Wednesday 26 April 2017

Public meeting held to fight Locomotive livery changes

Thousands forced to click the 'Angry' emotion on Facebook posts after the inclusion of paint on metal, in a particular shade, caused widespread anger among railway enthusiasts.

There is nothing that can comprehend the anger that comes from a die hard railway enthusiast, donned in a Bruce Willis-esque white stained vest complaining of the paint applied to his or her favourite steam locomotive.

Town council meetings would be arm guarded with thousands signing up for Sky Box Office to watch the kicking of beige sandals against strong rimmed glasses smashing across the floor in paint froth anger.

The snapping of the temper reverberates around the rusted metal uncovered by whichever colour passed through a rigorous democratic voting system that makes Turkeys rigged election look like the Weekly Photo Competition on 'RPG'. 

The issue rears its ugly head almost daily in the lives of railway enthusiasts to the point it almost seems as preposterous a thought as the locomotive owners making the decision to paint their locomotive as they wish. Ridiculous. 

A sneaky peak over the barbed wire fence and security outposts at the former Steamtown at Carnforth recently spotted a newly outshopped Merchant Navy class locomotive appearing in, and brace yourselves for this, black livery. Now we could sense the anger boiling and the angry reaction being reached to by sweaty mice.

Luckily, people were able to step away from the abyss of anger by also seeing the plates of 34016 'Bodmin' adorning what was a black liveried 34018 'British India Line'. Now for readers who may be unaccustomed to the term 'comedy', this is up there with the very best. Us rail enthusiasts mopped up the sight of a name plate on the wrong locomotive as gold plated banter.

We almost forgot what colour it was

It may, to the untrained eye, mean that people - after many years and tectonic plate movement from prehistoric times - may be getting used to locomotives in 'un-original' liveries. As many locomotives now spending longer in preservation than they ever did under their former owners tenure, perhaps any livery from hear on, any colour present owners choose to put their locomotives in, is actually genuine. That paint may also stop the rust creeping across their metals.

When you see 34018 (and stop chuckling at those wrong nameplates) see how angry you get that a Merchant Navy is in black livery. If you are boiling angry while writing into the letters pages of your local newspaper - then all is well with the world as we know it.

Monday 24 April 2017

Woman lets slip to colleagues that she likes Trains

Not only does the terror of heading to the toilet at work incase 'wee jobbies' greet you, but now there comes the terror of someone seeing your phone background photo of a King Arthur class spitting coal across the glorious West Country.

We are riding a wave of publicity for the Geeks and Nerds across the land who were once confined to living behind anonymous profile photos in the Railway Photograph Group and are now seeing the glimmer of daylight behind the volumes of Signaling Diagrams in place of curtains.

Are we now truly in a renaissance period for railway enthusiasm that will only be elected out by 'Bus First' far right political group? BF will no doubt sweep to power on 8th June when we all thought the polls had the Liberal Tramocrats sweeping into fascist power.

The anger directed to that A3 is still bubbling away if you look in the darkest corners of the internet (National Preservation) with no real rhyme or reason as to the hatred beyond the price tag  and publicity directed away from, well, other steam engines?

So we now see people publicly proclaiming their love for trains, love for rail enthusiasm and sharing the rich heritage that comes from arguing about the colour of your favourite replica axle box. The Big Bang is the theory that we are now not afraid to show our enthusiasm for anything slightly weird.

Perhaps, after many years, people are seeing beyond the thermos flask. Perhaps they are seeing viral photographs of West Ham fans armed with golf clubs and pizzas and realising that bloke on the platform talking to friends and photographing trains is perhaps not the worst thing to happen since the last worst thing to happen in this country?

The exploits of 'Tornado' smashing through 100mph on the main line are yet to feature in a documentary, the reels of BBC Four are still showing excellent documentaries on the subject and the passion and enthusiasm continues to rise.

