Saturday, 13 July 2013

Wow, what a day

It was the hottest day of the year so far, which is a good start. Woke up in the Hickstead Travelodge at about 6:00, it was hot already and very bright. Up and showered by 8:30 and on our way. Didn't recognise Snook in his sports car with his dark glasses on, but he walked over anyway and off we went.

About 20 minutes drive to The Bluebell Line where we consumed a hearty breakfast and then went on a guided tour of the engine collection and The Atlantic Project. Fred, our guide, has created a CAD model of an Atlantic class locomotive and is now building one. Marvellous man and a fantastic project.

From there it was onto the footplate of the 12:15 service to East Grinstead. A fantastic experience, OK it was far too hot and sweaty, but what an experience. When the regulator opens and the steam fills the cylinders, the whole world hisses, shakes and moves. Even with the 20mph speed restriction in place, it was amazing. Thanks to everyone who made it happen.

Snook had prepared an excellent lunch which we ate in the picnic area. It really is summer and it was fantastic to be out in the warm sun eating and drinking. We then had a sit on a train. We were going to take a ride up the line, but the service was delayed, so we got off and had a mooch round the museum. Lauren and I raided the dressing up box.

Snook and I then took more pictures of the engine I travelled on and Sharon and Lauren had a look round the shop. A fantastic day, great people, good friends and family. Everything I love in the world, and a real steam locomotive!

Left Snook for the Travelodge and showered off the coating of coal dust. Chilled for a couple of hours and have just been out for a meal in Burgess Hill.

Now off to bed to sleep the sleep of men of steam.
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