It will be a sizzling start to Valentine’s Day today for a couple celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary.
The romance of steam will be the backdrop for Neil and Lynda Adams, who both work at Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon in County Durham.
They are preparing for the Great Goodbye event which opens at the museum tomorrow until February 23.
It will see the final gathering of the six surviving 1930s streamlined A4 steam locomotives , which were brought together at the National Railway Museum in York to mark the 75th anniversary of the breaking of the world speed record by the most famous of their number, Mallard.
Yesterday, saw the arrival at Shildon of the A4 Sir Nigel Gresley, named after the designer of the locomotives. And the museum offered the chance to lay on a Valentine’s treat for Neil and Lynda who are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary.
In the days of steam, crews would sometimes fry bacon and eggs on a shovel, using the heat from the locomotive firebox.
Today the Sir Nigel crew will serve up a Valentine’s breakfast of heart-shaped sausages and eggs for the couple. Yesterday, after steaming in from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, the crew had a frying test run.
“The romance of the railways has always been apparent, with films such as Brief Encounter, against a background of the nostalgic glamour of the hey-day of steam,” said National Railway Museum spokeswoman Catherine Farrell.
“Station clocks used to be a popular place for romantic rendezvous and emotional lovers’ goodbyes still occur on platforms throughout the land. Back in steam’s hey-day, loco crews would have rashers and egg, fried over the firebox which can reach 1300ºC when the loco is working hard but can sizzle just exactly to perfection when resting in a siding.
“With three locos being in light steam for the Great Goodbye event, it gives us an opportunity to rustle up a romantic meal for Neil and Lynda.”
The couple, who have four children, started married life in Kenton in Newcastle but now live in Newton Aycliffe in County Durham.
Lynda said: “It will be a special way to celebrate our anniversary.
“I have heard all about locomotive crews cooking on a shovel but I have never seen it done. I hope the shovel is clean.
“Having the A4 locomotives at Shildon for the Great Goodbye is absolutely brilliant. They are spectacular.”
Anthony Coulls, senior curator at the National Railway Museum, said: “Our Mallard 75 events have inspired a love for the railways in a whole new generation.”