The peaking of coppertops and deflectors is starting to spread from BBC Local News to BBC One. The rules on 'RPG' are starting to be watered down by people actually having a sensible giggle at both themselves and this enthusiasm we find ourselves in.

So here lays the challenge to all Bash Mashers reading through this drivel. Why not show off your background photo of those red axleboxes to a colleague, to a friend, to someone in your gang armed with a pizza.

The revolution is here.

Sunday 23 April 2017

Angry Demands of Refunds by freeloaders to Free Event organisers

There were cries of anger as Virgin Trains East Coast free display of British Engineering was lambasted for having trains in the wrong order, based on their introduction, or build date, or date of toilet roll dispensers.

You would think nothing settles angry Rail Enthusiasts more than a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity taking place in their own lifetimes. But, on St. George's Day - welcome to Britain in 2017.

Our favourite anger pointed at the free event laid on by VTEC was that it was too early in the morning. Why couldn't they be more considerate and lay on the spectacle of four of the East Coast Racehorses at 5pm on a Friday afternoon when things are much civilised. 

Helicopters also woke up the neighbours north of York which was disgraceful on a sunny day when they are trying to watch four iconic trains pass by their trimmed back gardens. They had to go inside their quiet homes to complain angrily on Facebook.

It also beggers belief that every train, carriage, engine, trespasser armed with an iPad, bacon sandwich or squashed pheasant was not represented across the 38 tracks side by side North of York. Come on Branson, sort it out.

We were all freeloaders for this spectacle. It was a PR stunt for a private company in Virgin Trains East Coast, we can but hope that the coffers of the NRM were lined aplenty with the nations owned engine along for the ride. 

The masterstroke of course was feeding the spectacle through Facebook Live so we didnt have to move from our hangover beds and had readily accessible 'last nights Vindaloo' and sticky keyboards to hand to complain in anger at every possible opportunity.

Anyone mention the Deltics? We mentioned it once but think we got away with it.

Ah, where was the Deltic. Yes, it would have been nice to have the Deltic alongside rather than towed by an A3, but perhaps this private company didn't have the room so waited until York to line up the iconic Class 55 alongside its distant cousins. Turned out they did but we're still bloody angry they - oh well - someones angry about this.

We really are spoilt as rail enthusiasts at the moment, with the national rail networks now also getting in on the act of ringing Tim Dunn and putting on spectacles for us all to enjoy, and moan at.

As Southern have been masters at PR stunts recently, surely it is now Swindon and Crewe's turn to put on a show for us all to moan at?

Wednesday 12 April 2017

'Mallard' quacking in it's boots

First it had Clarkson spitting out an egg sandwich on it's footplate, then an A3 comes along to steals the limelight, but the Steam Train enthusiasm rolls on - quickly.

This is where we say we are never surprised with news of Steam Railways hitting the main headlines of News, but Ambassador you are spoiling us.

The bland, boring tests by Network Rail as the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust aim for another certificate or filling in Health & Safety forms to enable them to keep to timings set by routing paths doesn't exactly sound the stuff that news is made of. But, hey believers, this is where our hobby pays off as 'non-believers' start to get it. 

On the morning of Wednesday 12th April 2017, David Proctor and Graeme Bunker were throwing copious amounts of coal into the firebox of A1 'Tornado' between York and Darlington for those boring tests. The piece nobody decided to tell the Admin of 'Railway Photograph Group' (despite their position in the world) is that part of the test was to push the limits to 100mph.

Yes, we all knew it was possible,

Yes, we all know other Locomotives could probably grab this target,

But, in the world of health and safety, Hi Viz Vests, Cones at every angle and helicopters chasing the runt sperm that managed to headbutt an egg down the ECML it was a shock to see that common sense prevailed. 

The spirit of Fireman Bray and Driver Duddington from 79 Years ago was back with a vengeance. The news spreading that something magical has happened with a Steam Locomotive designed, built and raced in Britain reached us from a secret position. Every detail was kept from us until the headline that a locomotive has smashed 100 mph.

