But we got there, well, somewhere. Just in time for the “Union Of South Africa” to be towed past us by a WCRC Class 37 to get the A4 in place at Aberdeen. Definitely nothing more than a record shot, mainly due to the time it had taken to even get my camera out of my bag and set up. After the passing, I could see that the field stretched along the side of the railway line somewhat, and climbed slightly too. So there had to be a better vantage point from this side of the line somewhere. So after another 20 minutes of walking, climbing over fences, squeezing between the barbed wire of a few more, we found it. A nice curve on the railway line, a cliff drop beside us, and a sunny sandy beach in the background. And with the added sun, it was possibly the best conditions we could hope for. But what could we do now?
But eventually, peace and tranquillity would have to make way for the bark of one of Stanier’s finest all-job engines climbing the grade to Usan on their way North. The all-knowing, all powerful Scot-Rail.co.uk message board gave us an update of No. 45407 “The Lancashire Fusilier” passing through Arbroath, only ten miles down the road, and so it was in to position. And we couldn’t believe just how far down the railway we could actually see when the steam of the 5MT came in to view. We could see right down to Inverkeilor, the bottom of the climb, and she was fair flying! But, as we began to hear her, the uphill stretch was taking its toll with the twelve coach load. But it was better for us, as the tour slogged its way past us, providing ample opportunity for a photograph. And with that over, it was back to Montrose…
But as quick as she came, she was off again, and so were we to head home via Haymarket. And as we made the train trip South, we counted as many lineside and station photographers as we could from Leuchars and further South, and there was well in excess of 200 persons. You could even identify those who were just local residents, having read in advance about the steam passing in the local newspapers. If this is the kind of reception steam can get from a simple short column in a newspaper, then I’d be pleased to broadcast any further on this blog, the outings of steam around Britain!
But anyway, the trip via Haymarket was really because of it being the most convenient change of trains for making it back to Fife, but also gave us a quite glimpse of John Cameron’s A4 belting the whistle down past Haymarket Depot, and down into the tunnels on her way back in to Edinburgh Waverley. Even the platform announcement fellow chirped in over the speakers about a ‘steam train’ passing through, reinforcing the public image for a steam railtour. I’m betting many of those waiting on the platforms after a busy day at work won’t be forgetting the sight and sound of a modern looking, streamlined Gresley A4 Pacific on a rake of pristine looking, slam door stock at a station which, during the refurbishment, is looking a little bit glum!