This was the future, back in the 1940s

Fabulous revolutionary Bulleid air-smoothed Southern Railway Light Pacific Battle of Britain class 'Tangmere', built on the South Coast, was here, in this photograph, at Westbury (Wilts) station in the summer of 2007.

The streamlining air-smoothed casing also allows the locomotive to go through a standard carriage washer, rather than the crew having to do the cleaning, and conceals the dome and the multiple blast-pipe chimney.

This locomotive has a welded high-pressure boiler, semi-chain-driven valve gear, for its three cylinders, enclosed in an oil-bath case, and develops well over two thousand horse-power.

It was in fact rather notorious in its day for wheel-spin.  But what distinctly stylish BFB wheels.

This locomotive has a large fire-box, to burn any type of coal, complete with steam-operated doors.

When proceeding slowly, as here at Westbury station, its quietness and lack of vibration are noticeable.

The nominal efficiency of a diesel locomotive engine is greater than a steam locomotive, such as this one.

But a diesel engine has to run on a light fuel oil, which has to be refined by a further energy using process, whilst this steam locomotive runs on coal, of any grade, straight from the ground.

Most electricity generation is through steam.  Britain has vast coal reserves, though now not many miners.

We digress.


Charlie Hill, in the cab, at Westbury, Wilts, in 1962


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