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Locomotion–changed the World

It is not everyday, we see something that has genuinely changed the world. But today I did and it is called Locomotion. Nowadays, it looks distinctly ‘old hat’ yet as Pete Waterman explains, when it was first seen in action it must have been as exciting and frightening as the Space Shuttle. Nevertheless, when its inventor George Stephenson let loose this contraption on the unsuspecting British and hence the globe, he was really launching the first system of public transport. and so in some ways Locomotion became less Space Shuttle and more prototype Jumbo Jet.

Of course Locomotion was the first steam locomotive to run on rails. But what I had failed to grasp prior to visiting Locomotion’s home at the ‘Head of Steam’ Museum at Darlington was that well before its first run in 1825, rail line systems were an extensive mode of transport in Georgian Britain. The only difference was that it carriages and trucks were horse drawn. Not surprising then that the first time Locomotion tasted speed was when it was carried some of the way from Newcastle to  its start up point of Darlington on such a waggon.

Its first run along the Stockton to Darlington line complete with a load of coal and a carriage for the Directors of the whole project was a immediate success. So much so the coal was given away to the poor. There is no record of the passengers being charged at all let alone asked to pay the extortionate fare required today to travel on Britain’s railways.

It is ironic then that despite this little loco ushering in mass travel by train, it only pulled carriages of passengers one more time. The rest of its 40 odd years of working life was drawing coal from the Durham coal fields to provide steam for the factories and ships of the growing industrial revolution. Yet Locomotion’s efforts not only brought in that era, it helped also to power it as well.

 

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Israel & Palestine – Full Spectrum

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This photo reminds us of the Railway Children, cabin trunks and porters with barrows. In fact, it’s toning helps us to look backwards. Yet to see things only in black & white misses a great deal. Take the current stand off between Israel and the Palestinians which is peaking with the Gazza Blockade. Now here is a situation that is all too easy to see in the monotone of our own preconceptions, limited information and even prejudices. And certainly there is no end to the violent conflicts of justice, safety, and religions surrounding the State of Israel. However, there is also a potentially rich panorama of cultures, talents and abilities that could give a much better view for all the people of the Middle East. Since if we do look at the world in full spectrum, it is more complex but it offers us more opportunities.

After all my photo was taken only a few weeks ago and it is better when we don’t look back but use what we have for the future.

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Passing the token – NYMR


Passing the token – NYMR, originally uploaded by taystar.

It was one of those idyllic days that comes about by accident. We had travelled over the North York Moors and a road with many near vertical drops to Levisham Station. There we watched the old system of ensuring that only one train is on the single track at a time. he who has the token as the line. In the warm sun, it was easy to think ourselves in a less hurried, less digital, less interconnected world. A world, indeed, that relied on brass and leather mechanics instead of plastic and silicon electronics. A word where neither email nor cellphone disturbed the tranquility. The ‘real’ pork pies tasted good too!

 
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Posted by on 01/06/2010 in digital, spirituality, train

 

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