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Once in a lifetime. I suppose…

The 6 A4s all together at York

The 6 A4s all together at York

In the end, despite being a bit grumpy about the whole thing, 3 of us GWR folk from the Glos Warks Steam Dept. made it up to York to see the A4 fest, ‘Mallard 75′ yesterday.

And we had to admit that it was one of those unique occasions that you felt glad that you had gone to.  To see all 6 A4s assembled round the turntable was impressive and one of our number did go a bit ‘trainspottery’ and had to ‘cab’ all of them. He even admitted he was going to dig out his old ABC Ian Allan Combined Volume for god knows when and underline them.  Sad but harmless, I would say.

Although, actually, he didn’t in the end because the queues were too long. But he did manage the ones that are only visiting and went home a happy chap.  Mind you, I did learn that said chap had a much more comprehensive knowledge of heritage diesels than seems healthy but no matter.  We all had a very nice time, getting in the way of photographers, enjoying the pizza and coffee and trying to sound knowledgeable to each other and anyone else who thought we might know something when discussing different styles of back head arrangements on various locomotives.

And what of  ’Truro’, I hear you ask. What indeed?: shunted into the far corner, that’s what, and looking less than properly appreciated for being the engine that actually started all this running downhill at high speed business.  You’d think they would have put it at least alongside one of the streamliners to show that you can go almost as fast as Mallard 34 years before, without streamlined casing and with fewer wheels.

The other one, the horrendously expensive one that used to be apple green, sitting sadly in a dark corner of the workshop in a sort of grubby, dusty uncared for greyish livery, looked as if work had long halted on it.  Pity really, because I want to see if Pendennis Castle can still thrash it out of sight in a re-enactment of the 1925 Locomotives Exchanges.

Funnily enough, though, I came away thinking that the engine I would love to see steam there is that stunning SECR 4-4-0 No. 737. Now that would be something superb.

Great day, though. Full credit to the NRM folk who were all working very hard indeed to keep everyone happy.  The crowds are huge, the queue to enter 45 minutes long and in my mind at least, it is a great success, bringing people who may not be ‘real’ enthusiasts to marvel at what I have to admit (because I’m in a non-grumpy mood) is, as far as the general public is concerned, ‘the’ steam icon, the A4 pacific.  Well done to all who made it happen.

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