Jacob at two and a half is train mad. We heard that Tornado was pulling a steam special on the East Coast Main Line making a short stop at Retford. The chance to see her was an opportunity not to be missed.
For those of you who don’t know, Tornado is the first main line steam engine to have been built from scratch in this country since 1960. It took a band of enthusiasts 19 years and the loco is now used to pull special steam hauled trains on the main line.
We joined the group of train spotters on the station. News came that Tornado was running about 30minutes late but there were plenty of trains thundering through Retford to keep one small boy happy. I hadn’t realised the East Coast Main Line was so busy.
Then came the magical moment when we first heard the loco and could see the smoke. The sense of excitement running along the platform was tangible. Tornado slowly puffed to a stop to the admiration of us all.
She is a beautiful piece of workmanship with gleaming green paintwork and six large driving wheels. She waited steaming quietly until the whistle was given for her to go. She gave a whistle, there was a tremendous release of steam hiding the engine for a few minutes and she slowly began to chuff and move forward. The wheels gripped (no slipping today) and the throb of the piston beats got stronger and faster as she majestically steamed out of the station with her strange assortment of coaches.
Our last sight of her was the red light on the last coach disappearing down the line….leaving behind one happy small boy.