I have a fascination for trains, both in watching them and riding on them. As I child, our next door neighbour was the conductor on a train (freight) and I was once able to travel in the caboose. Now there are no longer a cabosse at the end of the train , gone for years and replaced with a black box stuck on the last car of the train. Alas. I also helped turn a train engine in a round house at the end of the line. Let the steam whoot, say I.
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Charlie Bunce's book Great British Railway Journeys has been released to accompany the second series of Michael Portillo's television programme of the same name. The first journey it looks at is the Liverpool to Manchester railway - far from the most picturesque railway in Britain, but according to Bunce "the birthplace of the modern passenger railway". The railway, initially designed to carry freight rather than passengers, opened in 1830, and was powered by Stephenson's "Rocket" locomotive, pictured