Steam engine is 100 years old
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.
“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.
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