Wednesday 16 March 2016

Train Beer is a thing. Rejoice.

Now scouring the bowels of Twitter can often make you run cap in hand back to Mr Zuckerberg at the best of times. Inane drivel from celebrities is often the way of the world over on the 140 character place.

But wait

We stumbled on something that made our hearts smile and our retweets jump from our pants. People sharing pictures of their beer while aboard one of George Stephensons Trains.

Simply rejoice.

Beer and Trains have a long and complicated history but one that goes together better than Same Difference ever could. They walk hand in hand and don't look in the slight bit as awkward or call Yewtree as Same Difference did.

Seriously, and we don't say this often, but seriously get sharing those snaps of beer and locomotion using #TrainBeer.

Share what makes us British:

  1. Taking a sneaky pic without anyone noticing but willing to share that sneaky pic with the world,
  2. Pay a fortune for a weird beer from Brosenheim and admit only to yourself it tastes rank
  3. Drink it slowly to maximise your expenditure
  4. Tidy up the table in front of you on the train
  5. Wipe off the remnants of your Big Mac juice
  6. Take a photo of your Beer aboard a Train.
Share, send, rejoice to #TrainBeer

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Flying Scotsman - It's all your fault!

Our gears are grinded here at The Bash Mash. Although it seems all 'A3 talk' is a little old hat now it has returned and settled into a monotonous routine of causing chaos wherever it goes, something isn't sitting well. 

Here's the setting of the scene; the BTP, Network Rail and every news rag from around the country looking for an easy story are on the back of those pesky trespassers causing Southerners to be delayed getting back to Kings Cross after visiting the Northern Powerhouse for too long. 

Hang them

There were cries for the death penalty and if they get run over so be it; should children being dragged onto Network Rails land watch their Dad be dragged under a southbound HST is a little harsh we guess. 

Then the quote, written by one of the BM faithful.

"This is all the National Railway Museum's fault for whipping people into a frenzy."
Other comments were even fruitier but this one really does have us baffled. Are people seriously considering the publicity surrounding the return of the worlds most famous steam locomotive as the cause and blame for trespassers and photographers losing their minds in St Neots?

The myth here is that this A3 is not the worlds most famous steam locomotive. It is. Everyone at Crewe, we hate to break it to you but it really is.

Every collection needs a figurehead, a leader, the symbol for its class.

Think of an aeroplane..





Now be honest all readers from Swindon and Crewe, you thought of 'Flying Scotsman' didn't you?

We struggle to find the reason why all those who have profile photos of themselves hanging out of a Hall, Castle or Black 5 have an issue with Scotsman having this title. Yes, a colossal amount of money was spent (and a shit load wasted) on Scotsman. 

It was a disaster that we've watched with grimaces for years. But lessons have been learnt, unfortunately the NRM workshops will no doubt be a lot quieter in the future as a result.

We now need to face facts, Scotsman is back. Back with a very big bang. The big bang theory is that the NRM threw the kitchen sink at publicising its return. They simply had to. If it had come back with a whimper then that £4.2M starts to be ever more noticeable.

Were they irresponsible in their publicity of Scotsman? Of course bloody not.

Now the BM has taken a few shots at Scotsman, there is a simple reason for this. 

The downside of being everywhere on everything is that you have opened the gates to criticism. The gamble was if that broken spring had cancelled the inaugural run, the gamble was it failing heading out of Kings Cross. If you take the tact the NRM did by going all in, then you have to be ready for any downward spin that may come your way.

How does that gamble pay off? When the spring is fixed, when Scotsman gets to York, then gets to Grosmont. Even we can sit back and say 'well done' to all that made it possible.

Now comes the very interesting part. The star is reborn so what really is next? Will the NRM misstep again and charge £450 for a ticket aboard its train? Will they let the British Public see the star at no cost, the peoples engine? Let us hope so.

In the meantime, Swindon and Crewe stand down. Time to tip your hats to a locomotive that will fire up the enthusiasm of all enthusiasts, will regenerate the interest in young people that could only be done previously by a shitty plastic face stuck on the front of a locomotive.

The fun is by no means over. The trespassers will continue for some time. What we know for sure is the blame can not be laid at what has been the most incredible turnaround of fortune to the nations locomotive.

Monday 7 March 2016

Scrap the License Fee & support BBC Four radicals led by Jenny Agutter.

