Monday 19 March 2018

Project 26: Trains!

This week's project was all about trains - their history and their impact.

We started the week with a brief overview of the history of trains, from the Rocket to maglevs, looking through some of Solomon's reference books and watching some online videos. We visited the library, hoping to get some more books, but Peterborough's public library provision is appalling - there was a single children's book on trains available, Getting around by train, suitable for someone far younger. We did get An Illustrated History of Trains from the adult section, however, and that prompted us to watch Buster Keaton's silent film classic The General:
The General is now freely available online, and despite being black & white, silent, and over 90 years old, it kept all three children (2, 3, & 5 yrs old) engaged throughout. We also watched the theatre version of the Railway Children, recorded for Sky Arts in 2016, equally engaging, albeit with far fewer cannons on trains.

We looked more closely at how a steam engine works with a Mamod steam engine we had in the back of the cupboard, built a railway extension to our Minecraft castle, and installed the (freely available) Open Rails simulator to drive an old diesel engine from Edinburgh to Glasgow.

Steam engine - starts moving at 3:40

Minecraft railway with glass signal box and redstone switches
Open Rails simulator
Finally, we finished the week with a trip on a steam train on the Nene Valley Railway. Despite being freezing cold we had a great day out, travelling on a  steam train, visiting the workshop, and going on the Swedish Railcar (which was also running for an open day).
GWR Steam Locomotive No. 5619
Wansford Workshop
'Helga' Swedish Railcar 1212
Next week's project: Under the Sea

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