Tornado in Torquay - Steam Diary


Saturday 23rd March 2013

Back in Paignton for a few more house viewings and following one at 9.30 am we had quite a gap until the next appointments in the afternoon. So, Stephen and I decided to abandon the car for a while and take the train into Torquay. As I waited for Stephen to get the tickets I stood and watched the steam train called ‘Hercules’ depart for Kingswear. To my surprise there was another lady taking photographs, and, likewise, she was surprised to see me taking an interest in what is still regarded as a man’s hobby! We struck up a conversation and she informed me that the ‘Tornado’ would be passing through today! Also, a double header travelling to Plymouth via Newton Abbot. No chance of seeing that, especially as we had already booked to go to Torquay, but, hopefully, I would get to see the Tornado, possibly on it’s return journey through Paignton?

Not terribly exciting or pleasant in Torquay, but it was nice sitting upstairs in the restaurant at Debenhams, overlooking the harbour enjoying a nice bowl of hot soup and half a cheese toastie each!

We needed to get back to the railway station by 1.30 pm and when we got there, somewhat a bit breathless, we heard that the train would be delayed by 20 minutes! After a bit of thought I then wondered, hopefully, if this had anything to do with the Tornado? So, I then made some enquiries at the booking office. The young man, behind the glass window, with a vent for me to speak to him grimaced and seem irritated when I asked, but he did eventually tell me all I needed to know and that, yes, the Tornado would indeed be along shortly ahead of our train back to Paignton! Returning to the platform I gave Stephen the thumbs up sign as he sat reading the Telegraph and proceeded to find myself a good position to try and take some photographs. However, as the train would not be stopping I took heed of the announcement, echoing from the tannoy system, reminding everyone to stand clear of the edge of the platform when it came steaming by, in particular, as I’ve never forgotten the time when the Oliver Cromwell came hurtling through Diss station a few years ago and nearly blew me to kingdom come!

The weather was very grim and I wasn’t anticipating anything great. However, I decided that it would be preferable to include some of the station, to identify the location of the shot, and I made the most of a puddle in the foreground with the thought of getting a bit of a reflection!

I was excited about seeing the Tornado, albeit for a few seconds, and I really wanted others to share the same magical experience. However, the station was quiet and even in the café I could not shake up any enthusiasm! So, anyway I was happy and at least I did not have a crowd of people obscuring my view!
As for my photographs only one really passed the grade and had it not been for today’s modern technology it would surely have gone in the bin!

Tornado in Torquay - Steam Diary

Beverley Barrett

Dereham, United Kingdom

  • Artist

Artist's Description

An account of how I came to see and take photographs of the ‘Tornado’ steam train passing through Torquay in Devon.

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