The Deltics covered the route of the Flying Scotsman, from London to Edinburgh, the East Coast Mainline. Their reign was brief – from 1961 to 1981, when they were replaced by the HST. Only 22 were built but they were so loved that no less than six survive.
I discovered all this a year later. In May 2012. Having become interested in the railfreight revival, I came across a video of the Deltic on the Alcan train on Youtube. This piqued my interest in the aluminium smelters themselves.
Always on the look out for stories that suggest industry might not be beyond revival in this country, I started Googling Lynemouth aluminium smelter, founded in 1974. I was pleased to hear of this modern plant. And if the owners had had the imagination to hire a Deltic, the site was doubly blessed – no mere utilitarians they.
My pleasure lasted for about 5 minutes. Googling Alcan Lynemouth, I discovered that production ended on 29 March 2012. I am no longer on the trail of the Alcan Deltics and the railfreight revival. I want to know how the aluminium industry, emblem of modernity for the 30s poets, had sunk to the point where it was about to disappear from the UK.