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Saturday, 2 July 2011

Steam and the Community

The steam train and its relevance to local communities is  a story that unfolds in many jigsaw puzzles, old or new. Whether with branch lines, main lines or even today's preserved railways local communities are inextricably linked to the permanent way in a variety of ways, social, financial or political. Today's post, 2nd July 2011, comprises two pictures of jigsaws each showing a strong bond between railway and the local community.

The first picture shows a 500-piece House of Puzzles jigsaw titled Railway Children. If you have seen the film or read the book you will completely understand what is going on in Keith Stapleton's artwork. Children watching and about to wave to a steam train as it thunders by was a regular sight in steam days and is replicated today on many steam rail-tours and 'Heritage' railways. And how often do you see people waving to diesel-hauled or electric trains? Not many. The locomotive heading the express is a Great Western Railway 'Castle' class 4-6-0 example designed by Charles Collett and the children in the picture are accompanied by the family dog; the scene is entirely natural and rural.

Picture number two is slightly different, based on a train waiting in a rural station for passengers to embark. Others have left the train and a busy scene ensues with families, couples, children and the obligatory dog crossing the line and entering/exiting the station. The locomotive is one of Charles Collett's  large 2-6-2 'Prairie' tanks No.4132, built between 1935 and 1939. The superb artwork is by Kevin Walsh, a prolific artist well patronised by jigsaw manufacturers such as, in this case, Falcon Jumbo. The jigsaw is titled Departure Time and is made up of 1000 pieces.