If the A1 was announced as being at Kings Cross by 8am. The platforms would have been lined. We would have hoped, above all hopes, that Gresley may have been there to see it home. Yes its fantastical, but our Steam locomotives are fantastic beasts and we know just where to find them. (Get it.)

Now we said a few months ago that the only locomotive that could knock that A3 off its pedestal would be that A4. The record holder that has basked in its own glories for 79 Years. 

Well, no, 'Tornado' is back by doing what it was designed to do. It is officially a 100mph Locomotive.

But where does this leave 'Mallard'? Will the push for speed and steam in the modern network push the lust for records even further to 127 mph? 

Would this not be the Race for the North against competing train companies but indeed be the ultimate showcase of British Engineering at a time when this country is standing on the world's stage without any friends from Europe. 

The safety and maintenance of the National Rail Network was the winner on the morning of 12th April 2017. This speed was possible, and safe. Who knows what envelope will be pushed next and which locomotives will get up onto that pedestal next.

But we can't wait to find out.

Saturday 8 April 2017

After years of convincing partner to like Trains, Man undoes all hard work by yawning in NRM

The struggle is real as a true hero among men and women is the ability to turn a partner from 'Its just a Train' to 'Look at that Walschaerts valve gear'.

It is embodied into the riches of rail enthusiasts tapestry that a partner who is a 'non-believer', or those members of the family that will come along to the National Railway Museum purely on the merits that 'they do a nice coffee' are the biggest challenge to any rail enthusiast.

There are of course two ways this family history line can go. 

The 'defeatist'

Simply accept the fate that is bestowed upon you by deciding to settle with your partner who would call the Police if you wanted to Bash a Gronk rather than clear the memory card and complain about the state of lineside hedges. 

There are of course ways to manoeuvre said partner into becoming a railway enthusiast without them even noticing or distracting there attention from swiping through the latest soap spoilers, or the latest video of a workman smacking his own head with a spade.

Part one of this ambitious plan to squeeze railway enthusiasm into their lives is the holy grail at York. Yes, we have covered those lovely coffees. They will cost you the earth, but while they are supping on said extortionate liquid filled cardboard you will have the chance to at least muse around the Workshop and have time to ogle 'Sir Nigel Gresleys' frames without the worry of exhausted huffs and puffs from your beloved.

Here is the gold master plan, this will cover you for a look around the workshop and at least two lanes of the archives beforehand. It is a big investment, but by offering to purchase a Panini with the coffee, you will have covered off seeing the bench previously at St Pancras, a model of St Pancras and Nige's frames with time to spare.

You will have to leave your non-believer during the duration of said investment, but this is easily done in the days before your visit to York by developing both Restless Leg Syndrome and a bad back that means you cant possibly sit still for more that 2 minutes, with the best remedy always to keep 'moving and walking round'. A must excuse for any day out with a non-believer.

The other angle, which is used by both rookies and the more experienced manipulators of non-believers is the interest in Royal Trains. Yes, you have seen them a million times and Yes, you wish they'd swap them out for a good rake of oil wagons or windcutters but the inclusion of the Royal Train on your trip around York is a must as part of your quest.

Do not, under any circumstances mention that the Royal Train is a Train. This would be a mistake. You must, at all times, ensure that this is merely Chatsworth House in a Museum. Queen Victoria's bed was incredibly small and you are amazed by this fact. Look at those curtains, discuss hem size with your partner. Lower the tone occasionally, where the King did his morning crap is a good conversation starter as you can have a sneaky peak of that Fish Vans couplings. 

Turntable demonstrations are a must for any enthusiast, it is a major part of the day. But when it comes to a non-believer, you need to encourage them to watch a turntable spin round slowly and safely. This is a tough call but is worth the hassle.

