Tuesday, July 3, 2012

That's No Duck

Mallard is a 165 ton steam locomotive that operated on the London and Northeastern Railway.  It holds the official speed record for steam engine.  On July 3, 1938, she made a run pulling a train of seven cars during which she attained an official speed of 125.88 miles per hour.

High-speed rail travel during the age of steam boasted schedules in America, the UK and Europe in which the vehicles would have been compelled to run at speeds in excess of 100 mph.  But Mallard's record stands, though a German train came within a whisker of the record, and various  anecdotal, but unofficial claims of higher speeds in the US have been made.  However, while the Brits were serious about record setting attempts, and carefully monitored such runs, such endeavors never took place on this side of the pond. 

I was traveling from London to Cambridge by train a good many years ago, but post-steam, and I noticed the conductor with his stop-watch checking the passing of mileposts.  I asked him what our speed was.  "Ninety," he said.

I have a soft spot in my heart, or perhaps it is in my head, for rail travel.  I was fortunate enough to have grown up in the era of steam-powered trains.  I had the privilege of making several trips by rail back then.  I have also travelled by diesel locomotive, by bus, by plane, and by automobile.  Just never could stay anchored in one spot.  Unlike Immanuel Kant.  Yet look who is the more noted.

Images:: Wikipedia


8 comments:

Shelly said...

That is really some train. Many years ago, I traveled a good bit through Europe on their train system and loved it. We are tentatively planning an Amtrak trip next summer.

vanilla said...

Shelly, the trains in Europe will get one where he wants to be! I had the pleasure, too. Do hope you get to do the train trip. I still think it is a great way to travel.

Lin said...

I would love to take a train trip out west--I think that would be lovely. But I get sick going up into the mountains on those curvy roads, do you think I'd get sick on the train too?? I wonder.

Joe takes the train into the city each day--does that count as adventure??

Grace said...

That train is gorgeous. I love trains. When I was a little kid we went cross country by train, always have to change in Chicago to this day. I would still rather hop on Amtrak than fight my way on to a plane. Train travel is just so much more elegant and civilized even in this day and age. If Amtrak don't go there, neither do I.

Vee said...

Unusual design. It has a modern rather than old look.

I wish we had more options for train travel. We have neighbors who purchase rail passes and travel a lot by train. They enjoy travel that presents less hassle, and when they arrive they aren't worn out. Unfortunately, depots are not always in convenient places. We would need to have someone take us to Denver and pick us up - or pay the huge daily parking fee in downtown Denver.

Chuck said...

Great looking train. They obviously thought about aerodynamics when they built that monster.

vanilla said...

Lin, I think your reaction would depend partly upon how much looking out the window you do. I doubt that swaying and rocking would be a problem. Go for it!
I suspect that Joe may often experience “adventure.” I’ve never used commuter trains, always distance travel.

Grace, I am completely with you on air travel. I’ve done my share; but note the tense: past perfect, and in the past is just perfect so far as I’m concerned. As you point out, even in this day, train travel is much more civilized.

Vee, fortunately you have friends who would be glad to do that for you. And Trailways? No longer an option?

vanilla said...

Chuck, it is a pretty monster, isn't it?