Friday 22 April 2016

When Robson Green rebuilt Scotsman. His grandchildren will be delighted.

The Scotsman Fever infects those watching Coronation Street

Did you know that Robson Green rebuilt Flying Scotsman? Well you do now. ITV told you so. Sort of.

Mr Green was invited along for a year long flirty apprenticeship in Bury to rebuild the iconic A3, along the way telling the story of its woes abroad and at home. It was a typically ITV documentary with hardcore details for 'trainsexuals' left out for floaty details of the subject at hand. That 'green train'. The hardcore fans may be disgruntled that we weren't filled in on the details of the rebuild. How bloody big was that washer?! 

We may never know.

Now we sat and watched Coronation Street in our onesies safe in the knowledge that you, the great british public knew that us - the very carefree BM are not 'Anti-Scotsman' or 'Anti-A3'. Seems we were wrong.

What other steam locomotive in this country would warrant an hour long documentary on prime time TV? Not many. Mallard? Well yes. Green Arrow? Well obviously!

But here it came, the iconic 'Flying Scotsman' in its own documentary. Why would we be 'Anti' that?

The focus on the people behind keeping the A3 running and back from the almost dead time and time again was good to see and credit where that credit is due. We hope there is a follow up documentary where Robson Green is interviewed for his painstaking restoration of Scotsman in 2015. 

Oh yes, the £4.2M 

Robson turned his flirtatious eyes away from any females in the Bury/Wales regions to mention this difficult topic of whether Scotsman was worth the price tag. We put down our cocoa, held onto our onesie pockets and braced ourselves for this hot debate.

Was the Scotsman rebuild worth £4.2M Robson?

'Yes, I think so'

Well that told us, and you doubters. Now go buy your Scotsman tickets and shush. Robson Green stood up with his friend and sang Unchained Melody, straight faced some years ago. He knows pressure and dealt with the huge cost to tax payer as he did to Gareth Gates' classic. Quickly - then get the hell out of there and go fishing.

Are we Anti-A3? 

Come on now. Its Flying Scotsman. What do you think?

Thursday 14 April 2016

Pick your best National Treasures

We are Curious

We have, for a mere tax havens gold encrusted underpants £4.2M, a National treasure back on the Rails and in steam 'where it belongs', or so the documentary tells us.

Now this leaves us curious, who is making the decisions on which part of the National Collection, safeguarded by British Railways, deserves the warrant of steam or the warrant of being parked up at Leicester North?

We will put this question out there:

IF we (a collective nation) feel the wrong Locomotives are being stuffed and mounted, where is our input into voicing our opinions?

Do we grumble on the internet or comment on the BM? (Please do, we read them all and laugh our arses off at some/most of them)

We've seen Jeremy Kyle and through the buck toothed plinths that grace that program we don't see the very niche questions of 'My Mums Cousin wants Coppernob out'. Well actually, it comes close most mornings.

Now we are trapped in an internet generation where we feel the latest 'change,org' petition will change the world or bring Clarkson back to Top Gear. We can assume these are now redundant and a complete waste of time on our precious Facebook slide downs. 

Now there is a trend to buck here that lands at Mr Peter (the documentary told us to call him that) Waterman and his heavy cheque book that allows the Super D to be spoiled rotten for mainline comebacks - as long as he pays.

IS the answer to reclaiming National Treasures simply a big fat cheque postmarked 'York'?

Here is our selfish hope

We hope that the wave of publicity surrounding that A3 will swell into a wave of enthusiasm for our national treasures stored collectively and with great pride and professionalism at York and Shildon. We really do hope so.

The argument we would like to put forward is this - 
  1. The NRM must have a list of those Locomotives that will go back into steam.
Where is it?
How do we have an input?

Told you we were curious.

If you know, let us know. Or let Jeremy Kyle know.

Save time on those stupid bloody petitions.

We've come over all serious today. Here's a picture of a Bog Floor signing off your very bad day to realign the stars.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

A Tale of Three Steam Galas

Steam Galas - How Hard can it be?

Well that question depends on what you're aiming for. This week has seen the tales of three 'Steam' Gala's with various results - good or bad - from each of them.

First, we must mention the 'Pacific Power' event, this is the posh confusing name for Scotsman at the Severn Valley Railway. Tornado will also be there, of course one of them will always be running arse first but we will skim past this minor detail.

'Unprecedented demand'

This was the phrase coined that really sent us over the edge. Had anyone at Kidderminster seen the News, seen the Railway Magazines, seen the BTP Wanted Posters? A magnificent cop out of a phrase at the end of a hellish 48 Hours for the Severn Valley.

Here's the story in brief:
  1. Announce Scotsman Tickets are to be Sold online only,
  2. Build the Hype,
  3. Ticket Sales go Live,
  4. Website Dies.
A website dying as all tickets were released at once was more of a safe bet than Rule the World was for Take That fans.

Put yourself in that panicked room at Kidderminster - What would you do next?

That's right, sell them from the window of the Office at Kidderminster only.

Then Sell Out

Cue the uproar from hundreds of disgruntled customers. It was a shambles of the highest order but we will take our foots off the pedal of bashing further. They apologised and Scotsman fans retreated to the line side at Norfolk. Ah.

While this Kidderminster shambles occurred, over in a remote part of Wales something quite extraordinary was happening. 


That rare word on Heritage Railways these days, a Steam Railway going out of its way to recreate a period of History with the finest of detail. The Llangollen did it and smashed it.

The praises for this Railway have been humming across the internet as two Manors recreated the 'Cambrian Coast Express' in scenes that must have surprised those sat in sunshine by the River Dee capturing the sight. Yes its been done before, but what's wrong with recreating something that works so well?

In a world of Scotsman, crowds, trespassers, colossal amounts of money and the cancellation of enthusiast events to make way for them - this was a waft of fresh air blowing from the West across the large bank balances of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Will it replace the bank balance bonanza that an A3 brings to a Heritage Railway?


Will it galvanise those that saw it and tick a huge box for enthusiasts who are a low percentage, but downright important to any Heritage Railway?


We really do hope here at BM that the wave of 'sell out' events replacing Enthusiasts Galas begins to calm down and enthusiasts are allowed to put their Gala creations in front of the crowds. 

Our Third and Final Tale. A Steam Gala disappearing into a Hybrid Diesel Gala. There's lots to say here, but lets take the Severn Valley debacle and the loss of a Spring Steam Gala on the NYMR in one chunk and collectively let out a dignified but disappointed..