The key is the demonstrator, you know more than them. You are an enthusiast so obviously your knowledge is superior to anything they have to say. But to a non-believer they are the stoker of dreams. To your non-believer companion, the demonstrator is Peter Kay, they are the best comedian the world has ever seen. Conduct an entire CV for the demonstrator. 'Your sister said they were brilliant last year, and its free so we can just see what they're like?'

Once you are ten minutes into that turntable demonstration, you're busy looking at the locking mechanism - they are knee deep in waiting for a good gag as they spin around the museum and getting more disappointed - in them. You're off the hook at this point. Follow up with how disappointed you were in the demonstrators abilities to crack a joke, perhaps offer to complain after you've purchased your non-believer another coffee while you walk off your restless coccyx around the Library.

You must walk around the NRM twice, changing things up by turning the wrong way out of the toilets will squeeze in another round. Always remember your non-believer does not know the difference between any Train they have ever seen.

The impending result of any non-believer is if they protest 'we've seen this one before..' This is gold dust to any enthusiast, they have officially learnt something - they know the difference between a Bullet Train and Mallard. You're off to a good start and an easy argument win.

Then, as you have to squeeze in the compulsory boring other attraction in York very later in the day you start to plan Stage 2 of your Plan.

Coming soon..
Manipulating your partner further.

Friday 7 April 2017

Man who photographed the good looking side of a Garratt declared a Liar

Every Steam Engine is a beautiful piece of Engineering, unless it is ugly. Then it's an ugly piece of Engineering. 

Yes, we are being controversial. Yes, we know those reading this will swiftly disagree with our viewpoint. Your Mum and Dad will never have chosen their favourite sibling (if you had one) and they wouldn't sit across a bar and declare you 'ugly' to whoever was propping up the jukebox. But when it comes to crafted pieces of metal, perhaps we can be brutal by putting the pint down and declaring across the drip tray that a Locomotive is bloody ugly.

Garratts are British Engineering built to serve a purpose across the world. They returned to Britain to fulfil the need on a narrow gauge railway that many thought could never reopen, but has.

Does your heart flutter when you see a Garratt at full swing? If we were back in the vaults of 'Top Gear' looking at the Cool Wall. Where would a Garratt land? We expect it will be Super Cool because only true enginemen and lady enginemen will appreciate the Garratt at full pelt through the Aberglaslyn Pass. Mere mortals will just not understand how much of a machine they really are.

As always, representing the mortals, we take away from a Garratt at full pelt the only senses available to us from a Pullman Car sipping Cream Tea behind it. The sight, the sound and the smell. 

They sound incredible,

They smell wonderful,

The Looks Department was off at Beyer-Peacock that day.

We are not simply picking on this unique style of british design but indeed opening up the thought that we can pass judgement on good looking pieces of engineering, and without remorse can say that something is a HippocrocoPig.

Perhaps our taste in certain Engines and Regions stems from the attractiveness of the machines it represents or produces. We're not heading into creepy Channel 5 documentary arenas here, but is your favourite Engine or Region based on looks?

Or were you bet to Pull a Pig and wear a Garratt pin badge?

Thursday 6 April 2017

Labour to offer Free Meals to Passengers on Pacer Trains

Targeting those who have suffered in the past, Labour will charge those travelling First Class into London VAT on their coffees to fund hot meals for anyone having to bear a Pacer Train.

Remember when Labour used to do things? We're not going political here, its simply a shower of shite that even we wont touch but it is intriguing to see the extension of hot meals for unprivileged children being subsidised by parents of children who's nannies pick them up for the holidays and drop them back off with a fresh cheque.

So the new political movement, fresh from Sherwood Forest, is the rich feeding the poor. A struggle that we see all too often on the Railways is those in First Class arriving in London before those in cattle class behind, we have yet to see any First Class passengers subsidising those sat next to Jeremy Corbyn in the aisles behind.

Fare rises are constant, until there are spare seats and the luxury of getting a seat on mainline trains, will any foreign owner of our Trains want to reduce fares? Why would any business reduce the fares on a service that is packed to the rafters. A complaint about fare prices is less powerful and damaging than a Corbyn sat by the toilet door for a few minutes complaint.

