Why we got steamed up over Oliver Cromwell

Chris Carter THE PASSING of the Oliver Cromwell steam train through Ilford (see page 2) sparked conflict in our office on Thursday. There were two opposing sides – the so what? brigade and the wow team. The so what? brigade pondered what the fuss was all about –

Chris Carter

THE PASSING of the Oliver Cromwell steam train through Ilford (see page 2) sparked conflict in our office on Thursday.

There were two opposing sides - the "so what?" brigade and the "wow" team.

The "so what?" brigade pondered what the fuss was all about - a train goes through Ilford, they sneered.


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Meanwhile the "wow" team flocked to the Recorder windows and into the car park to wave at the train and passengers as it passed.

Maybe it's an age thing, or maybe some of us are just geeks, but the sight of a steam train running through Redbridge brightened the day.

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Few in the news team remember when steam was king when it came to commuting to London.

I recall as a child in Epping hearing the trains coming into the station at the rear of our garden and my mum's complaints at the smuts on her washing.

Later on I accompanied my brother to a steam railway in the Peak district and when the children came along went to see Thomas The Tank Engine at Colne Valley in Essex.

Like many things we view the past through rose-tinted glasses and today's electric trains are probably more reliable than the likes of the Oliver Cromwell.

But the thought of the men up front shovelling the coal into the engine to keep the train running and tooting on the whistle as it passed under a bridge seems a lot more romantic.

The "wow" team will stick to our guns - when did you ever see passengers on the 10.42 to Seven Kings waving out of the window?

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