Archive for March 10, 2014

The Great Goodbye

Posted: March 10, 2014 in Trains
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And so it ends. It is unlikely that the 6 remaining A4s will be seen together again. Its been a great experience to see these great machines standing together. I echo the thanks to those who have worked over the years to preserve and restore them so that we today can still experience their majesty

Phil Lambell

THEY’RE just machines aren’t they? One hundred and two tons of metal forged and hammered into shape to fulfil a function.

Image Mallard at The Great Goodbye

Well yes, and no. If that’s all they were we wouldn’t care about them would we?

Not only do we care, we are in awe of these machines. This morning I involuntarily smiled when I heard one of them whistle, a sound carried on the breeze across the north of Darlington, as it made its way down the branch line from Shildon.

And we cared in huge numbers over the last week or so as the remaining six Class A4 Pacific steam locomotives went on show at Locomotion in Shildon ( in an event named The Great Goodbye.

I was one of 18,000 to visit on Saturday. Organisers expected 72,000 visitors over the nine days, they eventually welcomed 120,000. Shildon, not a…

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There is always a good feeling about seeing a first, whether it be for the year or for the first time ever. Sunday was a lovely sunny spring day and the first sighting of an insect, a White-tailed Bumblebee in the garden was a welcome sign that winter is over (hopefully) and that spring is on its way.



Spring is such an exciting time for a naturalist. The new migrant arrivals and the addition of Butterflies and Dragonflies to brighten up our walks as well.

Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

White-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum)