I was going to ask Rossa to run this tomorrow but it’s so obviously an evening post that it couldn’t wait. Enjoy:

I was down in Somerset last week with my Mum and while we were there we went to see Tornado. The brand new, A1 Peppercorn class steam engine, which was built mainly by volunteers and railway enthusiasts. I say brand new yet she’s covered 25,000 miles now!

We were able to follow her on her run out to Minehead as the road runs alongside the railway and we could watch her in action and going over the bridges we drove under.

What a fine sight. I have a soft spot for these icons of a bygone age and have seen the Sir Nigel Greeley in the past as I live not far from the Settle Carlisle line. We have a number of steam railways near us. Worth Valley, Embay near Skip ton and of course the North Yorkshire railway that goes from Pickering. That one is now allowed to go through to the coast at Whitby after successful negotiations with Railtrack last year.

I love these sorts of things where the plans to build her were uncovered and enough people were interested enough to get her built and to donate the funds to do so. It fits in with my love of TV shows like the History Detectives and Restoration. Though I’ve never gone a bundle on Tony Robinson’s Time Team, sorry Baldrick. I like my history still standing not in bits in the ground.

I’ve tried to work out why I love classic and vintage cars, old buildings, machinery like the steam driven ones and bits and pieces of history. I even visited a Mill in Nottingham that still has a 400 year old lace making loom that works. And the owner, aged 72, jumped up on one that was from the 18th century to demonstrate how it works. He had all the modern knitting machines but these were the ones he loved. He was the guardian of the history of lace making in his area. In this case the visit was to do with a new business I am setting up, more later on that, and there are other links to the history of this area in the posts I’ll do on that later.

What is it that draws us back before our time to an era we have never lived in? Or have we? Well that’s another discussion.

I have all the mod cons at home with a modern car, all the technology and gadgets and yet I’m drawn to how things were done before, how they’ve stood the test of time and still appeal to people today. I’ve no wish to go back to cooking over an open fire and I’ve love to travel to the stars one day. There’s just something timeless about these things that really appeals to me.

I read somewhere recently that history is just the evolution of thought. Well to whoever had the thoughts that led to these pioneering things that fascinate me, I salute you.


Rossa can be reached here. Her other posts can be found from the left sidebar on this site.

7 comments for “Tornado

  1. QM
    September 23, 2010 at 20:52

    Some of it is that you can see exactly how they work, something you can’t do with modern machines with all their guards. Some of it is harking back to our childhoods.
    But there’s something very majestic about old machinery.

  2. September 23, 2010 at 20:55

    Certainly is, QM.

  3. Patrick Harris
    September 23, 2010 at 20:59

    May I recommend The Great Dorset Steam Fair held annually near Blandford Forum, If you are so in love with steam and all it’s applications (I was truly amazed at the contraptions on display) all in fully working order, I would take a large supply of tissues and some clean jeans.
    You will never see, in one place, so many 45 – 80 year old boys and girls.
    The fair also sports one of the biggest and best stocked beer tents I have ever seen, all reasonably priced.

  4. MTG
    September 23, 2010 at 21:02

    This locomotive is no less beautiful or fascinating than one of CP’s nature shots.

  5. September 23, 2010 at 22:51

    A very interesting post and you have given me some new ideas of places to visit 🙂

    and thanks MTG 🙂

  6. JD
    September 24, 2010 at 08:23

    The art critic David Lee has said that Sir Nigel Gresley is one of England’s finest artists with his designs for steam locomotives.

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