Nothing fills us all with glee more than waving to those sat in a Pullman coach behind 'Flying Scotsman' as we stand with our Co-Op Meal Deal in the rain hoping they all have a jolly good time with their cream teas. 

This of course is pure jealousy rather than the elite class of traveller taking up space on a train filled to the rafters of those paying 'Standard Class' or those panicking as the Guard approaches them ready to pick up that the 'Advance' ticket you have will get you booted off the train at Stevenage. Having this Advantage Ticket is purely by going through the process of wanting to buy a Train ticket and becoming baffled with the long orange toilet paper that you then have to carry around until the Guard points out you are a moron in front of your fellow passengers sat on the floor.

This, of course, pales in comparison to those that live in the Postcode Lottery regions that have earnt the Pacer unit as standard travel for the commute to work. The unrivalled turds of Trains are the kick in the teeth after a long day at work. Although the end is in sight for this morning and evening terror, it still feels a long time coming.

The facts are simple, sitting on a bouncing bus for a period of time and paying for the privilege. The hope of more 'Plandampf' services relies not on the sight, sound and smell of steam on the mainline again but purely getting in a comfortable Mk2 carriage for the commute. 

Perhaps Maid Marian and Her Merry Men will begin to take the cream from the cream teas of First Class to add comfort to those bottoms who have endured terror on the Trains for too many years.

Japan Railways and First unveil 'Stockton & Darlington Railway' franchise

As First Group bring back 'GWR' and now 'LSWR', other iconic railway companies are making their return in the hands of foreign overlords.

The London & South Western Railway will be making a return in place of South West Trains with the relatively successful Stagecoach swept aside for those high achievers on the Great Western network 'FirstGroup', with their new friends and new scapegoat for the south 'MTR'.

How threatening can a group using an acronym be to the 371 fleet running into and out of our capital? The major landlord company of Hong Kong will no doubt make a big impression with the all new LSWR.

The 'brand' of LSWR was formerly a little known company from 1838. They just happened to electrify surburban lines and in their spare time rebuilt Waterloo Station, forming the groundwork for still the countries busiest railway station.

No pressure then.

We do wonder when the tradition of hawking past masterpiece company names will stop and new ideas and initiatives, without the word Virgin leading them will come to the fore. 

Have the FirstGroup tarnished the name 'Great Western Railway' already? Do we still instantly think of Brunel and huge cylinders? Or are our minds cast to huge queues, overfilled trains and compensation claims. 

FirstGroup are at it again in the East Midlands where they are bidding to shove out Stagecoach from another franchise, this time with friends in the Italian Government owned Trenitalia. We can swiftly presume that another well known name from the past will reappear at St Pancras to line up with other old brands dusted out from the archive.

Midland Railway return?
Now we all have our views on Railway Franchising, compelling arguments are made to convince us all that it isn't all a big pot of corporate greed handing over our railways to state owned companies from other countries to run a system that should be state owned. Does the clue that state owned railways from Italy and China putting in bids to take over franchises from the British Government not give them a clue that perhaps some thing is not quite right?

Italians and Landlords from Hong Kong are laughing all the way back to their own tax offices with our profits.

But perhaps the return of LSWR and the worrying future of 'Midland Railway' returning to St Pancras, owned by the Italian Government is almost trampling on railway history in a way that Dan Snow will be digging himself a trench between Kings Cross and St Pancras strapped to a British Bulldog turning the airwaves of BBC Four blue.

Wednesday 5 April 2017

Old People push to educate children that Toy Trains are not Toys

'Just because they are sold with Toys, does not make them toys' say the old people of Britain as they banish Toy Trains to glass cases.

Contrary to the opinion of many, we are relatively normal here at BM. Or so we tell ourselves while rocking backwards and forwards writing this weirdness. We love Hornby, we prefer Bachmann because they look better, but we love Hornby. It gives us that warm glow that takes us right back to childhood. 

