20 August 2006

Still very little going on here - apart from it being my birthday earlier in the week. The big 40! Must say though that it doesn’t feel any different to any other birthday, which must mean that either I’ve felt like a 40 year old for sometime now or, that I’m still not acting my age! I will leave that for you to work out!

Although I was at work for my birthday, it was a relatively easy day; work was very quiet, possibly the quietest day this year, with no problems at all. The only thing that I did have to deal with was the constant joking from work mates about my age and also the A4 posters that had been placed all around the building telling me, and everyone else, that I was in fact 50! I still bought everyone Muffins and Danish Pastries though!

The best bit of getting old is that I will be able to take a train ride I’ve wanted to do for years, the Settle and Carlisle railway, one of Europe’s greatest railway journeys. Lynda has treated me, and herself, to tickets on The Cumbrian Mountain Express on 21 October.

We will leave Worcester early on the Saturday morning for a diesel hauled journey up the West Coast main line to Hellifield. There, the diesel will be replaced by 71000 The Duke of Gloucester, the last steam express passenger loco built for British Railways. From there we will continue on through Settle, over the Ribblehead Viaduct, Kirkby Stephen and Appleby to the city of Carlisle.

After a break in Carlisle, our steam hauled journey will continue onto the famous Shap Summit before heading to Preston via the Lune Valley, Oxenholme and Lancaster. The return from Preston will again be diesel hauled, behind a Class 47, Brush Sulzer Type 4 locomotive. The whole day will be in the comfort of “Premier Dining” class - a table for two with window seats, full English breakfast, lunch and then a four course, silver service, dinner!

A couple of photos of 71000 - taken from 71000 Trust web site.

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