It always fills us with a warm glow when we see the beloved Pacer is in the News. Unfortunately it's not the News we've all been waiting for but more that the BBC is stating the obvious.

Yes, EastEnders is still crap. New Top Gear will be crap (until we actually watch it), that god awful Drive program with Dermot O'Leary is still god awful. But no the BBC are stating the even more obvious. 

They found the one person in the country who rates the Pacer

'I'd much rather travel on these than a bus' said one well meaning, but obviously deranged old lady.

Jon Kelly, the video journalist responsible for the piece obviously went into work one day looking for an easy story about choo choo trains. The easiest being the bouncing turds that are proving hard to scrape from our landscapes.

We could explain our reasoning, we could explain why the Pacers are indeed a scourge that needs removing, but we would be insulting the intelligence of any travelling rail passenger in this country. Why on earth should the British Public put up with these embarrassments? Squashed into a bus on rails?

We shouldn't.

Here is hoping the BBC find good News stories beyond the A3 and the Pacers. There is more to the birthplace of Railways than these two. 

10 million people visit a heritage railway in this country. It has been estimated that heritage railways are worth about £250 million to the UK economy. If our Public broadcaster can't find a good case of scum and villainy out of those 10 million people then we should scrap the license fee after all and give it all the taxes to a breakaway group of BBC Four radicals led by Jenny Agutter.

But wait.

The shockiest shock came on our very own Facebook Page. Contributor Bob had this very strange opinion:

I can remember when Pacers were considered to be excellent trains, they were certainly better than the aging units they replaced. They're rail-buses, economical rail transport, don't expect Pullman car riding quality or comfort. They are perfectly adequate for short distance high density traffic.
We've banned him.

Thursday 3 March 2016

Mission Survive or What's the Point?

With the news that another 9F is on its way back to steam on the East Lancashire Railway, the sight of a 9F often makes an enthusiast think 'well that cant go on the mainline, whats the point?'

92134 is the last example of the class to have a single chimney. Its also a 9F - and.. you cant take them on the mainline.

Here come our favourite word 'flangeless'. 

The 9F has a flangeless set of wheels in which Network Rail say would happily go up and down the national network breaking everything in its path. Think of a cable thief working overtime with a very big dodgy white Transit Van and you have the evil 9F.

So why do 9 survive into Preservation?

Well the rules on flangeless are relatively new. Flangeless was riding up and down Britain for many years before the ban. No doubt you may have stood excitedly on a platform waiting for a flangeless experience.

Owning a 9F could be seen as owning a racing pigeon with its wings clipped. It will bobble around the floor of your pigeon loft looking lovely, it will never shit on you from a great height, but you will still be stepping in the same shit. Pigeon shit from above is lucky, stepping in it is just an annoying mess.

92134 is now braced for a long and illustrious career on the East Lancashire Railway. It will be a formidable addition to its Loco Fleet. Bury will definitely not be thinking they are stepping in pigeon shit. 

Here comes the upside to having 'Preserved Lines Only Engines'

Have you read the news regarding West Coast Railways?

We could be at the beginning of a huge resurgence for Preserved Railways in this country. The very shrewdest of Railways will be bumping up their Dining experiences and offering a real alternative to those gaps in the Main Line Charters.

What would be the ideal locomotive for this scenario? A locomotive that can only work on the exclusivity of Preserved Railways and nowhere else?

The 9F

Through the mess of that ORR investigation and its resulting Carnforth mess is the light of the 9F. It symbolises the isolation of a steam locomotive that can go no further onto the 'big Railway'. It also shows what only Preserved Railways can offer and nowhere else.

Our hunch is that those Railways who offer something unique, something different from those Black 5s on the front of a Tour over the Settle - Carlisle are in for a treat of a year. If they offer this on a plate, a silver dining plate there in for big rewards.

Those that offer a stunted 'Black 5 over Settle - Carlisle' experience, namely a Black 5 with a set of dirty Mark Ones chugging along all too briefly will struggle. They are showing you what you're missing on the mainline. In fact there sole focus is to emulate the Tours that were happening on the Mainline a mere few weeks ago. 

12 months ago we would have believed the East Lancashire Railway has gained nothing more than a frustration in adding a 9F to its ranks, but now all the pigeons are grounded - it is the pigeons that have flair and a unique identity that will stand out from the flock.

The 9F is back.

Attenborough on Train Enthusiasts