The Mail- and its readers- absolutely loved this one- a '1940s technology beats all that new fangled crap' style story. Which, in their eyes, really does prove that there's no such thing as progress.All aboard the polar express: Steam locomotive takes home passengers stranded by snow-delayed modern trains
Passengers stranded when modern-day trains fell victim to the freezing weather have been rescued by the crew of a steam engine.
About 100 passengers climbed aboard the first mainline steam locomotive to be built in Britain for almost half a century at London Victoria when electric trains were delayed.
The 1940s technology used to power Tornado, a £3million Peppercorn class A1 Pacific, was able to withstand the snow and ice that brought much of the South East to a standstill on Monday night.
It is wonderful that enthusiasts keep steam alive & this is a great Christmas story for the achievments of the group who built the train. There is something magical about the age of steam trains. It takes us back to a time when life was lass complicated & although we now statistically have more "stuff" it is not the things which matter like family, community, good jobs & life quality over quantity. Steam locomotives were taken from us but we didn't necesarily want them taken. We were given dirty diesel locos devoid of personality instead (steam locos were also very dirty but we forget this through our rose tinted glasses) & of course....British Rail (shudder!!) to run them. Nostalgia just like our memories highlight the good stuff but we mentally block the bad things but some things cannot be changed.
- Dave B (Brit ex-pat), Uxbridge, Canada, 25/12/2009 14:32
Steam trains are really great, and I'm not a "train buff". I just think they are better at what they do, more reliable and, as just proved, a damn sight better designed than modern diesel-electrics.
if we still had a full railway network, a hell of a lot of car journeys wouldn't be needed, either.
- Steve, Tyneside, 25/12/2009 11:11
So one incident like this proves that steam trains are unquestionably better than the trains we use today?
I can tell you where they WEREN'T built. And yes, I posted a missive of my own about the (frankly) stupid engineering of the Eurostar / TGV. However, that would be missing the point:
France is not a third-world country, unlike Britain - and their rail network works a hell of a lot better. Ditto for Germany. I'd say ditto for Japan, but for the fact that the Japanese outclass everyone else. When you are a match for ANY of the above, THEN you can criticise our engineering.
I've lived in Germany for 5 years, and commuted endlessly by train - mainly to Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and France (I've also worked in these countries) - and it only seems to be when I visit England that I experience the "wrong" type of snow, leaves, etc, on the line.
I leave you with a question: Why, when we run electric services here in Europe, are we not affected by these problems?
- Oliver (ex-pat), Duesseldorf, Germany, 24/12/2009 17:04
Oliver (ex-pat) has made a few comments on this story and he comes across as a complete twat. He claims to be a South African ex-pat. I think maybe he could do with his own thread if he continues to be this prolific. I'm fed up of people harping on about how Britain is a third world country, how would they cope when they go to an actual real third world country?
The leftie obsession with electricity is a joke. Can you imagine if all those abandoned cars were electric? Just how would they all be re-charged?
- Martin, Ashford, 24/12/2009 12:13
Aaaargh! Electricity is an evil NooLiebour plot to destroy the world!
Poor, poor James. All you say is true, of course BUT the modern locomotive has about as much soul as Gordon Brown! It's sometimes not the arriving that's important, it's the getting there. Where is your soul, man, you sense of romance? A thing of beauty is a joy for ever - Tornado is alive!
- Michael, Longfield, Kent UK, 24/12/2009 0:30
A sense of romance is all well and good, Michael. However when people want to get to places quickly steam trains just won't do the job. I've been on a few and the smaller engines really are slow and underpowered. I enjoy riding on steam trains but they're just not practical for today. Diesel and electric are far more powerful, more reliable and faster. Of course as I tried to point this out, they marked me down:
While I believe the Tornado is a massive achievement and would love to ride on a train pulled by it sometime, I cannot understand why people here want to see steam trains return en masse. They are slower and less fuel efficient. The fastest steam engine in the UK, Mallard, reached 125mph but only on a downhill run and had to be rested at its next stop as it ran well beyond its limits. Our modern Intercity trains do 125mph routinely.
- James, Grimsby, 23/12/2009 22:40
Rating currently -91
Just stoke the furnace and these beauties keep running.
They are reliable in any weather and, as others have said, there is something about them that really does stir the heart. Not only are they highly functional but they are beautiful too in their colourful livery.
Start building them again, phase out the diesels, build new railway lines and watch people flock to take the train again.
Get our coal mines back in production, create jobs for thousands of people and stop buying inferior fuel at over-inflated prices from abroad.
Will this government do it? Not a snowball's chance in hell. Too many palms being greased and too much pandering to the great unwashed "greenies"!
- Grouse, Somewhere in England, 23/12/2009 21:56
So it's nothing to do with the fact that electric and diesel trains are faster and better, it's all down to a greenie plot.
I would send them a reply but I cannot as they're 'no longer accepting comments on this article'.