change trains to one that was going back to Lancaster. Other times have included staying on trains that were heavily delayed and not moving, trains that were without managers or more worryingly; without drivers, trains that were going north but to the wrong destination and changing trains due to delayed trains which then begin moving without the station announcing that the train was no longer delayed; one time last week, I was on a delayed train, thinking I would stay where I am while the train waited for the train manager to arrive but decided not to inform the other passengers that other trains were available. All these though somehow don’t compare to a few weeks ago when I was boarding the train from Preston to Lancaster and the door digital Display read, “Hey There Gorgeous” on the bottom line.

Alstom Pendolino

I was at Preston station waiting for the train home; I have now cottoned on to the train time system for trains heading in my direction. It is pretty much pointless going to Preston train station for anytime on the hour or just after as most trains heading in my direction (four, six or seven at best, but a rare occurrence) don’t really arrive into Preston train station until about 20 to the hour (or 40 minutes past the hour), but then the first one is a train that by chance stops at Preston, but then goes to Glasgow Central Only, so any wonder why it stops at Preston in the intermediate time. Anyway I was waiting for the train, and a Pendolino heading for Lancaster was arriving at the train station. I checked the station board to see if it was heading for Lancaster, I then double checked the door digital display. While I was doing that I spotted a slogan that I looked back at to re-read, and it said “Hey There Gorgeous”.

Pendolino Door Display

I have not once been greeted or complimented by an actual train, so this was definitely a first. Unfortunately at the time I didn’t have my camera, so I did not take a photo of the train door, however it did actually say that. The bottom of the door display is usually blank; it doesn’t really say anything at all. On this occasion however, it actually had a phrase on it, one that was like a greeting. I have no idea how this happened or why it actually said that but I thought I would share my experience, because, well, it is kind of weird.

British Rail Class 390 Pendolino


Return of the Steam Train

19 05 2011

On Monday I was travelling from my home town of Lancaster to the Town of Middlesbrough where I attend Teesside University. I went by Train and when I was leaving York Train Station I saw something very interesting. The National Railway Museum is just next to the Train Station and outside the Museum I saw a couple of Steam Trains. One of them was a LNER Class A4 (which I accidentally thought was Mallard) with Steam coming out. There was also another train outside; The New A1 Tornado (LNER Peppercorn Class A1 60163 Tornado). What is particularly special about the A1 Tornado is that it is the First Train built by British Railways since 1960. If you are a fan of Top Gear you may recognise it as the train that raced a Jaguar XK120 and a Vincent Black Shadow in a race from London to Edinburgh. It was an amazing sight to see this Train and it had Steam coming out as well and even though I was still a bit of a distance from it, it was still Very Big.

Seeing both trains did bring to mind some interesting Ideas the main one being why not have the Steam Trains return to regular service in Britain. Most trains that run in britain today are Electric Trains or Diesel Locomotives. Steam Trains being the size they are would not really work for Commuter and Stopper Trains but why not main line trains. Some Steam trains can reach speeds of 100+ mph. Mallard holds the record for the fastest Steam Train in the world with a speed of 125.88 mph.

Now most Steam Trains these days have been retired except for a small few that are operational and are used as Attractions. If Steam Trains were to return to active main line service they would have to be brand new. That means building them again. If they were brand new they would be in better condition and that is important in terms of getting passengers to their destinations. Getting the right trains to do the job is important and in today’s world of High Speed Transport the Fastest Trains would have to be used. The trains would also have to be strong to carry large numbers of passengers because Main Line service trains need to carry plenty of people. For this Job I think the A4 Class and the Peppercorn Class are best suited for the Job (and also those are the only 2 I can currently think about). The Peppercorn Class are very Big Trains meaning that they are strong enough to pull large weights but they are also very fast for Large steam trains. The A4 Class are also Big Trains but they are also very fast Trains.

Trains to do the job is not the only issue, One issue is that of Infrastructure. With Diesel and Electric locomotives one advantages is that they don’t need to turn around because there is an engine room at both ends of the train. Steam Trains have an Engine at the front but not at the back. In order to use these trains to their full use their would need to be Turntablesat both ends of the line to turn around the engines and some track points to allow the engine to get to the front of carriages and move into position.  Also train stations with roofs over them will need to be well ventilated so that the Steam generated won’t cause health and safety problems. Building the trains is another issue because Steam Trains have not been massed produced for 51 years. There needs to be an industry and need for them to be produced in large numbers again.

I do think that a return of the Steam Train will bring more excitement to the railways so that the train journey is not just about travelling from point A to point B but will be something Fun to do as well. Yes there are issues with bringing back the Steam Train to Main Line service. It could take years before there are enough trains to meet passenger demand and the Infrastructure will need work done to it but I think that the Steam Train will bring more Excitement to the railways and add more Fun travelling by rail. I do like Diesel Locomotives and Electric Train like the Pendolino but if I was to have a choice between the Pendolino and Mallard; I would choose Mallard.


Off-Topic: Next week is my 100th Post.

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