11th February 2020 · Main Line Steam in the 21st Century

Presenter: Michael Smyth

This month, Michael Smyth, one of our Branch members gave us a presentation of his own images which he had taken over the last 20 years during numerous excursions to all parts of the country whenever a steam hauled train was working. Michael began by telling us that 94 different steam engines had worked trains on the mainline since the steam ban was lifted but we were not going to see all of them. Many of the pictures we saw were in black and white as he felt that it captured the essence of a working steam locomotive better.

The show started just down the road from where he lives with a shot of 60163 at a level crossing at Waterbeach. We carried on in the Eastern region with scenes at March and on the GN mainline at Offord. Mostly, locomotives such as 60007, 60009 & 60163 featured although 6233 was seen north of Huntingdon on a ” Mid-day Scot” working.

Next we visited the Settle – Carlisle line with trains at some of the classic locations though not always taken from some of the traditional viewpoints. There were also some shots of 60163 working service trains following the re-opening of the route following a landslip. Michael did comment on the changeability of the weather although the resulting picture didn’t seem to suffer.

The West Coast Mainline inevitably featured Shap summit with a Duchess, Princess, Jubilee and Scot all working hard. Scenes around the Cumbrian coast gave us a particularly nice view of the Kent viaduct from Arnside Knott.

The Midland did not disappoint with one of Michael’s favourite locos, 48151 working in Derbyshire.

To close the show, we visited Poland, Germany and Bulgaria to see what steam workings were on offer there. According to Michael, the sound of a hard working German pacific is a joy to behold.

This was a wonderful show with good honest pictures taken by a true railway enthusiast.