Today we went out with friends to see a steam train. The event we hoped to witness would take place at Kings Cross station and we were meeting our friends in nearby Starbucks’. However, it being Saturday, we had first to deal with breakfast or, rather, brunch, by the time we got around to it, so on the way we stopped off at the trusty Station Cafe near Kings Cross.
Thus fortified, we met up with our friends in Starbuck’s and contacted another friend, P, who, with his grandson, had managed to get a good spot to view the train. We were all to meet up afterwards to go for a meal together.
The four of us made our way into the station and found, not entirely unexpectedly, that we had been preceded by a huge crowd. The train would arrive at platform 1 but it was by now impossible to get anywhere near it. We stood at the entrance to platform 4 and waited for the train to appear.
What we were waiting for was the Tornado, a steam locomotive. The point to emphasize is that this was not an antique engine but one recently built. The design largely follows that of the Tornado class with a few modifications to make it more suitable to the modern railway environment. The visit therefore represented a double novelty.
We originally found information about the train of this site: http://www.a1steam.com, but when I tried it a moment ago to get some facts about the Talisman, as this locomotive is called, the site was inaccessible. I don’t know if it will come back up and in the meantime, there is a report on the BBC news site.
As indicated by the size of the crowd that came to welcome the train at the end of its run from Darlington, there is great interest in the locomotive. Looking around at the people, it seemed to me that there were more than the usual “steam twitchers” who always turn out to photograph and film old trains. Perhaps there is nostalgia among older people for the age of steam but there were plenty of young adults and children who would never have seen this age for themselves. This locomotive has seized many people’s imaginations.
As we had stood waiting for a long while (the train had been delayed at Peterborough), we retired again to Starbuck’s for a sit-down and refreshment. P and grandson now joined us and we showed one another the photos and videos that we had taken. Then we set off by bus for Euston for lunch.
In Drummond Street, famous for its Indian restaurants, is a splendid little restaurant that serves African cuisine. We have been there on numerous occasions (and mentioned it here) and wanted to introduce our friends to it. We and they were not disappointed. The food was excellent and the prices moderate. It is called African Kitchen Gallery, because as well as serving delicious food, it also sells African artifacts, including masks and sculptures of animals.
Afterwards, we returned to Kings Cross, hoping to get a further glimpse of the steam train but it had already left. I don’t know when we shall see it again but I am sure we have not heard the last of it.