Monday, 16 December 2013

Christmas Specials

Saturday was yet another mild day for December although it was windy at times which meant it didn't necessarily feel as mild as it was. Sunday’s temperature reached 13.9°C the mildest of the month but it was another rather blustery day without any sunshine.

Saturday was a day for indulging in steam train photography.  Christmas is a time of year when the steam charters head for York for Christmas shopping specials. This Saturday was extra busy with two steam hauled charter trains each called “The Christmas White Rose” arriving in York around lunchtime one having travelled from London and the other from Birmingham.

As the trains were due to arrive in York only 10 minutes apart photographic locations were very limited if as, I did, you wanted to catch both trains. The other problem is finding a photogenic location which is almost impossible on the East Coast Main Line. It’s not like a visit to the Settle and Carlisle line or capturing pictures in Cumbria.
This is the first train which came from Birmingham.  This train was early, as we arrived and were just preparing to get out of the car we heard the tell-tale whistle so had to spring into action just in time to catch the train as it sped past. 
This is the train from London, Kings Cross running exactly on time just a few miles outside York.

It was amazing to see how many enthusiasts had turned out to see the two locomotives. The opportunity to see two steam locomotives working on the main line within a few minutes of each other is a rare opportunity these days.
This is just a small part of the crowd that came to watch. Even the police arrived at one point. I'm not sure whether they came to watch too or felt there might be a need for a bit of crowd control. They unfortunately didn't bring any horses - Sue likes to have something to photograph besides steam engines - just a police van. In a few minutes it was all over and everyone went off to download their prized pictures and add them to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or whatever.

Locomotive details for anyone interested are as follows:

Locomotive No 1
Ex Great Western Railway Castle Class no 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe hauled the Christmas White Rose from Tyseley Warwick Road (Birmingham) to York. This locomotive was built in March 1936 being withdrawn from service in December 1963. Its restoration to allow it to run again on the main line was only completed in October 2008 when it ran under its own steam for the first time in 45 years. Vintage Trains Limited were the tour organisers.

Locomotive No 2
Ex London and North Eastern Railway A4 Class no 60009 Union of South Africa hauled the Christmas White Rose from London Kings Cross to York. This locomotive was built in 1937 and was withdrawn from British Railways service in June 1966. In July 1966 it was bought by John Cameron (a Scottish  farmer) who still owns the locomotive. The charter train was organised by The Railway Touring Company


  1. Wonderful photos - how lovely to have two to take pictures of. It's so nice to see steam engines in perfect working order. Glad you had such a good day.

    1. One school of thought is that the locomotives should be preserved as they finished their working lives in the 1960's and kept in museums for ever. Some are kept in this condition. To me they best preserved in working order and doing what they were designed to do.


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