The plight of Hornby is typically British in that it is struggling in this Facebook Live world were the realistic model trains are not running across our mobile device screens. They are actually out there in the big wide world. Even Digital Trains do not have the pull that a Flappy Bird does or the instant ability to tell the world we are laid across a dusty bedroom floor playing with 'toy trains'.

The real world, that scary world beyond childhood, where we take off the stablisers and  internet searches become dodgier by each year we grow older, is much similar to our younger selves locked away in attics with the masses of Hornby layouts. 

Except everything becomes much bigger in scale and we become much more envious of the friend who had the masses of Hornby trainsets, and didn't even like trains. 

We were all at home with the roughest piece of brown MDF that could be found at the tip with your Uncle Knobheads old Smokey Joe battering it round a crudely made corner of Triang and Hornby track from the Car Boot Sale stuck together with one rusty connector per track piece. All powered by what looks like a nuclear generator held together with sellotape, electrical tape and paperclips.

But it was every bit as magic as that friends fully signalled, 'Peter Waterman' attic 

In the 'real world' according to the ever thinner 'Steam Railway' magazine, we learn of John Camerons desire to plinth Union of South Africa in a barn in Scotland. It will bow out in style with everyone tripping over to be the last Railway or Mainline Tour to feature the famous 'A4'.

Yet again we are at the day where our Parents give us the call that they've given away your old Hornby trains to their 'friends little one' who loves Trains. The friends spawn of satan wouldn't know how to handle a Smokey Joe as much as they wouldn't be able to walk in an upright position. You already know that within minutes those wheels are off and the crude BR crest you'd put on the tanks of Smokey Joe have been scraped off and replaced with a Power Rangers sticker fresh from a Happy Meal.

It is happening all over again with the impending doomed future of the mighty A4 and it's stable mate 'K4', The Great Marquess. Except, again the real world of adulthood deals another fatal blow in watching the slow demise of two great machines. Two machines that could ride again if it wasn't to the decision of their owner. The owner who did save them, and has earnt the right to do what he wishes with them. Isn't adulthood boring when we have to say these boring things that make common sense.

Once again, we are lucky we have a hobby where we can say, without foundation, without any reasonable financial costings, without any strategic thinking, that they should steam again. 

Why? Because we want our Smokey Joe back, the one with the crude crest, the one that hit the wall, the one we spent our childhood with.  

Don't shy away from uttering the words, 'Steam it now'. Anyone who criticises that phrase is that friend with the attic full of Hornby train sets (and they weren't having as much fun as you)

Man who got Steam Locomotive number wrong is sentenced to 8 Years in Prison.

As the criminal was led away, the Prison van was pelted with dictionaries, Ian Allan ABC Books and Thesauruses as a true mark of British Protest.

Abominations are quick and plentiful in the Year 2017, this 12 month hangover from the previous craphole of 2016, but the worlds problems are not on a par with that of getting a Steam locomotive name or number wrong. 

It is a plague that we all have to bear as we follow the sights, sounds and smells of our unchanged underwear in following the hundreds of Railway Groups and Pages online. One wrong move and we are out of there so we tread more carefully than a Class 46 heading towards a Nuclear flask. We all know the impending doom of stating an 'opinion' in such an arena is the curse of death and disassociation that will tarnish us forever.

Exhibit A

Now we've seen 'Line of Duty' and know all about this shit. Exhibit A clearly shows someone in the wrong neck of the woods altogether. We've covered the identity of the hero of the piece here who is quick to pick up on the error.

The follow up clincher, cliffhanger and shocker comment was of course 'Now you know you're in the Unofficial NYMR Group here Fella..' in a Northern Irish growl. 

Of course anyone making such a heinous error is entitled to be addressed by someone of equal or higher rank in the 'Know it All' register. This normally takes the form of the all powerful Group Admin. 

