Steam en­gine is 100 years old

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Remember When? - by Chris Denham cden­ham@thek­m­

EVEN steam en­gines en­joy a birth­day treat, and what bet­ter way to cel­e­brate your cen­te­nary than a big cake.

The Kent and East Sus­sex Rail­way’s (KESR) P class tank en­gine en­joyed a tasty-looking cake on Satur­day at the rail­way’s Branch Line Week­end.

Harry Hick­mott, dressed spe­cially for the oc­ca­sion in his finest top hat and tails, pre­sented the cake (made by his wife Bar­bara) to the en­gine with suit­able cer­e­mony.

He said: “It looks lovely but it’s made of coal, flour and wa­ter, with wall­pa­per paste and acrylic paint.

Taken over­seas

“We have also got an ed­i­ble cake we are go­ing to give to the pas­sen­gers with a pic­ture of the en­gine on it!”

Built at Ash­ford works in 1908/09, the P hauled short trains around Sevenoaks and Ot­ford, be­fore be­ing taken over­seas dur­ing the war.

It also served on the KE&SR be­fore preser­va­tion, and even­tu­ally be­came a mill shunter in Roberts­bridge.

While the P class is 100 years old, it is a ver­i­ta­ble spring chicken com­pared to the other en­gine that was run­ning about dur­ing the week­end.

For­mer Lon­don Brighton and South Coast A1, later A1X, Bo­diam started work in 1872, with the name Po­plar.

The class be­came known as Ter­ri­ers due to their fast work when run­ning com­muter trains around south east Lon­don, de­spite their small size, not to men­tion their “bark”.

Alas, it failed to last the week­end, fail­ing on a train from Bo­diam midafter­noon on Satur­day, and suf­fered the ig­nominy of be­ing res­cued by a Class 33 diesel.

Pic­ture: Gary Browne PD1555555

Sta­tion mas­ter Harry Hick­mott de­liv­ers a 100th birth­day cake made of coal to fire­man Jim York and driver Adrian Clark-Monks on the Pride of Sus­sex

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