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Democracy at Work?

D1015 Western Champion

D1015 Western Champion

I confess I do not really understand the outcome of the ‘Engine of the Year’ poll.  Perhaps we need someone from the ‘Election Night’ team on the BBC to analyse it?

I do not know if it is democratically representative of popularity because there could be many other factors at work here.   Some engines are more high profile than others on social media.  Most of my posting is on Facebook and Twitter, pointing people to the website, so the result is also biased towards people who footle around there.  Are there more diesel folk using FB and Twitter because they are a bit younger than us old steam codgers?  That might explain why D1015 roared ahead and then stayed there.  Is the same true of the narrow gauge fans? I know the TR has a huge following so that, plus Sir Haydn’s hectic world tour this year, might explain that.

Ex Corris Railway and GWR No 3, Sir Haydn.

Ex Corris Railway and GWR No 3, Sir Haydn.

But I don’t care that much. It was intended as a bit of fun and it is great that so many people joined in to vote – 500% more than last year.  To me, D1015 and Corris Railway No 3 are almost as Great Western as steam locos and, of course, 9351 is, technically, not a Swindon product at all!

Of the more usual GWR suspects, I think they do represent the most highly regarded GWR locos around.  9351 has been a great popular success, covering a massive 96,000 miles on the WSR in 10 years, while, personally, I voted for 5043 because I do not think there is a more fabulous performer on the mainline, irrespective of railway.  7903 feels bit like an old friend going into hospital for a rather long and difficult operation but s/he will not be away for that long.

So, what of 2014?  Does anyone want to predict who will be the winner this coming year?  I guess the blue King will get out onto the mainline and fingers crossed that it delights us all as much as it did at the GCR last winter.  Nunney Castle will probably always be in the shadow of 5043 but Clun will be back soon so that will be exciting.  The prospect of 2 double chimneyed Castles on the mainline is mouth watering indeed.  A pity that Pendennis is still a way from its own return.

4936 Kinlet Hall has also been seen far too little and may make a few waves if it gets enough mainline contract work.  5542 is not averse to a little publicity and seeing a small prairie and its auto coaches down at Looe as well as its visits elsewhere will win it even more friends.

But what about D1015?  A real Western Champion.  Could it win again?  No idea but at least we all know the one to beat!


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