Kerri and I have had a hectic morning this morning. Up at the crack of dawn, showered, dressed, we hadn’t time for a lavish breakfast, a small bowl of Fruit and Fibre for me with a glass of orange juice, and a breakfast bar and orange juice for her, backpack added and following a quick wash of the dishes, my bag complete with camera for me. We were out of the door for 09.00am precisely and as the sky was a gorgeous unbroken blue, we bravely had only our thin raincoats with us. Setting off down to town at a fairly brisk walking pace, we made good time.
“We won’t get a good spot to see her if we aren’t fairly early.” I reasoned with her as she grumbled to herself walking down, trailing behind me some several paces at least. As is usual, I ended up nearly breaking my arm by having to hold her hand and gently ease her along at a more steady pace than she takes under her own steam. Finally we are through town and walking up to the station. As I thought! There are already plenty of others with exactly the same idea as us! Ahh! Two are stood in a very well chosen spot at the very end of platform 2. I shout out to them from the walkway.
“ Which platform is she arriving on?”
“ Platform 1 but you won’t be able to budge on there as it’ll be packed, and you won’t get a good shot, that’s why were over here!”
Good thinking, so we continue on around the road and join the other platform on the other side. Kerri plonks herself down immediately on a seat whereas I saunter up to the two men in the advantageous position at the edge of the platform, and as is usual in these situations, we swop stories of our journeys, sightings, love of all things steam etc. Apparently they have been coming down here to get shots of the Duchess every week for the last three weeks. Not only on a morning such as today, but also at night when she returns. In fact, they are planning on returning tonight at 21.30pm. Of course it will be coming dark by then, but they both have expensive SLR’s that put my little point and shoot to shame, so I would imagine that they will still get some good shots.
The platform opposite where the Duchess is to pull in is now packed with people, not only the photo enthusiasts, but also all those who are boarding the ‘Scarborough Flyer’ for it is this excursion train that the Duchess is so ably pulling. Some of you may remember Kerri and I also going on this excursion ourselves a few years ago, setting off from Huddersfield.
“Why is she coming through Brighouse anyway?” I ask my two new friends. (Kerri is still sitting on the bench fiddling about with something, probably texting on her phone.)
“ Because They’ve been doing work to the line and so she’s been diverted through here instead.” Hmm. Wish I’d have known all of this. Kerri and I had planned to do this excursion again to Scarborough and we could have boarded here in our little home town! And what a wonderful day weather-wise for a trip to the seaside! As its turned out, I’m feeling fine following my chemo yesterday. Isn’t hindsight wonderful! I would have been fine for a day trip today to lift my spirits!
At last we see her coming round the bend in the far distance, a thin plume of steam issuing straight up into the blue air from her chimney. Camera’s begin to snap, people lean forward at angles to try and get a better shot or glimpse of her as she arrives, now decked in green livery, which personally I am not all that keen on, I preferred her in that gorgeous maroon when we road behind her a few years back. She zooms past me and I forget to move my camera at the same speed as I take the shot, so its all blurry. Sigh. As is usual with these excursions, she’s pulling behind her some nine to ten carriages, the middle one’s are Pullman dining carriages for those who are travelling first class and will have had a cooked breakfast since boarding and will also be getting a three course dinner on the return journey.
We dash up to the other end of the platform in order to get some close ups as she waits for all the passengers to board and gets some steam up for the off. In the cab, a young lad is looking out of our side. It gladdens my heart to see the youngsters getting involved with steam train driving, or the mechanical side of it all, we need to keep all of our old skills alive or who will carry it all on when the drivers and engineers who have worked so tirelessly on keeping this part of our heritage going, are no longer around?
She begins to pull away, a short whistle and she’s off! How I wish we were on board! We wave to all those lucky enough to be peering at us from their comfortable seats in the carriages and I silently wish them luck with the weather when they land in Scarborough for their day out. We all begin to disperse, in our particular case, now off to do some shopping whilst we’re in town, others to wherever. It’s not often our small station see’s the sight of a steam engine, its a big event and one that I am so glad I didn’t miss.
Here’s a photo album for you to see the shots we took, as always, Kerri has managed to pull of a much better shot of the Duchess as she passed under the bridge than I could muster, despite getting my arm in it. I could crop it out of course, but hey! Its part and parcel of our natural amateur photos!