As usual the crew did not have a lot of time to admire the scenery, they had to uncouple the loco and run her back to the end of the train, although she would then have to run tender first for the rest of her journey. The station is an endpoint and there is no turning triangle.
The loco is a LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 5305 and was built in 1936, being withdrawn from service in 1968.
As I stood watching this I realised that a very similar scene may have played itself out in wartime Britain as children were evacuated from their homes, although back then the children would not be wearing hi-vis vests, pink backpacks and with cellphones clutched in their hands. It was really a poignant scene to witness, made all the more so when a group in the train started singing songs that were famous during the war.
The engine had coupled back onto the train and then pulled the guards van from the consist and shunted it back onto the spare platform line.
The platform was steadily getting less crowded, although the police and military were still in evidence.
I returned to the end of the train where the loco was moving back into her position for departure. And a shiney beastie she is too.
I turned to look down the platform, and it was empty except for a solitary railwayman plodding along, they were ready to go. A final clanking and rumbling from the steam engine, a blast on her whistle and she slowly started to steam away, leaving me almost on my own.
Curse this war! how much longer must it go on?
I had a quick look at the guards van that had been left behind; it is interesting how much different these are to the coaches we had back in South Africa.
And then it was time for me to go, we still had a long day ahead, and I had a long walk ahead of me too, but what an excellent morning it had been. A special mention must go to the people who participated and who were there in all their finery, they really did a great job and were all participating in what I hope is the sort of day those children on the train never forget.
© DRW 2015-2018. Images migrated 30/04/2016