Well there you have it, the Railfest train has left the station, but what have we learned?
That tens of thousands of people have been to enjoy one of Britain’s most treasured inventions, the locomotive.
Railfest has been hosted by York’s National Railway Museum and the event was held outdoors over an area covering 11 football pitches.
Railfest 2012 ran for nine days between the 2nd and the 10th of June and in this time it was expected that 65,000 people would attend the festival.
It promised to be Britain’s biggest rail celebration of the year, with events over the nine days to entertain people of all ages and it looks like they have delivered!
30 specific locomotives were on display throughout the festival including some of the fastest, strongest and smallest rail machines to have been commercially used. Train operators and companies such as Redspottedhanky.com came together to promote and celebrate this annual event.
People attending the festival had the opportunity to ride on the trains and sit inside the drivers’ cab. There was a variety of live theatre performances and demonstrations as well as shops and trade stands and an under-6s rail-themed area.
For those budding rail enthusiasts who wanted something a little more, special photo sessions had been set up so that rail fans can take close-ups of the locomotives without the hustle and bustle of the rest of the festival.
Railfest has been described as:
“A rock ‘n’ roll concert for rail enthusiasts. It’s capable of reminding everyone just how romantic and warm railways can be as well as how essential they are to our day-to-day lives.”
The biggest celebrity to attend Railfest 2012 was definitely the Flying Scotsman. This train is an express passenger train that has been running between London and Edinburgh since 1862.
The original journey took ten-and-a-half hours and included a half-hour stop in York for high tea.
The improvements in rail technology and the increased competition and demand meant the journey was reduced to eight-and-a-half hours by 1888. Today, the journey takes just just over half of that.
Railfest 2012 has proved that Britons are still incredibly passionate about their country’s history and the railway system is such a huge part of that. Railfest will surely be back next year, bigger and better (if that is possible!). Choo choo!