Saturday, 28 May 2016

Nobody Can Do It Like A Steam Train! The Flying Scotsman Makes A Flying Visit to Reading

The eagerly awaited Flying Scotsman steamed into Reading this morning. People, from young boys with a camera and tripod, to grey-haired couples reminiscing about the steam trains of their youth, had started gathering early on the bridge, sharing rumours about which platform it would arrive on. But, the station staff were giving nothing away. 'Look out for the steam approaching down the line,' one said, helpfully.
At last, a transport policeman whispered, 'Platform 12, but keep it to yourself!'
Like some others, we decided we'd get a better view from Platform 13. It was like waiting in a crowd for an eclipse, or perhaps the New Year; the excitement was tangible.
At last the Flying Scotsman muscled into the station, the steam filling our eyes, ears and noses with the sight, sound and smell of childhood journeys to the seaside.
This was the famous locomotive designed by Sir Nigel Gresley: its first long distance non-stop run was from King's Cross to Edinburgh nearly ninety years ago, and it was the first to reach 100 mph in November 1934. Amazingly also, from its construction in Doncaster, and service on the East Coast Line, it has travelled the world to America, Canada, and even Australia!
It has also been featured in Rev W Awdry's Railway Series as Gordon's brother in Enterprising Engines (still available on Amazon) when it helped to pull a train when its new diesel engine failed.
And famously, it starred in The Flying Scotsman (1929), a high speed thriller, legendary for its live action scene where actress Pauline Johnson clambers along the edge of the locomotive in high heels to save her father from an assailant.
So, for excitement, nostalgia and entertainment:

Nobody can do it like a steam train!


  1. Great post, Jean - thanks for sharing that. You were lucky to catch a glimpse! Husband has always been a train fan/expert and I absolutely love steam trains. Trains in general are still our favourite form of transport and we've even travelled across Canada by train.

  2. Thank you, Rosemary. It was certainly worth getting up early for!