Quite ugly scenes

So here we offer words of warnings to all followers, do your research first before you even contemplate coming onto Internet Groups about Railways looking to find out any kind of information. Any new babies of Groups will be instantly put in the corner if you do not know your stuff before getting there.

Criticism of anything posted on said Groups is a whole level of legal system that we have yet to comprehend or make sense of in the modern age. We can only recommend that you take your opinions far, far away.

We may look at creating a beginners guide to being a Railway Enthusiast online, with a step by step guide on the whys, wherefores and pitfalls of the new new journey people find themselves on.

Anyway, words reach us that 'Duchess of Sutherland' is running down the mainline - tender first. Brace yourselves folks, the proverbial has just got real.

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Feel better about yourself by watching Live Streams of someone better than you.

Cheers all round as can now catch the train, watch it from all angles then see what we haven't eaten, all live from Facebook, without having to move.

There is not a lot that we can't now watch in Live stream from our Facebook News feed. If it becomes very popular and factually correct, even Peter Snow and Dick Strawbridge will present it for you to make what you are seeing even more palatable. 

Today, we were able to watch a Steam Locomotive be driven from the footplate in Devon. We were then able to see Royal Scot steam through York, live in glorious HD. For dessert we could then see a Deltic hauling the Scot down the East Coast Main Line as if we actually were the actual cameraman with our scrotum skewed on barbed wire south of Newark.

We may never need to move again.

The appetite for live streaming everything across the world to the rest of the worlds mobiles spreads far and wide. The ultimate showcase Steam Railway events are not only put on for those who cant be bothered to buy a ticket, but we all get front seats by not even having to bother leaving the house.

The financial rewards for said Railway streaming the whole event via Facebook Live, is naff all. Beyond painting the lineside fences in a nice shade of bollock red.

There is of course the encouragement that you are missing out on what you are seeing, so you can jump back over to the Railways Live Webcams to avoid having to miss your favourite Pot Noodle while screen grabbing the Live Webcam to share what you are missing with others who are also missing it. You don't want to miss it.

We actually encourage this showcasing in the old style of photography. Gold has now gone to Group where all Bash Mashers can showcase their most valuable work for the world to see on Facebook. There is something quite special, and always will be, in railway photography. When you get it right, you lot really do get it right.

The worry we have is the dilution of our great hobby by everything and everyone being streamed live, so as noone need bother visiting them again. Will Steam Railways soon become a good series on Netflix, or follow Mark Zuckerberg telling us how down to earth he is?

Technology brings you this rambling, and is a wonderful thing. But here is hoping people are encouraged to scrape free from the sofas, try out those bones and muscles under the arse and visit Heritage Railways in the flesh. The smell of those Mark 1s has yet to reach the technological advantages on a par with Crazy Frog.  

'Austerity Tank Engine Week' Tickets sell out in record time.

The rush for tickets far out weighed anticipated response.

Websites crashed under the strain, more teacakes were buttered to reach the demand weighed upon them. The mighty release of tickets for Events has tended to become part of the Event itself. As nervous as stood by that Bridge for 14 hours with RealTime Trains on constant refresh anxiously hoping the sun doesn't go behind that cloud when that blue Class 37 comes storming under your Bridge. 

The seemingly rush and splashes of 'Sold Out' within days of ticket release for major events such as 'That A3' and 'That Pig' now have us poised on the starting line with our overpriced Credit Cards in hand waiting to beat that family of 4 to a ticket on a Mark 1. We can almost smell the crushing of dreams as they are unsuccessful and book tickets to Thomas Land instead.

Our previous ranting on Galas gained a response, pitchforks is always a given, but did get everyone thinking on what the 'Star Attractions' at our Steam Galas now may be. Who is big enough and tough enough to headline a week at Peak Rail? 

We can be rest assured there are enough 'star' engines in the mix to give Heritage Railways a boost for many years to come. The predicament comes when those are exhausted. Everyone sat a year ago saying the 'A3 Fever' would die off in time. It hasn't. But for those railways that can't afford such a green machine?

