Friday, 13 July 2012

A special edition for railway buffs. Includes steamed bananas.

We seem to be developing a bit of a rails theme at the moment, after our days excitement on the tram we decided on something a little more bucolic and the next day set off for Sheffield Park, home of the Bluebell Railway, taking father along for the ride. We eventually arrived after our wondrous sat. nav. had taken us in circles around Sussex, a pox on all technology.

Station building, typical of the L.B.S.C.R. in the middle of the 19th C. Once through those august portals we were greeted by a cornucopia of delights.

"Fenchurch", one of Stroudley's celebrated Terrier tanks. Built in 1872 and still going strong.

That's a front view with father in the foreground, obviously overwhelmed by the Bulleid Pacific next to him, gives you an idea of how tiny the Terriers were.

On the front of the train was the diminutive S.E.& C.R. P class tank, resplendent in its pre-grouping livery while at the back was another P class, the iconic "Bluebell",

in her Bluebell Railway livery. As there are currently no run round facilities at the other terminus they have an engine at both ends of the train.

At Horsted Keynes Jill was astounded at the thought of steam powered bananas and sadly disappointed when I explained that all it meant was that the banana vans were heated by steam to ripen the fruit as it travelled from docks to market. Somehow the thought of a steam powered banana has real appeal.

The last train of the day arrives back at Sheffield Park.

Father stands beside Stepney, another Terrier, and then it was back to Morden, fighting the rush hour traffic on the M25, yeuch!
We're now at daughter Natalie's in Plymouth and today were left in charge of grandson Elliot, aged nearly three. Guess what, it was off to the South Devon Railway, being G.W.R. it is not a patch on the Bluebell but we made do.

G.W.R. 2251 class, number 3205 and small boy. She was the only engine in steam today and worked all the trains.

Tiny, the only surviving broad gauge engine from Brunel's time, designed for shunting in confined spaces she has a vertical boiler and cylinders, a real oddity.

At Totnes the train set off on its return journey in a fine flurry of steam and we wandered over to the rare breeds farm.

Feeding the animals is great but

they do slobber on your hand, oh well, I'll just wipe it on my jeans, after all, mother will wash them.

"Don't guinea pigs do anything? Boring".
Actually he was a lot less trouble than father.
Back at daughter's I discovered that she has a home hub, hence the plethora of pictures, pure self indulgence.

Watch this space.................

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