Monday 5 December 2016

Steam Railways taken over by Satan's Specials

'It's the most wonderful time of the year...'

Who said that? Well we doubt they hit 'Like' on much the BM has to throw out into the cold cynical air of social space. Seems there are a fair few Scrooges out there, and for this particular viewpoint - they are spot on.

Here is the background. 

We spend our hard earned money supporting the most expensive of hobbies - keeping steam trains running. You may spend bugger all on keeping steam trains running but your interest and enthusiasm keeps the fire burning bright. 

Those heady days of Summer are spent enjoying the fruits of your labour. A beer on the Station platform, a ride on your favourite steam railway, a moan about your train splitting in half on its way to Kings Cross. Everyone is a sweaty happy bunny.

Then, after all your hard work, the leaves fall from the trees and the sun disappears behind those grey dark clouds and then, after those leaves are sprayed off the track, sacrilege is committed.

Out comes the Tinsel, a picture of Santa is stuck to your favourite engine and your Railway is transformed into the North Pole. Well a small part of it is. The rest simply lingers unused. 

Then all hell breaks loose. The most intensive of train service begins, the place fills with people who have never traveled on a Steam Train before, mind boggling innocence ensues from those who wouldn't know a Coppernob from a Scarlett Moffatt. 

The Steam Locos chuff backwards and forwards with more and more people into the cold air. Steam bellowing across low sunshine.

Yuck. How dare they.

Now look at that Steam Train in the snow. Awful.

Moral of the story? Well just look at the Photos. Yes it is commercialism to the degree of reading 'Commercialism for Idiots' and we all know that any Steam Railway making money is always spawned from the Devil itself. 

But, it remains the most important season for any Steam Railway. Bar none. The magic of a Steam Train ride is made the most appealing at Christmas. Everything clicks together like Scarlett Moffatt eating a kangaroo bollock. The fire, the warmth, the steam, the early nights. 

And then.

The Polar Express. This is where we must voice our objection, pull out the 'Commercialism for Idiots' and read the chapter entitled 'Misleading'. 

There is one thing to promoting your Steam Locomotive as 'Hogwarts Castle' because it is in the same colour as that from the film, and happens to be 'Olton Hall', and is actually 'Hogwarts Castle'. There is quite another with dragging out a Class 56 with a mixed rake of Mk3 carriages and claiming yourself the 'Polar Express'.

The bite back on our views towards the 'Polar Express' is that people love it. Reviews are often outstanding, they make shit loads of cash and repeat each year.

These take place on our 'Heritage Railways'. Some open purely to drag out the Virgin Mk3s, take the coinage and close richer than ever. 

The licensing behind these events would make the most experienced Brexit Minister wince at the Supreme Court. But even the hardest 'Grid' fans must admit that they would be disappointed heading to Disney Land and end up watching Bambi on a portable telly in a Stanhope Portacabin.

So next time you feel Satan has visited your favourite Steam Railway and cursed the place with elves and mince pies - Be assured that Santa chose your Railway to visit and you should be honoured he made the effort during his busy schedule, rather than making up and misleading punters that the Class 47 on the front is the 'Polar Express'.

Keep moaning about integrity and realism, keep moaning for high expectations, keep promoting those Railways that make the effort. Look what happens when crap slips through the net.