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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Rural Steam

Steam train enthusiasts prefer to see their icons in a railway infrastructure setting but manufacturers of jigsaw puzzles cater for more cosmopolitan tastes. Jigsaws depicting a steam hauled train in a picturesque rural environment are popular with jigsaw enthusiasts of many persuasions, and manufacturers are quick to target the sales potential of this pairing. In today's post, 30th August 2011, I am using two pictures of jigsaw puzzles that fit the rural steam genre.

The first picture shows a 500-piece puzzle by Waddingtons titled A Country Life. The superb artwork is by Don Breckon. In the picture a small branch line train on the Great Western Railway (GWR) is relegated to the background while integrating perfectly into a strictly rural scene. A small 'Manor' class 4-6-0 locomotive, No.7807 Compton Manor, is shown heading GWR chocolate and cream carriages. A country cottage and adjacent small-holding, with goats, chickens, ducks and a horse to the fore, complete the picture. This is certainly one of those jigsaws that radiates peace and serenity from a quiet corner of the British countryside.

The second picture, of a 636-piece 'Panoramic' Gibsons puzzle, shows a British countryside farming scene titled Bringing in the Barley. The jigsaw is reproduced from original artwork by Derek Roberts. At the head of at least two, British Railways (BR) maroon, suburban passenger coaches is an ex-GWR, 5700 class 0-6-0 pannier tank (No.7725?).  In the foreground - a cut barley field - a picnic appears to be taking place including adults, a child and the obligatory dog. A bright red tractor, attached to a crop-filled cart, and a Morris Minor Traveller car are also included in a busy scene. Two other small children wave at the train from a trackside gate and the engine driver reciprocates.

Both of the locomotives shown in the above jigsaw photographs were common on GWR and BR Western Region branch lines serving countryside communities. Both jigsaws depicted would appeal to steam train officianados and jigsaw enthusiasts with broader affiliations.