Sunday, 18 October 2015

Liverpool: Within The "Lion"s Den...

Hi there everyone. This weekend myself & Maise were on a short break in the cultural hub of Liverpool. Whilst on a visit to the Museum of Liverpool, an unexpected surprise was the sight of the famous "Lion". Built in 1838 as Liverpool & Manchester Railway No57, "Lion" was capable of hauling trains of up to 200 tons and remained in service until around 1858. In 1859 it became a stationary boiler for the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board, a role it retained until becoming surplus to requirements in 1928. Thankfully, interest in "Lion" had grown by this point and she was saved from the scrapyard forever. She took part: in steam I might add: in the 1938 London & Birmingham Railway Centenary. Most famously perhaps, she starred in the 1953 Ealing Comedy "The Titfield Thunderbolt", playing the role of the heritage steam engine brought out of the local museum to help save a country branch line from closure. "Lion" moved to Liverpool in 2007 to the then new museum and now sits centre stage. From the first floor, we look down across the elderly "Lion"...
This is one of those engines that you can't help feeling respect for. She's nearly 180 years old and represents a real turning point in the development of the steam locomotive. With 5ft diameter driving wheels and a boiler pressed to a novel 50psi, her inside cylindered design showed her to be quite a modern engine for her time...
"She's As Good As Ever She Was" (The Titfield Thunderbolt)
It was a great pleasure to see "Lion" today, particularly as the sight was so unexpected during our visit to the museum. I was still under the impression that "Lion" was housed in Manchester! Thankfully, the engine is now properly cared for and stands adorned with information boards documenting her history and pedigree. Behind her are projector screens which show her in action both in preservation and during her 1953 film role. Shes a beautiful old engine and I'm glad I've seen her at last. Best Regards, Sam...

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