A few years ago I was stading on the train platform in Nuremberg Main station, right next to an hitosrig 01 Lokomotive. Despite the December cold, one could feel the heat escaping from the huge boiler. Steam came out of several openings and the beast was ready to go.
Several people were stading around as the departure time of the ‘Sonderzug’s’ (Special train) arrived. Suddendly the shrill sound of the engines pipe shattered the relative quietness of the scenery and everybody really jumped. I could see in the eyes of the train driver that he really enjoyed this.
Moments later the station master gave the go signal and the heavy engine heaved to get the carriages going. As the old wagons with the cheering passengers rattled past, I had to think about my childhood, where these scenes were most common. Even the short distance commuter trains in my native Hamburg ran under steam and we, little boys, would often put small stones on to the trail, to see if we could make it jumping the tracks. But what can a 100 gramm stone do against the tons of steel squashing it.
Nowadays the ICE or Shinkansen or any other high speed trains almost slide silently out of the station. Modern, comfortable, clean….but without the emotions.