The answer seems to lie in clever ideas, marketing what railways already have. Is an Austerity Tank at Peak Rail such a bad thing? Or is it something that you will get nowhere else except Peak Rail?

The stars of the recent Great Central Diesel Gala were the 08 shunters having a Gronkfest that everyone loved. 'New and original' is always difficult territory as it has to capture imaginations too, some imaginative ideas can leave us scratching our heads. We love Daleks and Ghostbusters, but we're not sure how it fits in with a Heritage Railway. Could the Railway become a sideshow in a theme park event.

There's a magical place. We're on our way there. With toys in their millions. All under one roof. It's Called NRM.

Our SD cards couldn't wipe themselves quickly enough on the news a T3 was heading to the Swanage Railway. After the bounding success of the imaginative Strictly Bulleid this was a real coup to get the iconic T3 steaming again.

Now we love checking facts as much as the rest of you before jumping on the bandwagon, but an Internet Group told us it wouldn't be steaming. SD Card is slotted back into the folder marked 'Visit to Brigg 2014' and we calm ourselves.

It does pose the question as more of the NRM exhibits are dished out around the country of whether the stars under the roof will become the next stars of your nearest Heritage Railway. Is one of the wisest investments after all those Millions that went into that A3 now making millions for Heritage Railways (Charities)? 

Should the next wisest investments of our national collection be more of the stars released to boost up the numbers and bring on young enthusiasts to this mad world? 

Monday 3 April 2017

Thousands gather to hear Armchair Enthusiast preacher

We all know where we have gone wrong.

Be it you spend your spare time spotting, driving, firing, lurking or gawping at Steam Engines - the chances are you are doing it all completely wrong. You know this not by the rule book at which you keep by your side, but by that internet group when you return home.

Or so we thought.

It seems that the Armchair Enthusiast may be dying out? Are Class A Idiots no longer broadcasting their views at the highest level (internet code) anymore? Or are we just not signed up to National Preservation Forum anymore?

There is a growing modern crisis in our generation that the great love of someone you never met telling you that what you are doing is wrong on the Railway is as much a part of our hobby as not showing any emotion or comment on any content posted on The Railway Photography Group. The self satisfaction of these 'experts' having a profile picture of a Jack Russell rather than them at the regulator of an A3 heading out of the Cross would be enough to power Tower Hamlets for 18 years.

So it does worry us when these people seem to have been blocked or removed from the most favourite of our internet groups. The big question of course is where they all go when they have been banned and blocked? 

Is there a Guantanamo Armchair Bay where Armchair enthusiasts insist the prison officers waterboard them properly, or the chains were not like this in their day, and are most certainly the wrong colour. It does sound a glorious place, and will be in Apple Green. 

Ain't no April Fool

There is of course the regular purge on the 'Know it all' enthusiast. Here are men and women who wake up bright and early on April Fools Day with fingers at the sweaty ready. It is a gift of a day that they wait all year for and they couldn't be more delighted as they move past their piles of Railway World magazines and flick off the moths from the Working Timetables of the Stourbridge Shuttle for the past 19 years and head towards their 'desks' in their 'offices'.  

They are ready and waiting to reply to each and every April Fool story with 'This is an April Fools', or the old classic 'This is obviously an April Fool'. 

The great sway of pride that comes with the delivery of such Oscar Wildean whit tingles across their 56k modems with a warm glow that propels them to Liking the next Mail Online story mentioning 'Train stations'. Nothing powers up these enthusiasts more than a big red 'thumbs down' on their comment posted in sincere anger under every article of their local newspapers website. 

So yes, we proclaimed the glory of a good banning and blocking. But bear in mind that the armchair enthusiast is a breed that may just die off with every blocking. Why not adopt one?

We know we are now going to try harder to accept them and give them a place to proclaim their preaching to the world. They have a lot to say. And you will piss yourself laughing at each word.