Sunday, 11 October 2015

Immigration Service Cyclists see Steam Engines in Preston.

We had nearly a full complement of cyclists on our last trip. Exploring the back lanes of the village of Preston (Preston in Kent, not the town in Lancashire) we came across these examples of industrial archeology.

These British-built traction engines were destined
for the 'Colonial' market, as is suggested by the
wide distance between the wheels – too wide for
British roads at the time.
Every year in June, the Steam Museum at Preston hosts the Preston Steam Rally and East Kent Show which is a two day gathering of steam powered traction engines and classic vehicles in a beautiful rustic setting near the village church. Looking across the fields in the early evening to see the steam gallopers swirling around with their haze of smoke and steam illuminated by the hundreds of electric light bulbs is a beautifully evocative sight.

Cylinders and valve gear of one of the four
Argentine-built steam railway locomotives
on the site.

But this year there is to be no show. I understand the organisers are searching for another venue.

So we cyclists had a show of our own, goggling at the traction engines, railway locomotives, portable engines, pumps and even a stern wheel paddle steamer which were patiently waiting to be repaired and restored.

We hope they can find a suitable venue for next year. It really is a show like no other.

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