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Alton Island - Runaway Mine Train by TurboJUK Alton Island - Runaway Mine Train by TurboJUK
"In the late 1950s, a number of people came to Alton Island in search of gold and other precious ores. After a fair amount of discussion they decided that the best place to mine would be the canyons north east of the town of Ingestre. For the longest time, these canyons remained an untamed wilderness with deep gorges stretching for many miles and white waters flowing through the ravines, which had the lives of many unwary travellers. This wasn't enough to deter the team, who eventually managed to carve their way through the thick forests and established their camp. Over the years the team grew larger, the ores were discovered and the mines expanded to the point where they constructed a 15" gauge railway to transport the ores around the site.

The mine remained open long enough to see several generations of miners come along to extract the precious metals from the canyon. However, in the late 1980s, the continued mining efforts meant that the ores had completely run out. With minerals becoming more scarce to find by the day, most of the miners decided to move on in search of other work. By the turn of the decade, the mine was threatened with closure, and the existing structures demolished due to the dwindling work force and lack of resources the mine could provide.

However, the railway's most senior engine driver Mackenzie Ward, lobbied to preserve what remained of the mining camp, sensing that it could continue to turnover a profit if repurposed into an attraction for visiting tourists. As Mackenzie had been so loyal to the mine since he'd joined the camp, the owner gave him a chance to prove his idea. With some modifications to the line, the mines opened for public viewing in 1992, with Mackenzie himself driving the same engine that would carry the spoils away from the mines, he gave tours of the old shafts along the precarious routes.

The opening was immediately successful given the area's natural heritage, and the passengers on the tours had another aspect to their tours that many weren't anticipating... Having run the line for over 30 years, Mackenzie knew the line and his engine so well, that he would often play tricks on his passengers. This made the journey around rather thrilling in places. Especially around certain turns and over some of the hills the engine had to traverse. After over 10 years of this however, complacency began to set in...

One day, during a very hot summer in 2006 during one of his tours, Mackenzie was playing with his passengers once again. All was normal, until he opened the regulator too fast, causing the engine to accelerate faster than he expected, causing a great strain on a weak coupling. The coupling snapped, causing the tail of the train to roll back along the line, much to Mackenzie's horror He put the brakes on, and began to reverse the engine quickly to re-unite with the back of the train to check the passengers. Unknown to him however, the lost wagons were rolling back towards him... By the time he saw the tail coming towards him, it was too late. The two halves collided, injuring several people who were on board.

Whilst the accident wasn't fatal for anyone on the train, Mackenzie refused to drive out of disgrace. However, after a lot of encouragement from the local community, he plucked up the courage, and began driving again the following year.

Mackenzie still runs the mine railway, now a wiser, more careful, and more mindful individual."

Here we have a character who was actually one of the earliest conceived. Back when Alton Island was conceived around October 2008, Air and Nemesis were the very first ones to be thought of, with Runaway Mine Train being one of several that followed. Back then however, he was just Stinky Pete the Prospector from Toy Story 2 - or rather that's all I could picture him as. Over five years on and his design has thankfully evolved from that. A new influence on his design was a prospector from an advert for Maverick at Cedar Point, mixed with a traditional British Railways driver uniform.
With my love of railways and technical accuracy, I find the locomotive to be one of the weakest parts of this picture, and considering how I go on about my awful backgrounds, that's saying something. It just doesn't look realistic enough to me, but I don't think there's much I can do about it.

Alton Island Matt Lindsay 2008-2014
Credit to Cobra-Roll for writing the bio and helping with redesigns.
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mitchika2 Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2016   Digital Artist
ah, theres the reference to the small accident it had ~
Rockyrailroad578 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
what arrangement? Appears to be a Forney or a single-fairlie! Nice work!
ThomasMangaLoco96 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2014
I have the idea of the locomotive being an impersonation of a WHR garrett but without the box thing or what ever it is at the front, and the chassie looks like to me two small wheels at front with outside pistons and two small hidden bogie wheels behind
MusclefanOZ Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I actually like the loco design.
The Boilder and cab reminds me of the 15inch K1 Garratt, but built into a forney wheel arrangement. 2 of my favourite locomotive types.
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Submitted on
April 2, 2014
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