|The San Pareil|
We used to sit besides the track,
Watching trains go clickety clack.
We'd count each carriage passing by
And smell the smoke that filled the sky.
In the autumn sunshine a street organ played nostalgic music while engines belched out steam, with that particular smell that is so reminiscent of railway stations and the excitement of waiting for the first glimpse of the Flying Scotsman pulling its massive train into Darlington station, on its journey from
Edinburgh to London.
Crowds streamed into the huge engine sheds at Shildon, scanning the stalls full of memorabilia and appreciating the magnificence of the old engines and carriages that stand there.
In a glass case there is a perfect model of the Locomotion, above a book declaring the opening of the museum in 1978, signed by the Queen Mother.
However, for me, the most impressive thing is the San Pareil, immaculate with green body and yellow wheels. It brought back memories of an elderly cousin who told us how her father’s father drove that very engine soon after it was built at Shildon.