Bob enjoys driving in the hot seat of a steam engine!

THE feeling of having 20 tons of rolling iron at your finger-tips is an awesome but at time daunting experience to anyone who normally drives a small family saloon car. Today, Comet reporter Bob Bryant took a slow trip around the lane close to Stotfold Mi

THE feeling of having 20 tons of rolling iron at your finger-tips is an awesome but at time daunting experience to anyone who normally drives a small family saloon car.

Today, Comet reporter Bob Bryant took a slow trip around the lane close to Stotfold Mill to get the feel of being in control of a great steam leviathan that was common on our roads almost a century ago.

Steam engines may be from yesteryear but today they are a big attraction, no more so than at the forthcoming Stotfold Mill Steam and Country Show on May9/10.

"Having been given a rough idea of what to expect by engineer Chris Bannister, 22, from Felixstowe, it was with some intrepidation that I climbed up to the footplate among the hissing and clanging of machinery and the heavy odour of hot coals and oil," said Bob.


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"You needed three turns in either direction of the steering wheel to actually move the great front driving wheels an inch and it had to be done furiously and it was like steering a supertanker, slow and laborious.

"There was no time to admire the countryside bathed in wonderful spring sunshine because I had to keep my eyes firmly on the road to keep the steam giant from rolling into a ditch like a hissing dinosaur.

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"Half an hour later, at a top speed of 15mph I was back at the mill and grateful for a cup of tea and the great engine was given more water to quench its own thirst.

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