söndag 11 maj 2008

A fortieth anniversary

Just 40 years ago the last locomotive to be overhauled in Britain left Crewe Works. A photograph was released with all the works staff posed in front of that locomotive, seen above last week newly overhauled. And that should have been the end of the story.

Such is the appeal of these machines that the locomotive, now 57 years old, most of them in preservation, has once more just received it latest overhaul. Who would have expected it in 1968?

But construction of steam locomotives has never quite stopped. It continued on a large scale in China until the 1980s, and there was a handful of new locomotives built by DLM in Switzerland for mountain railways in Switzerland and Austria in 1993, as well as individual machines built for miniature and narrow gauge lines, and of course the replica Tornado.

Shall we ever see large scale construction resume? Bearing in mind that developments since the 1970s has pushed up their efficiency somewhat and that they will run on just about anything that will burn, I don't think we might not have seen the last of them.

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