Tag Archives: Alice in Wonderland

Fine day on the moors

‘The Pocket Rocket’ No.76079 leaves a fine trail of exhaust as she passes the tiny hamlet of Esk Valley, and gets to grips with the long climb up onto the North Yorkshire Moors. Several of the houses in the long white terrace seem to be owned by railway enthusiasts – some from Lancashire! No.76079 is from Lancashire too, built in Horwich, in 1957, she began her railway service at Sutton Oak and finished it in Springs Branch (Wigan) 10 years later.

Just thinking about that – 10 years, the life span of a boiler ticket, and then the scrap heap. For the vast majority of locomotives built in the British Railways era very short life spans were the norm. Even the first builds, in 1951, and even if they hung on till the death, only lasted 17 years, less than two boiler tickets. In what kind of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ world does this even begin to make sense.  In one of the Alice adventures there’s the line, ‘why even the smoke was worth a £1000 a puff’. Need I say more.

Above is the link to Part I of my memories of footplate life in the 1960s. The book about my lifetime of involvement with matters railway is still  available on Amazon – Below, is the link to that work.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

Steam Age Daydreams 2019 Calendar is now on sale here’s the link:  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/302936132284

Steam Age Daydreams began in 2014 and since then over 600 blogs have appeared on all manner of railway topics.  They are all still available to read in the ‘Archive’ section. I am writing this to let you all know that when the existing webhosting contract expires in December there are, currently, no plans to renew it – Steam Age Daydreams will cease.

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Here’s loching at you kid!

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On reflection, my punning choice of title probably only makes sense to anyone familiar with the old black and white movies of Humphrey Bogart, and ‘Casablanca’ in particular. Living, as we do, in a world which often seems ‘topsy turvy’ and reality little more than smoke and mirrors – here’s an image which turns smoking reality on its head, as it were. A train load of passengers, enjoying an Alice in Wonderland journey, watching themselves through a looking glass loch, they wend along Highland glens,  bark at steep gradients, climb over wild moors where the Red deer roam, as they ride the former Highland Railway  to the Kyle of Lochalsh.

This particular Loch is Lochluichart, not one of the better known lochs but, it does have its very own railway station and, as you can see, on this morning it was absolutely calm, the air cool and slightly damp, creating the wonderful trailing exhaust hanging in the quiet stillness, of an early, Spring, morning. The locomotive is Gresley’s K4 2-6-0, No.61994 The Great Marquess, an engine specifically built to work in the Highlands, on the Glasgow – Mallaig services. The train is the ‘Great Britain’ rail tour excursion from Inverness to the Kyle of Lochalsh, a tiny out post on Scotland’s west coast.

The line also passes through the little village of  Strome Ferry, the road sign for which reads Strome Ferry ( No Ferry). According to Wikipedia, a band of local Shinty players called their team, Strome Ferry ( No Ferry), about as surreal as capitalism and its portrayal in Alice in Wonderland!!

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.
http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/
You might also enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' the sales of which help to keep this blog running.
http://www.amazon.com/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
or for British readers.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
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Head On

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2015 sees some little and some large centenaries. On the little side 2015 is the 100th anniversary of the re-gauging of the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, to the 15″ gauge we’ve come to know and love. On the large side we have Britain’s most deadly train crash, the Quintshill disaster which happened on May 22nd 1915, amongst the dead were 216 troops en-route to Gallipoli. Sticking with the war theme 2015 is also the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo and on a less belligerent note it is also the 150th anniversary of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.

In ‘Alice through the Looking Glass‘  we have this wonderful exchange, which could have come straight from yesterday;  ‘Now then! Show your ticket, child!’ the Guard went on, looking angrily at Alice. And a great many voices all said together (‘like the chorus of a song,’ thought Alice), ‘Don’t keep him waiting, child! Why, his time is worth a thousand pounds a minute!’

‘I’m afraid I haven’t got one,’ Alice said in a frightened tone: ‘there wasn’t a ticket-office where I came from.” And again the chorus of voices went on. ‘There wasn’t room for one where she came from. The land there is worth a thousand pounds an inch!’

‘Don’t make excuses,’ said the Guard: ‘you should have bought one from the engine-driver.’ And once more the chorus of voices went on with ‘The man that drives the engine. Why, the smoke alone is worth a thousand pounds a puff!’

‘Why, you could all donate a thousand pounds to me’, said I – aaah!, just another steam age daydream!!

If you've enjoyed this post, please feel free to share with friends, rail fans, or railway groups.

http://steamagedaydreams.co.uk/

You might also enjoy my ebook 'Gricing' which contains around 100 of my photos and 37,000 words, on all things railway, and the sales of which help to keep this blog running.

http://www.amazon.com/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2

or for British readers.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-real-story-Railway-Children-ebook/dp/B00ML0QYK2
Please like & share:
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