SUNDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER 2008
The weather was indifferent, but I noticed in my canal guide that Loughborough boasted a steam railway museum with eight miles of Main Line to steam up and down, so off we headed. I have to say, arriving in Loughborough by canal was not inspiring, but having moored up, at what appeared, to be the closest point to the Great Central Railway Museum (WWW.gcrailway.co.uk) museum, John and I set of, not expecting too much, the girls headed for the shops. As we approached the Loughborough Central Station we could hear and then see a band playing, on the platform, this looked promising and I called Jacquie and said maybe they would like to join us, as they hadn’t found any shops yet, this seemed like the best offer they were going to get.
The station was trapped in a 1950 time warp and could have been the setting for ‘Brief Encounter’, old luggage and milk churns etc. we were all entranced. The real ale beer tent made the situation complete as far as John was concerned. The real magic was, that today, was the inaugural passenger journey of the Tornado steam train, John knew all about this, but it was news to me. Apparently this was the first, absolutely, brand new steam locomotive to have been built since 1961, in England, sadly the boiler had to made in Germany, as there is now no ability in the UK to manufacture a boiler of this size. Whilst we were querying the cost of a return ticket, the train chuffed into the station. The band played and elegantly attired people queued for the Pullman restaurant car. We purchased four return tickets and ensconced ourselves in one of the first class carriages. The only downside was that not one of us had brought a proper camera; fortunately out mobile phones were up to the job of capturing this great moment. However I was set up for the last of the photos shown here, 'Mac Letting off Steam' or 'A Right Geyser' Ho Ho!!
Our journey to Leicester North stopped of at little stations on the way, all of which gave the authentic feel of the 50’s, fabulous. Along the track there were photographers capturing this momentous occasion. On our return to Central Station we wandered down to the loco sheds and marveled at the stripped down engines and the beautifully restored Oliver Cromwell that was in for a service. Health and Safety would have a field day with unprotected pits under the huge engines, but let’s hope they never get their hands on this great experience.
Having congratulated ourselves, for the fortunate timing of our arrival in Loughborough, we returned to SKYY and cruised onto Zouch where we stayed the night.