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We absolutely love steam here at Newsstand. There’s something wonderfully romantic about it as a power source, that we think is directly linked to it being incredibly of its time. After all, compare these two sentences:
‘The train pulled away from the station with barely a sound apart from the sparks raised by the rail. The electric doors had already long closed, so, try as he might he couldn’t catch a glimpse of his beloved left on the platform.’
‘The train hissed and spluttered, plumes of smoke rising from the chimney. It whirred into life, chugging away from the platform. He leaned out the window and waved vigorously to his beloved as she slowly left his view.’
One of these contains a certain hint of romance, the other is rather flat and boring. No prizes for guessing which. Steam power takes us back to a world of nostalgia and a Britain that probably in all reality actually never was. It stirs something noble in our soul to see a mighty machine of iron and steel powered by coal shovelled into a furnace by down to earth fellows in sooty blue overalls, boiling water until it has the pressure to move untold tons. Sometimes we wish that the world still had that sense of grandeur, rather than the depressingly soulless digital world of today. More power to the traction engine. NB