It was fun to visit Torbay Steam Fair this afternoon and find out more about these beautiful heritage steam engines. The love and care that has gone into restoring and maintaining them is astonishing, and it was great to hear Joseph talk so proudly of his engine. The coal used for the heritage steam industry in the UK comes from the Ffos y Fran opencast mine in Wales - due to close for good in September. The engine owners told me how the coal they need will have to be shipped in from Colombia and Australia, which they claim will cause much higher carbon emissions than using coal from a UK mine. Planning officials at Merthyr Council have decided that the mine must close, to comply with Welsh government policies on climate change.
Keeping these engines going has been a true labour of love. It doesn’t seem that far fetched to imagine that before long they may be confined to museums rather than seen out on the road and at fairs.
The fair is on until Sunday evening!