My father was an engineer.

Actually he was one of the top railway engineers in the country, back when we had decent railways.

It was somewhat natural then that I grew up with a love for trains, and in particular steam locomotives.  Every rail journey started and ended with a visit to the locomotive.  From an early age I knew how they worked and what all the pistons and connecting rods were for and marveled at the engineering.

When I first learned to read I discovered the Rev, Awdry books about what is now known as Thomas the Tank Engine, but in my day were simply The Railway Books.  I loved Thomas, Henry and Gordon and all their pals and their escapades and must have had just about every book in the series [before about 1955 anyway].  The stories were simple but fired the imagination.  They were great.  They were part of my childhood.

Many [many] years later they transferred to television.  Even though it did give Ringo Starr a job, I was saddened just a little bit.  Sticking things on television means the imagination is dulled.  Then of course the merchandising came along and the little engines of my memory became just another tacky toy to buy in Smyths. 

I see now that Awdry's genius for simplicity and innocence is to be multiculturalised.  They have to introduce engines from different countries as a nod to "cultural diversity".  They are to introduce engines from India, Brazil, China and Mexico, and all neatly decorated as stereotypes

What next?

Are we to have a gay engine?  How about a transvestite that dresses as a tram?  Will we have transsexual locomotives who presumably have their pistons cut off?  We already had Terence the traction engine who was black, so that's that little niche covered.

God help us if they try to introduce Paddy the Irish Engine [presumably a turf burner and coloured green, though Henry won't like that].

Of course they are heading for disaster though they may not realise it.  Locomotives from India, China and Mexico are all very well, but introducing a locomotive from Brazil [or even Ireland] would lead to tragedy.

They use a different track gauge.


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Off the rails — 8 Comments

  1. *is amazed the white middle class FAT Controller hasn't yet been arrested for abusing little boys on their outing, to see the trains, from Sodoff's Children's home*.


    …and, if memory serves, he SMOKED cigars infront of children…just like Saville.

    • I don't remember whether he smoked or not, which shows how terribly impressionable I was.  Anyway, all the engines smoked too, as did all steam engines.

      Also he obviously encouraged obesity?

    • I think I read that about the shuttle before.  I knew that the British [Standard] gauge was supposed to derive from the width of the chariot [and that we drive on the right to leave our sword hand free for combat!].  There may be more than a grain of truth in the theory, but don't forget there have been many gauges over the years.

      One thing is for sure though – there will never be a non-stop rail link between Ireland and Great Britain through a tunnel!

  2. Just testing here.  My comment yesterday never appeared, so I thought I'd try again.  Or have you banned me, Gramps???

  3. "Or have you banned me, Gramps???"

    Well, there we are then.  Apparently not.  Don't know why not, though.  If this was my blog, I'd definitely ban myself from it for droning on …. and on ….. and on ……

    • No.  Of course I haven't banned anyone.  I honestly don't know what happened.  You were languishing in my Spam box from whence [!] I retrieved you.  I had to have a shower afterwards, with the shit that's in there.  I shall endeavour to track down the cause.

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