Saturday, 20 August 2011

Faking It

When we were in Exeter, for Helen and Ian's wedding, we spent the Friday morning before the wedding at Bicton Park Botanical Gardens. We had a really great morning. The weather was wonderful and once we had escaped the hordes of small children it was very relaxed and pleasant. We walked around quite a lot of the gardens, but for those who want to experience the gardens without such physical exertion there is the Bicton Woodland Railway. The railway is apparently the only 18-inch narrow gauge railway left in Britain and was built during the early 1960's as an additional attraction when the gardens were first being opened to the public.

The pictures of the engine in the entrance to the gardens clearly show a steam train pulling carriages through a wooded glade, all nice and picturesque. Unfortunately, as soon as I heard the engine from a distance something sounded wrong. In fact the engine is a diesel locomotive built as a replica of a previous steam engine. Apparently the steam engine had become too expensive and difficult to maintain. Now I don't mind the use of a diesel engine but why dress it up as something it isn't As far as I'm concerned, faking the noise of a steam whistle, just seems a step too far.

From personal experience I now know that steam engines can be difficult to control. They are also expensive to maintain and operate. Neither of those facts are, however, enough to warrant faking a steam engine. I'm sure that everyday at least a few children (maybe even the odd adult) leave the gardens thinking they've been on a ride behind a steam engine. Am I being too picky or do others agree that faking a steam engine in this way this is just wrong?
20 August 2011 at 20:02 , Scriptor Senex said...

I agree - whatever happened to the Trades Descriptions Act?

20 August 2011 at 23:50 , GB said...

On this one I have to say that I think you are being a bit picky. After all in the land of make believe many many things are not what they seem. In fact in the land of reality many are not either. The clothing worn so often conceals the true body underneath. It's generally more attractive too!

21 August 2011 at 16:06 , ADRIAN said...

It's just a ride. I have no problem with it. The galloper at the fair has horses for seats.

22 August 2011 at 13:04 , Mark said...

Well I guess I'm just being a little picky, after all 2/3 of you can't possibly be wrong :)

22 August 2011 at 13:31 , Ian said...

Perhaps they should add some steam from the chimney to complete the illusion. Chu Chu. Chug, chug, chug, chug

20 August 2012 at 11:45 , Nicholas said...

I'm on your side on this. I have been visiting the gardens since I was very young and remember the original steam and diesel trains. I just don't think its necessary. It is a fun narrow guage railway through the park but not a theme park ride. Still a wonderful place and attraction.

If anyone is interested, I have a blog about Bicton Gardens - http://www.bictonparkgardens.blogspot.co.uk/

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