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We went on the choochoo!

There are several excellent heritage railways within day-trip distance of us. We haven’t been to one in ages. They’ll soon stop running for the year (except the Christmas trains in December), so off we went on Sunday.

It was a beautiful run through the countryside. Sheep and cows and little streams with little bridges over them. Clusters of oaks and blackberry bramble. A proper castle, even! You can go a long way in the countryside here without seeing anything ugly.

We splashed out on First Class and had it to ourselves. On this train, First Class was a corridor with those little wooden compartments, like in the Agatha Christie movies. We forebore to murder each other.

There wasn’t a tea service this time, but we bought a packet of sandwiches in the station and made do.

We were so worried that some of these railways wouldn’t survive the lockdown. Despite much of their staff being volunteers, they’re terribly expensive to operate. Not only have they survived, but a couple of them are working to reach a main line station – and then they’ll be more than just a novelty service.


Comment from The Neon Madman
Time: September 26, 2022, 8:08 pm

I’m surprised that the eco loonies haven’t shut these down. Coal-burning locomotives? Gasp!

Over here, we have the last coal-burning auto ferry on the Great Lakes (SS Badger). The loonies have been after it too, but all they have been able to do is force a change where the ship has to store the coal ash during a crossing of Lake Michigan instead of dumping it in the water.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: September 26, 2022, 11:18 pm

Too bad, you could’ve ordered Crunchy Frogs from the lady with the tea trolley.
The train ride sounds quite idyllic.

Coal fired? Aieeeeeeeeeee!
If you’ve wait till 2030 in California you’ll be able to take stage coaches pulled by electric tugs, or stagger along the weed choked roads like penitents headed for Jerusalem in the middle ages, because there won’t be animal or fuel powered transport by the time those wackos are done passing new laws that take effect in 2030.

I chuckle every time I think about how there won’t be power generated in the state either, they think they’ll buy what their wind and sun power can’t provide.

Now we all know what will really happen, but it’s good for a what if giggle thinking they think it will.

Comment from Oceania
Time: September 27, 2022, 10:09 am


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 27, 2022, 5:05 pm

Oceania! Where the hell you been, bud?

The kind of indirectly have, Neon Madman. Heritage services are having a hard time getting the right kind of coal. A lot of it came from Russia (oops!) so they’re having to ship it from South America at the moment – very expensive, obviously.

Britain has a shit ton of its own coal, of course, but you can’t dig that!

Comment from Drew458
Time: September 27, 2022, 5:52 pm

I thought England had used up its anthracite, and now has to bring it in from Wales? That’s the kind of coal that throws off the most heat and doesn’t produce smoke.

Once upon a time, “upon the road of anthracite” was a huge marketing success, and still has cultural echos in my area, which is not that far from the old coal fields in Pennsylvania.


OTOH, I wonder if steam engines can run on coke like the steel mills do? Coke is low quality coal that has been baked clean and burns far hotter, similar to wood being made into charcoal.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 27, 2022, 6:46 pm

There was some suggestion they were running trains on smokeless fuel! (Think charcoal briquettes).

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