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Photo Gallery 40

 

 

After clearing the tracks of pollen and before the arrival of the Flying Scotsman,  Colton and Lilli crank up a battery powered Brandbright resilient diesel.

 

 

A Flying Scotsman Tea Party

By Jim Pitts

Spring signals an invitation to come outside and celebrate in the warming sun.  Always looking for a reason to party and to share the experience of steam in the garden, while spring 2010 was in full bloom a tea party was planned.   

Now this was not to be a tea party as a political protest in the tradition of Boston 1773 or the partisan “us against them” political banter of 2010.  This tea party was to be a convivial and relaxed moment in Travelers Rest.   

A full contingent of G1MRA membership for the colony of South Carolina was involved in the planning and hosting: Steve Baker and Jim Pitts.  G1MRA members here in the southern colonies are a minority in the garden rail scene.   

The Flying Scotsman, the world's most famous steam locomotive, No. 4472 was built in Doncaster in 1923.  It weighs almost 160 tons, and ran about 2 million miles with the LNER and British Railways.  The Flying Scotsman recorded the first 100 mph trip in 1934 between Leeds and London. 

Recreating the scene of May 1928 at London’s King’s Cross to Edinburgh’s Waverley station, the 392 miles of non-stop glamour, romance and elegance rolled past an appreciative audience of world traveled guests. The train featured an Aster A3 locomotive with a full complement of eleven Flying Scotsman coaches custom crafted by Pete Comley at Sunset Valley Railroad.   

 
 

Along with tea and crumpets, shortbreads and biscuits, Geoffrey Humphreys shared memories of the UK railway scene of his youth.   Both his father and grandfather worked for the London Midland region.   

His grandfather was signal man on the high level.  His father started at the Tamworth station, but later worked at the head quarters in nearby Birmingham.  Since his family did not own a car, they traveled exclusively on the train.

 

 

Emotionally moving was Geoff’s recounting the history of his mother, Ruth Ofner.  Her railway journey to the UK was on the Kindertransport, a rescue mission which began nine months prior to the start of World War II. Predominantly Jewish children were sent by their parents out of Nazi Germany, Austria, Poland and Czechoslovakia to safety in Great Britain. His mother, now 81 years of age and one of twenty-six survivors, last year participated in the 70th anniversary observances of the Winton Train.  

Geoff shared that his family were “publicans.” That is not to be confused with a political party, but the name given to the proprietors of a pub.  A pub is a public house, a tavern, a bar and inn or hotel.  In British society, the pub is often the social center of the community, where everyone gathers to eat, drink and discuss the issues of the day.  It is obvious that his career as a broadcaster was enhanced by his social orientation at the Star Inn in Tamworth, Staffordshire, England.

 

 

In addition to the Flying Scotsman locomotives both in LNER apple green 4472 and BR dark green 60103, to introduce the tea party guests to other UK rail locomotives on display were an LMS Duchess of Sutherland, LMS Jumbo, GNR Stirling Single, Southern Bulleid and an L&M Lion.

 
 

 
Steve Baker, not content to have the American railway scene go unrecognized, provided his Aster classic Reno with classic passenger coach.  So the Wild West met our refined British heritage from across the pond for a good time of boiling water for tea and small scale live steam.  Truly a lovely way to spend an afternoon in the garden!
 
 

 

 

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