There are many situations where you will encounter smoke and most of them signal danger. We are to having smoke alarms fitted in our homes for example.
However, there is still one situation where encountering smoke gets the hairs on the back of my neck standing up for all the right reasons, steam trains.
I was born quite near to where passenger railways first began. Locomotion No. 1 was first placed on the rails at Aycliffe Station, known today as Heighington Lane Station, back in 1825 having been brought down the Great North Road from Newcastle Upon Tyne.
From here it went to Shildon to pick up the first load of passengers outside the Mason’s Arms Public House.
The first journey was quite a rough affair with people travelling in open coal wagons, however it wasn’t long before the golden age of steam and style became an integral part of the journey.
And with the many companies competing for passengers, it was not long before speed became a focus. From cities in the south, to Scotland, companies competed on reducing journey times. In 1923, The Flying Scotsman was put into service by the London and North Eastern Railway Company. Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and built at the Doncaster Works its top speed of 100 miles per hour beat all its contemporaries. It would stay in service for forty years which no doubt help to secure it s global fame, but it was eventually retired in January 1963.
Currently part of the collection of the National Railway Museum, the Flying Scotsman is lovingly restored and made a special run earlier this year. Watch the video below. It does not look as though it is moving that quickly but if you have any doubts about the speed, try and count the number of carriages the train is pulling.
Remember, most, but not all smoke is bad.