Why Steam Safari?

 

Why Steam Safari?

 

In 1954, Trains Magazine editor David P. Morgan sat down to write what he surely thought was the epitaph of the North American steam railroad locomotive.   Surveying the onslaught of diesel engines on America's trunk lines, he likened the steam locomotive to "some prehistoric monster, unable to cope with the tide of evolution-- a hapless, harried, hunted creature, dying off in large numbers, facing total extinction."  For the faithful, he prescribed a "steam safari" in what little time remained-- a race with the diesel and the scrapper's torch to see who could get there first. 

 

Yet even as Morgan wrote, the tide was turning. In 1950, a dedicated band of volunteer enthusiasts took over running the Talyllyn Railway, a steam-powered Welsh narrow-gauge short line of venerable pedigree. Their success inspired others to do the same,  in both Europe and America.  On the Ffestiniog and the Bluebell in Britain, on the Strasburg and the East Broad Top in America, steam soon rolled again.

 

Today, forty-four years after the Morgan penned his obituary, steam's future seems brighter than ever.  And so the time seems ripe for a new steam safari-- not a funeral procession this time, but a celebration of the preserved steam railway lines of Europe and America.  Each of the links in the contents frame on the left will take you to a different steam railway and a new adventure.  I hope you enjoy the ride.


 

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All materials, images, text and presentation copyright 1999 Erik Gray Ledbetter.  See Terms of Use.