The Cotton Mill Express

The Cotton Mill Express
The Cotton Mill Express: LMS Class 5MT 4-6-0 no 45407 Lancashire Fusilier and BR Class 4MT 2-6-0 no 76079 steaming through Hebden Bridge this morning.

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Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. Pure magic! We have the Swanage steam railway down here & I would also recommend a visit to York railway museum & Didcot for a breathtaking, sphincter tightening day.

  2. Well done on getting that glorious photo.

    We traipsed down to see the scheduled Clan line pass through Staines on Friday lunchtime. Sadly on this occasion the train was delayed --'s information was correct, but the practical reality is that steam excursions will always likely to have the lowest priority on the mainline network. The station manager came out and was really helpful -- he asked us if we were waiting for the steam and he volunteered to help. It really was splendid. He and his staff were able to tell us where the delayed train was and how likely it was to be further delayed. We had to go back to work, so we missed it, but fair enough -- it's the price to pay for the wonder of steam on the mainline.

    Now the odd thing about this, of course, is that whenever I have been standing on Staines platform frustrated due to utter lack of information on the missing trains for which I have bought a ticket, I've never ever seen the station manager go up to a customer -- not just me; any of us -- and offer to help.

    Hey ho. He's a genuinely nice chap, and some (not all; there is one notable exception in my mind) of the staff at that station are hard-working and as helpful as the system allows. But when a non-steam train is delayed the only thing you can be reasonably confident about is that someone will switch the machine on that tells us how sorry it is. The brilliant thing about the Apology Machine that they use is that if the train is very late, it says it's really sorry.

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