The International Steam Pages

On the Right Lines, 2012

For convenience I have now grouped lifestyle illustrated features by topic:

This page is just one of several describing aspects of our '2012 new life', for earlier and later pages use the West Gloucestershire link above.

Despite the continued existence of this website, the effective near total demise of real steam around the world has led me to becoming a retired gricer; I just can't get excited by what little is left after having feasted on it for nearly 40 years. It's been an expensive hobby that has sometimes more or less paid for itself but now money is short, I've no inclination to systematically catch up on the UK's preserved railway scene.

Last year's blog included a report on the Alan Keef Open Day which again managed to attract the sun this year. Neither of the visiting locomotives has ever been 'real. in fact both are less than 5 years old! Paddy is a vertical boilered 0-4-0T while Jennie is a 'new build' Hunslet 0-4-0T:

However, this time I was on duty, 'selling' the new Leigh Bailey Light Railway which is the next best thing to having a garden railway at the back of the house even if it's unlikely to see any steam in the near future.

One Sunday morning, I popped Yuehong's visitors into the car and headed off for Whitecroft on the Dean Forest Railway, they were absolutely amazed when a steam train arrived two minutes after we did. Obviously they don't use timetables in China these days...

We caught up with the train at Parkend and then persuaded 'Uncle' to become a gricer:

However, for the first time in what must be 20 years I also visited the Severn Valley Railway, coinciding with a special weekend to launch their latest share issue, these days it's looking to raise four million pounds, to me an amazing sum given the present economic environment. We only stopped by for an hour, in essence it has hardly changed although the trains we saw seemed longer than before. Here The Watercress Line's 31806 climbs Eardington Bank.

We then headed for Hampton Loade, as the bigger stations were likely to be 'heaving'. There was just enough time to have a quick look at the station area before the next trains crossed.


Yuehong was familiar with the train control system from her time in Weihe and our travels together in Thailand, Malaysia and Burma:

It was good to see a new generation of volunteers at work: 

And after a few minutes of frenetic activity, the station returned to its slumbers and we headed for home:

I think it fair to say that Yuehong was suitably impressed with what she saw.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson