Epilogue – Return of the Steam Enthusiast

Following from where we left in the previous part of this tale; 2009 started with a steam locomotive hauling my wife-to-be and I on New Years Day.  It is shown making a lot of steam, whilst taking on water in the pictures above.  This was the year that really marked the return of my full interest in steam trains and this happened whilst on a very special holiday…

The beginning half of 2009 had been rubbish job-wise but in the summer things had improved massively with a new career on the horizon.  I’m fortunate enough to have traveled to a few different places in my time, but a simple holiday at a fantastic bed and breakfast in Whitby somehow is one of the best ever!  Perhaps it was because the bed and breakfast was the most incredibly friendly yet slick place I’ve stayed at (under new management now, but still worth a look), or perhaps it was that the sun shone most of the time, or maybe it was because it was such a contrast to the earlier part of the year.  But it could also be because it was then that I properly both re-discovered the joy of steam trains and model railways.

The day in question began simply enough.  After enjoying our breakfast we walked to Whitby train station to catch the first North Yorkshire Moors operated departure, heading for Pickering.  Interestingly in the ticket office we got talking with one other customer and a member of staff.  This happens a lot in the North of England, apparently it’s called being “friendly”, something us Southerners know very little about!  Anyway, it turned out we all had lived in the same area in the South and some point.  It certainly is a small world!

The train was pulled by BR standard 4MT 79079 2-6-0 (above and below); not the most exciting machine to many, but I actually think their handsome workman-like appearance is quite fetching!  I remember being genuinely excited to be taking the train.  It wasn’t just the train that was exciting but also the journey; the railway follows a beautifully picturesque route.  It was also a day without a car to worry about; which is never a bad thing in my opinion.  Note Whitby Abbey can be seen on the hill/cliffs in the distance in the pictures above and below.

We stayed on the train all the way to Pickering, admiring the beautiful countryside as we drifted along the way.  Pickering is a lovely little town, with some nice pubs; the White Swan being particularly good.  It also has a great model shop, which we visited and it was their that I saw first-hand how remarkable modern models were/are.  They are streets ahead of the toy-like models that came before.  It was that moment that the realisation came that I wanted to properly get back into steam trains and into model trains.  It was that moment that made everything since possible and the first seeds of locoyard.com were sown.

On the return journey, we were pulled by a tender-first ex-LMS Black 5 45407 The Lancashire Fuslier.  It was on this journey that next sign came that said “I wanted to rekindle my steam enthusiasm” :

This was the hill where I had taken a picture of an LMS black 5 all those years ago as recounted previously.  It was that spot that I had decided to stop being an enthusiast whilst watching an ex-LMS Black 5 going the opposite direction and it was from this spot from the carriage pulled by an ex-LMS Black 5 that I knew I had had a major change of heart!  My original picture taken  in the late 1990’s is shown below.

Alighting at Goathland we had a good look at the locomotive and got a few snaps!

Goathland is famous for being Aidensfield of the well known TV series Heartbeat; so it is well worth stopping and having a look at this village.

Returning from the village we watched ex-LNER Q6 class 63395 power into the station.

The proof of the pudding, as it were was a return a couple of days later to Grosmont engine sheds, where a few locomotives were resting or awaiting attention.  The smell and the spell of an engine shed worked its magic and I’m sure I’ll be back as a steam enthusiast for life now!

This is where my journey back into steam ends.  I will create back-dated blogs looking at visits to steam railways made since this visit in May 2009 and these will be found in my steam diary, along with all the current visits that appear regularly on this blog.  For those of you who missed some posts from the series of how I became a steam enthusiast, check out my About page; as they are all summarised there with links to the posts.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I have.

Many thanks for reading and all the best, Dave