10th Anniversary - Day 29

Archived Questions

Day 29 - March 29th 2013

For anyone who had ever visited our last offices in Camden you would have known that we were situated under a railway line. Hence the address - The Arches. Maybe you just spoke to us on the telephone and wondered what that strange rumbling noise in the background was. For the most part you got used to it, like any noise, and it was the look of surprise and worry on visitors faces that reminded you of the passing Stratford to Richmond train overhead. And then there were the freight trains. They would generate a loud vibration that went right through everything, not least your head, like some method of CIA interrogation. If you have ever tried placing an order over the phone and been repeatedly asked for your details, it was probably a passing train. Acton is so nice and quiet. Still, very occasionally the passing train would be a steam train, and you might get a warning with that familiar toot and approaching noise. I even remember being on the platform on Kentish Town West station - a bleak place at the best of times (see March 25 for more on this), and whilst waiting for the 18.04 home along rolled an old-style train (pulled by a diesel locomotive, sadly) with the traditional Orient Express style dining cars, full of beautiful people sipping cold champagne and waiting to be served the first of many courses of their meal, sitting at tables with tablecloths and real china and cutlery. The contrast to us bedraggled commuters was a sight to see, and the looks on our faces when the train had passed said it all. We just had that look of 'did I really just see that, or have I been at work too long?'. So, today's question is...

Q: What year did the last passenger steam train run in this country?

A: 1968 - see a BBC film on the end of steam trains here

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