My Journey in becoming a Steam Enthusiast, Part 3 – a cab ride on the Lavender Line

Regular followers of my blog will be familiar with my posts reminiscing about how I became a steam enthusiast.  Those who would like to catch up will find all the previous entries on my “About” page, my last post being a second set of Bluebell Railway memories.

Todays post is about one single experience that I’ll never forget.  On 13th November 1994, following a visit to the Bluebell Railway; my father and I investigated a new road sign we had spotted on our journey to the Bluebell Railway that suggested that another heritage railway had appeared nearby.  And it had!

Incredibly, the Lavender line had sprung up a short distance from the Bluebell Railway at Isfield.  It was and still is a short railway, but never-the-less has it’s own charm.  That day it had a unuasually large locomotive operating the line – the Severn Valley Railway‘s Ivatt 2MT 46443.

As can be seen by the photographs, it was a very wet day, but as is the way with bad weather, this added had the bonus of adding to the atmosphere.  Not surprisingly for such a wet off-peak day, there were very few other visitors which gave a great chance to have a good look at the Ivatt locomotive.

The Ivatt 2MT mogul (2-6-0) class are known affectionately as “Mickey Mouse”.  They do not have a direct link with the Southern region, but their 2-6-2 tank engine counterparts do.

Whilst having a good look at the locomotive, we inevitably got to the cab.  The friendly driver invited me on-board, which in itself; quite an experience.  He then asked if I would like to ride in the cab for the journey and of course I did!

I was young enough for this to wow me, but not so young for it to not leave a lasting impression.  The incredible heat from the fire, the clear chuffing of the chimney; it was an incredible experience!

If you ever get an opportunity to have a cab ride on a steam engine; do it!  It will stay with you forever!

Thread continues here.

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